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In Bali, the Island of the Gods sees flights with international mortals finally arriving after a two-year hiatus

Feb. 05, 2022
4 min read
In Bali, the Island of the Gods sees flights with international mortals finally arriving after a two-year hiatus
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While Indonesia — including the island of Bali, one of the world’s most coveted pre-pandemic tourism destinations — officially re-opened to visitors from 19 foreign countries (including Japan, South Korea and China, but not the United States) in October 2021, the archipelago hardly boomed with international arrivals. And that was due largely to the fact that there were no arriving international flights that weren’t cargo planes.

But the announcement from Indonesian officials on Jan. 31 that Bali would be opening to all foreign visitors on Feb. 4 surely rang like a dinner bell throughout the world of budget backpackers, among other Bali-craving travelers.

It was easier to believe on Feb. 3 when Garuda Indonesia landed its first international direct flight from Tokyo on the island in two years (there were a reported six foreigners and six Indonesians aboard).

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(Photo by sutthinon sanyakup/Getty Images)

Prior to the pandemic, the tiny Indonesian island with an outsized reputation for wallet-friendly adventuring, saw some 200 flights landing daily at the Bali airport (DPS), which handled a reported one million passengers each day in 2019.

But in 2021, with strict restrictions and the island’s airport mostly closed to international flights, there were an anemic 45 tourist arrivals, according to one CNN Travel story. And to say that Bali — known for its towering volcanoes, terraced rice paddies, clifftop temples and rich culture of dance, music and art — has suffered the collateral damage of the pandemic is perhaps the understatement of the global tourism industry.

However, things are beginning to truly look up for the Island of the Gods to soon be welcoming back many more of the mortals among us.

Singapore Airlines announced that it is resuming direct daily commercial service to the island this month, with the first flight scheduled to arrive at Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) from Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) on Feb. 16.

But entering into Bali’s storied surrounds won’t be easy as stepping off the plane and hopping a motorbike taxi to your favorite street food vendor for some nasi goreng.

All international travelers arriving in Indonesia, including Bali, must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a minimum of one vaccine dose.

Related: Omicron update: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

The CDC currently has Indonesia listed as Level 1 for low COVID-19 risk, although it advises against non-essential travel to East Java, which is Level 3, due to a recent volcanic eruption and the risk of further activity.

But due to increasing omicron numbers in places like Jakarta and Bali, a quarantine of five days for Indonesian travelers (or seven days for arriving Indonesians with only one vaccine dose) in a hotel or liveaboard boat certified by the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy is still in place and remains mandatory for international arrivals.

Foreign travelers entering the country will need proof of two vaccine doses completed at least 14 days before arriving and then a five-day quarantine. Tourists need to show a negative PCR test upon arrival to Indonesia and will need mandatory medical insurance.

Before the pandemic, the island was a global hot spot for scuba diving fanatics and intrepid surfers, in addition to drawing international travelers in search of everything from budget beach bungalows and yoga retreats to luxury hotels and all-inclusive escapes.

Related: 15 dream-worthy Bali hotels to book now

Indonesia’s current quarantine requirements are stricter than neighboring countries, including the Philippines (which is reopening its borders to tourists on Feb. 10, 2022) and Thailand (both of which no longer require quarantine for vaccinated travelers). So it remains to be seen how quickly Bali and greater Indonesia’s tourism will rebound.

For anyone who loves Bali — which is to say, almost everyone who’s ever set foot on it verdant shores — this all comes as good news for the island with some of the world’s best scuba diving, beaches, surf breaks, avocado milkshakes (yes!), and, more importantly, a local economy that relied more than 50 percent on tourism before the pandemic changed everything.

Related: How to Get to Bali With One Stop Using Points and Miles

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases