Indonesian Visa on Arrival, Extension and Long Term: Free or Fee?

So AFTER booking my ticket to Indonesia, like every irresponsible backpacker, I wondered to myself, “HMMMM.. do I need a visa?” Unlike my other trips to Indonesia which were short and sweet thanks to the *generous* 10-day vacation policy in the US, I figured I’d stay longer than 30 days, which is what is allotted on a visa free visit.

Luckily for most people, entry into Indonesia is pretty hassle free, if you’re planning to stay for less than a month. Indonesia allows nationals from over 168 countries to remain in the country Visa Free for a maximum of 30 days.

Gili Trawangan Island, Indonesia

Gili Trawangan, a paradise I can easily stay for more than 30 days

Indonesia Visa Free vs Visa on Arrival

Since I wanted a chance to explore this culturally, biologically and ethnically diverse archipelago made up of 17,000 islands and stretches 5,120 kilometers (just saying… there’s a lot to see!) AND also visit family, I was left with two options: paying for a visa on arrival (VOA) or doing a visa run because you cannot extend the length of your stay if you enter visa free. There is also the option of applying for a social/cultural visa if you’re the type of person who plans ahead (more information at the end of the article!)

Family and friends, Indonesia

Family and friends during my last visit to Indonesia

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a visa run, it’s when you hop across the border to another country and then re-enter the country, which you left in order to restart the number of days you’re allowed to stay. While a visa run may tow the line of questionable practices, I hadn’t heard of people running into issues, so I figured it was a viable option. Since I’m currently ballin’ on a budget, I tallied up the cost and decided the cheaper option would be to purchase a VOA at the airport.

Getting Visa on Arrival in Indonesia aiport

Follow these signs in Indonesia aiport to get your Visa on Arrival… easy enough (NOT!)

Getting the visa on arrival seemed pretty easy; I thought all I needed was a valid passport, $35, and a smile to enter (okay, maybe not a smile, but you should do it anyway because you’re in INDONESIA!) However, I found out later that the extension process was a lot more tedious and needed to be done at least two weeks in advance.

Indonesia Visa extension

Two weeks? Why? Well, apparently, I needed to visit three times: once to complete the forms, another time to pay and take my photos and fingerprints, and finally to pick up my passport with the visa extension. On top of that, there are a limited number of offices that you can process the visa extension, including three in Bali, which are almost, always full of people.

Visa, Indonesia

I finally got my Indonesian Visa!

Another option I discovered was that I could get some immigration agent to handle the visa process for about $50. I would still need to start the process about 10-15 days before the visa expired, but I could leave my passport with the agent, enjoy gallivanting and soaking up some sun rays in the other islands, and come back to the office where everything would be completed. And since time is money, it didn’t seem like such a terrible idea. I was left debating whether it would be cheaper to do a visa run OR to pay an agency, and decided to go back in time, and channel my former agency role by making an excel sheet for my budget.

Options to extend my Indonesian Visa: Agent vs Flying in and Out

Options to extend my Indonesian Visa: Hiring an Agent vs Flying in and Out

The best option became pretty obvious; it was cheaper for me to fly from Lombok to KL then to Medan, in order to restart the 30 days. I was a little upset for spending the initial $35 for a VOA (that equals to 10 Bintangs!!!) but I had no one to blame but myself for only doing half the research. But hey, you win some and you lose some, and now I’m on my way to Lombok and Flores before heading to Sumatra. Can’t wait to share more stories with you!

Post visa woes: 
Babe on bikes, exploring Bali

Post visa woes: 
Babe on bikes, exploring Bali on scooters….the easiest and most adventurous ways to get around

Indonesia Long Term Stays Visa

If you are planning ahead (good for you!), below are the two types of most common visas for non-professional longer term stays. You should note that the date of arrival in Indonesia is counted as day one of the permitted stay and the date of departure is also counted as a full day even if the flight leaves just after midnight.

