The first quarter of 2022 has been remarkable in terms of how many more countries have reopened to travellers, with vast swathes of South East Asia accessible to Canadians once again.
Indonesia is the latest to join the trend, with the island of Bali officially reopening to tourists.
Bali actually opened on February 4, 2022, but still with a three-day quarantine in place. Beginning March 14, 2022, quarantine-free travel is on.
Indonesia Travel Restrictions
Like what Thailand did with their “sandbox” scheme, only Bali and the Riau Islands are open for tourism at this stage, and all international guests must arrive directly into Bali. This is a pilot program as Indonesia prepares to fully reopen the entire country sometime in April.
All international arrivals are welcomed, provided they meet all vaccination requirements.
How Can Canadians Enter Indonesia?
All of the following rules and requirements apply as of March 14, 2022.
Travellers are allowed to enter Indonesia by air via Bali Ngurah Rai Airport. As of October 2021, when departing Canada by air, travellers are required to present proof of vaccination.
Travellers coming from Canada must fulfill all of the following in order to enter Bali:
- Present proof of vaccination.
- Your Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination will suffice.
- Present proof of booked accommodation for a minimum of four nights.
- There is no requirement for this to be at the same hotel, so you can presumably switch hotels as long as you have the proof of booking for all four nights.
As only Bali is opening to tourism, you must fly directly from an international destination, without transiting in Jakarta or anywhere else. Most tourists tend to fly into Bali directly anyway, but it’s still something to look out for when booking flights.
Testing & Quarantine Upon Arrival
In lieu of pre-departure testing requirements, Indonesia will have a robust post-arrival testing scheme, in which all travellers will have RT-PCR tests conduced upon entry as well as on the third day.
Quarantine is required until the arrival test is negative, but it shouldn’t take more than 24 hours.
The Day 3 test will be conducted at whichever hotel you’ll be spending your third night, and no quarantine is required.
The on-arrival test is expected to be at the traveller’s own expense, at a relatively low cost of 275,000 IDR (~$24). The Day 3 test should cost in the same range.
At this time, there is no testing exemption for those who have a positive COVID-19 test and have recently recovered.
Testing & Quarantine Upon Return
As of April 1, 2022, a negative test is no longer required prior to travelling back to Canada.
If you need to find a test in Indonesia, there appears to be plenty of cheap antigen tests around the island, and attaining one shouldn’t be a problem for the everyday traveller — at least from an initial perusal online.
Alternatively, consider purchasing a Switch Health RT-LAMP or antigen test kit for an easy remote testing option via telehealth video link.
Current Health Requirements in Bali
Indonesia uses a Community Activity Restrictions (PPKM) system to rank current COVID-19 levels on a scale from Levels 1 through 4. Bali is currently at Level 3, and it’s evaluated on a weekly basis.
Fully vaccinated travellers are able to enter hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, cultural sites, and everything else.
In order to register your foreign vaccination, head to their government page and upload your proof. Afterwards, register on the Pduli Lindungi app and the green check there will be verified for all the above activities.
There are still significant capacity restrictions in place; namely, hotels can only operate at 50% capacity, along with gyms and indoor dining. There is a dine-in time limit of 60 minutes and indoor dining can have a maximum of two people from different households at one table.
Malls are also operating at a 50% capacity, while supermarkets and grocery stores can operate with a 75% capacity.
Restaurants and malls are only permitted to be open until 10pm.
Cultural tourist destinations are operating at half capacity as well, or a maximum of 50 people.
As you can expect with the restrictions above, mask-wearing is prevalent and mandatory. The official rule is you have to be wearing one anytime you’re in public.
For what it’s worth, anecdotal opinions seem to be that beaches and other outdoor venues remain very crowded, and the rules may not be as strictly enforced as they claim.
How to Get to Bali
As usual for long-haul travel in premium cabins, our first instinct is to turn to Aeroplan points.
Pre-pandemic, a perennial favourite way to get to Bali is to take EVA Air, with a single, well-timed transit in Taipei and plenty of North American ports of departure including Toronto, Vancouver, New York, and Seattle, among others. Their excellent onboard product certainly helped as well.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has severely impacted the availability of EVA Air award bookings, further exacerbated by Taiwan currently not allowing transit passengers. The Air Canada website shows decent availability nearly a year in advance if you wanted to take a chance on a future booking.
A transpacific routing will cost 85,000 points in business class, while a more roundabout routing through Europe will cost 105,000 points in business class.
With Alaska Mileage Plan, you can fly Cathay Pacific business class for 50,000 miles one-way, or 70,000 miles one-way in First Class, should you find availability.
(The screenshot below shows the price if you were booking with American AAdvantage miles, since Alaska doesn’t display Cathay Pacific award space online.)
Normally, you can also fly on Japan Airlines for 65,000 miles in business class and 75,000 miles in First Class to Jakarta, Indonesia, but the current travel scheme is that you must land in Bali directly.
Bali welcoming international travellers without quarantine might be the most exciting travel development in the first quarter of 2022, and could well be the reopening that will have you booking a trip to South East Asia.
The process for entering is extremely simple, with only proof of vaccination required and proof of hotel bookings for the first four nights. On the ground, Bali’s COVID-19 restrictions appear strict; however, all cultural tourist sites and indoor dining are open for enjoyment.
As always, you can refer to our Travel During COVID-19 Resource for Canadians for the most up-to-date information on travelling in the pandemic era.