After over two months of lock-down and a downturn on the island’s economy, things are finally getting back on track as more places open for business. From beaches, restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and even dance clubs, Bali has definitely been busier as places continue to welcome locals, tourists and expats with amazing deals and promotions.
As things pick up in South Bali, with places like Seminyak, Berawa and Canggu seeing more crowds by the beach and in restaurants, the North, East and West sides of the island are also making up for lost time and business.
Visiting temples, hiking on different mountain treks, snorkeling, diving, and other favorite outdoor attractions in Bali are now made available, allowing local tourism and economy to move forward and prepare itself in the coming months.
The re-opening of businesses comes as Bali Governor I Wayan Koster’s announcement that the island will reopen its borders for international tourists on Sept. 11 under strict health protocols, as reported by The Jakarta Post.
This plan is in line with the government’s three-phase plan on welcoming back tourists to the island. The first phase was carried out on July 9, when local businesses and tourist spots were opened. Things have been looking up and moving forward, with the second phase set to be carried out on July 31. This will allow domestic travelers from other islands in Indonesia to visit Bali for tourism purposes.
Thus, NOW the perfect time to plan your trip to Bali and have an itinerary ready to explore all corners of the island, from North to South and East to West.
Where do you start your journey?
To begin your trip around Bali, it is always great to start with a base—that would be around the South—either in Seminyak or in Canggu where you can find many contacts and resources to plan your trip.
For transportation, you can opt for a car or motorbike that you can drive around Bali (that is, if you have an international license). Another option is to rent a car with a driver, and there are plenty of accredited tour and travel companies around to help you with this.
The furthest point from the South to the North of Bali’s main island takes about three hours, with an approximate distance of 69 miles (112 km) north to south and 95 miles (153 km) from east to west. Hence, if your goal is merely to drive around the island, this can be done in one day.
However, it is best to make the most out of your trip around, stopping by some amazing landmarks that will take you into a journey around paradise.
Once you’ve sorted your transportation, next up is to sort out your Bali villa accommodation. Make sure you look for a beachfront villa for rent, or a house by rice paddies to fully experience the island life. There are many villas in Bali that are available, so make sure you find ones that gives you the best value for money.
What’s Open on the Island?
Simple answer—almost everything! With the exception of a few stores and restaurants that are waiting for the Sept. 11 opening, most establishments and tourist spots are now open!
The biggest temple on the island, the Besakih Temple, resting at the foot of Mt. Agung in eastern Bali, has been open for visitors for over three weeks now. Tourists currently come in small groups, compared to the busloads of travelers from all over the world flocking to see the temple pre-pandemic.
It’s great to start your journey to visit the temple, going from south to east and driving through the roadside villages that you may find enjoyable. When you visit Besakih Temple, you will also find tour guides waiting by the entrance, guiding you through the massive grounds of the temple.
Another destination from the south to east are the coastal towns of Padang Bai, Candi Dasa and all the way to Amed, famous for rocky beaches and snorkeling spots. Most of the restaurants and hotels are currently operating, with low occupancy and lower rates—again, making it ideal for travelers to go around Bali at this time.
Fishermen and serviced tour boats are also available to go to snorkeling spots such as Blue Lagoon in Padang Bai or the three rocky islands Gili Biaha, Gili Tepekong and Gili Mimpang in Candi Dasa.
From South to the North
Going from south to north is another surprising experience altogether, going into Bali’s cooler and mountainous towns of Bedugul, and to Gobleg and Gitgit, where you will find amazing views overlooking Bali’s lakes and lush forests.
Find different waterfalls in this part of Bali, particularly in Munduk, where a day’s trek will bring you to Melanting, Golden Valley, and Red Coral waterfalls. Sunset views in Munduk are equally spectacular as the ones you find in the south. And yes, they are all open!
In another 30 minutes to an hour drive from Munduk, you will find yourself in northern Bali, particularly in Lovina, famous for its dolphin-watching and snorkeling activities.
On to the West
As you make your way around Bali, whether from the south going to the north or east, make sure you pass by the unexplored west of Bali. While most tourists opt for crowded spots like Seminyak, Canggu, Uluwatu or Ubud, the west side makes an interesting and low-key Bali experience that is worth the visit.
From Lovina, drive all the way to Gilimanuk, which is the western-most part of Bali. On the west side of Bali, you will find the West Bali National Park for trekking adventures and Medewi Beach for a different surfing spot and a dose of the fishing village life. Heading back to the south, pass by the area of Tabanan and Tanah Lot temple, before going back to your villa in Canggu.
Traveling around Bali is definitely a worthwhile experience, going not only in the south side, but also exploring the different kinds of outdoor adventures the island has to offer. Bali is definitely open for tourists as well as long-term travelers and investors.
While Bali’s economy is gaining traction once again, now is the best time to make plans and look at the resort island as a destination not only for traveling, but also for a lifestyle investment that will open up many opportunities for you.
Property ownership in Indonesia will soon change to favor foreign investors
Indonesian Cabinet minister discussed last Thursday (July 23, 2020) plans to ease up on property rules soon, making it easier for foreigners to buy and own property in the country.
In a formal webinar with Indonesian property developers, Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil said that new property rules are set to be authorized into law by the end of August this year, allowing foreigners for the same property ownership rights as Indonesian property buyers.
Included in the webinar were property tycoons: Lippo Group’s James Riady, Sinar Mas Group’s Muktar Widjaja, and Agung Sedayu’s Sugianto Kusuma.
Discussing the matter of foreign ownership, “God willing… we will have (the Bill that covers the matter) ratified into law by end-August,” Cabinet minister Sofyan said to the country’s property development heads.
According to Sofyan, the Indonesian Parliament had made a commitment to relax property laws to benefit foreign property owners, with a quick deadline set by President Joko Widodo himself.
With the current situation of COVID-19, the Indonesian government has acknowledged that the economy has shrunk not only in the country but worldwide, causing massive job losses, with an estimated decrease of at least 3 percent in the second quarter year on year, far from the 5 per cent growth last year.
The Cabinet minister said that the Indonesian government and President Jokowi has looked into the stiff property laws currently in place and wants them revised to allow more flexibility for foreign property ownership.
Sofyan said that the government is set to change the ownership title status for foreigners when buying property, soon making this into law by the end of August this year.
With at least 170 other industries supported by the Indonesian property sector, including steel, cement, furniture and interior décor, the Indonesian real estate industry is said to employ 30 million people or approximately 11 percent of the country’s population.
In current property laws, foreigners are allowed to buy condominiums and apartments, but not landed homes. Currently, foreigners only get a maximum of 30-year leasehold titles on landed properties, with a possibility to extend another 20 years upon application. Foreigners can later on apply for another 30-year leasehold extension on top of the 50-year lease. This is compared to Indonesian citizens who get a freehold ownership or leasehold titles with lenient extensions.
In the new rules, the government is set to give the same property ownership freedom to foreigners and Indonesians.