What to expect when departing Bali

The dreaded day is almost upon us and our time in Bali is coming to an end. Our next destination is Cairns – Australia, which only has the one direct flight operating from Bali and departs at 1:10am in the morning. Like most people the last thing we want to be doing at that early hour is dealing with any unnecessary airport hassles or challenges. Now I know we are Bali regulars and we’ve done this a bunch of times before but I always seem to forget the things I should remember about departing Bali. So I decided this time I would take notes about our experience in the hope that it will make it easier for us (and anyone else) the next time we are leaving Bali.

Booking transport:

To avoid stress on the day we booked our transportation the day before leaving and locked in a price of 250K. We didn’t want to spend any unnecessary time at the airport so our aim was to get there 2 ¼ hours before our flight departed so we organized pickup for 10:20pm, leaving us at least 30 mins to get from our accommodation in Seminyak to the airport. Even though there was consistent traffic the whole way it was still plenty of time and we arrived at Denpasar airport at 10:50pm.

Notes:

  • If you are on a budget it’s cheaper to go with a taxi instead of private car.
  • If you are travelling through peak traffic times allow at least an hour to get to the airport.

Arriving at the airport:

When getting to the airport they have free trolleys you can use to cart your luggage inside, you can also use one of the porters but you will have to pay for them. Before entering the airport all your bags will be checked and scanned, this doesn’t take long unless you have something that’s not allowed through. One thing to note though, I’m not sure if this is still the case but the last time we were in Bali we had a glass bottle of alcohol packed in with our luggage which was confiscated when entering the airport even though it was is in our luggage to be checked. So if you have bought alcohol and packed it in your luggage it might not get through and you will have to chuck it out.

Checking in and bag drop:

By the time we paid our driver, got a trolley and scanned through our luggage it was now two hours till our flight departure. The airport was packed with massive lines to check-in followed by another hefty line to pass through customs, we suddenly had the feeling that we didn’t leave enough time to get through. At 11:05pm we scooted over to our airline aisle to check in and drop our bags. We were relieved when we saw that our flight was still not up on the board, even though there was only two hours to flight departure they weren’t ready for us to check-in. We still jumped onto the end of the queue anyway knowing that our flight would appear on the board shortly.  

Surprisingly the clerks got through the line rather quickly, by 11:40pm we were luggage free and finished with check-in.  The airport had also thinned out by this time and there were much less people around.  We were happy to see that even the line going through to customs was gone. It seems like the busy period was between 10 and 11pm.

Passing through airport security/customs:

Airport security in Bali is like most other airports with one exception, they don’t allow you to take selfie sticks or tripods through security, so if you have one I would suggest packing it with your check-in luggage as they won’t let you pass with it. We saw a stack of selfie sticks and tripods thrown out and a lot of very unhappy people. But other than that there were no dramas, we were done with security and passport control by 11:57pm. With a whole 25mins spare before we are due to board our plane we have time to pick up a meal and stop for quick toilet break before heading to our gate.

Notes:

  • Selfie sticks and tripods need to go in with your checked luggage, they are not allowed with cabin luggage.

Boarding your plane:

Before boarding the plane there is one last check of your hang luggage, if you have purchased a bottle of water or another drink at the airport it will be confiscated here. I’m not sure why this is but it is what it is. Also depending on what airline you are flying with, if you have purchased duty free alcohol you may not be able to take it on with you and will be forced to leave it behind. I would double check with your airline first before buying.

Notes:

  • Don’t buy bottle water before your departure as you won’t be able to take it on with you.
  • Before buying duty free alcohol check with your airline that you can board the plane with it.

So all said in done there really wasn't much that we needed to remember apart from a few little things, but this will definitely make it easier for us the next time. 

So long Bali, we'll miss you.