a building on a lake with mountains in the background

The good news first, or the bad news? Ok, the good news is that Bali is reopening quarantine free travel ahead of schedule. It’s official, it’s happening.

The bad news, at least to some, is that Bali’s reopening is not as free and easy as many other recent reopening plans, which dropped testing requirements for fully vaccinated visitors. Bali will instead require both pre-flight and post-flight testing.

With Bali officially now reopening on March 7th to visitors from 23 countries, including the US, UK, Australia and most of Europe, here’s what you can expect.

a building on a lake

Bali Opens Quarantine Free Travel

If you’re fully vaccinated and willing to take a covid-19 test before travel, Bali is now officially open with visas on arrival for visitors from 23 countries. The truly stunning island moved its March 14th reopening up by a week — and airlines are beginning to reboot service.

The 23 countries eligible for visa on arrival into Bali include: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, The United States of America, United Arab Emirates, UK and Vietnam.

Unlike other destinations rapidly reopening travel, such as Oman and The Maldives, Bali will still require testing prior to travel. That in itself isn’t such a big deal, but the island will also require a post arrival test, which creates more jeopardy.

If someone were to test positive upon arrival, via the test conducted by Balinese and Indonesian health authorities, there’s risk of ending up in hospital, or a quarantine hotel. Anecdotes about the conditions in these places haven’t been wildly positive.

The silver lining is that officials pledge to re-test visitors who test positive after 3 days; and once a negative test result is achieved, they’d theoretically be released to enjoy their holiday. It’s not much of a silver lining, but it’s something compared to the 14+ days of mandatory isolation elsewhere, like Hong Kong.

The rules for entry don’t end there, sadly. All tourists from the 23 eligible countries will also need to obtain health coverage which includes covid-19 infections for the duration of their visit, prior to entry. For nationals of these 23 countries, visas on arrival will be issued.

a flower on a pool with a mountain in the background

A Missed Tourism Opportunity, Again?

Islands have a more difficult time dealing with health crises than mainland areas. Fewer ICU beds and limited access to hospitals requires added caution in reopening the floodgates of travel.

But with cumbersome entry requirements, Bali once again risks missing the wave of the tourism rebound, even with surfers. Bali’s last attempt at reopening travel was so underwhelming, airlines refuses to schedule any flights, due to lack of demand.

As the world reopens, Bali is in a tough spot to balance local health, but also the vital need for the economic benefits tourism brings. Unless rules are relaxed, many will go elsewhere. For now, they largely are.

Bali is open for quarantine free travel to fully vaccinated visitors from 23 countries, and that’s great news. Just maybe not as great as it could be.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I don’t understand the challenges that Bali has had; Indonesia isn’t a tiny island (though places like the Maldives and Barbados have done just fine). They have significant resources and Jakarta is one of the largest cities in Asia. Why are they so challenged in getting it right?

  2. The government requires a reservation for the first 3 nights upon arrival. While a bit annoying, that kind of makes sense if someone tests positive so they don’t have to go hotel shopping while infectious. What I can’t make out is whether the 3 nights have to be at a quarantine hotel or not. Any thoughts, Gib?

  3. Pre flight testing? Eh, I’ll deal with it. I’ve done it for a few Europe trips and was planning to do it for UAE until they just removed the requirement.

    Post flight testing? Hard pass. I want to know exactly what type of test I’m getting in advance. Some places use the “hard brain poke”, even 2 years after more civilized methods exist.

    1. Yep, that’s pretty much my take. Plus, Indonesia has had issues with reusing swabs etc, so I’m just not risking a 3 day shake down. Hope they find a better solution to balance all the needs. I’ll test before I go, but not after.

  4. I will fly to Bali end of month & i have a KITAP but i cannot seem to find out what the requirements are for arriving foreigners who are not tourists & have a home there. Do we still need to book a hotel for 3 days??

  5. Don’t spread wrong information. Bali has not had issues in reusing swabs! The case happened in Medan in Sumatra.

  6. I live in Bali an Australian and glad to be living in Bali, drop the health insurance , what is the point of double vax if we are still living in 2020 ? Open up and leave the rules behind .

    1. Don’t judge and you will not be judged Australia is the worst on the entire planet earth when comes to quarantine. Let’s respect the authority of the country . If you don’t like the rules, go home or simply don’t come.

  7. Jeez mate…!!!

    You makes it sound that Bali is crazy with their travel restrictions etc. That’s exactly the same rule as Australia. Australia is even more complicated because every state tends to have their own quarantine rule.

    Bali is not that bad jeez!!

    1. Comparing two of the most prohibitive policies which are no longer as fit for purpose as they once were (cases not the key current metric) only gives a very skewed picture of what the world is doing. Most are not doing “this” now.

  8. The reasons behind still keeping swabs test on arrival and expensive hotels it’s because government gets 30% of it. Indonesian politicians got richer with covid and Bali is not an exception.

    1. Agreed, there has always been a suspicion in Jakarta that the “special” pricing of quarantine hotels, (a 30USD hotel becomes a 150USD “quarantine” hotel) where the guest is shut in a room and fed substandard cold food out of a cardboard box, has more to do with the rampant corruption here than necessity. Throwing lots of money at this issue can of course make things better, but when you have a family this is not an option.

  9. I’ve lived in Indonesia. The people running the country are often not even high school qualified if they were from the West. Don’t expect we’ll thought out rational thought from them – it’s far above their intellectual level.

  10. What Indos don’t appreciate is competition.
    I’m afraid I’m going to spend my $10,000 in South America, and the loses will be the workers in Bali. I won’t be alone.

  11. Have been planning Bali for ages, finally April at last! If it’s COVID test before departure and on arrival then thats what it is. Don’t like the 3 days isolation but again hopefully, things might change for the better soon…

  12. Problem is cost and time to obtain pcr test before departure.($150+) Next question it seems according to Garuda a pcr test upon arrival then quarantine for 3 days triple Vax and 5 days double Vax. Even if.you only have to wait for pcr results, even Australia says up to 72 hours for results. Imagine third world health care.

  13. Please, read all the regulations carefully and keep updated. Knowing the government keep changing the regulation eventhough not logic sometimes, it’s because they already in burden to keep their 280mil people to follow covid regulations. In my opinion, health insurance with covid coverage for tourist or foreigner is still make SENSES, how come as a tourist in pandemic era, you think it’s unacceptable? ( cmon, u can buy online and it’s only 50usd /100 usd max) If ur +, will u quarantine ur self in ur room or will just pretending like nothing happen. It’s happen before in bali. Tourist in Bali with +covid instead quarantine they just keep hanging around in bali. No self-care , no care to other ppl. And proof payment of 3 nites hotel booking is also still reasonable. Anyhow, as a tourist you have to stay somewhere right?! Cheers

  14. My wife and kids are Balinese.
    Im worried the corrupsi when testing are they going to try robbing us saying we are positive when we are healthy.

    1. That happened to me in Singapore in November. On a vtl, neg before, neg on arrival. Suddenly next day phone call saying l might he positive, and off l had to go for 4 days…They hauled 1000s of travellers into resorts beyond Changi, they needed to fill.
      Not risking on arrival test ever again..its pure corruption, sadly.
      We have had bookings moved in Bali from last November, we hope to use in 11.22. Fingers crossed.

  15. Decision makers for covid restrictions are cirvus jokers not professionals .who trust false positive, vacation will be ruined. No short term tourist only needy traveller’s might visit Indonesia.

  16. The point is “they” still want to harvest money in this “plandemic” situation πŸ˜πŸ’°

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