Visa on Arrival

As the name states, this is a visa you can purchase when you arrive in Indonesia at designated entry points by paying US$35 (as of 2016).
Single entry visa
Good for up to 30 days
Can be extended ONLY ONCE for an additional 30 days for another US$35 (as of 2016)
You can also apply for this visa at your respective country’s Indonesian embassy or consulate

Social Cultural Visit Visa

This visa requires a letter of sponsorship from an Indonesian citizen
Good for up to 60 days
Can be extended up to four more times, for a maximum of 180 days total
You must apply for this visa outside of Indonesia
Valid up to three months from date of issue
If you want to extend this visa, you must apply for the extension in the same district stated by your sponsor’s identity card
Here’s more information on Social Cultural Visit Visa

If you do happen to overstay your visa, you will be fined Rp 200,000/day for every day, then deported once you have paid the fine. The maximum fine for overstaying a visa is Rp 25 million and 5 years in jail, so just don’t do it!

Related articles:
Indonesia Tourist Visa Requirement
Indonesia Travel Tips and Information
Do I need a Travel Insurance for Indonesia?

Jimbaran, Bali: Seafood Dining on a White Sandy Beach

Famed for delicious varieties of beachside grilled seafood, Jimbaran is a quaint, little beach resort town settled along the Jimbaran Bay in South Bali. Every night, Jimbaran comes alive with numerous beachside warungs serving grilled fish varieties on the candlelit tables set on the sand. It is simply a wonderful and unique experience enjoying fresh seafood on the beach while watching the gentle waves of water coming from the sea and ultimately wetting your feet in the sand.

Jimbaran, also sometimes called the “Beverly Hills of Bali”, was actually a little fishing village in its earlier days, where people used to trade their catch at the daily market. Things started to change after the 1980s with the wave of development that completely changed the identity of the village. Today, Jimbaran is home to several luxury resorts, high-end villas, and up-market chain hotels, all catering to the needs of luxury tourists visiting Bali to witness the beauty and the charm of this mesmerizing island.

Jimbaran Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Jimbaran Beach, Bali. Photo by Trans World Productions

Where is it

Jimbaran is located about 15 km from Denpasar and 3 km from Ngurah Rai International Airport in South Bali. It lies between Kuta and the Bukit Peninsula, with Kuta to its northeast and Uluwatu to the southwest.

Why go

Think of a town where you can have a superb seafood dining experience while watching the sunset on a white sandy beach. Jimbaran is the only place on Bali wish provides you with this wonderful opportunity. The town also offers a beautiful coastline along Jimbaran Bay, serving as home to some of the best surfing sites in Bali.

Fishermen at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Fishermen at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Mark Lehmkuhler

When is the best time to go

Although you can visit Jimbaran any time of the year, the period from May to August is usually the best time to visit the town. The cool, pleasant weather makes conditions perfect for traveling during these months. Jimbaran, like other regions of Bali, experiences tropical climate year round. The rainy season lasts from October to March and is usually avoided by tourists for travel purpose.

What to see

Jimbaran beach, a pleasant white sandy beach, with calm waters which makes it completely safe for swimming. One of the favorite activities for tourists on this beach is to enjoy the sunset with food and drink at any of the restaurants located on the beach.

Fish Market at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Fish Market at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Annie Mole

Jimbaran fish market, located at northern end of the Jimbaran bay. Every morning, fishermen return to this traditional fish market to sell their daily catch. Different varieties of fishes are sold here, and all top restaurants of Bali get their fish supply from this market. The best time to visit the market is between 6 am – 9 am when the market is buzzing completely with the activity of buyers and sellers.

What to do

Of course enjoys Jimbaran’s beach barbeques. There are several beachside warungs which serve fresh fishes grilled over coconut husks, and it is an amazing experience enjoying the dinner served at candlelit tables on the sand.

Seafood dining at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Seafood dining at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Güldem Üstün

Surfing on Jimbaran Bay. Jimbaran is one of the safest places in Bali to try surfing and swimming. Some perfect surf breaks are accessible from Jimbaran Bay using chartered boats. The bay is also perfect for swimming. A large number of local children can be seen swimming on the beach in the evenings.

