Over the weekend, rumours were circulating that Bali was bringing forward its highly-anticipated reopening, with plans to resume quarantine-free travel as early as 7 March 2022.
We now have official confirmation, courtesy of a release (in Bahasa Indonesia; an English summary can be found here) by the Indonesian authorities. Bali will indeed replace its much-derided “warm-up vacation” (a fancy name for quarantine) with a quarantine-free alternative, and resume issuing visas-on-arrival to nationals of 23 countries including Singapore, Australia, the UK and the USA.
This dovetails nicely with the upcoming launch of VTL flights from Bali to Singapore on 16 March, allowing two-way quarantine-free travel for the first time since March 2020.
Bali lifts quarantine requirement
|🇮🇩 Summary: Quarantine-free Travel to Bali|
Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to enter Bali without quarantine, effective immediately. Children aged under 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement, and contrary to earlier reports, no booster jab will be required.
All travellers must purchase travel insurance with at least S$20,000 coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses, and have a hotel booking for at least three nights (i.e. four days) at any CHSE-approved hotel (virtually every major hotel will be on the list).
Travellers (regardless of age) will be required to take three PCR tests:
- Within 48 hours prior to departure
- On arrival in Bali at the airport
- On Day 3 at the hotel
On arrival in Bali, travellers will pay for a PCR test (IDR 275,000/S$26; it may already be included with the hotel package you booked) and head directly to their hotel to wait for the results. Following the receipt of a negative result, they will be free to explore the whole of Bali.
Another PCR test will be done on Day 3 at the hotel, and guests will make payment (IDR 275,000/S$26) directly to the hotel’s appointed lab. No isolation is required after swabbing, and if the result is negative, visitors can travel elsewhere in Indonesia outside of Bali.
Failure to take the Day 3 test will result in a black message on the PeduliLindugi app which may prevent visitors from entering the hotel and other places where QR codes need to be scanned for entry.
For travellers who test positive on arrival or on Day 3:
- Those with no symptoms/ mild symptoms will be sent for isolation in designated isolation hotels or centralised isolation facilities
- Those with moderate/ severe symptoms will be transferred to a hospital for treatment
Visitors must complete a customs declaration form (e-CD), and download the PeduliLindungi contact tracing app (Android | iOS) and complete a health declaration (e-HAC). They must also install the Presisi Quarantine Monitoring app, instructions for which will be provided on landing.
Bali resumes visa-on-arrival
While Bali suspended its visa-on-arrival facility for tourists at the start of COVID, this has been resumed from 7 March 2022 for nationals of the following countries:
|🇮🇩 Bali: Eligible Visa-on-Arrival Countries|
A visa-on-arrival costs IDR 500,000 (~S$47) and is valid for 30 days with the option to extend it for a further 30 days.
Singaporeans were previously exempt from paying this fee prior to COVID, but I don’t see any wording about a similar waiver being offered this time round. For what it’s worth, there is no visa requirement for those who carry an APEC Business Travel Card with Indonesia listed as one of the countries on the back.
If your nationality is not covered under visa-on-arrival, you will still need to apply for a visit visa (B211A). This is valid for 60 days and can be extended up to four times, 30 days each time.
Singapore-Bali travel: Total testing costs
|⚕️ Testing: Singapore-Bali Travel|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||48h before departure (PCR)||From S$98|
|🇮🇩 Bali||On arrival (PCR)||IDR 275,000|
|🇮🇩 Bali||Day 3 (PCR)||IDR 275,000|
|🇮🇩 Bali||2 days before departure (ART/PCR)||IDR 99,000*|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Within 24h of arrival (ART)||S$15*|
|*Children aged 2 and under exempt|
Travellers from Singapore to Bali can expect to do up to five COVID-19 tests in total, which will cost up to S$175. It may be possible to combine your Day 3 PCR test with the pre-departure test requirement, although it depends on what format the result is provided in.
Fortunately, the Indonesian government caps the maximum price of a PCR test in Bali to IDR 275,000 (~S$26), so the additional PCR tests shouldn’t burn a hole in your wallet.
For the cheapest pre-departure testing options in Singapore, refer to this post.
Flights to/from Bali
Travellers must take an international flight into Bali Airport in order to enjoy the quarantine-free scheme; they will not be able to connect in Jakarta.
Apart from this, there is no restriction on the flight they can take. Jetstar Asia, Singapore Airlines, Scoot and KLM all offer flights to Bali.
|*KLM’s flights will switch to Mondays and Thursdays from 28 March 2022.|
To Singapore (VTL)
Travellers must take designated VTL flights to Singapore to avoid a 7-day SHN on arrival.
From 16 March 2022, the Indonesia VTL will be extended beyond Jakarta to include Bali. Singapore Airlines has designated the following flights as VTL services from Bali to Singapore:
From 1 July 2022, SQ 939 will increase its flight frequency to daily flights.
VTL travel to Singapore
Singapore recently relaxed its border measures for VTL travellers, shortening the relevant travel history period to 7 days and replacing the on-arrival PCR test requirement at Changi Airport with a supervised ART at a QTC/CTC within 24 hours of arrival. Alternatively, VTL travellers can opt to do a DA Tele-ART from the comfort of their own home.
Also noteworthy is the scrapping of the Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) requirement for the majority of long-term passholders. Only work permit holders and short-term visitors are now required to apply for a VTP.
Not allowed entry via VTL
Apply for and present entry approval
Apply for and present VTP
With these changes, here’s a summary of the requirements for VTL travel to Singapore.
|✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria|
|Short-term visitors & Work permit holders|
|*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt|
^Exception for children aged 12 and below, if they are accompanied by vaccinated traveller
Fully vaccinated individuals can be exempted from all pre-departure tests, on-arrival tests and SHN requirements when travelling to Singapore with acceptable proof of a COVID-19 infection/recovery within the last 90 days.
The VTL scheme has grown bloated and overcomplicated in recent times, but I’m hoping it will be scrapped sooner rather than later and replaced by a system based purely on vaccination status.
Bali is reopening ahead of schedule to fully vaccinated tourists, with visa-on-arrival restored for nationals of 23 countries including Singapore.
The launch of VTL flights on 16 March will mark the resumption of two-way quarantine-free travel between Singapore and Bali, although the requirement to take 3x PCR tests on the way over and 2x ARTs on the way back will be burdensome for some. It is likely, however, that in time the Day 3 test will be eliminated or replaced with a self-swab ART instead.
I’m definitely planning to make a trip to Bali (hotel rates are at all-time lows), and will share more thoughts on this in the days ahead.