From sharks to crocodiles to luxury, this trip had it all
On Saturday, May 24, I disembarked Silversea’s Silver Discovererin the port of Bali after a 12-day journey through Australia’s Kimberley Coast and the remote islands of Indonesia. A local cultural performance was organized for passengers pierside, and traditional music filled the air as I disembarked and made my way to the Money Changer in the Passenger Terminal to change some cash into Indonesian Rupiah for my journey home.
The Balinese two-step
At Bali Denpasar International, they have an interesting little…system…going on. You have to have 200,000 Indonesian Rupiah (about US$20) in-hand, in-cash, in order to leave the country. It’s not a departure tax. They call it a “Passenger Services Charge”, which I have to admit I have an issue with, not least because you have to have all-cash and correct change only. I asked for a receipt when I paid mine and was told, ‘No receipt.’
To complicate matters, there’s no currency exchange bureau at the airport, which puts Denpasar Bali on a rather small list of international airports that lack even the most basic facilities. But once you clear security (where they’re more concerned with seeing the “Passenger Services Charge” sticker on the back of your boarding pass), you’re treated to every conceivable brand of high-end shopping known to man. It’s a pity there’s only a coffee shop and a small restaurant once you get through security. Seems they forgot about the food, too…
Before long, I was on a Cathay Pacificflight to Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport, and from there, homeward bound.