Strolling on the narrow streets of Jimbaran is an activity that most tourists like to enjoy. The town with its small streets and gangs (alleys) appears like a little Balinese society, and watching smiling faces of the locals while walking on Jimbaran streets is a pleasant experience for most tourists.

What and where to eat

Jimbaran is famous for fresh fish barbeques served at most beachfront warungs. You can find many people coming to Jimbaran from areas like Kuta, Sanur, and Nusa Dua just to enjoy the fishes grilled in front of them and served with sauces and vegetables. At every beach-shack warung, you will find a table set out on the sand. Warungs near the Kedonganan fish market offer the cheapest food. Sharkey’s Ayu Wandira, and Pudak are some of the well-known warungs in this area.

Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Sarah_Ackerman

Where to stay

Most of the accommodation available in Jimbaran is up-market, catering to luxury tourists. You can find several beach resorts, 5-star hotels, and high-end villas in the town. Budget accommodation is available but little in number. Rimba Jimbaran by Ayana, Kayumanis Private Villas and Spa, The Villas at Ayana Resort, and Jamahal Private Resort and Spa * are some of the well-known top-end options in Jimbaran.

-> Find the best hotel deals in Jimbaran at *

How to get there

Fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport, which is served by many national and international airlines including Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air and Singapore Airlines.

By Taxi – The airport lies just 3 km north of Jimbaran, and a pre-paid taxi costs around Rp 65,000 – 85,000; the exact figures depend on the location of your hotel in the town. Metered taxis are available from outside the airport area and a bit cheaper compared to pre-paid taxis.

By Bus – Dark-blue bemos ply regularly between Tegal bus terminus in Denpasar and Jimbaran (via Kuta). Trans Sarabagita bus service also connects Denpasar to Jimbaran and Uluwatu.

How to get around

You can easily explore Jimbaran’s downtown area and narrow lanes on foot. Like other tourist resorts in Bali, rented motorbikes and metered taxis are also readily available all around the town day and night.

Sunset at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Sunset at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Adam Lai

Where to go nearby

Denpasar, the administrative capital of Bali

Kuta, Bali’s most famous beach resort offering lots of opportunities to enjoy partying and surfing.

Ubud, the center of art and culture in Bali and home to a large number of artistically-designed temples.

Uluwatu, located south of Jimbaran and featuring Uluwatu Temple, one of the oldest existing temples in Bali.

Nusa Dua, a high-class beach resort located southeast of Jimbaran.

Related articles:
Sanur: The Relaxing Beach Resort Town of Bali
Top 10 Areas to Stay in South and Central Bali
Top 10 Best Bali Beaches

Bedugul, Bali: Mountains, Lakes and Treks

The Danau Bratan region, also just known as Bedugul, refers to the large area in the central highlands of Bali and is famed for imposing mountains, picturesque lakes, beautiful trekking routes and impressive temples. Bedugul region encompasses many villages including Bedugul itself, Pacung, Candikuning, Wanagiri, Pancasari, and others. The area lies at an altitude of 700 m or higher and is usually visited by the tourists seeking a respite from the hot, humid conditions of the coastal regions of Bali.

Most of the tourist activities in Bedugul region center around the three beautiful lakes: Danau Bratan, Danau Buyan and Danau Tamblingan. Danau Bratan, surrounded by rolling lush green hills, provides a wide array of water sports activities to tourists. Local Balinese farmers worship the lake goddess at an ancient temple that sits near the lake. The smaller Danau Buyan and Danau Tamblingan lakes are located northwest of Bedugul village and are easily accessible by means of good, motorable roads.

Village, lake and mountain of Bedugul, Bali, Indonesia

Village, lake and mountain of Bedugul, Bali

Where is it

Bedugul is located in the central highlands of Bali, about 50 km north of Denpasar and 25 km south of Singaraja.

