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8 things to know for a Bali airport transit or transfer

March 30, 20195 minute read
Bali airport transit

If you’re taking a trip that requires a Bali airport transit or transfer it helps to know what to look out for. Malindo Air’s flights to the eastern cities of Australia, currently Brisbane and Melbourne stop for an hour each way in Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. Adelaide flights started in mid April 2019 with Sydney following in August. Malindo Air is one of the few airlines offering this type of transit. Check our latest info HERE.

Bali airport transit – how does it work?

Bali airport
Garuda welcome at the airport

Tickets for these Malindo Air routes are sold as straight through tickets, or one leg only. Therefore if you are travelling all the way through, you may have different seat mates for each part of your journey. Passengers with the same flight number for both legs will only have a short one hour transit.

Passengers who purchase a straight through ticket, with an earlier flight on the Kuala Lumpur/Bali leg will be able to exit the airport.  These travellers will have a different aircraft for the second leg of their journey.

These tips are for those making an international transit/transfer. Passengers making an international/domestic transfer should follow the signs for this type of transfer as you will have to pass through immigration checks. Transfer passengers are those who are changing aircraft or airline for the next stage of their journey.

Things to note for Transfer passengers:

If you are transferring to a different airline, either or the same or a different booking, you will have to exit and check-in again. Hopefully a full airside transit service will be available in the near future.

  • Immigration queues are often long
  • Luggage collection can take a long time
    • You may have a customs check
  • If your aircraft is parked at a remote bay you will have to be bussed to the terminal
    • It is a long walk to the immigration counters from the drop point
  • You need to pass a security check to enter the departure area (upstairs)
    • Queues are often long and people push.

Allow at least three hours if you have this type of connection.

Do I have to leave the aircraft?

You must leave the aircraft at Bali Airport. On an earlier flight to Brisbane with Malindo Air, we were not allowed to leave the aircraft in either direction. However, this policy has changed and all passengers are required to leave the aircraft. On subsequent trips we received new boarding passes for the onward leg, on board on the first trip. An airline representative meets the flight to direct passengers and issue a new boarding pass. These must be endorsed at the transit desk.

The Transit area

So you must leave the aircraft. These are eight useful things to know.

Bali Airport Transit Process

  • Take all your hand carry items with you. The aircraft is cleaned while you’re gone.
    • Remember to take your phone and cables/earphones or other small items from the seat pocket.
  • You will receive a new boarding pass, even if your seat remains the same.
    • Your new boarding pass must be stamped at a second counter. You will be directed where to go.
  • You may have to walk a long way.
    • If you need assistance or a wheel chair, advise your airline to request assistance.
    • The queue may be long and slow moving.
  • If you are parked at Bay 9 or a remote gate, it is a long walk to the transit counter.
    • You’ll have time only to go up to the departure lounge and back to your aircraft.
    • If you’re lucky and are in a low numbered bay, you should have time to enjoy the departure lounge.
    • Aircraft in Remote Bays (no direct access, buses only) board from Gate 6A/B.
    • This is accessed by escalator on your left. It is down one level.
  • Transit Passengers pass through the security check after getting their new boarding pass.
    • Go up the departure lounge close to Boarding gate 1.
    • Passengers who’ve just checked in enter through the Duty Free area from the security controls.
    • Entrance to the duty free shops area is clearly marked.

If you have the time…

  • There are no further security checks before re-boarding your aircraft/onward flight (except to  Australia)
  • Travellers to Australia may not carry water.
    • You must empty or discard your bottle.
  • You can fill a water bottle before you board your aircraft en-route to other destinations.
    • There is a filling station just outside the washroom entrance. (update 2023 – all the water fountains have been removed)
  • What’s on offer in the Departure Lounge?
    • A wide range of duty free items on sale, from international brands to good quality local products and souvenirs.
    • Food and drinks outlets, bars and a newsagent
    • Shops selling other sundry items.
    • If you have Lounge access and the time to spare, they can be found upstairs in the central area of the departure lounge.
  • The boarding gate seating is spacious and the windows have a good view of the tarmac.


# Bali Denpasar Airport, Transit
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This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Hi Lesley! Thank you for the article. We have just booked through Malindo and was wondering how it all worked with the 1 hour layover. Do you know if this 1 hour is sufficient time to pick up preordered duty free items?

    1. Hello Leslie
      I’m looking for some advice re traveling through Bali soon

      I am traveling from DRW to DPS to DMK on jan 3rd. I have carry on only.
      I have two separate booking flights with Jetstar and then Airasia with a five hour wait in Bali
      I arrive in DPS on Jetstar from Australia. Then Airasia to DMK
      Am I able to check in online for my AirAsia flight to DMK, get my boarding pass on my phone before I leave Australia, and then go straight to the departure gate in DPS without having to obtain Visa on arrival and going through immigration?

