How to Move to Bali During COVID
I decided to move back to Bali about a month ago and have loved my decision ever since. Despite the complicated process and extreme baggage fees it took for me to get here, I have no regrets. So I decided to share what I've learned in full detail. Here is your guide to moving to Bali during Covid-19.
Step 1 - Where to Stay?
This is the first thing to nail down since it’s the only way you’ll get your visa. Giving the visa company and government proof of where you’ll be in Bali is typically the first thing they’ll ask for. It’s also a way for them to keep track of contact cases in order to stop the COVID spread.
My recommendation is to, first, essentially come up with your budget when choosing a place. While Bali is extremely cheaper than many places around the world, you could end up spending quite a bit on a place if you don’t go into it with the right mindset and understand what a “good price” is right now. Also think about what you would want in order to feel at home, what is the vibe you are trying to go with? Looking for a social life? You might consider starting out at a hostel or shared villa/homestay. Wanting a more private experience? Villa’s and/or Airbnb’s are the way to go.
Note: you can always move around, so I recommend keeping your choice for about a month and then circling back to see if you want to extend from there.
Top places to stay:
Where all the expats are right now. Located near Kuta, Seminyak, and Uluwatu. A beachy town where everything you need is pretty much in the Canggu bubble. Shouldn’t take longer than 5-10 mins to get where you want to go in the area, which is also a great way to save money. Unless it’s Denpasar to get your visa renewed, in which case it’ll be a good day trip out (it could take a while there).
The vibe is incredibly chill here where everyone is extremely open and it’s pretty easy to jump right in, make some friends, do a yoga class, go for a surf and work remotely at a coworking space or pretty much any cafe around you. Wifi is abounding. Ending your day with a sunset by the beach is another norm here also, and there are plenty of deals on happy hours, cheap meals, etc.
If forest greenery and a zen lifestyle is for you, this is the place. It can get a bit empty without all the tourists, but there are still expats in the area and it's a lot closer to the famous mountain and/or waterfall hikes if that interests you more.
Ubud is special when it comes to spiritual experiences, an area not lacking in stunning temples and holds my absolute favorite yogi place - The Yoga Barn. A must if you’re looking for some incredible yoga with a great cafe attached.
Note: Beware of monkeys in Ubud, they often steal items like phones or can be prone to bite if they are looking for food (especially if you don't have your rabies shot, just be careful)
Stay near the water, experience more of a laid back version of Canggu, where there are definitely less people around. Relax and unwind, see the beautiful temples overlooking the water. The perfect spot for weekend getaways if that’s what you’re looking for.
Nyang Nyang beach is a must see if you decide this is the place for you. These beaches are a little more do-able if you’re looking to swim. Canggu has pretty rough waves typically, whereas Uluwatu can be a bit more calming.
Other popular areas to check out - Seminyak, Kuta, any of the Nusa Islands, or Gili Islands
Airbnb’s right now are still less than they would be with all of the tourists around, however they are considered the more expensive option.
Con: Unless you find a really good deal, or go with a month’s stay and negotiate a lower price to follow, it’s gonna be a bit pricier than the typical “bali-life norm” for expats.
Pro: Not having to take out cash or worry about monthly payments because it can charge the card you have on file. Convenience is always a plus.
Villas are one of the best options right now, and what many do is wait to meet new friends once you get here and see who you’d want to live with. Best way to find a good villa whether its solo or with roommates would be on Facebook:
Canggu Nomad Girls - for the gals obviously, but a great way to connect and see if anyone needs a roommate or if anyone has a villa in mind for what you want. Sometimes people will post listings as well.
Canggu Housing//Find a Home in Bali - lots of great prices, and some are open to negotiation of course.
Bali Expat Community - another great option to both connect with possible roommates or get an idea of what is available.
Or through websites like:
Of course a con for this is going to be if you’re nervous to be around a bunch of people during COVID or can be a little more high-maintenance (no judgment here), most hostels might not be for you.
A massive pro however, is how affordable they are, and most still include all the amenities we know and love: pool, cleaning service, laundry assistance or having your own washing machine, etc.
Sites to help you:
Step 2 - Visa Options:
Right now the only option is to do the business visa, also called the B211 or E-visa.
How to apply:
Find a visa agency to help you, here are some credible ones I or some of my friends have used:
Bali Visas (The service I used, I recommend asking for Tanya)
My Visa INDONESIA (a friend specifically recommends Anggi)
Visa4Bali (more pricey but I've been told they really get everything done quickly for you)
Documents you will need:
Passport scanned copy
Bank statement showing you can afford to stay in Bali (varies depending on agency, I just needed to prove I had $1,000 but others might say more or less)
Give a legitimate reason for getting the business visa if asked, examples are: attending business meetings, assessing the market, checking on business investments, etc.
Proof of payment for Visa (approx. $300-500 USD depending on the COVID rate at the time of payment)
You will need to print out all documents emailed to you by your visa company including: Statement letter, physical visa document (should have a scannable square on it), statement from your company with all of their information on it
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long can I stay?
You can stay for up to 60 days (single-entry, meaning you can’t leave and come back) without extending it, then about 10 days before that is up you can also apply for an extension, and continue extending for up to 6 months with this visa.
Will I be able to fly into Denpasar (Bali)?
At the moment, no, you cannot fly directly into Bali. You will need to fly to Jakarta (CGK) and be quarantined at a hotel for 5 days or 14 days if you are coming from a COVID “red” zone.
Do I need to book my quarantine hotel ahead of time?
Most visa agencies will require you to do this, and it’s just safer to do it ahead of time. Click here for the list of hotels I was given. For more, always double check with your visa agency.
Do I need to do a 72-hr PCR test before arriving in Jakarta?
Yes, plus it's just a safe bet to make sure you have all these documents that they could ask for (and have the right to ask for randomly). A PCR test done within 48 hrs of your departure date and time is the safest bet right now.
What does the COVID situation look like in Bali?
Click here for updates from the Bali Covid Update Facebook page. It changes daily so it's great to keep informed. While not many wear a mask here right now, it's important to note it is still a thing and to take the necessary precautions. When riding a moped you will need to wear your mask unless you want to get pulled over with a fine.
Will I need to collect my visa from an embassy?
No, it should be provided to you through email. For extensions you will need to go in person typically to the Denpasar embassy.
Can I book my flight before getting my visa?
It’s not my recommendation to do this. My visa ended up taking a bit longer because the government made new restrictions at the time. Wait to get your visa then you have 90 days to enter for it to be valid.
What is eHAC?
This is an app that will make your Indonesian airport process flow smoothly. Download it for when you are traveling within Indonesia (ex. From Jakarta to Bali). Go to Account > HAC > Click on the plus sign in the upper right corner > Select Domestic & input all your information on where you are staying and where you were. You will need to scan this at some point, have it ready to scan and walk right on through!
Is there a curfew right now for Bali?
No curfew at the moment.
Are there inter-country travel restrictions?
Yes, currently you’ll have to provide a negative PCR test for most areas if you decide to travel around in-country.
Can I get vaccinated in Bali as a foreigner?
Not at the moment, no, they are vaccinating locals first as the priority.
Can I get a job in Indonesia to stay long-term?
Locals get priority first, and the government doesn't really recommend this (its kind of frowned upon unless its needed). It is however, a great way to get the KITA visa which allows you to stay longer if you work for an Indonesian based company or marry someone local here.
Any recommendations on what airlines to use?
If you have an AMEX that links to points, try out Singapore Airlines, I also love Qatar, and Garuda as well.