So today was a pure transit day from HK to Bali and all I can say is…if you can please take a direct flight!
Split Flights to Bali
The day started off REAL early. At 6:30 I was packed and ready to head out. I quickly ducked my head into the lounge to see if I could grab some food and luckily the lounge waiter said I could sneak in. With another stroke of luck the concierge allowed me to store my big-ass suitcase in the hotel for 30 days. Originally they told me the other night that it would cost around 100 HKD a day past 7 days but the manager waived it. Perhaps it was because of my Diamond status or something?
From there I caught a cab and headed straight to theAirport Express (Hong Kong Station). There the adventures continued. The cab driver at first tried to convince me that there wasn’t enough time and wanted to drive me straight to the airport. I wasn’t going to have any of that so I told him again to take me to the Hong Kong station. So my first problem was I didn’t have enough money on my Octopus card. I tried to use one of the machines to reload some money but it kept rejecting my bills as if I was slipping it into the machine in the wrong orientation. Frustrated, I eventually gave up and just bought a one way ticket at the customer service desk. Next was trying to figure out if Garuda Indonesia even has a check-in desk at the Hong Kong station. I got mixed answers of yes and no and eventually I went in to check it out myself. Thank goodness they did because the Airport Express Check-In business saves you SO much time. So instead of taking the train and then checking in at the counter, there was a 0-person line that allowed me to check in 30 minutes before the traditional method. Sweet!
The flight from HK to Jakarta was pretty smooth and about 4:18 in flight time. I was actually impressed by Garuda Indonesia. They served multiple round of drinks (alcohol included) and meal as well which turned out to be basically my lunch. Upon landing in Jakarta things weren’t so pleasant. The customs part was not very clear and so at first I just got into the line that went straight to the customs officer. Next to me were some China guys there for business or something. All I heard from the customs guy was “You help me I help you”. The China guy was then like “Okay I give you 100 RMB…we’re not boss…not much money”. At that point I was like what the hell is going on. There’s a huge plaque behind the desks that says NO BRIBING and everything too. My customs agent was going through my stuff and then asked if I had bought my visa on arrival yet which I hadn’t get so I had to move over back to the visa on arrival paying area (25 USD) and then re-queue which was freakin’ frustrating when none of the people there said anything to begin with. Back in line I was still worried if all these customs agents were corrupt but it went smoothly luckily. Got my stamp and I was on my way. The rest of my time in Jakarta I had to pick up my bags and then re-check them into the Garuda Indonesia intermediate counter. I then had the business of having to pick up our Yogyakarta-Denpassar flight tickets which I had booked over the phone but needed to pay. That was an ordeal on its own and after being issued the wrong ticket and waiting for them to process it in their system I finally got the physical ticket for that leg. Spent of the rest of the afternoon waiting at the gate which seemed also very sketchy with 95% locals there. I was too afraid to bust open the laptop or anything expensive to be honest so I just ended up reading the Kindle.
The hop from Jakarta to Denpassar took surprisingly 2 and some hours to get there. Nevertheless a meal was included and oh yeah I forgot to mention last time that Garuda also has personal entertainment systems. Awesome! Too bad their movie selections were all weird with random jap/korean/indo movies. Over the two flights I did get to watch Starbuck finally (TIFF movie).
Settling in at the Conrad Bali
After landing in Bali the sun had already set and I was pretty quick to get out of the airport. On the way out though the hallway was lined with exchange rate places. All of them had the exact strange rates and was pretty overwhelming. I knew I needed some IDR so I exchanged some at 1 USD = 9000 IDR (which turns out is a pretty crappy rate).
Once I got out of the airport I turned right and found the taxi counter. Before that I was hounded by dozens of guys asking if I wanted to get a cab but good thing Idid my research to find out where the fixed fare guys were. Got a taxi for 105,000 to the Conrad and I was on my way. The ride took roughly about 35 mins.
Conrad = wow wow wow. It was night time and even still it was amazing with what I could see. Check in was easy and was overwhelmed by the size of the place when the front desk lady showed me the map. It was really shock and awe when I was taken up to the room. Diamond got me upgraded to an Ocean Suite which is not only stunning but ridiculously huge complete with a “guest” bathroom, dining area, living room, pool and lounge chair area, 2 additional balconies and then finally the bedroom. Ridiculous!
The rest of the night I got settled in, did a quick stroll around the grounds to get my bearings and then finally wait for Chantelle to come in on our flight.
- If taking the HK Airport Express outbound, use their check-in counters at the Hong Kong Station.
- When going through customs in Indonesia make sure you pay for your Visa on Arrival FIRST (make sure you have the exact amount in USD) and then go to the customs guy.
You have to plan a transit day in here somehow right?
- HKG -> CGK with Garuda Indonesia Airlines (9:00 am departure)
- CGK -> DPS with Garuda Indonesia Airlines (6:30 pm arrival)
- Conrad Bali Resort Check-In
Head To The Next Day
To read about the next day head over to Day 4 – Bali – Barong, Monkeys, Babi Guling, Rice Paddies and Temples