Bali airport (Ngurah Rai International Airport) is your main entry point to the island. The airport is in Tuban, an approximate 15 minute drive south of Kuta. Its runway stretches along Bali's isthmus that connects the Bukit Peninsula with Bali's mainland. It's on the island’s south where most of the main resort areas are.
Bali airport's code is 'DPS' for Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali which is 13km northeast of the airport. Ngurah Rai is the world's smallest international airport, covering only 285 hectares. The airport underwent a major expansion in 2013. Now, it comprises a domestic terminal from where most travellers venture to eastern Indonesia.
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Arrivals at Bali Airport
After your plane lands at Bali airport, you'll head inside the arrival terminal. This houses the immigration area where you queue and present your passport and visa. There are two sections, one for Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) and non VoA. As of last update in March 2016, there are 169 nations eligible to enter Indonesia visa-free.
The process should not take longer than 15 minutes; however expect long queues when crowds of fellow passengers arrive. Once through immigration, proceed to baggage claims, and have your baggage claim tag ready. Trolleys around the baggage claim area are available, as well as porter services.
Just outside the terminal is the arrival hall. This is the rendezvous point and pick-up zone where the final steps of your arrival process takes place. And soon after, your holiday on the island truly begins.
Getting to Your Hotel from Bali Airport
Ngurah Rai is in the island’s southern part, where most of the main tourism areas and hotels are. Many hotels operate courtesy shuttles services, so best check with the hotel you booked. Following are several alternative transport options you may opt for.
Bali Airport Taxi, or 'Taksi Ngurah Rai', is the only taxi service available at the airport. You can find taxi counters outside both terminals. They operate on a pre-paid voucher system sold at the official taxi desk. The services are available 24 hours. A list of fixed taxi prices shows rates depending on the hotel destination (i.e. Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua or other areas). Always try to use the listed rates. Many drivers offer services based on 'negotiated price'. Those operating at the drop zone, pick-up zone and the parking area have no meters.
Metered taxis operate outside Bali airport's grounds. These taxis by other operators aren't allowed to pickup passengers within the airport. However, walking the distance to the exit, with luggage, and waving for one outside can be inconvenient.
Car rental services are available. Find these at both domestic and international terminals.
Banks, ATMs and Money Changers
The first floor of the domestic terminal features ATMs of national Indonesian banks. These include Bank Mandiri, Bank EXIM, BII, BRI, CIMB and BCA. A money changer is operated by PT Dirgahayu.
The international terminal of the Bali airport has more banks and ATMs. There's a total of seven bank counters with ATMs and eight different money changers. Citibank also has a privilege room here with an ATM. Second floor of the terminal has only one money changer operated by Citra Nusa Davalas. The more money changers in one place, the more competitive the exchange rates should be.
Departures from Bali Airport
Arriving at the Bali airport, from the drop zone you head towards the security checkpoint. You're required to present your air ticket and ID. They will then scan your luggage items with all your belongings. All, including camera bags and mobile phones, are put separately in plastic trays before running through scanners. Passengers themselves will then walk through a metal detector.
At a second security checkpoint prepare your ticket or boarding pass and passport. Then, wait for the plane cue, board and enjoy your flight. For international departures, they will confiscate LAG (liquid, aerosol and gels) items that exceed one litre.
Check-in counters are open two hours prior to departure. It is recommended for passengers to enter boarding gates at least 30 minutes before the flight schedule.
Eating and Drinking
You can buy snacks and sandwiches, light meals, ice cream, cold beer or coffee throughout the Bali airport outlets. Both domestic and international terminals feature various snack bars, small restaurants and cafes. They're available both street side and air side. As with most airports, these eateries can be expensive and the meals rather basic. It's best to have a ‘parting meal’ at your hotel or favourite spot before leaving the island.
Enjoy free internet connection at the boarding/waiting area. Internet is available via WiFi and at fixed computer terminals. The international terminal has spa and massage services on both levels. Boutiques, bookshops, mini-markets and duty free shops are aplenty. The Bali airport features executive lounges of major airlines, where members can expect extra facilities and services.
Shopping and Duty Free
Bali airport's duty free shopping offers great convenience. Tax refund is available for items you've purchased in Indonesia. Refunds are valid if you've spent no longer than two days holiday in Bali. It only applies to minimum purchases of IDR 500,000. Be sure to present the special tax invoice issued by 'duty free' specified stores.
Indonesia’s state operator, PT Angkasa Pura I, carried out expansions in 2011. It was to solve capacity issues. Bali airport handled around 11.1 million passengers annually, with a capacity of only 8 million at the time. The expansion project completed in early 2013. It's prepared to accommodate a projected 24.6 million passengers a year by 2025.
Things You Should Know about Bali Airport
Bali airport porter services are available upon arrival. Their published charge is at IDR 5,000. However, it is common practice to pay more, up to IDR 50,000 for a porter’s service. It’s best to take note of the porter’s ID number in an event of an inconvenience.
Avoid changing your money in the street or at unauthorized money changers. If you have no other option then always recount your money in front of the teller. Since February 2015, the airport tax or Passenger Service Charge is now included in your passenger ticket.
Ngurah Rai International Airport's name honours Bali’s national hero, I Gusti Ngurah Rai. The hero led the fight for Indonesia’s independence against the Dutch in 1946, and died in an airstrike.
The Dutch colonial government initiated the Bali airport in 1930. It featured a airstrip that was less than a kilometre long. The strip then extended to 1.2km during the Japanese occupation in 1942.
The Indonesian government further expanded the airport. Land reclamations resulted in an additional extension of the runway to 2.7 kilometres. It's official inauguration as Ngurah Rai International Airport was in 1963.