Not So Fast

By Stephen Ewashkiw | May 21, 2014

14,311 km so far.

The Republic Of Indonesia requires we apply in advance for a visa if we want to stay for more than 30 days, and since the country is VERY long, and we are cycling, we are going to need more than one month to properly visit it.

Our one goal today was to visit the Indonesian Consulate and apply for visas.

The Republic Of No

Information on Indonesian visas is not at all clear on the internet. Conflicting reports about the length of visas available, the paperwork you need to get a visa, even where you can get the visa, abound. As do reports that the rules change very frequently, so whatever you have read will most likely be out of date.

Jane’s note: Dear consulates of the world, Please get your online shit together. Your websites are terrible, your information is always out of date, and you make it very hard for anyone to visit your country. What gives?

We hopped on our bikes earlier than my sickly self would have liked, but the consulate closes at noon (why?) so we had no choice.

Bureaucracy at work in George Town.

Bureaucracy at work in George Town.

Upon arrival we were seen incredibly quickly, but ended up leaving empty handed just as fast.

We explained that we are travelling by bicycle, so would not be able to provide onward flight tickets showing when we’d leave the country. The woman at the counter told us that we’d have to provide tickets both in and out of the country, showing our place of entry as well as exit. What? We’ve never heard that before.

Then she told us that since we’re planning on leaving Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur, we’d have to apply in Kuala Lumpur. The only problem is, we read online that the KL consulate stopped giving out 60 day visas recently, with no notice and no reason given.

She assured us a 60-day visa would be available in KL, but it felt like she was just trying to get rid of us. Hmm. There’s not a lot you can do once you’ve been summarily dismissed at a consulate, so I guess we have to take her word for it and hope for the best.

These cycle tourists got their visa from the same office a few months ago, and they left Malaysia overland into Singapore, so obviously the rules are not exactly set in stone.

Rumour has it we can get the 30-day Visa On Arrival, and extend it for another 30 days on Bali, but we’d rather not have the hassle, or take the risk of being told no.

Slow Down

After grabbing some food, which included the best bagels I have had since I can’t even remember when, I headed back to bed to try and get healthy. I spent the rest of the day sleeping, reading, and putting together the flyer for my upcoming workshops.

Tasty bagel from Mugshot in George Town.

Tasty bagel from Mugshot in George Town.

Jane wandered around the adorable little streets of Georgetown. Here is what she saw.

Jane says:

First, I stopped by the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, to see how wealthy Straits Chinese people lived in days gone by.

old tv in georgetown malaysia

Early TV at the Peranakan Mansion.

Then, I did what I like to do best: walked around the town. Most of the old streets are lined with colourful shophouses.

houses in georgetown malaysia

A commercial street in George Town.

Where there are sidewalks, they are often covered by archways in front of the buildings.

covered walkway in georgetown malaysia

Sunlight through the archways, George Town.

The rooftops are spectacular, especially against the clear skies we’ve been having.

roof top in georgetown malaysia

Roof tops and blue skies, George Town.

Plasterwork and paint throughout the city is peeling and faded.

Window in George Town.

Window in George Town.

But there is a vibrant scene of artistic little boutiques and shops for locals.

Soon, the heat was too much to bear, and I had to join Stephen napping in our cozy air-conditioned room.  

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