With Bali a growing destination for expat and digital nomads, co-working spaces have sprung up, wifi has improved, so too has the coffee. One thing that is unchanged however is the length of stay permitted in Bali and Indonesia as a whole. While 30 days visas can be extended relatively easily for another 30 days, it still doesn’t leave much time to get your eat, pray, love on. So many long-term visitors are forced into a Balinese visa run.
With our visa expiry approaching a suitable destination was required to officially check out of Indonesia, therefore restarting our visas. The closest and most popular destination for the Balinese visa run is Singapore. Apart from getting a fix of No Signboard’s famous white pepper crab we wanted to look a bit further afield. We quickly settled on Kuala Lumpur and as we had some tight work deadlines to meet we needed a good location to setup and crack on.
So we’ve compiled the following Balinese visa run itinerary to Kuala Lumpur.
3am – Wake-up alarm
The alarm goes off in our Ubud Villa at the ungodly hour of 3am. The necessary gear is packed into one day pack and a separate laptop bag for the devices. We board our trusty scooter in the wee hours of the morning and enjoy a balmy traffic-free ride through darkened streets, dodging sleeping dogs laying on the bitumen.
Approaching the airport, the newly built tollway meant for some early-morning thrills. Missing a vital toll pass a 5,000 IDR ‘special fee’ was paid to the attendant on duty to continue. A mice like maze of dedicated lanes awaited us, built specially to cater for scooters so they don’t get mixed up in the freeway car traffic. A brilliant (and safe) idea!
5am – Arrive Ngurah Rai International Airport
Parking the scooter in the overnight parking station ensured it was kept safe and secure during our brief sojourn. A 24,000 IDR ($2.50) parking fee was worth the piece of mind. See our Guide to Riding a Scooter in Bali for airport parking details.
7am – Air Asia Flight to Kuala Lumpur
A smooth check-in at the Air Asia kiosk, a regretful breakfast at the Hawaiian Bali Restaurant and then boarded our Kuala Lumpur bound flight. It as not long before we were both fast asleep, awaking shortly before arriving in Kuala Lumpur.
10am – Capri by Fraser Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
With no time difference between Bali and Kuala Lumpur, it was a relatively seamless transit from the airport to our hotel, Capri by Fraser. Chosen because it was affordable ($400MYR) had good wifi, spacious rooms for working out of and a stunning rooftop infinity pool!
The non-stop airport train, the KLIA Express, takes 28 minutes to KL Sentral and costs 60,000 MYR ($18) for a return ticket. From here we took the subway (LRT) to University Station. This left only a 10-minute stroll to the hotel. I’d suggest this route would be the cheapest and actually quickest with a more expensive taxi getting held up in traffic.
Check-in wasn’t possible so we headed to the roof to sit by the pool and start working. Not too much of a concern!
2 pm – Check-in to our room
We dragged ourselves away from the pool and got the keys to the room. It was massive! A dedicated office area, lounge room, kitchen and separate bedroom. The only drawback being mirrors placed at immodest angles exposing anyone who went to the bathroom to the rest of the apartment!
As we had work to get done we beavered away the rest of the night ordering room service. An undercooked chicken kebab had to be returned but otherwise not a bad dine-in option. Had we a bit more free time there was a wide range of modern restaurants just next door to the hotel with some more local street food stalls a few blocks away.
We, however, worked through to 1 am as we had loads to do and it was super comfortable to work in the hotel room. As a result, it was a very productive trip in terms of work!
Day 2 – 8 am – Breakfast Buffet
Breakfast was included in the room price so we enjoyed a well-catered buffet complete with an omelette station and a wide selection of western and Asian breakfast options. Apart from an altercation with the coffee machine, I always wonder why these things are so complex, knowing its users are most likely just woken up and caffeine starved!
12 pm – Check-out
A late check out was appreciated, in fact, a 3 pm check out is offered if the room is not needed that day. We were more than happy to return to the pool deck before our departure.
4pm – Departure
Our 7 pm Air Asia flight meant a 4 pm departure from the hotel. The heavens opened into a torrential thunderstorm just as we were to leave so we grabbed a taxi to get to the airport train link rather than get drenched on the 10-minute return walk to the subway.
The KLIA Express was just as efficient and pleasant on the return leg, however, we alighted at the main terminal when we should have instead got off at the second, newer terminal where most Air Asia flights depart from. So we had to get on the free shuttle bus which wasn’t too much hassle in the end. The new KL terminal is like a large shopping mall and passengers wander through to get to the departure gates.
10pm – Arrival into Denpasar
Touching down in Bali less than 48 hours from when we left was a bit surreal. We passed through immigration without a problem our stay extended another 30 days. It was a late night ride back to Ubud again on empty streets.
So, our Balinese visa run was complete. What I was dreading as an unwanted annoyance turned out to be a delightful side trip to Kuala Lumpur which also was super productive work wise. The rest of the sights of the city will have to wait until next time.