Why go

To take in the natural beauty of the region while getting indulged in lots of adventurous activities at the same time. If you want a break from hot, humid conditions of coastal Bali, Bedugul is a perfect destination to head for.

When is the best time to go

Nights at Bedugul are cooler compared to the coastal areas of Bali. The dry months of May to August are considered the best months to visit Bedugul. The rainy months of October to March are generally avoided by tourists. Christmas and New Year time are usually the exceptions when a large number of domestic and international tourists arrive at Bedugul to enjoy their vacations.

View of the lake at Bedugul, Bali, Indonesia

View of the lake at Bedugul, Bali

What to see

Bali Botanical Gardens. One of the four official botanical gardens of the country, the picturesque Bali Botanical Gardens are situated in Candikuning area. These gardens are spread over an area of about 160 hectares across the slopes of Gunung Pohon and give visitors an opportunity to spend a whole day in close proximity to more than 400 species of orchids, 650 species of trees, and over 80 species of birds. A massive “corn on the cob” stone statue at the entrance road is amazing to watch. The gardens remain open between 8 am – 4 pm daily.

Pura Ulun Danu Temple, Bedugul, Bali, Indonesia

Pura Ulun Danu Temple, Bedugul, Bali

Lake Bratan Temple (Pura Ulun Danu Bratan). As of the Top 10 Temples to Visit in Bali, this immensely attractive temple stands on the shore of Lake Bratan. The temple is devoted to Ida Batara Devi Ulun Danu and dates back to 1633. It is also one of the top most photographed temples of Bali. Its close proximity to lake creates an illusion that the temple is floating on the lake.

What to do

Trekking in the mountain slopes and around the lakes. Trekking in Bedugul area is a highly rewarding experience for most visitors. Many groups organize regular trekking tours for Mount Catur, around Lake Tamblingan, Jatiluwih, and Munduk area. These tours allow trekkers to explore the hidden areas of central Bali while enjoying the spectacular views at the same time.

Trekking to Mount Lesong, Bedugul, Bali, Indonesia

Trekking to Mount Lesong, Bedugul, Bali

Taking a dip in one of the secluded waterfalls. There are several beautiful and secluded waterfalls dotted around Bedugul, and if you can try to find one of these secret spots and take a dip in one of the clearest waterfalls you’ve ever seen.

What and where to eat

Bedugul is known for a variety of restaurants serving a local specialty called Ayam Taliwang, which is a spiced and grilled/fried chicken. Bedugul Lake View, located near Lake Bratan, is known for its delicious local dishes. You can also find several inexpensive places lining the road to the Botanical Gardens. Ngiring Ngewedang near Lake Tamblingan lets visitors enjoy tasty Indonesian food as well as views of the beautiful surroundings at the same time. Restaurant Batukaru (between Mount Batukaru and Jatiluwih), Strawberry Hill (Bukit Strobeli), Strawberry Stop (between Lake Bratan and Lake Buyan), and Warung Bukit Hexon are some other popular restaurants in Bedugul area.

Procession at Pura Ulun Danu Temple, Bedugul, Bali, Indonesia

Procession at Pura Ulun Danu Temple, Bedugul, Bali

Where to stay

Candikuning village in Bedugul is known for providing the best tourist facilities to visitors. Some nice budget options in Bedugul include Ashram Guest House (near Lake Bratan), Ibu Hadi Homestay, Penginapan Cempaka (Jalan Kebun Raya), and Sari Artha Inn. Among mid-range options, Atres Villa * (Banyuatis Village), Aditya Homestay * (Munduk) and CLV Hotel & Villa * are some of the popular names. Handara Golf & Resort * (Pancasari), Puri Candikuning Retreat * (near Bratan Temple), The Kalaspa Health Retreat (Banjar Asah Panji), and Saranam Eco Resort (Pacung) cater to luxury tourists in the region.

