5 December 2021

Even If You Could Go To Bali Right Now, You Probably Wouldn’t Want To

Even if you could go to the island of gods right now, you probably wouldn’t want to. Why? As part of the Indonesian government’s plan to keep COVID-19 under control, visitors have to spend eight days of quarantine at a hotel. This is completely fair (and, not to mention, as shorter stint in quarantine than the one Australia still currently still mandates) but in terms of tourism, probably going to prove a deterrent. 

The Guardian reported earlier this month: “The latest plan from the Indonesian government, announced by minister Luhut Panjaitan in October, is to open Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport to international flights from China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia on 14 October.”

As part of the plan, visitors must undergo eight days of quarantine at a hotel, with the expenses to be charged back to them. 

DMARGE got in touch with Australian expat in Bali, Peter Hibberd, who is the Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy and who has been living and working in Bali for a number of years (inluding now), to ask for his thoughts on the situation. 

Surely, even if Australians could travel to Bali right now (which they can’t, as they are not on the aforementioned list, and also aren’t allowed – yet – to leave the country for leisure), given the 8 day quarantine situation, they would rather go somewhere else (or wait until Indonesia gets rid of the quarantine rule)? Well it’s not quite so simple, Peter said. 

Peter told DMARGE: “There has been a couple major changes to the situation in Indonesia including Bali. Indonesia went through a large spike of Covid during July of 2021 and the entire archipelago was shut down again. This has since subsided and things have been returning to the ‘new normal’.”

“The vaccination rates of Bali specifically are very high sitting around 80% compared to the rest of the nation which is a direct result of the government trying to kickstart the Bali tourism as soon as possible. And it’s working.”

”The Denpasar (Bali) international airport is finally open to international flights and you no longer have to quarantine in Jakarta. This means, when the airlines decide to kick off operations, the tourists can quarantine in a selection of hotels across Bali from Uluwatu to Ubud.”

“The hotels include the major international chains and boutique options so at the very least your view won’t be a Jakarta city’s Will it prove a big deterrent? The truth is more are actually returning already and the bustle of Bali is coming back!”

“Holidayers will have to make a decision if they consider using a few days in a hotel as part of their holiday but as soon as you’re out, you’re good to go.”

Peter added that rather than 8 days the quarantine could feel like 6, explaining that one traveller he spoke to even suggested if your flight arrives at night and you check in at 11pm, that counts as day one and checking out 8am on the last day counts too.

“Therefore 8 days actually feels like 6 (as with all travel, follow all mandatory rules and there is no issue).”

On top of that, this is a beautiful, quiet time to be in Bali, without the throngs of tourists – if you could get there. So there’s pros and cons to everything, really. Though if it’s a choice between Bali with quarantine and Fiji without, we imagine many people will be saying “Bula” for now.

Stay tuned for an update on what life in Bali is like right now, if you are considering visiting when you get the chance.

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