During February it’s a rainy season in Bali. This means that you can have 3 sunshine days straight in a row but you can also have some days when it’s raining most of the time. In addition some days it rains for 30 minutes which in turn is followed by 30 minutes of scorching sun :). In short during this time of the year (rainy season is roughly from November to March) everything can happen and you have to be prepared. Luckily we understood right in the beginning that proper raincoats are a must so we bought two of them from a local store and they have been loyal friends of ours :). Don’t misunderstand me, majority of the time the weather is still beautiful and honestly these rains are quite often very refreshing since otherwise it would just get too hot in here. The graph below maybe a bit too over-exaggerated but I can imagine it can be quite burning to be here in July-Aug.
It’s just the fact that rain can literally come out of nowhere in minutes. And trust me, it’s not a very pleasant feeling to drive with a scooter when you’re soaking wet. Just today when we decided to go on a bit longer trip to Ubud the heavens opened up while we were just starting out trip and it basically hasn’t stopped since. Ubud itself seemed to be quite nice place with many beautiful temples, surrounding rice fields and honestly thousands and thousands of handicrafts and souvenir shops. If you plan to go souvenir shopping then Ubud is definitely the place to go and check out. You can see some clips of it in the 7th video of Bali.
Oh, I also ate one the best kebab’s I ever had anywhere! To be honest it was not an authentic kebab as such but nevertheless it was really really tasty! Definitely going to get a few of them when I see this place again 🙂
Sending warm degrees to everyone who is feeling cold at the moment :)!
People have always been drawn to these. They (and some other similar things) give you a sense of relaxation, a change to be alone with yourself. This has also been the case with me as long as I can remember. For hours I could just stare at a fireplace or listen to the calming sounds of sea waves or flowing water. In here I have had a chance to do a lot of listening and I really couldn’t imagine my life without it. In the future, where ever I will settle down, it must by near the sea plus a small creek or river nearby. I’ve always been wandering why me and a lot of other people enjoy it so much. I know that it has to do with special wavelength sounds an so on but it still fascinates me. We haven’t yet had a change to sit by a fire during our journey but we will definitely fix that in our 3 weeks that’s left in Bali.
We plan to end our stay in this accommodation a bit earlier and go for a small trip to the further parts of the island. Along with that we’d like to stay in a very simple seaside bungalow type places for the night and shut ourselves off the grid so to say (except for google maps, so we wouldn’t get lost 🙂 ). It’s also easier from traveling perspective since Bali is just too big to make longer journeys for several days in a row, at least on a scooter.
I know this post started quite philosophically but that’s just human nature 🙂 Meanwhile I’ve finished the 6th video of Bali from where you can also see how an aftermath of a tropical storm looks like 🙂
All the best :)!
I just have to write a separate post about this. Although in Indonesia and Bali there are thousands of different dialects and languages the one we are hearing the most is the special “honking” traffic language. It’s really different from back home. Similar things have also been present in other SE locations but here it’s at a totally new level. Since the traffic in Bali is an organized chaos some method of communication is needed. I already understand some of it but I think it really takes time to master :). If in Estonia you hear a car horn only when someone is stuck to their cell-phone screen for too long and the green light has been on for already some time or when someone is just pissed at the other driver, then here it’s a different story. It’s a constant melody of different horns. Here are some examples why people are using a horn and some that are just my guesses 🙂
- If you near a poor visibility junction or a curb in the road the horn is used to let other drives know that you’re coming
- If you plan to pass someone who is standing at the roadside the horn is used to warn them so they wouldn’t open a door or wander to the road
- When driving on a highway usually most of the cars who are passing on the faster lane sound their horns
- When you’re walking near the road all the available taxis sound a horn at you so you could notice them and maybe even jump aboard 🙂
- Majority of huge trucks and buses sound their horns so you could just get out of their way! And believe me when I say that horns installed on these things are just deafening!
- When you see a familiar face in the traffic you’ll sound a horn so they could notice you 🙂
- And yes, also in here when someone is pissed at someone sounding a horn is not spared!