How to get there

Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar International Airport, is the nearest airport to Bedugul. The airport is served by several domestic and international airlines including Garuda Indonesia, Singapore Airlines, etc. You can hire a prepaid or a metered taxi from the airport which usually takes not more than two hours to get to Bedugul. Regular bemo (minibus) for Bedugul are available from Batubulan terminal in Denpasar and Singaraja town. Taxis are readily available from different parts of Bali. You can also rent a car and drive up yourself to enjoy the wonderful roads in the region. However, make sure that you have a good map of Bali and Bedugul region before you start your journey.

Local boats at Lake Bedugul, Bali, Indonesia

Local boats at Lake Bedugul, Bali

How to get around

Using a motorcycle is a perfect way to get around the Bedugul area. Many of the places of interest in this area are located too far to be explored on foot. You can ask your hotel staff to arrange for a rented motorbike for you. You’ll also find many taxi drivers willing to take you to nearby attractions for a fixed price. Local bemo (minibus) are generally available, and you can find them around the car parking place in Candikuning market as well as in Pancasari village.

Where to go nearby

Munduk, one of the off the beaten tracks places with its own local charm.
Singaraja, the former capital of Bali, featuring lots of imposing monuments and colonial structures.
Lovina, the coastal town of North Bali, famous for lovely beaches and early-morning dolphin trips.

Photo credits from top: trezy humanoiz, a_rabin , Aleksandr Zykov, Rollan Budi, Castio T. Lauren, Jos Dielis and alex hanoko

Related articles:
Pura Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan, Bali
Lovina Beach – Bali and Black Beaches

Sanur : The Relaxing Beach Resort Town of Bali

Stretching down the southeast coast of Bali, Sanur is a quiet, relaxing beach resort town that is famous for its long, white sandy beach and a distinct village ambience. This oldest upmarket resort town of Bali is more expensive than Kuta and appeals to middle-aged visitors and family groups. Sanur offers world-class facilities to its tourists amid calm, serene surroundings, and is simply a perfect destination for tourists seeking a holiday cocktail of sea, sand and sun along with their family.

Sanur is located in the southeastern outskirts of Denpasar and is one of the main water sports centers in Bali. The 5-km long coastline in Sanur runs from Matahari Terbit Beach to Mertasari Beach. There are enough bars, restaurants, resorts, and shopping markets to entertain the visitors. Sanur is also a perfect place to bring kids and serves well as a base to explore other parts of the island.

Where is it

Sanur is located about 10 km from Kuta and 18 km from Ngurah Rai in South Bali.

Map of Sanur, Bali

Map of Sanur, Bali

Why go

To enjoy water sports with your family at a beach resort with a distinct village atmosphere.

When is the best time to go

Sanur enjoys a tropical weather all year round just like the rest of Bali. October to March is the rainy period and only a few tourists prefer to visit the town during these months but this could mean you can have the place more to yourself. May to August is the best time to visit due to perfect weather conditions. You can also visit Sanur in the month of July to be a part of International Kite Festival and watch hundreds of giant colorful kites being flown in the sky of Sanur.

Sanur Museum, Bali

Sanur Museum, Bali

What to see

Le Mayeur Museum – the former residence of famous Belgian artist Adrien Jean Le Mayeur (1880-1958), one of Bali’s first expatriate residents. Mayeur arrived in Bali in 1932 at the age of 52. In 1935, he married Ni Pollok, the most famous legong dancer of her times. Mayeur made many paintings of Pollok, while living in this house. He died in 1958 and after some years, his residence was converted to a museum in memory of the artist. The museum today exhibits about 80 paintings of the artist, most of which were created in the courtyard garden of the house.

International Kite Festival – One of the famous Bali festivals, it is held in the month of July on Padang Galak beach near Sanur. The festival is attended by many village teams coming from different parts of the island. Traditional Balinese kites are made and flown in the sky to send messages to gods to bless Balinese people with health and prosperity. It is simply a wonderful experience to watch big, colorful kites flying in the sky of Sanur during this festival.

