A total of 16 foreign tourists entered Bali last year. Pre-pandemic, more than 6.2 million people visited the island of the gods and 1.2 million of them were Aussies. But now with the much-anticipated news that quarantine restrictions are being dropped for tourists entering Bali, the bookings are beginning to explode – and the locals couldn’t be happier.

In fact, according to holiday accommodation owners and travel agents, there has never been a better time to visit this warm and friendly paradise and to grab the re-opening bargains while they’re hot. While the world has been standing still in pandemic lockdown, Bali has been doing what Bali does best – reinventing itself for the next level of cool, with new resorts and hotels, private villas and island getaways. 

Michael Young, a Canadian property developer based in Bali and owner of a bunch of luxury holiday rental villas throughout the island, told Explore holidaymakers have noticeably started to re-emerge. 

“Bingin beach [in Uluwatu] has been so quiet for so long, but today it was bustling like the pre-pandemic days. It was awesome to see so many people returning and enjoying these beautiful parts of Bali again. You could literally see how excited the locals were to have tourists back,” he said.

“We are already seeing a big increase in bookings and there are even a huge number of Aussies moving here full time now.” 

Fabrice Abbey, a French travel agent who has been based in Bali for 15 years, said: “Travelling in Bali is perfect at the moment. People are seeking experiences and places further away from the crowds and this means it’s easier for everyone to get from one place to another. 

“People are also looking for ways to be closer to the natural elements and get away from the big hotels. This is great, because it is what Bali does best.” 

Beautiful Bali.

She also points out that after the summer Australia has just had, she imagines Bali is going to be high on the list of holiday destinations. 

“We see loads of Aussies coming here in their winter months for the sunshine anyway, but this year is probably going to be one of the best years to celebrate with some sunshine yet.”

Major airlines began returning to Bali just recently and as of early April the big guns are all hands back on deck. Jetstar, Qantas and Garuda are promoting super cheap flight deals, some as low as $236 return from Sydney, although Garuda only has one flight per week on offer. 

Virgin has unfortunately cancelled flights into Bali for the moment but the airline has indicated it will be re-commencing its Bali route in about May. But with bargains on offer from the rest, this is the time to pounce, especially since the fares on sale are available throughout the year. 

In terms of what’s required for entry into Bali, quarantine has recently been scrapped. So, too, has the pre-purchased tourist visa that required a minimum of ten days to process prior to arriving and cost a whopping $400. Thankfully, the $47 tourist visa has returned this week and is easily sorted out on arrival at Denpasar. 

Some basic rules remain in place for arriving tourists, including proof of a negative PCR test prior to departing Australia and another one on arrival in Bali. It goes without saying that travel insurance is compulsory, including Covid-related health cover to the value of no less than US$25,000. And you need to provide a certificate to show your three COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The current Australian government travel advice warns of minor security issues and the ongoing problem of potential terrorist alerts in Indonesia. 

In terms of accommodation, Bali never has just one size to fit all. Here are some new places to book your 2022 Indonesian getaway. 

Canggu

Kuta was for the ’90s. Seminyak was the early 2000s. The new hip centre of gravity is Canggu where holidaymakers will find the best shopping, beach clubs, fabulous restaurants and night spots. And this is where the coolest private villa accommodation options are, too, tucked in among rice paddy fields and quiet little side streets. The Young Villas has an array of options to suit couples through to families and groups, all at an affordable rate. Starting from $307 per night. 

Explore more: theyoungvillas.com

Uluwatu

This is the new Canggu, but at the southernmost tip of the island, where the beaches are still pristine and the surfers flock to the best breaks. Uluwatu is perched above spectacular cliffs that also capture the most breathtaking sunsets. While the best accommodation options here are mostly called “villas”, they are actually more like six-star resorts with infinity swimming pools that hang over these cliffs in gravity-defying ways. Stay at the Alila Villas. Prices start from $1118 per night. 

Explore more: alilahotels.com

The stunning views of Uluwatu.

Nusa dua

This is the classy part of the island with the ritzy resorts and bigger beaches, further away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist areas. Our pick for Nusa Dua is the stunning Apurva Resort. Prices start from $290 per night. 

Explore more: kempinski.com

Ubud

This is the mountainous forest region, famous for its yoga retreats and jungle-style villas. The choice of 2022 is the Mandapa Resort. Prices start from $888 per night. 

Explore more: ritzcarlton.com

A place to stay in Ubud.

Nusa penida

Travellers to Bali are slowly expanding their horizons to some of the smaller nearby Balinese islands like Nusa Lembongan. Now an unspoilt island within easy boat ride from the mainland is making waves. Nusa Penida has the most pristine beaches and coastal walks, with cliff and grotto formations that will leave you spellbound. The brand-new Raja Lima may appear rustic to the untrained eye, but on closer inspection the laidback look in fact consists of the highest sourced pure linens and vintage antique objects handpicked with exquisite attention to detail. Prices start from $155 per night. 

Explore more: booking.com

Scuba dive.

Take me there

Flights are scheduled from early April with major airlines Qantas, Garuda and Jetstar, with sale prices starting from $236 return ex Sydney.

Explore more: bali.com.au

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