Traveling to Bali? Prepare to get PCR tests

Watch @nicoleshiraz show you her trip to Bali

There are a number of surprises Australians should be prepared for when visiting Bali for the first time in years. From pre-departure PCR testing (and on-arrival PCR testing) to paperwork requiring old-school Manila folders and office printers, it’s kind of like stepping back in time (just like the scenes slightly less busy on the island itself).

TikTok user @nicoleshiraz demonstrates many differences on ICT Tac. She showed how you have to queue before immigration (to show all your vaccination documents). She says, on this point, expect to spend two hours at the airport.

She also said you have to take a PCR test when you arrive and pay again as well. Although she did not say how much, it was reported through various points of sale which the Indonesian Ministry of Health has limited the price of a swab RT-PCR test to a maximum of 275,000 rupees (25 Australian dollars).

@nicoleshiraz also said that “the airport was so dead our luggage seemed lonely” and that “clearing customs took about 0 minutes”.

It’s not just TikTok bloggers pointing out changes to Bali travel.

AFR Aviation writer Lucas Baird wrote about how Indonesia’s tighter restrictions “feel like a culture shock at a time when much of the Western world is relaxing rules and restrictions”.

“It’s understandable, though,” he added, “given the very different situation Indonesia finds itself in.”

“COVID-19 case numbers in [Indonesia] only peaked late last month as the omicron strain tore through a population that is only 55% fully vaccinated. At the deadliest point of the surge, March 8, 401 lives were lost.

FRG

“Still, the extended pre-flight box-checking exercise made me wonder if many would pass by Bali’s idyllic beaches for now, to find easier and less bureaucratic comfort elsewhere, such as in FijiBaird wrote.

Kirrily Schwarz, writing for ESCAPEwrote about the tricky aspect of printing your travel documents, at a time when we’re used to doing everything on our phones.

“Lacking the essential materials, I ended up at Officeworks the day before the flight to print out hard copies of the requirements. However, as a rookie mistake, I overlooked the need to staple grouped pages, such as the eight pages of my flight itinerary and the seven pages of my accommodation reservation.

When you arrive, you get a VOA (visa on arrival) for around $50. You also need proof of COVID travel insurance with a minimum cover of AUD 21,000 as a condition of travel, at the time of writing.

In addition to undergoing the usual pre-flight COVID test, travelers must also take a PCR test upon arrival in Bali.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan explained that even “fully vaccinated passengers will still need to take a PCR test upon arrival and stay inside their pre-booked accommodation awaiting the result.”

“After testing negative, tourists will be free to do their activities with the procedures still applied. The tourists will take another PCR test on the third day at their respective hotels. It’s for our mutual safety.

Some travel websites recommend that you book a hotel with a “warm-up” vacation package, which includes PCR testing in its price (but make sure it’s not a scam because your PCR at a health clinic official in Bali shouldn’t cost much more than $25-28).

ESCAPE reports: “Your PCR test results will be sent to the PedunliLindungi app, which you will need to download before your trip to upload your vaccine certificate as one of the travel requirements.”

“It has been informed that if you do not pass this final test, a black icon will appear on your PedunliLindungi app, which may prevent you from traveling freely in Bali.”

ESCAPE

Other than that, Bali’s back, baby.

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