      1. I will be updating the story with an update on exactly this type of scenario. We did have checked baggage, but apart from that we travelled a couple of days ago BNE-DPS-KUL, with a 5 hour wait. We also checked in prior to leaving BNE and had our boarding passes. We did try our luck at the transfer counter (same floor as immigration, but closer to where you walk into the area.) We were told that we had to go through immigration and I would have to pay, so get a AUD50 note ready, in case you get the same response. They may allow you to do the transfer (and save your $50) since you’ll already have your boarding pass and no luggage to collect. Good luck, please do share your experience here, so others will know.

        1. Thanks for the info, Lesley. We are thinking of getting flight ADL-DPS-KUL as the flight fare is 50% lesser than most airlines. We will be having luggages with us. I wonder if a 4-hour layover is sufficient to self-connect our flight? Are there a lot of restrictions on custom and food items?

          1. Hi, I’m assuming you’re changing airlines in Bali, because if it’s the same airline/aircraft all the way, it will be an internal transit and you don’t go through immigration. We did this last week, changing airlines, and I’m doing a run-down of the steps which will be added/linked to the existing story.
            Four hours should be plenty, that’s what we had and it was fine. You will have to pay a Visa fee of 500K Rupiah, unless you are carrying a passport that is exempt (e.g. from another ASEAN country). They accept other currencies an AUD50 dollar note will do the job. Make sure you eat and drink before you go into the departure lounge after checking in as they’ve removed all the free water fountains and food and drink are expensive. Please keep an eye out for the updated story, I hope to get it uploaded today. Happy travels.

  2. Hello Leslie:
    I was wondering if I can meet someone for a 5 h 30 m layover in DPS coming from CGK.
    The airlines are Lion air and Batik air. It is saying the connection is protected by the airline (ie they will transfer my luggage and give assistance if I missed my connection).

    In this scenario can I leave the airport or. Stay in airport to meet my friend and ask them to meet me there. Is the lounge going to be domestic lounge or international one. Where will the immigration be, In CGK or DPS ?
    I’m flying this Wednesday (1 March) an urgent response would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Sorry, I’ve just seen this as I was travelling. By now you would have your answer. I would guess that this should be possible as the CGK/DPS sector is a domestic flight, so your immigration clearance would be from Denpasar. The airline should have made this clear on the ticket so you go to the correct counter in Jakarta. If your luggage is transferred for you, you should have no problem meeting your friend. It would still be wise to check that the transfer has been done, when you reach Denpasar.
      It would be great if you could share your experience.

  3. Hi Lesley,

    I came across your article while doing research about our specific scenario and thought I’d just ask in case someone has an experience to share.

    We are flying with Malindo from Sydney to Singapore with a 3 hour transit in Bali. If we are happy to wait in a transit lounge, do we still need a transit visa?

    I had called the Indonesian embassy, who said if we are not leaving the airport we should not need a visa but asked me to confirm with the airline. The airline just say they can’t comment on this and I should contact the embassy 🙂

    (We are Australian permanent residents and have Pakistan passports; I am not sure if visa on-arrival is available to us)

    1. The article you’re referring to actually dates from pre-covid and has been updated. You will find a three hour transfer a bit tight, especially as they have reinstated the visa on arrival. There is no special transit visa unfortunately, so you will have to be prepared to pay the visa fee and pass through immigration as you are changing airlines. Check the new rules here:

      1. Hi Lesley,

        We are not changing airlines – The flight to and from Bali is Malindo. We are changing the aircraft though. Would you know if the visa requirement still applies?

        I did call the embassy and they said we should not a visa but, as you might sense from this conversation, our confidence level our confidence level in this information is quite low 🙂

        Thank you for your comments and the post. There is not a lot of information on this topic and it’s super helpful to have a forum to be able to talk about it.

        1. Thanks for your kind words. We’re very happy that so many people are adding their own experiences as they are so varied. It all helps. 🙂
          If you’re using the same airline and the whole route is in the same itinerary, it should be fine, if you’re waiting airside (inside the security area, not exiting through Immigration) because the airline will just transfer your bags to the new aircraft. They may issue you a new boarding pass, they sometimes do, though not always.
          I’ll just note that it you have the passport of an ASEAN country, you won’t have to pay the Visa on Arrival fee charged to many country’s citizens if you do have to pass through immigration.
          You might like to read our more recent piece, written post-covid.

  4. Hi Lesley
    just wondered if you thought 3hrs is enough to get through, with checked baggage to collect, coming in from Australia on Air Asia Indon and heading on DPS to DMK with Air Asia Thai? I’m fairly sure there won’t be a checked baggage transfer.
    Any advice appreciated and I understand that it can only be based on the experiences that you’ve had 🙂

    1. It’s tight, but doable if you’re travelling alone. Four hours would definitely give you a bit more leeway. Bali is not an airport set up as a transfer hub, so transferring your checked bag is pretty certain to be unavailable. I would be very happy to be proven wrong, as I also find travelling via Bali a convenient and often less expensive option, apart from the visa fee.

