Anyone living in Bali for an extended period of time, will at some point have to leave Indonesia to pick up a visa or apply for a new one.

The shortest flight from Bali is Singapore, taking around 2 and a half hours. Singapore is an expensive place and a bed in a hostel is around $22 Singapore dollars. A tiny private room with bathroom (and no window) is about $50 Singapore dollars.

To cut down the time you need to spend in Singapore, many people use the service of an agent and while the fees are not cheap, it can still save money and hassle, as most visas can be processed in just one day.

One of the main visa agents is Ismail Hamdan. He has an office in the “Singapore Shopping Centre”, but I have never been to it. He employs couriers who pick up you passport, money and documents from your hotel. If you don’t want to hang around waiting for the courier, you can put everything in an envelope and let the receptionist at your hotel hand everything over.

I know the first time, I was a little worried about doing this, but I have never had a problem. The service is amazingly efficient and as long as you have provided all of the correct documents, your passport and visa will be dropped back at your hotel in the afternoon.

One time I forgot a document and it wasn’t until I got back to my hotel that I got the message from Ismail. I faxed it through to him and the visa was ready a couple of hours later.

Ismail is strictly a telephone and fax guy. He has no website and no email address, so don’t even think about mentioning sending the documents by email. He has his way of doing things and his tone quickly changes, if you even mention email. The guy seems to be very busy and he doesn’t like time wasters.

It kind of reminds me of the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” episode: “It’s very important not to embellish on your order. No extraneous comments. No questions. No compliments.”

Here are his contact details:

190 Clemenceau Avenue #02-16
Singapore Shopping Centre
Singapore 239924

Office telephone: (65) 6334 5520
Handphone: 9636 4854
Fax No: (65) 6334 5518