The popular holiday island of Bali is finally reopening to Singapore travellers after a two-year hiatus, with the introduction of daily Singapore Airlines services non-stop from Changi starting on 16th February, following an official lifting of international flight restrictions this week.
It sounds like great news for those eager to take a trip there, but be warned the process is far from simple at this stage, and will require being confined to a luxury hotel or resort for four nights / five days, with no easy way to avoid a seven-day SHN period on return to Singapore either.
Bali reopens to international flights
This is the second official reopening for international tourists to the popular holiday island, with Bali originally welcoming those from China, Japan, New Zealand and some other countries from October 2021, however no direct flights were actually launched, effectively leading to zero arrivals.
International arrivals to Bali Airport, which didn’t exist anyway, were then technically prohibited from early December 2021 over Omicron variant fears.
This time round Bali will reopen to all international visitors (no specific nationalities), with Singapore Airlines among the first carriers bringing in tourists from around the world from 16th February. This will likely be predominantly for those coming from Europe, rather than Singapore itself (as it was before COVID-19).
Travel to Bali won’t be nearly as straightforward as it once was, for the time being at least, with the following conditions for travellers:
- Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks before departure
- Obtain a B211 e-visit tourist visa before departure (Visa On Arrival is suspended)
- Your visa number must end in “LN” (arrivals via Denpasar or Batam only)
- Obtain a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of departure
- Hold travel insurance with a coverage of at least US$25,000 including COVID-19 treatment
- Book a 5-day / 4-night quarantine hotel package at one of six properties (see below)
- Download the PeduliLindungi contact tracing app
Once you arrive in Bali:
- Undergo a PCR test at Ngurah Rai Airport and wait for your negative result (1-2 hours)
- Transport to your pre-booked designated quarantine hotels (no en-route stops allowed)
- Stay for four nights / five days (but not confined to your room)
- Doctor’s visit on Day 2, to check your physical condition, O2 levels and body temperature (hopefully all non-invasive!)
- Undergo a PCR test on Day 4 in the quarantine hotel, for exit from quarantine with a negative result, presumably on Day 5
Most of us picture hotel quarantine as confinement to your room, with three meals left outside your door each day to keep you going and a lot of Netflix to binge through.
Thankfully that’s not the case with the Bali hotel quarantine arrangement, which will operate under a “resort bubble” format, allowing you full use of the facilities including the swimming pool, gym and hotel restaurants, etc. during your five-day stay.
Some properties will also have a section of the beach dedicated for use by quarantine guests.
Staff will also live on-property and not be permitted to leave the “bubble” during their defined working periods.
The six properties currently operating as quarantine hotels on the island are:
- The Westin (Nusa Dua)
From IDR 8,500,000
- Grand Hyatt Bali (Nusa Dua)
From IDR 10,500,000
- Viceroy Bali (Ubud)
From IDR 20,600,000 per person
- Griya Santrian (Nusa Dua)
From IDR 8,800,000
- Royal Tulip Springhill (Jimbaran)
From IDR 8,200,000
- Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa (Nusa Dua)
From IDR 9,000,000
Packages include transport, accommodation, two PCR tests (airport arrival and Day 4 exit PCR) and in most cases meals or resort dining credit. Some also include laundry and daily activities like Yoga.
Note that some hotels are only launching these quarantine packages from 1st March 2022.
On completion of the quarantine period with a negative final PCR test (the third you’ll have taken so far), you are then free to roam the island and relocate to any available property.
What if you test positive?
If you test COVID-19 positive in Bali, you’ll have to go to a local isolation facility at your own expense (so have comprehensive travel insurance!). Those with severe symptoms will be taken to hospital for treatment.
These travellers will remain in isolation until they test negative.
Singapore Airlines flights
Singapore Airlines will restart daily Bali flights on 16th February 2022, using its 337-seat Boeing 787-10 aircraft, with a morning timing on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, or an afternoon timing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
(16 Feb – 30 Jun 2022)
These flights then return to Singapore later on the same days.
(16 Feb – 30 Jun 2022)
From 1st July 2022, both Bali flights shown above are loaded as daily services, for a total of twice-daily operation in each direction.
“The resumption of daily flights to Bali is part of SIA’s long-term commitment to grow Indonesia’s tourism industry.”Alvin Seah, General Manager Indonesia, Singapore Airlines
These are the one-way KrisFlyer miles redemption rates for flights between Singapore and Bali on SIA flights.
|KrisFlyer Redemption Rates
Singapore ⇆ Bali
This is one shorter route where we do actually redeem Business Saver rates at 19,000 miles each way from time to time, since we think it provides decent value for a 2.5-hour flight, provided they don’t sneak a 737-800 on the route with (ex-SilkAir) recliner seats.
Who will go?
Even though Indonesia has a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Singapore, currently only selected Jakarta – Singapore flights are included in the scheme, with these new Bali services operating as non-VTL flights.
That will significantly limit the interest of Singapore residents, since returning after a Bali trip will currently mean seven days home isolation, under the ‘Category 2’ process.
In addition to the five-day minimum resort confinement on arrival in Bali, it means SIA’s flights will predominantly serve transit traffic to and from Europe and the USA, with timings designed to meet connection ‘banks’ at Changi linking to and from cities like London, Frankfurt and New York.
Fully vaccinated travellers returning from Bali to the UK on Singapore Airlines, for example, will only require a pre-departure ART or PCR test within 2 days of their flight (in order to transit through Changi), with no further testing or quarantine on arrival back home from 11th February.
That certainly makes life easier for them!
One possibility for Singapore residents to return via the VTL process is to take a domestic flight from Bali to Jakarta, then take one of the following designated VTL flights to Singapore (click to expand):
Unfortunately this is a fair bit of extra hassle at the end of your trip and the Singapore Airlines flight departs too early for a same-day connection to be made.
It’s great to see Bali finally starting to open up to international tourists, but let’s face it – this is an awful lot of hassle for a trip there!
It will probably only be of interest to those who want to take a long break on the island, perhaps of two weeks or more, then there’s the thorny issue of seven days SHN back in Singapore (for now at least), unless you plan a slightly arduous route home via Jakarta.
The addition of at least some of Singapore Airlines’ daily flights from Bali to the VTL programme would be a big improvement, but for the vast majority the four-night / five-day arrival quarantine at one of only six hotels will also remain a serious sticking point, even with the (welcome) ability to leave your room and use the hotel facilities.
For now, you’d have to be a die-hard Bali fan, with a lot of annual leave up your sleeve, to consider this process. It will surely improve in the months ahead – fingers crossed!
(Cover Photo: Conrad)