I love slow travel, slow food and discovering new adventures and delicious regional food in new locations. I'm on an indulgent quest and I'd love you to follow at https://www.facebook.com/walkeatshare
Published May 29th 2022
Part 2: Arriving in Bali
Travel is central to my life and I felt truly bereft when none of us could do it. I recently seized the opportunity to revisit one of my most loved destinations, the island of Bali. Undaunted by new travel requirements (read about them here) I finally arrived and I've made a list of what I found.
1. On arrival. Travel requirements have relaxed and a negative PCR test is no longer required. Our airline insisted on seeing our travel insurance documents, proof of first four nights accomodation and the Peduli Lindungi app on our phones before we boarded our flight. On arrival in Bali we were not asked to show any of these, only our International Vaccination Certificates.
I had heard about the 'chair system' used to shuffle people through the checking process. The system wasn't implemented at our arrival time, possibly because there were no other planes arriving at that time.
The arrival checking process was fairly quick and efficient. We showed vaccination certificates, walked through a temperature checking station then purchased visas on arrival (cash in either rupiah or home currency or visa/mastercard). There was a short wait to get through immigration after which bag collection went seamlessly.
2. After customs and immigration. I had planned to purchase a SIM card at the airport since Indonesia has a relatively new law that requires all SIM cards to be registered to the person using them. My understanding is that the process is far quicker and simpler to do at the airport rather than after you leave. The SIM card shop was closed so that wasn't an option.
We changed a small amount of money at the airport to get us started. The exchange rate was Rp9,400 to the Aussie dollar.
We paid Rp200,000 for a taxi to our CHSE (Covid approved) hotel in Batu Belig and proceeded to have fun.
3. Restaurants. Part of the fun was checking which of our favourite restaurants, bars and shops were open so we spent many hours walking many kilometres between Kuta and Echo Beach.
Sadly, many of our favourite restaurants (Sardine, Metis, Merah Putih) are closed and rumour has it some will never open again. A stand out champion of resilience and adaptability, however, is Chez Gado Gado at Seminyak. We have always loved this restaurant and it's open for business and as good as ever.
The Indonesian president recently declared that masks are no longer necessary except in medical facilities and on transport. Most people have happily discarded them. Checking in is also no longer required.
5. Shops. The shops in Kuta, Legian and, to some extent, Seminyak, are struggling. With a few glossy exceptions, open shops are laden with tired and faded goods. Many shopfronts are firmly closed. By contrast, the villages of Canggu, in particular Berawa, boast open, newly stocked shops of all descriptions and the whole area is teeming with people and traffic. Far too busy for me these days but there are two thousand or so expats who love the appeal.
6. Beaches. The busiest beaches, by far, are north of Seminyak. Berawa has been recently 'discovered' and crowds are firmly entrenched with their coconuts, surfboards and beers. The 'long-chairs' await at Kuta, Legian and Seminyak as hopeful vendors watch the increasing number of planes arriving at nearby Ngurah Rai airport.
7. Massages.The best massage in Bali is still, most definitely, at Cozy Spa.
Media reports claim that tourism in Bali has increased 100% in just the last week. Locals are happy and welcoming and tourists are smiling, happy to be back on this beautiful island of spiritual magic.
One thing that hasn't changed, and probably never will, is the strong religious culture of the Hindu people.