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To Kuala Lumpur shortly YOGYAKARTA - It was about time for me to get a new visa. Because of regulations it's not possible to extend a certain kind of visa - tourist visa. Also you can't apply for a new visa when in Indonesia as well. You will have to go to an Indonesian embassy. Where that embassy is doesn't really matter, so there are a lot of options left to look around for a holiday-hobbyist. And so I got to plan my first 'visa trip' to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Someone I know from the internet lives around there as well, so I also created the opportunity to meet. That should not be a problem because I would stay there for one entire week. I wasn't in a hurry - I didn't have to go back to Indonesia the same day or so - so I could look around there while my passport would be updated with a new sticker which permits entry into Indonesia again.

Quick departure

To join this bureaucratic happening I already purchased a ticket to Kuala Lumpur earlier. I knew when my 60-day stay here was going to end (that's the time a tourist visa lasts) and I had to leave the country. Not to fool around with faith I didn't leave the 60th day, but one whole day earlier. Not a really big margin, but that I only realized when the immigration officer had to count the number of days that I actually spent here. My 59 days proved to be a nice gamble, and without questions asked I got the triangular stamp 'out of the country'. At that moment my visa had become invalid and I didn't have other options besides leaving the country.

That fast it can go. There I was, in the small departure lounge of the small airport of Adi Soemarmo near Solo. The airport at least had the honor to name itself 'international'. That means as much as there is at least one flight leaving to another country from this airport. That was the case indeed, there were more than just one, so that international thing was pretty obvious. Still the size of the airport and the ease of proceeding to the plane didn't show that. Earlier that morning I was dropped at the airport at less than three meters from the check-in desks in a hall not much bigger than a few desks of which AirAsia took the first one.

Some stamps from the Indonesian immigration. The entrance-stamp is from Jakarta airport (Soekarno-Hatta) and the exit-stamp is from Adi Soemarmo airport in Solo.
Some stamps from the Indonesian immigration. The entrance-stamp is from Jakarta airport (Soekarno-Hatta) and the exit-stamp is from Adi Soemarmo airport in Solo.

With the printed ticket I was able to enter the main building, without luggage and only one backpack I was outside again within five minutes. The airport tax was of international level, 75.000 Rupiah. The plane hadn't arrived yet and I had at least one hour to spare to be lazy, to relax probably for the busy week in Kuala Lumpur. Outside the door of the building there was only one shop, so prices there were also one of a kind. But well, I didn't have to buy anything there, that makes a difference. Still I bought a sweet piece of bread, probably already a few days old because the production tag wasn't on it (anymore) and it didn't taste really fresh as well, but it filled up and that was the most important thing, since I didn't had much more than a glass of milk and white bread. I didn't want to be late for sure and when driving a motorbike you just don't know what will happen. Of course you don't hope something actually will.

Pretty quiet at AirAsia

The departure lounge was only half full with mainly Asians who were about to go working in Malaysia. It had become more easy for them, the way of transport that is. How they have to deal with permits, extra costs for the hungry immigration officers and what else I can only guess about. But I would taste a little of that later on when I had to go to the Indonesian embassy myself to arrange my visa. But it wasn't that time yet, because weekend was due first. Time to settle down in Kuala Lumpur and to look around in certain places for a while.

Upon departure the plane wasn't full indeed. Probably AirAsia had found some people to pay a higher price for their tickets, because the one I had was really cheap. For about 230.000 Rupiah (that is excluding that 75.000 Rupiah airport tax) I was brought to another country within 2.5 hours from departure. This was the plan at least. The flight itself was as planned, and I didn't expect anything else as well. In the air, passengers were asked if they wanted to buy a snack or a drink; coffee, tea, chocolate bars, cakes or instant noodles - just add hot water. Since flying wasn't the cheapest way to travel, this service was used as well. Since you can buy ice tea and something like a brownie for about two euro (prices in Malaysian Ringgit, possibility to pay in Rupiah because I was the unprepared traveler) those prices weren't too high if you ask me.

The entrance and departure stamps from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. The only thing they write down manually is the flight number which you arrived with.
The entrance and departure stamps from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. The only thing they write down manually is the flight number which you arrived with.

Some people mentioned to me that flying with AirAsia could become a nasty experience. Many delays, bad service and the food was said to be expensive as well. That the food on the plane would have a bad taste, I already acknowledged that with quite some experience with that with other airlines as well. A short summary over what wasn't good about their flights, however 'being expensive' is more a personal experience of course. The plane didn't leave with a delay, departure at just a few minutes before seven in the morning was as schedules, maybe because it wasn't at the end of the daily service of the plane. Acquiring a boarding pass and check-in only took a few minutes. Fine to me, but maybe that also has to do with the scale of the airport. Well, what base these complaints have I don't know. Later on, the trip back would be as smooth as this one as well.

When flying with AirAsia I left Indonesia behind me, but just for a week. I had prepared badly as a tourist for Kuala Lumpur because I just wanted to use this short trip to get a new visa. Only later I realized that I would probably have a lot of time left to look around. It was my most ill-prepared trip I ever made, but with some information from a nice friend in Kuala Lumpur and the advice from a friend in Bali, I could at least make a start. I was convinced Malaysia has the same to offer as Indonesia only with a different wrapping. I could take a train, taxi or bus from the airport to get to Kuala Lumpur. AirAsia has thought of that as well, and put it's own shuttle service in service directly from KLIA's LCC-T (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) to the central station downtown. In fact a same service runs from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport to Gambir station, but still it's different.

When I got back my passport, it had it's sixth new visa in it as well, ready to be stamped.
When I got back my passport, it had it's sixth new visa in it as well, ready to be stamped.

With a language that was to be followed with some knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia, I was able to spend a nice time in Kuala Lumpur. Acquiring a new visa was just as easy as going to Malaysia. Within three working days I could pick up my passport again. For me it was really easy, only the horrific stories that can be found everywhere made me doubt slightly. Some were supposed to wait for a long time and were even asked for money. I now doubt how these people actually did their business here. I simply adhered to the rules and I got what I wanted according to those rules as well. I assume most of the visitors don't have anything to hide, but maybe they just tell too much?

External links
Air Asia
Angkasa Pura I/II



Tags: travel, passport, visa, indonesian, indonesia, stamp, malaysia


Posted in Travel @ 15 September 2006 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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