Are you in Bali or planning to be in Bali for more than a month? If you don’t want to queue for hours at the immigration centre in Bali to get your visa renewed, then you have only 1 option, my friend. That is going for a visa run! Don’t know where to start? Check out my visa run ideas from Bali, including costs and what to do if you are alone!
How To Pick The Right Country For Your Visa Run
What does it mean to go on a visa run from Bali? We are talking about leaving Indonesia for as little as a few hours (so, coming back on the same day) or as long as you want! If your finances allow, I would suggest making at least a short trip out of it, so you get to visit nearby countries whilst getting your Visa sorted.
Before we deep dive into the list of countries let me tell you 2 important tips that will help you choose the best destination for your visa run:
#1: Think about Accommodation And Cost Of Living – Not only Flight Ticket
Sometimes we think that South East Asia is always cheaper than our home countries. Wrong! Let me give you an example. Singapore will be the closest option for your Visa run and yes, the flight ticket might be cheap. However, if you are planning on spending a few days there, the accommodation and cost of living are very pricey!
So make sure you do your research when it comes to budgeting because you don’t want to get surprises!
#2: How Is The Weather Like?
This might sound silly to you but hear me out. I went to North Vietnam in December and I’ve been absolutely freezing! That’s right, it was full winter and I only brought my summer clothes from Bali. So if you think Southeast Asia is always warm, this one is for you!
The same thing applies to purely beach destinations. If you know it’s full rainy season, try to book places where you know there will be something to do when going to the beach is not an option.
OK, now you’re ready! I’m going to start with a list of destinations close to Bali and move the list of countries further away. You can then pick based on the time available and budget. Let’s go!
Let’s Start With destinations close to Bali
As I mentioned above, Singapore is the closest option you have. It’s generally very safe and the centre is easy to reach from the airport (about 20 minutes taxi or less).
China Town, Marina Bay and Little India are the must-visit places to write on your list! Even the airport itself will take your breath away – no wonder locals love spending their weekends at the airport! Yes, you read right! Find out more about things to do on my Singapore travel guide here.
That being said, unless you really want to visit Singapore for a few days, I would recommend coming back to Bali on the same day because staying here is very expensive! Let’s get into the details:
Flight duration: Between 2h30 and 2h50
Flight price: £111 (I checked on the 12th March 2023 and the dates selected are 24th to 28th March 2023 on Skyscanner)
Accommodation price: A decent hotel room with your own bathroom and breakfast included will be around £200 per night. I told you it’s pricey! There are some affordable options if you’re happy to share the bathroom or sleep in a tiny pod. In this case, I would suggest searching for your place here.
#2 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is one of the best visa runs I’ve ever done! It might take longer than the flight to Singapore but the culture here is much more vibrant and there is A LOT to explore. Malaysia is also quite affordable and fairly easy to move around in a short time, thanks to the trains covering most of the city and the airport. I had the best time here and managed to squeeze in one extra trip as well (to Ipoh). Read my travel itinerary to Kuala Lumpur here, it will cover all you need to know in case you pick this destination.
Now, let’s talk costs and timelines:
Flight duration: Around 3h
Flight price: £106 (I checked on the 12th March 2023 and the dates selected are 3rd to 9th April 2023 on Skyscanner)
Accommodation price: There is a really wide range of prices in Kuala Lumpur. If you are looking for a nice location with your own bathroom and breakfast included the price will be between £50 and £80 per night. That being said, there are still hostels or options which are not as central which will turn out to be cheaper.
#3 Manila, Philippines
Manila was and still is on the top of my list but haven’t had the chance to visit yet! There is a lot to do in the Philippines even during the rainy season so it’s a good option to consider. If the weather allows there are incredible beaches to visit, however, if you are short in time you might need to fly to these places as they are quite far. If you are planning on staying in Manila there is plenty to do given the rich history of the country and it’s also quite affordable!
Let’s see what the numbers say!
Flight duration: 4h15 to Manila
Flight price: £221 (I checked on the 12th March 2023 and the dates selected are 19th to 24th April 2023 on Skyscanner)
Accommodation price: Hotels here are really affordable, I found some cool places for around £45 per night. This is what I had on my list:
- Heroes Hotel: This place looks like a lot of fun and something I’ve never experienced before!
- Lub b Philippines Makati: Love the minimal design of this place!
