Bali airport (Ngurah Rai International Airport) is your main international entry point to the island. Located in Tuban, an approximate 15 minute drive south of Kuta, its runway stretches along the isthmus connecting the Bukit Peninsula with Bali's mainland. It is strategically located 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 actually 13km northeast of the airport. Ngurah Rai International Airport is the smallest international airport in the world, covering only 285ha, and underwent a major expansion in 2013. It also comprises a domestic terminal from where most travellers venture to the further eastern parts of Indonesia.
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Arrivals at Bali Airport
Upon touchdown at the Bali airport, a tarmac coach transfers you to the Ngurah Rai International Airport arrival terminal that 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, the arrival hall, rendezvous point and pick-up zone await as the final steps of your arrival process and the beginning of your holiday on the island.
Getting to Your Hotel from Bali Airport
Ngurah Rai is strategically located on the island’s south where most of the main tourism areas and hotels are located. Many hotels operate courtesy shuttles services, so best check with the hotel you booked. If otherwise, following are several transport options you may opt for.
Bali Airport Taxi, also known as Taksi Ngurah Rai, is the only taxi service available at the airport. Counters are found outside both terminals, and operate on a pre-paid voucher system sold at the official taxi desk. The services are available 24 hours. Here, 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 as many of the taxi drivers offer their services based on 'negotiated price' around the drop zone, pick-up zone and the parking area. These taxis have no meters.
Metered taxis by other operators (which are not allowed to pickup passengers within the airport) can be sought outside the airport grounds. But the idea of walking the distance to the exit, with luggage, and waving for one outside might seem too much of a hassle.
Car rental services are also available, and can be found at both the domestic and international terminals.
Banks, ATMs and Money Changers
The first floor of the domestic terminal features ATMs of national banks, the likes of Bank Mandiri, Bank EXIM, BII, BRI, CIMB and BCA. One money changer is operated by PT Dirgahayu.
The international terminal of the Bali airport boasts more choices of banks and ATMs, with a total of seven bank counters with ATMs and eight different money changers. A Citibank privelege room with an ATM can also be found here. 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. Here you will be required to present your air ticket and ID. Your luggage items are then scanned through with all your belongings including camera bags and mobile phones, presented and placed separately in plastic trays. Passengers themselves will then walk through a metal detector.
At a second security checkpoint prepare your ticket, boarding pass and tax coupon. Then wait for the plane cue, board and enjoy the flight. For international departures, items in the LAGs (liquid, aerosol and gels) category exceeding one litre are prohibited thus will be confiscated.
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 & Drinking
There are various snack bars, small restaurants and cafeterias located throughout the domestic and international terminals, both street side and airside. As with most airports these eateries can be expensive and the meals rather basic; best to have a ‘parting meal’ at your hotel or favourite eatery before leaving the island. Snacks and sandwiches, light meals, ice cream, cold beer or coffee can be purchased throughout the Bali airport outlets.
Free internet connection is provided at the boarding/waiting area via fixed computer terminals. Spa and massage services can be found on both the first and second levels of the international terminal. Boutiques, bookshops, minimarkets and duty free shops can also be found throughout the terminal. The Bali airport also features executive lounges.
Shopping and Duty Free
Bali airport duty free shopping offers convenience. Tax refund has recently been made available for international visitors who shop in Indonesia. The refund only applies to items purchased at selected stores, by international visitors who spend no longer than two days holiday and who hold a foreign passport. Tax refund only applies to purchases of a minimum of IDR 500,000 and complemented by a special tax invoice issued by selected stores.
Indonesia’s state operator PT Angkasa Pura I commenced with development projects in 2011 based on plans to expand the overcrowded facility of the Ngurah Rai International Airport. The Bali airport expansion project was completed by early 2013.
Prior to expansions, Ngurah Rai’s departure and arrival terminals handled 11.1 million passengers annually, beyond its capacity of 8 million. The project was also proposed to accommodate the increasing number of visitors, which is expected to reach 24.6 million a year by 2025.
Things You Should Know about Bali Airport
Although subject to change, Bali airport porter services are available upon arrival at a published charge of 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 was named in honour of Bali’s national hero who led the fight for Indonesia’s independence against the Dutch in 1946. I Gusti Ngurah Rai was killed in a Dutch airstrike.
Bali’s international airport was initiated by the Dutch colonial government in 1930, initially boasting a less-than-a-kilometre-long airstrip. It then saw extension to 1.2km by the Japan occupational authority in 1942.
Further expansions were carried out by the Indonesian government, involving land reclamation and additional extension of the runway to 2.7km. The Bali airport was then renamed to Ngurah Rai International Airport in 1963.