Unlike many of history’s great tragedies, the coronavirus pandemic did not stun us with one catastrophic event. Instead, the deadly problem quietly snaked its way around the world, devastating millions as it grew into a global health crisis since it first surfaced. Our realities shifted slowly at first, and before we knew it, the coronavirus took over completely. Despite COVID-19 continuing to claim lives, locations around the world are beginning to open again. More travelers are getting on planes. Airlines are reinstating routes. Countries and states have begun to welcome visitors, despite the remaining risks. For now, travel may look different in a number of ways. People can expect to explore a world of face masks, physical distancing, closed businesses and two-week quarantines. Theme parks, museums and iconic landmarks are known for drawing a crowd. But as they reopen and look to the future, those crowds are expected to be much smaller and more controlled.
For people who are still so keen to travel, there are different ways to see the world. As we live in a modern day era where technology is becoming more and more advanced, it is no surprise to observe that virtual tours are happening around the world. You can visit anywhere you want to go, anytime you want to- with just a click from your computer mouse. For instance, MyProGuide offers these amazing live tours around the most scenic Asian countries. All you have to do is send in a booking at their website, www.myproguide.com. MyProGuide also offers customized tours where you can discuss with the local tour guide which places you would like to visit. Also, during the virtual tour livestream, the local tour guide will stop and take photos for you. This virtual tour alternative is a really big upgrade that can help get the tourism industry back on track faster during this global pandemic.
For people who just can’t stay put in one place, there are still some travel options for you! But safety always comes first, so for those who are interested to visit Indonesia, here is the ultimate safety guide containing updated travel restrictions during the COVID pandemic:
(Note that this blog post contains information updated on January 20, 2020)
Q: Are foreigners allowed to enter Indonesia?
From January 1 – 14, 2021 and extended to January 25, 2021, Indonesia is temporarily closed to the entry of foreigners from all countries, either directly or transiting through foreign countries, except:
- Holders of diplomatic and official/service visa for the purpose of ministerial official visit or of higher level, with the implementation of stricter health protocols
- Holders of diplomatic residence permits and official residence permits
- Holders of limited stay permit (KITAS) and residence permit cards (KITAP)
- Foreigners with special considerations and permission in writing from the Ministry / Institution in Indonesia
Q: What if I am a foreigner already in Indonesia?
A: You may extend your permits/visa online.
For foreigners who hold ITAS / ITAP and / or Re-entry Permits that will soon expire and are currently abroad during the temporary closure period of the entry of foreigners to Indonesian territory, you can extend online through an online residence permit application.
Q: What is the health protocol during this period?
A: Must show negative results through the RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test
The health protocol for Indonesian citizens and foreigners from all foreign countries who are entering Indonesia, either directly or transiting through a foreign country, must show negative results through the RT-PCR test in his/her country of origin, whose samples are taken within a maximum period of 72 hours before departure time, attached at the time of health check via e-HAC Indonesia (electronic Health Alert Certificate Indonesia).
e-HAC Indonesia can be accessed via a browser or mobile device (iOS or Android) at the following page: https://inahac.kemkes.go.id/
A guide to filling out the e-HAC (application for health- COVID control in Indonesian society) can be seen here:
Q: Do I need to do quarantine after I land in Indonesia?
A: Upon arrival, an RT-PCR retest is conducted for the traveler. Furthermore, the traveler is required to undergo mandatory quarantine for 5 days.
In accordance with the Decree of the Head of the Covid-19 Handling Task Force Number 6 of 2021, RT-PCR tests will be conducted 3 (three) times:
- 72 hours before departure;
- 24 hours after arrival in the Republic of Indonesia; and
- 5 days after arrival/isolation at the accommodation in Indonesia.
- For Indonesian citizens isolating in quarantine facilities provided by the Indonesian government, they are free of charge (gratis).
- For foreigners, the quarantine facilities are Hotels / Inns that have received the certification of “COVID-19 Quarantine Accommodation” by the Ministry of Health and the cost shall be paid by the travelers.
After 5 days of quarantine, from the date of arrival, both Indonesian citizens and foreigners alike are re-examined RT-PCR.
Q: What happens if I am tested positive?
A: Treatment is carried out in a hospital.
In the event that the results of the RT-PCR reexamination upon arrival and after the 5-day quarantine show positive results, treatment is carried out in the hospital- Indonesian citizens at the expense of the government, and foreigners at their own expense.