- Herald Suites: Slightly more expensive than the first 2 options but still in a good area of Manila and has a really nice interior design too.
Visa run destination further from Bali
The flight to Hanoi is quite long but I thought it was totally worth it even for only 5 days! The culture, history, art and food are something else!
The cost of living in Hanoi is very cheap. I broke down the budget comparing Hanoi with Singapore and I found out it was cheaper to spend 5 days in Hanoi than 2 in Singapore (flight and hotels included)!!
There is plenty to do and visit here but just going for a simple walk will make your day! Take a look at my detailed travel guide here!
Flight duration: About 5h. However, the cheapest flights are operated by Vietjet and I would suggest standing up as often as you can (maybe get a seat at the isle). The reason is that there isn’t much legroom, no screen to watch anything and it’s overall quite uncomfortable. I sleep like a stone so I slept for most of the time but I have to say it’s a low-budget airline service for 5 hours.
Flight price: £197 (I checked on the 12th March 2023 and the dates selected are 23rd to 29th March 2023 on Skyscanner)
Accommodation price: Very cheap! A really good hotel in the old town (the most beautiful area if you ask me) could be under £30! This includes a buffet breakfast too!
#2 Sydney, Australia
I haven’t been to Australia yet, but I thought it would be worth mentioning as a visa-run option. It’s probably not the closest and cheapest visa run but not impossible if you always wanted to go. I looked at Sydney but if you are looking at Perth for example, it will be much closer to Bali and the flight would work out slightly cheaper.
What could I say about Australia, I really would love to go because of the stunning surfing spots and nature! I hope to visit soon and tell you more about it!
Flight duration: Around 5h45
Flight price: £384 (I checked on the 12th March 2023 and the dates selected are from the 3rd to 16th April 2023 on Skyscanner)
Accommodation price: If you’ve ever been to London I would say the prices are similar. A nice decent room will be around £120. Still quite expensive but less than Singapore for sure!
Cambodia is also on my list. The history, culture and historical buildings sound really fascinating and interesting so I hope to visit soon! I looked at Phnom Penh as a starting point and from there you can move around to other destinations. For example the Buddhist temple Angkor Wat or the Hindu temple Ta Prohm (which are on top of my wish list).
I think this could be a great visa run from Bali especially if you have at least a week to spare. The flight might be long and pricey but the living cost is very low and so are the accommodations!
Flight duration: Around 5h45 but it depends on where you will change flight and for how long. I haven’t found any direct flights to Cambodia from Bali
Flight price: £233 (I checked on the 12th March 2023 and the dates selected are 14th to 23rd April 2023 on Skyscanner)
Accommodation price: A reasonably sized room including your own bathroom and breakfast starts from £30, not bad right? If you leave the city you will find even cheaper options with lovely homestays for £20 or less.
#4 Bangkok, Thailand
Thailand is a really valid option although slightly far from Bali (see details below). There is so much to do here and the weather is beautiful most of the time. When I was in Bali during the rainy season, I had friends running from Bali to Thailand chasing the sun!
If you are planning to visit Bangkok, be ready to be wowed but monks walking on their orange ropes, stunning buildings, fascinating history and yummy food! One of the most exciting things I did was River cruise in Bangkok in the evening and it blew my mind!
But Bangkok is not everything. You can deep dive into nature through island hopping in Krabi or explore the jungle in the Khao Sok Rainforest. The easiest way to reach Krabi is by plane, look at AirAsia for more info.
Now, let’s go back to Bangkok!
Flight duration from Bali: Around 4h30
Flight price: £173 (I checked on the 12th March 2023 and the dates selected are 15th to 18th March 2023 on Skyscanner)
Accommodation price: Thailand in general is very affordable so I stayed at really luxurious and relaxing places in Bangkok for about £60 per night overlooking the skyline and the river. But there are cheaper options and actually beautiful hostels dotted around the city (check out this one for example).
I hope this post was useful and you have a clearer idea of where to spend your visa run. If you want to know more about visa requirements for Bali, check out this blog post. My last tip would be to leave your suitcase in Bali if your visa run is short. Some budget airlines would charge a lot to check in your suitcase! Just kindly ask your homestay or hotel in Bali if it’s okay for you to leave the suitcase there for a few days, it’s very likely they will say yes!
Ciao for now,