  5. Hi Lesley,

    I’m flying from Perth to Bali then switching to another airline to go to Europe (saved about 70% on my flight)! Ive got a 6 hour wait between flights so no stress on that front.
    Out of interest, what do would you write on the immigration card for your “hotel/accommodation” ? My guess was to put my flight number. And when you check-in to go on your other flight and go through immigration, do you get many questions? Or anticipate a hard time?

    1. Don’t worry, you can write “transit & next Flight No”. I didn’t have any problem. When we checked in for the next flight, they were only interested if I had the correct permission (visa/residence permit/return ticket etc) for my destination. I did, so no issues. They’re careful but didn’t give me a hard time, just go and check in early, even if you don’t go through immigration so early. Happy travels.

  6. Hi Lesley,

    I am flying from Jakarta to Perth next month with a 11 hour layover in Bali. We will be flying with Citilink and it says that the connection is protected by the airline. I am wondering whether I will be able to get out of the airport and explore Bali during the layover. If so, what is the process like? will I need to go though immigration in Bali or Jakarta? How long do you recommend I should be out of the airport for? how long does it take to go through the boarding process when you get back to Bali airport? What places should I visit that would be safe for time?

    Thank you

    1. You should be able to do this as you are travelling through with one airline. As the Jakarta-Denpasar leg is a domestic flight, you would go through immigration in Denpasar. Unfortunately, Denpasar is not set up as a transfer airport despite more and more people using it as such because the fares are often the best available. I suggest you speak with the people at the desk in Jakarta as you check in, to see what they suggest. They may be able to put your bags through all the way from Jakarta to Perth when you check in, that would save you a lot of trouble. Then you will be free to use your time without worrying. There is a Tourist information booth outside the exit from International Departures, they should also be able to help you with things to do and transport that will get you back in time. Make sure you have your boarding pass for the DPN/PER leg before you leave.

  7. I’m travelling from Thailand to Melbourne via Bali on Batik airlines we have 1hr 20 min stop . Do I need a visa and will this be enough time to get our luggage and check in again

    1. If you’re also using Batik Air to travel from Thailand to Bali and on to Melbourne in the same booking, you should be able to have your luggage routed straight through so you don’t have to leave the transit area. Just go to the transfer desk to get your boarding pass reprinted. If you’re using different airlines/different bookings, you won’t have time to collect luggage and pass through Customs. You’d need to be upstairs, at the check-in counter no later than one hour before the departure time. Twenty minutes would not give you time to do all this. As for the visa, you’ll need to get that if you must pass through immigration, unless you are carrying a passport which is exempt, e.g. all ASEAN countries. I might point out that it can be a long walk from your incoming aircraft to the transfer area/Immigration, depending on the assigned gate. Itis longer if you have to be bused in from a remote parking spot.

  8. Hi Lesley,

    We have a 2h 45min stop over in Bali on the way to DMK from Australia. Will it be enough time for us to go through customer, check baggage in again and all that if we have our visas ready and have to transfer from terminal I to D.

    1. It will be tight, but should be do-able if you don’t have any delays on the way in to Bali. If it’s a busy time of the day, be prepared to run. Good luck!

  9. Hi Lesley,

    I’m traveling from Thailand to Darwin. There is a possible connection DMK->DPS->DRW using AirAsia and JetStar, but allows only 2h15m to self-transfer, which from what I’ve read wouldn’t be enough time to go through immigration, collect bags, etc.

    But I saw at travel blog titled “I got through Bali airport in under an hour” which says they used a “VIP Fast Track Airport Service” where someone met them and escorted them to the front of every queue. I clicked the link to the website and it says the service costs 700,000 IDR, which together with the cost of the visa would still be worth it to get the convenience of this connection.

    My question is, have you ever heard of that type of service? It sounds a little scammy to me, as how would some visa company obtain the authority to escort someone to the front of every queue? I haven’t seen any mention of it outside of the agent website and the blog that links to it.

    Should I just give up on this route and take a less risky option, albeit more expensive and less convenient? Your advice would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Martin, I have seen people escorted through by an agent who meets people at the gate, though to what extent this is official I cannot say – my expectation is that it is not. As such, I’m not in a position to recommend or even suggest using it. However even with this service, you would still be at the mercy of your baggage and that is a bit hit and miss. If all the stars align and things go your way, you’ll be able to check in for your next flight, but even then it might be tight. Another thing to consider is that you are arriving on AirAsia, so depending on the time of day you will likely be bussed in from a remote gate, which adds to the arrival and baggage delivery time. I would personally not chance it unless I had no checked luggage or if it had been booked all the way through on one ticket.

      1. Thanks for your input Brian. Yes I decided not to take the risk, too much potential for one of those stars to fall out of alignment! ?

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