All that above is just a glimpse of what I think horns are used in here. But sometimes it seems that they are using it just randomly or maybe they want to ask from a friend “How was the movie yesterday?” or “Shall we go for a lunch tomorrow?” :). Either way it’s quite an experience and during some time you’ll just start to ignore the unimportant honking and focus on the important ones. That is if you get it right of course 🙂
If you’re planning to visit Indonesia for less than 30 days then most likely you should have no worries (unless your coming from few certain countries in the world). At the airport you’ll get a stamp for visa-free entry and you’re good to go! But if you plan to stay longer, that’s another story. If you have the opportunity you can apply for 60 day visa beforehand but they only accept applications if there’s 2 months or less until the date you’re entering the country. For us it meant that we couldn’t use this option (technically we could have in Kuala Lumpur embassy of Indonesia but the timeframe was quite tight) so we decided to extend it while here. First and foremost it means that when you arrive to the country you have to PAY for Visa on Arrival. You must find a separate counter for that and NOT go through the passport check as most of the people are doing (since they’ll get 30 day visa-free entry). If you just go through the passport check it’s not possible to extend your period of stay since technically you didn’t get the visa in the first place and you must leave the country after 30 days. The cost for VOA (Visa on Arrival) is 35USD but many other currencies are also accepted. With that the first step is done and after 20 days staying in the country you should go and find the nearest immigration office (in Bali there are 3 for example). Then the interesting second part starts :). In total you need 3 visits so make sure you choose an office where it’s comfortable for you to go since you can’t change it in the middle of the process. Be warned that all immigration offices are closed for lunchtime and all in all they are just opened until 3 or 4 in the afternoon with many only accepting new applications in the mornings. So it’s always best to go early. I must also add that based on many other forums the experience and things you need to do may vary each time since the immigration system in here is quite chaotic 🙂
Go to the reception desk and ask for the application for extending VOA. Fill it out with blank letters, don’t worry if you leave the recommendation part empty, it’s not needed. But what you do need is copies from your passport picture page and also the page where you got the first VOA stamp. Most of the immigration offices have small copying places nearby. In addition you need 2 copies of your ticket leaving the country with the date clearly stated. If you have all that you should take a ticket for “VOA foreigner” and wait for your turn at the counter. When your turn arrives (there can be some waiting involved 🙂 ) they’ll give you a red folder on top of which you should write your full name and passport number and put all the needed documents + passport inside. Then they ask you to take a seat so they could check if everything is in order. If that happens to be so after some time they call out your name and give you a piece of paper where the date of second visit is stated. Usually it’s after 3-4 working days. Be sure not to lose it since as long as they have your passport it works as an official substitute!
At least in our case we were asked to go to the same counter where we handed over our folders and from there we got a ticket to the photo booth. At least in Ngurah Rai immigration office everyone were really friendly and helped out if we asked something. But I’ve read that that’s not always the case. Either way when it’s your turn you have to get your picture + fingerprints taken. That shouldn’t take very much time and afterwards you’re presented with yet another paper with the time of the 3rd visit. Once again it’s about 3-4 working days usually. But before you come back to claim your passport you must find the nearest post office or a bigger bank where you can pay for your visa. I really don’t understand why you can’t pay for it in the same immigration office but that’s just the case. I would recommend finding a post office since not all banks accept these payments and there is no list of the ones who do. But you really shouldn’t have any issues in post offices. The fee is 355.000 rupiah and you’ll get a check. Be sure to bring it along for your 3rd visit.
Usually this is the easy one. You just hand over the papers you got last time + the check (ask from the reception where you should give them) and then you’ll once again go to the “VOA foreigner” counter and wait until your name is being called out. If everything is ok you’ll just get your passport with a new stamp, leave your name/signature and your good for another 30 days!
After 60 days you have to leave the country/do a VISA run and when you decide to stay longer it’s the same 3 steps all over again :). There are also several agencies who do some of the work for you but since you still have to visit the immigration office for the photo and fingerprints + these agencies can ask you twice as much if you’d do it yourself it’s not highly recommended. It may seem like a hustle but actually it’s nothing too inconvenient and in total we spent maybe only a bit more than an hour in the immigration office.
Hope you found some value in this post and feel free to ask if there’s any questions :)!
All the best!
Time flies really fast and we’ve been in Bali already for 2,5 weeks. There’s so many things we’ve already done and so many things yet to do :). We’ve tried to capture most of our adventures here in Bali with a camera and there will definitely be several videos coming after this one. I have some interesting longer posts coming in the next few days so I’m keeping this one short. Here’s our 4th video from Bali 🙂
Yesterday we went to visit a friend of mine who’s been living in Bali for the past 4 months. His place is about 2-2,5 hours drive from our accommodation so it was quite a journey. Getting there was without a hassle but driving back home in the dark was quite an interesting experience. Wouldn’t want to do it too often :).
The area that he is staying is called Balian beach and it’s quite remote place with not many people moving around. Beach is covered with beautiful sparkling black volcanic sand and there’s a nice place to eat right near the sea. Food is delicious and prices are very reasonable :). After lunch we drove around in the area, discovered a cave with thousands of bats and majestic cliffs and rocks carved by the sea through the years. But the main highlight of the day was definitely a perfect scooter driving road and the walk to nearby waterfall. Honestly, if all roads would be like this, I would just keep on driving with a huge smile on my face until I’m out of gas since it’s quite difficult to imagine a more scenic place. The narrow but with a perfectly smooth surface road winds through mountains, jungles, majestic views to rice terraces and small villages. All the people by the road greet you with smiles and children want to high-five you :). There’s hardly any traffic and all this combines into one of the best driving experiences ever!
At one point when you’re nearing the waterfall the scooter-friendly (if I say scooter friendly I mean about 1m wide narrow pathway between rice fields) ends and a picturesque walk begins. You most likely will get muddy, there’s a lot of climbing and balance exercises but the road and the views are totally worth it, not even mentioning the magical waterfall that waits you in the end. Since it’s quite off the grid and not easily accessible there was nobody there besides ourselves and I presume that it’s the case most of the time. So now don’t you all go flocking there together :). You can have a refreshing swim and just enjoy the nature at it’s finest. A truly memorable experience is guaranteed! You can really fall in love with Bali like this…
But as usual it’s best to see it with your own eyes (even if it’s through a laptop or a mobile screen). So here’s the third video of Bali 🙂