I have been writing on this post for about a week, it has taken me longer than I originally thought it would. It is less than a week until I leave Sweden and it turns out that it is quite a few things to sort out before you leave the country for a year or so. The idea about this post came quite naturally when I was looking into the visa for Indonesia and thought it could be interesting.
When you are living as an expat in countries outside Europe you have to deal with issues we don’t have back home. I wrote about travel insurance in an earlier post and now I am going to write a little about visas. I am to be on Bali in Indonesia for a while and as a Swede (and most other not holding a passport from the region) you get a tourist visa on arrival, there are other visas available, but you need a reason to get these. More information about this can be found here. A tourist visa cost 25 USD (~ 19 EUR) and is valid for 30 days. This visa can be extended to 60 days for a cost of 250.000 IDR (~ 19 EUR) or about three times the price by letting an agent do it for you. You can read more about that here. You can usually only extend your visa once, after that you have to re-enter the country. This is called visa runs.
You also have to plan this one visa ahead as you need an onwards ticket when you fly into Indonesia. Instead of extending your visa you can use this as a reason for going for an extra holiday on your holiday. The last 5 years I have really found the love for trekking so I had a look at this list of good places to trek in South East Asia and compared it to where you can fly cheap and direct from Bali. This is how I ended up booking Kota Kinabalu in the Malaysian part of Borneo. Flights with AirAsia cost me 178 EUR return, not very cheap, but not very expensive either.
The reason Kota Kinabalu is interesting is because close is a high mountain called Mount Kinabalu. Mount Kinabalu is protected by Kinabalu National Park and its summit is on 4095 meters above sea level. You have to be accompanied by a guide at all times according park regulations. There are different packages available, but the most common is a two day climb with finishing the ascent and descend on the second day. I decided to go with a package where i also have an extra day in the park. The park stay cost me a total of 1690 MYR (~ 400 EUR), quite a bit of money, but it is not every day you get the chance to climb a 4000+ meter mountain (this is also something on my Bucket List).
Hong Kong and Macau
I also am already looking into to my next visa run after Malaysia which I think will be to Hong Kong and Macau. Although I can’t fly direct there I really want to do the worlds highest bungee jump from Macau Tower. I have done the number two and three on that list so it is something I have to tick off. It is actually a guide wire on that jump so you don’t get the cool swing, but it is the highest so it just has to be done.
To combine Macau with the awesome city of Hong Kong feels like the thing to do, it is easy to get between Macau and Hong Kong by boat. I also think I will need some big city buzz about then. I went to Hong Kong 2009 and I absolutely loved it, I wrote about it real short here and here. These flights will probably cost me about 300 EUR return, add another 200 EUR for the bungee jump and it will be quite expensive. This is what makes me hesitate a little bit so I will see how my business looks like then.
I think these extra reasons to go somewhere is great, even if living on Bali will be great, I still want to do other stuff than just work and hangout there. This might also be a thing that will be fun a few times, but after a while you might feel that going away every four weekends is a bit steep. There are also a lot of really awesome things I want to do inside of Indonesia.