Tourist Spots Update
While going through customs and quarantine is hectic, here are updates on some of the well-known spots you might plan to visit during your trip to Indonesia. Remember to double-check before heading over as some places are closed during this time of the pandemic:
International tourism has been put on halt since March 2020, by stopping the visa-free regulations that allowed visitors from 160 countries to come to Indonesia without a visa. This left a little door open for Bali lovers to come, because until December 31, 2020, it was still possible to apply for a Business or Social Visa with the help of an agent. But due to the recent outbreaks of new mutations, Indonesia has now implemented a stricter lockdown until 28th of January, which could be extended.
The Central Java Administration plans to screen holiday-goers using Antigen Tests at some famous tourist destinations, such as Borobudur Temple, during the Christmas and New Year holidays to prevent the spread of COVID-19. People who flocked to Borobudur Temple in Magelang from December 23 to 31, 2020 and Prambanan Temple in Klaten from December 26 to 31, 2020 were screened. Other tourist destinations include Dieng Highlands in Wonosobo, Baturaden in Banyumas, Semilir Eco Park in Semarang and Tawangmangu in Karanganyar — all starting from December 24 to 27, 2020.
3. Gili Islands
As the COVID-19 global pandemic is affecting travel in all parts of the world, current restrictions mean that, at least for the time being, non-essential international travel to Bali is not allowed. Bali and its surrounding region, including Gili Islands, has relatively few cases of COVID-19 so far and authorities have taken measures to help prevent its spread, but if you’re wondering when you might be able to travel to Bali again, keep up to date by following their Facebook page/group to get notified quicker and to stay up to date with all the latest developments. Also, check out their dedicated blog articles for tips and current events.
4. Komodo National Park
According to the rules in the prepared protocols, the number of visitors is limited to 20 – 50 people for each spot to deter mass gathering. Also, the number of tourists diving in waters off the Komodo Island is restricted. The local media writes: “The protocols being prepared aim at creating safe travels in the Komodo National Park”, the Head of the provincial tourism office, Wayan Darmawa, said. “Precautionary measures including setting up isolation rooms have also been taken in anticipation of COVID-19-infected holidaymakers”, he said. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the tourism sector in Indonesia and now, the country is gradually reopening its tourist destinations with new rules to ensure that tourists would not take any risks, nor would they bring any virus to the destinations.
5. Sacred Monkey Forest
This cool and dense swathe of jungle officially houses three holy temples. The sanctuary is inhabited by a band of over 600 grey-haired and greedy long-tailed Balinese macaques who are nothing like the innocent-looking, doe-eyed monkeys on the brochures – they can bite, so be careful around them. Note that the temples are only open to worshippers, and that the monkeys keep a keen eye on passing tourists in the hope of handouts (or an opportunity to help themselves). Irritating recorded warnings (and signs) list all the ways these monkeys can cause trouble. It is best to avoid eye contact and to avoid showing your teeth, including smiling, which is deemed a sign of aggression. Also, do not try to take bananas from the monkeys or feed them. You are still able to visit this place now during the COVID pandemic. The MCO was initially scheduled to end on 31st March 2020. However, the government has extended till future notice.
6. Mount Bromo
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (TNBTS) Agency has temporarily closed Mount Bromo for tourists from March 19, 2020 onwards. According to the agency’s head, John Kenedie, park rangers will still patrol the area during closure, but some of the management’s activities will be reduced. Following the alarming spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia, many tourist destinations across the country have been closed down, including Borobudur temple in Magelang, Central Java, whose management took great efforts to spray all of its surfaces with disinfectant.
7. Orangutans of Borneo
Borneo is the third-largest island in the world and the largest island in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located North of Java, West of Sulawesi, and East of Sumatra. The island is politically divided among three countries: Malaysia and Brunei in the North, and Indonesia to the South. It is the only island in the world to be politically administered by three countries at a time. In an effort to ‘flatten the curve’ of the COVID-19 infections, the Malaysian Government has imposed a nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO). This MCO started on 18th of March 2020. The MCO is a partial-lockdown, aimed at encouraging people to stay at home and, thus, breaking the chain of infection.
Travel may increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying at home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are among the risky places that travelers can be exposed to the virus. These are also many other places where it can be hard to maintain social distancing. If you plan to travel during this time, take steps before, during, and after your trip to keep yourself and others from getting infected by COVID-19. As such, travelers should avoid all travel to Indonesia. If you must travel, talk to your doctor ahead of traveling, especially if you are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Last but not the least, as a friendly reminder, remember to wash your hands frequently and to wear your masks all the time! Don’t forget to maintain social distancing when out in public. We hope you stay safe and healthy as we all await for our planet to regain its healthy atmosphere again!