From its inherent spirituality to its rich biodiversity, dramatic volcanoes, hillside temples and unspoilt beaches, Bali has much to offer international visitors.
Prior to the pandemic, the Indonesian island had a thriving tourism economy, welcoming 6.2 million visitors in 2019. For much of 2020 and 2021, it was closed off to international visitors, with only limited numbers of domestic flights being allowed to land at its airport.
This month, the Indonesian government announced that international visitors could return to the island, and has since loosened quarantine requirements. From March 14, fully vaccinated tourists will no longer need to isolate on arrival.
The island province has reported about 587 daily cases of Covid-19 in the past week, declining by 54 per cent from a week earlier, according to data from the country's ministry of health.
With Bali’s many attractions now back on the cards, here’s what you need to know before you go.
Do I need to quarantine on arrival in Bali?
Bali reopened its borders on February 5, but currently requires international visitors to quarantine for at least five days upon arrival, at hotels certified by the ministry of tourism and creative economy.
From March 14, vaccinated visitors will no longer be required to isolate, under a new trial programme.
Passengers who are fully vaccinated will still have to take a PCR test when they arrive and stay inside their pre-booked accommodation until they receive a negative result, which is normally within 24 hours. "After being declared negative, they can be free to do any activities," said Luhut Panjaitan, Co-ordinating Minister for Investment and Maritime Affairs.
While the trial programme is slated to start on March 14, it may be brought forward if infection rates in the country improve next week, said Luhut, who is in charge of the pandemic response in Java and Bali. The goal is to lift all requirements by April, at the latest.
Foreign visitors must also undertake a PCR test on the third day at their respective hotels.
What do I need to do before flying to Bali?
The country’s free visa entry and visa on arrival initiatives have been suspended since March 2020. While it is anticipated that visa on arrival will be reintroduced soon, at present, all foreign visitors must apply for a Visit Visa, or B211A, to enter Indonesia. This must be done online, in advance of travel to the country. Visas are valid for 60 days and are priced at about $250. Visas can be extended four times, for 30 days each time.
All travellers entering Indonesia need to show a PCR test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. Tourists must also show proof of health insurance with a minimum value of $25,000, which includes Covid-19 cover. They must also show proof of a paid hotel booking for the duration of their stay.
Which airlines are flying to Bali?
While Etihad Airways and Emirates do not currently fly directly to Bali, both airlines operate flights to Jakarta. Return economy flights to the Indonesian capital in the first week of April start from Dh2,805 on Etihad and Dh2,345 on Emirates. A number of domestic airlines operate the one hour and 50-minute journey from Jakarta to Bali daily, with flights starting from Dh300 on Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air.
When’s the best time to visit Bali?
Bali has two distinct seasons – wet and dry. While temperatures are warm throughout the year, averaging between 26°C and 29°C, tropical rainfall is common between October and March. The drier months of April to September are the most popular for tourists, when the weather is warm and sunny.