(17/4/2010) The Jakarta Globe carries the news that visitors to Bali can now expect yet another delay in the notoriously long lines at customs and immigration at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport with the introduction of a mandatory fingerprinting for tourist visitors.
The head of immigration’s sub directorate for Information-systems, Rohadi Iman Santoso, has announced the new requirement to be introduced at Bali’s airport, with subsequent implementation planned at all international gateways in Indonesia.
The fingerprinting, carried out with ink-less electronic fingerprint readers, will only be required for those using short-stay visas. Foreigners who have permanent or temporary stay permits and who have already been fingerprinted in the process of obtaining their residency in Indonesia are exempted from the new requirement. Children under the age of 14 and those traveling on diplomatic passports are also exempted from the requirement.
Rohadi also announced that tourist visitors would also be photographed using a system that completes the process in 2 minutes.
Rohadi acknowledged that the new requirement would add to the delay for those processing through Bali’s immigration and customs process. Only 10 of the 23 immigration counters at the airport will be initially equipped with the fingerprint scanner.
The system will be introduced nation-wide by July 2010 with scanners then in place at 21 airports, five seaports and at the border crossing between Malaysia and Indonesia at Entikong. The trial introduction now underway is fingerprinting visitors arriving in Bali, Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Solo.
The immigration department has apparently seen little need to socialize the new fingerprinting system with Surya Dharma, a spokesman for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and Ngurah Wijaya, the head of the Bali Tourism Board, claiming no knowledge of the new system.
Biometric screening procedures are already in effect in a number of countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and the United States.
This story is reproduced with the permission of Bali Discovery Tours http://www.balidiscovery.com
The West Australian reported that an 11 year old girl was admitted to the Princess Margaret Hospital on her return from Bali. The girl was suffering from a reaction to a temporary tattoo that she and her sister and mother got in Sanur.
The reaction started on the flight home, and by the time the flight landed she was in agony.
Her mother said the trauma was akin to someone pouring acid on her skin. “It was like a third-degree burn, she was in agony.”
The Princess Margaret Hospital figures show 11 children as young as four admitted to the emergency department since the start of last year because of bad reactions to temporary tattoos done in Bali.
Read the full story at TheWest.com.au
So you are planning to visit Bali and trying to decide if you need a Tour Guide. The first question you need to ask yourself is “what do I want to see in Bali?”
If you plan to spend your time in a resort, and only venture out for an occasional meal, then perhaps you don’t need a tour guide. If you are staying in Kuta and plan to party all night and sleep all day, a tour guide might not be important to the success of your holiday either.
However, if you want to take in as much as you can of Bali’s many amazing sights, then you should be seriously considering which tour guide, or driver you intend to use.
There have been some unfortunate cases where visitors to Bali have had unpleasant experiences with their tour guide. This can happen. There are some Bali visitors who suggest hiring a car and doing your own thing.
“After the disaster with our driver, I would suggest hiring a car and seeing what you want to see at your own pace”, said one unhappy visitor. “You will save a little money and not have to worry if you are being cheated.”
Serious consideration should be made before you decide on this option. The roads are terrible. They are generally quite narrow, and mostly full of potholes. The other problem is the traffic. Bali’s roads are full of cars, motorbikes, buses and trucks, without any clear rules.
Although road accidents are not common, trying to understand the rules can be difficult. Years ago when I was in a car and puzzled by people continually pulling in front of us, I asked my driver to explain the rules. He turned to me with a smile on his face and replied “no rules”.
If you decide to drive yourself, you will have the added problem of trying to find the places that you intend to visit. Road signage is poor and if there is a sign, chances are you will not see it because you will be too busy trying to dodge traffic.
Using a good local tour guide or driver can save you a lot of time, and a lot of stress. More importantly, he will know the sights that are worth visiting, and the hidden back roads that will make you trip just that little bit more exciting.
If you are an experienced independent traveller, then hiring your own car is worth considering. If you are in Bali to relax and enjoy yourself, have an expert drive you, and sit back and take in the sights.
Bali visitors grow as Australia displaces Japan for top spot.
Foreign tourist arrival to Bali in April 2009 totaled 179,879 representing the best April on record for Bali tourism and 21.94% improvement over April 2008 (147,515).
View cumulatively, the first four months of 2009 saw 645,061 foreign tourists come to Bali, an increase of 8.15% when compared to the same period last year (596,469).
As predicted by balidiscovery.com, April 2009 also saw the historical unseating of Japan by Australia from its top-ranking as the largest source market for Bali. Through the end of the first four months of 2009 Australian arrivals totaled 102,179 – increasing 30.08% as compared to the same period in 2008. Meanwhile, reflecting their troubled national economy, Japanese visitors decreased 7.45% for the first 4 months of 2009.
Similarly, South Korea, which is traditionally Bali #3 source market, declined to a #5 ranking as that nation’s economy faltered and arrivals dipped 5.62% over the first four months of 2009. Taiwan which has long been Bali’s #4 market, is now relegated to the #7 position.
Reproduced with the permission of Bali Discovery Tours. http://www.balidiscovery.com
Some public offices being closed yesterday caused me to investigate the public holidays. That was what prompted me to post my last story.
Confused about the Ascension Day holiday on May 22, I did some research. A quick Google search on “ascension holiday indonesia” came up with some mixed results.
Number 1 result said it was a Christian holiday.
Number 2 result said it was the ascension to heaven of the prophet Mohammed. There were other results in the top 10 that mentioned Mohammed.
Pretty certain that it is a Christian Holiday. This is what TimeAndDate.com said –
Ascension Day is the 40th day of Easter. It occurs 39 days after Easter Sunday. It is a Christian holiday that commemorates Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven according to Christian belief.
I thought Australia had too many public holidays. Well I guess not. Indonesia has more.
There are four different New Years Holidays, as well as 4 different religious holidays – Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu.
Here is a list of the official public holidays this year.