Bali reopening to tourists: Everything you need to know about travel from Australia

As Bali announced a trial to scrap hotel quarantine from March 14 and lift all quarantine requirements for visitors by April, here's everything you need to know about returning to one of Australia's favourite destinations. 

A Gojek driver (Indonesia's Uber equivalent) recently travelled all the way from Ubud to Canggu, an almost two-hour journey there and back, to return the phone I'd absentmindedly left in his vehicle earlier in the day. My housekeeper, Ibu Komang, who had helped me try to retrieve it, texted me, wishing me her best prayers. "Good karma will always be there for you," she said.

Whether that good karma is deserved or not, Ibu's sentiment is intrinsic to the kind-hearted and sanguine nature of the Balinese and their unique culture for which I've developed an even greater understanding and respect for during the seven months I've been living here with my family.

It's something which many of my compatriots, so long a presence, both good and bad of the Bali holiday scene, recall fondly and admiringly. If the Balinese choose to will it so, then the Australians will surely return in their hundreds of thousands.

While there's no denying that rules and regulations for getting back to Bali are evolving weekly if not daily, for the first time since arriving here it feels like some good news has finally begun to emerge as the Indonesian Government slowly but surely reinstates the island's capacity for tourism.

The Balinese people, after so much hardship - even preceding the pandemic - couldn't be readier but tourists won't come flooding back until some of the disincentives to travel are removed.

Certainly, much has changed over the past two years. Bali is a calmer, quieter place, more inclined to healing, wellness and community than the Kuta pace of pre-COVID days.

"Don't assume your favourite hotel or local warung [a small family-owned shop, restaurant or cafe] has survived the pandemic," says Fabrice Abbey, a Bali-based travel consultant, who has lived in Indonesia for almost 15 years.

"On the other hand, travel can be pretty amazing right now. Reduced crowds make it easier to get around the tourist areas. Travellers are exploring much further afield and connecting more with nature and environment-based activities.


"There are deals to be had in hotels and resorts, and plenty of positive stories about ocean, reef and ecosystem regeneration. Head down to any beach in Canggu or Sanur on a weekend and see the crowds of locals enjoying sunsets. It's actually pretty special seeing them reclaim their space."

From where I'm positioned in the southern beach area of Pererenan, Bali is a paradise in waiting – restaurants and bars are doing a bustling trade, the waves are busy with surfers, guesthouses are spruced for new arrivals.

Since it surely won't be all that long for such an appealing destination to take off again it'll pay to be ready and here's a guide to getting back to Bali from an Australian right on the spot. Of course, the caveat remains, as is the case with everything associated with COVID-19, that everything can instantly change so be sure to do your own follow-up research.


UPDATE: On March 7, 2022 visas on arrival were reintroduced for tourists heading to Bali, replacing the arduous (and expensive, at $400 per person) short-stay E-visa requirements. Visas on arrival cost 500,000 rupiah ($A47).

Organisation is key in terms of other documentation requirements. These include vaccination certificates (or an exemption letter for unvaccinated children under 12 years old stating they are fit and healthy for travel); medical certificates (for general fitness to travel); signed statement letters (stating willingness to follow quarantine protocol); passport photocopies (with 18 months validity and five blank pages); and proof of health insurance (with a minimum coverage of $US25,000 to cover COVID medical expenses should they arise).

Before departure, download Indonesia's contract tracing Penduli Lindung app ( and fill out the E-Hac (Electronic Health Awareness Card) section with details about flights and quarantine accommodation.

On arrival at Denpasar's Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport ( travellers will need visas, vaccination certificate and proof of health insurance, along with proof of pre-paid accommodation for the duration of your stay (including the quarantine period, if still required) and a negative RT-PCR test taken before departure.

You'll need to take another RT-PCR test at the airport. Have print-outs of all these documents, as well as digital versions where applicable.


The first non-stop flights from Australia to Bali resumed on Friday, March 4 when Garuda Indonesia ( relaunched its Sydney-Denpasar route. 

Singapore Airlines ( resumed its daily flights from Singapore to Bali mid-February providing the option of a stopover flight or perhaps combined holiday to Bali from Melbourne and Sydney (

Jetstar Australia ( is due to resume flights to Denpasar on March 14 from Melbourne and March 15 from Sydney. Qantas ( is due to recommence flights from Melbourne and Sydney on March 28.

Virgin Australia ( recently delayed its Bali service saying it will resume its services "subject to the further relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and resultant impacts on customer demand".

From the airport, passengers will be transported to chosen quarantine resorts and hotels via a transportation service provided by the government or your accommodation. Many of the hotel quarantine packages include this one-way transfer service.

Once you're free of quarantine, it's worth downloading the local Gojek app (, for zippy (and cheap) motorbike and car rides (plus shopping and food deliveries). For hiring your own wheels (stay safe), Wayan Sida Laksana offers a more tailored experience for day trips and tours.


On March 1, quarantine requirements were reduced from five days (four nights) to three days (two nights) for those with three vaccine shots (that includes a booster). Unvaccinated children under 12 follow the quarantine requirements of their parents. Local operators are crossing fingers this may soon be the case for everyone.

Quarantine will be dropped as a trial on March 14. If Bali's COVID cases continue to decline, then all quarantine will be lifted by the end of the month. 

In the meantime, there couldn't be a better destination to do quarantine in, with publicised quarantine packages looking much like the kind of holiday Bali tragics would choose anyway. The list of hotels and resorts has grown from the initial five to 27 bubble quarantine resorts (where guests can leave their rooms to use designated quarantine hotel facilities) and about 50 in-room hotels and resorts.