International Kite Museum in Sanur, Bali

International Kite Museum in Sanur, Bali

What to do

Enjoy water sports – although experienced divers prefer sites off east and north coast of Bali, Sanur is a good place to learn diving. Most of Bali’s reputed dive operators have their offices in Sanur and offer fun dives and dive trips to tourists. Many diving centres also run internationally certified courses (introductory and advanced) in diving. You can also enjoy kitesurfing, paragliding, windsurfing, and other water sports at Sanur beach.

Shopping – as one of the best places to shop in Bali, there are plenty of shop along Jalan Danau Tamblingan, the main shopping area of Sanur. The side streets leading from Jalan Danau Tamblingan also have numerous shops selling everything from cheap cotton clothes, t-shirts, souvenirs, and Balinese handicrafts to hand-made kites, sandals, and other items. Sindhu Market located at the northern end of Jalan Pungutan is another good market famous for interesting art and handicraft items.

Water sports in Sanur, Bali

Water sports in Sanur, Bali

What and where to eat

Lontong at Cafe Jimbar, Sanur, Bali

Lontong at Cafe Jimbar, Sanur, Bali

The Night Market at Jalan Danau Tamblingan/ Jalan Sindhu crossing is a good place to try cheap local Indonesian food. There are plenty of good restaurants on Jalan Danau Tamblingan, and between Jalan Kesumasari and Jalan Duyung.

Abian Boga Restaurant on Jalan Kesuma Sari is a good place to enjoy grilled seafood along with dance performance. Bonsai Café, Kafe Tali Jiwa, The Bali Pub, Cafe Batu Jimbar, Segara Agung, and Treo Beach Café are some other popular spots frequently visited by food lovers in Sanur. For those who are fond of wine, there are many bars along Jalan Danau Tamblingan.

Where to stay

Majority of accommodation options in Sanur belong to mid and high-range bracket aimed at families. Most of top hotels and resorts in Sanur can be found on the beachfront, such as Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali, Maya Sanur Resort and Spa and Tandjung Sari Hotel are among the mid to top-end options. These hotels offer nice facilities like air-conditioned rooms, beautiful gardens, beach access and attractive setups. Budget accommodation is available in Sanur but limited. Around Jalan Tamblingan are the main areas where you can find nice budget accommodation, such as Mona Homestay and Sindu Guesthouse *.

-> Find the best hotel deals in Sanur at *

How to get there

If you are coming to Sanur/Bali by air, you will land at Ngurah Rai airport located in Tuban area about 18 km from Sanur. It takes just 20-30 minutes to get to Sanur using a metered or prepaid taxi from the airport. Direct bemos to Sanur are available from Denpasar’s Tegal terminal. Private tourist shuttle buses to Sanur are available from Kuta, Candidasa, Ubud, Lovina, and some other towns of Bali. White Batubulan-bound Damri bus service is a good option to get to Sanur if you are coming from Nusa Dua.

How to get around

Metered taxis are readily available in the town and can be used to explore the area. You can also use public bemos plying between Denpasar’s two terminals to get around the main roads of Sanur. Most travel agencies on Jalan Danau Tamblingan rent out cars and motorbikes to tourists. Exploring the town on bicycle is a nice option for those who can do it; the town is not very large and streets are also perfect for bicycle riding.

Sanur beach, Bali

Sanur beach, Bali

Where to go nearby

Denpasar – the administrative capital of Bali, featuring lots of tourist attractions to explore.

Kuta – famous for its white sandy beaches and lively nightlife.

Serangan or Turtle Island – located 3 km south of Sanur and a perfect place to watch hatching of eggs in their natural environment. Visit Turtle Conservation Centre to learn more about the various initiatives that the authorities take to save turtles on the island.

Photo credits from top: Burmesedays, René Slaats, Robert Scales, Alain Bachellier, Dennis Tang and sbamueller

Related articles:
Top 6 Warungs to Eat in Sanur, Bali
Top 10 Best Beaches in Bali
Shopping in Bali: Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur and more
Top 10 Best Area to Stay in South & Central Bali
Bali Festivals