Mall of America

Published on Thursday, May 13, 2010

TravelMole Comment: Bali on the brink of destroying the dream

If the threatened re-introduction of fingerprinting for visitors to Bali goes ahead, it may be the final straw for many who have kept faith with a destination that has tested our loyalty.

Australian visitors have returned to Bali in record numbers following the Bali bombings of 2002 and 2005 despite warnings from the Australian government that it continues to “receive credible information that terrorists could be planning attacks in Indonesia and that Bali remains an attractive target for terrorists”.

We have suffered the long immigration queues at Ngurah Rai airport - which Travel and Leisure magazine has named as one of the “12 Ugliest Airports in the World” - waiting to fork out US$25 for a visa, our patience sustained by the thought that beyond immigration lie fabulous hotels and resorts, and an unmatched value-for-money destination.

Our patience has been further tested by the knowledge that the move by Indonesian authorities to scrap the US$10 7-day visa-on-arrival fee, and charge all visitors for a 30-day US$25 visa, is being linked to efforts to stamp out corruption among Bali’s immigration officers.

In 2009, immigration officials at Denpasar Airport immigration office were caught embezzling US$300,000 in visa fees through the misreporting of 7-day and 30-day fees.

We have grudgingly slipped a $20 note to a Customs official who has “fined” us for a second bottle of wine in our hand baggage, but then pocketed the cash and allowed us to proceed.

We have coped with extraordinary high taxes on alcohol, which has created shortages of alcoholic beverages, and unrealistically high prices for very average wine.

We have put it down to experience when we have been rorted by unofficial money changers.

We have tried to ignore the over-development of villas and resorts that is stripping the cultural heart out of Bali.

And we have tried to ignore that once-tranquil Ubud is now chocked with traffic.

All this and we might yet have to stand in queues for hours waiting to be fingerprinted and photographed.

If this happens a lot of people will be saying Bye, Bye Bali - it’s been good to know you.

By Ian Jarrett

Story Image

Your Comments (3)

, be the first to post a comment.
Your email:

Email other comments made to this story

NOTE: Comments are subject to admin approval before being posted.
  • Bye Bye Bali

    I couldn't agree more, spot on with your observations ( apart from A$20 'fine' for excess bottle of wine; too much, 50thou rupes more like it!) Where are they getting their advice from, the US Dept of Homeland Security? It's why I stopped travelling to the US, and choose Canada instead. As a twice a year Bali visitor, if they bring in this finger printing I'll now be looking at Phuket, Vietnam or Sri Lanka as alternatives. Sorry Made, I'm not a criminal nor a potential terrorist, and dont wish to be treated like one. Selamat tinggal Bali.

    By Tom Thomas, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

  • Bail re-visited

    I have had the delight of visiting Bali over the last 30 years & have had the chance to evaluate the pros & cons of their so called Immigration System It is now time for the relevant Authorities to ensure they begin an efficiant Visa system & not use the money for obvious reasons Why not let Australian travellers( such as myself ) purchase a Visa in AUS & thus releive Airport authorities of the time consuming Visa issuance This way we may be able to stop the theiving of Visa money as has been proved in the past and possibly speed up the remaining C & I obligations I must admit I am hesitant to return until some semblence of normality has returned Even after all of the above I really look forward to holidaying in Bali later this year

    By peter shrimpton, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

  • Bali rip off

    This happened to me, on arrival at bali airport you are lured into duty free alcohol shops (just before customs) at cheap prices only to be fined 2 minutes later for buying it, we paid a huge fee which went straight in the pocket of the offical and yep you guessed it, no receipt, its obviously a great scam they have. I think the rest of the article is a bit unfair, bali is still an incredibly beautiful and friendly island, just avoid places such as Kuta if you don't like hedonistic tourist spots heaving with Aussies, Seminyak, Ubud etc are are extremely lovely with stunning properties and amazing restuarants. I think unfair to say it is overcrowded, ift jusr depends where you go

    By steve williams, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mole Poll
Should Peter Fankhauser pay his Thomas Cook bonus back ?
YES 53.94 %
NO 46.06 %

Thank you for your vote


Travel 2 WTM podcast with the Deep South USA

Tourism trends , Overtourism, the 'Halo' effect - The Mole talks to Amir Eylon of Longwoods

Lower comms costs, better client interface and secure data? The Mole talks to the experts

Was the Thomas Cook brand tarnished before the demise?

Move scroll bar (above) left to right for more videos!