Travelers heading to Bali will no longer need to stay in mandatory hotel quarantine as of next week when the government rolls back its costly travel rule.
Currently, foreign visitors are required to quarantine for at least three days at their own expense upon arrival in Bali. That means staying in and paying for accommodation, in a government-approved five-star hotel.
Starting Monday, March 14, however, that requirement will be scrapped entirely for fully vaccinated visitors, Luhut Pandjaitan (the government official in charge of Indonesia's COVID response) told reporters via Bloomberg.
Under the new protocols, travelers will only have to quarantine for a few hours while awaiting the result of a PCR test on arrival.
If this new approach proves successful, mandatory quarantine could be scrapped not just in Bali but across all of Indonesia.
What are the new rules for visiting Bali?
Foreign visitors must be fully vaccinated to visit Bali. That means they must have received at least two doses of a vaccine or, in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, one dose.
Travelers must also hold proof of health insurance with a coverage value of at least US$25,000, which covers the treatment of COVID-19.
While mandatory hotel quarantine is set to be scrapped, foreign visitors are still required to show proof of a hotel booking (of their choice) with at least four nights paid for in advance. They must also test negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of departure.
Upon arrival, they'll take a second test and quarantine for a few hours until their result is ready, in addition to another test on day three. If the day three test is negative, travelers have the option of moving on to other parts of Indonesia if they wish.
If the new entry protocols prove successful, officials will drop mandatory hotel quarantine across the entire country by April 1.
Visa on Arrival for Bali and Indonesia
Since Bali opened to most foreign visitors in February, people have been required to apply for a special visa before departure. But according to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, that policy will change on March 14 when Indonesia resumes its Visa on Arrival program.
The program is open to visitors from some 61 countries who are staying for less than 30 days. These types of visas cost about US$35 and can be processed at the Visa on Arrival desk within the airport.
How to travel to Bali
When Bali opened widely to tourists in February, Singapore Airlines was the only operator offering direct flights to and from Bali. But as entry rules ease, more airlines are increasing services.
Indonesian carrier Garuda has already resumed direct flights from Australia to Bali, while Australian budget airline Jetstar will resume services between Bali and seven Australian cities in April.
Meanwhile, airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines are operating flights to Bali from several European and US cities with some stopovers.
When visiting Bali, it's important to note that masks are required in most public settings. Not everywhere is open and some local restrictions apply. Though in low-risk "green" areas such as Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, Sanur or Ubud, most hospitality and tourist venues are operating as normal.