The immigration situation at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali has finally gotten some coverage in Australia, where most of the foreign tourists to this Indonesian holiday island come from.
The immigration clearance times at Indonesian airports have been very unpredictable, but we have never previously seen this level of delay (3 to 4 hours).
Travellers have found themselves stuck at the airport for hours after touching down in Bali over Christmas.
Those stepping off planes in the tourist hotspot joined a huge queue to get through immigration and customs on Sunday.
Pictures and videos showed a sea of people clogging up Ngurah Rai International Airport waiting to get into Bali to start their summer vacation.
One woman on social media said it took her 3.5 hours to get out of the airport after arriving from Australia at about 9.30pm.
She estimated 2500 travellers waiting and 10 customs officers working.
This has not been the only news coming out of the country lately. Indonesia’s parliament has decided to ban sex outside of marriage, including those involving tourists:
The lines were rather long in May, too, when I most recently entered Indonesia through Bali:
Not sure why Indonesia is not able to resolve this immigration line issue at its airports, especially in Bali, which tourists often use to enter the country.
There are usually “whisperers” in the arrivals hall in Bali, offering fast-track services for cash. They take you in front of the queues for a payment that is undoubtedly shared between the parties.
There were earlier indications after our reporting that the wait time issue would be resolved in due course, but it appears to be worse than ever.
It is not the best first impression if it takes hours to be processed by immigration and customs, and many may choose another destination with more efficient processes in place.