Bubble quarantine resorts include Nusa Dua's Grand Hyatt Bali (, which is offering a "warm up vacation'" packages from $1020 a room, including exercise equipment and access to pool, beach and fitness centre.

At Griya Santrian Resort (, in Sanur, from $860 a room guests have access to a garden restaurant, beach and swimming pool, and can partake in yoga and cultural activities. If the thought of a breakfast buffet still makes you a little squeamish, there are some attractive in-room options.

At the top-end, a package by Four Seasons' ( sells from $3330 and includes a spacious indoor-outdoor garden villa and private plunge pool on Jimbaran Bay waterfront. Elsewhere, at the Payogan Villa Resort in Ubud ( the quarantine package includes a traditional one-bedroom villa from $1000 with a private pool and lush jungle surrounds.

All packages typically include four nights (five days) accommodation with full-board, internet access, one-way airport transfers, laundry, plus medical visits for PCR swab tests. Some include insurance. Check Bali Hotels Association ( for more information and quarantine hotel updates.

On day four of lockdown guests have a second RT-PCR test. If it's negative, official paperwork will be issued as proof you have quarantined, and you will be free to leave.

If there is any doubt, the Australian Government's Smart Traveller website ( warns travellers to Bali: "If you test positive for COVID-19 on arrival, or at any time during your quarantine period, you will be taken to a hospital or isolation hotel for further isolation at your own expense".

Isolation duration is 10 days, with evaluation on days five and six. If test results are negative, then isolation will be finished on day seven.

The wheels have kept turning in Bali's hotel scene with exceptional new hotels and resorts drawing on the island's diverse landscapes. In the pine-covered highlands of Kintamani, the Australian-owned Tira Vilagna ( is a boutique 12-suite hotel where cooler climes have inspired an onsen style spa, communal fire pit and cosy lookouts from which to enjoy volcano views.

Nirjhara (, a luxury 25-villa resort off the tourist trail in Tabanan, is set in a Balinese paradise with lush gardens, rice paddies, tropical jungle and its own natural waterfall pounding metres from the restaurant.

In the tourist hot spots, Andaz (, right on the beachfront in Sanur, is designed to mirror traditional Balinese compound living. Its 149 rooms and suites occupy tree-shaded courtyards or are townhouse-style overlooking a central square activated with eateries, market stalls and cultural activities.

Seminyak's Potato Head Studios ( taps into the digital nomad crowd, with a communal work space and library and 168 rooms and studios styled to also incorporate rest and play. For urban dwellers, Mamaka by Ovolo ( has 191 edgy hotel rooms, including 12 suites, with youthful quirks, a rooftop swimming pool and cracking bar overlooking Kuta Beach.


Bali's restaurants have used the downtime for soft openings in terms of training staff, trialling menus and getting a feel for the crowd. Success stories include Berawa's Mosto (, Bali's first natural wine bar co-partnered by ex-Sydneysider Bella Rowell.

One other must-do is Santanera ( on cool little Tanah Batak in Canggu. It champions cross-continental dishes from Spanish jamon Iberico to Argentinian steak. Teak tabletops, dimly-lit booths, tall ceilings and mustachioed mixologists add that South American party vibe.

Keen travellers will be pleased to hear that Seminyak's much loved Made's Warung ( Indonesian restaurant has weathered the storm and so too celebrity chef Will Meyrick's Sarong (, loved for its Balinese cuisine.

In Ubud, crowd favourite Locavore ( has kept its local produce degustation menu ticking along, but Mozaic, the famed French restaurant and cooking school, remains closed until further notice. Celebrity chef Will Goldfarb's Room4Desert ( has adapted to the times by offering an a la carte menu for afternoon drop-ins alongside its coveted 21 course dessert degustation.


COVID-safe protocols are taken seriously here. Visitors to Bali can expect hand sanitiser, temperature checks and masks at hotels with physical distancing, strict cleaning procedures, hand-washing stations and staff health checks as standard.

Pack some Rapid Antigen Tests - forearmed is forewarned. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms outside quarantine there are plenty of roadside and drive-through RAT and PCR testing centres and medical clinics advertising their services.

If you do test positive, call your travel insurer for a recommendation on what your next move should be. You may be required to change flights, stay longer in a hotel or apartment while recovering, or move to a quarantine facility. Once you've recovered, check with your airline about requirements for flying home.

Despite some of the horror stories you hear, Bali's health system is well set-up for foreigners. Roadside clinics, recognised by the red cross or ambulance parked out the front, are accessible for common problems including earache, broken bones and fever.



Buy clothing and souvenirs that support the local community and its culture. Uluwatu, a region on the south-western tip of the Bukit Peninsula, is just one example. Australians aren't tippers but in Bali a little bit goes a long way. If you're happy with a foot massage, or a cold coconut, another IDR10,000 ($1) is petrol money for a whole week.


Join not-for-profit tourism experiences like staycation and pilgrim's trail by Astungkara Way ( There are also plenty of drop-in volunteer opportunities. Prasad makes "bungkus" packages to feed the hungry while Sungai Watch ( organises river and beach clean-ups.


The big resorts clean their own beaches, but the smaller ones can't keep up. It's an endless task, but picking up plastic here and there shows you care. Avoid taking single-use plastic to Bali so you don't add to the heinous waste problem on the ground.


Bali's environment is a fragile one. Support hotels, resorts and others tourism operators with a sustainability focus like Seminyak's Potato Head Studios ( Bali has some of the best plant-based food in the world. Try it.


Bali's regional destinations are feeling the pinch even more than the more traditional tourism areas. Explore places like East Bali, Menjangan, Kintamani and Sideman. On your return home become a life-long Bali supporter. Positive Impact ( has a good list of causes.