Bali’s airport is quiet, the streets are empty and the oceans free from divers. Many people are asking – “Is it safe to travel to Bali”. And the answer is not a simple one.
Is Bali safe to visit? Yes, right now the island is safe to visit (outside of the exclusion zone surrounding the Volcano.) Right now, our mountain is quiet on the outside, but still quite active on the inside. The latest information from the Volcanologists is that lava continues to move up the mountain, but at a significantly reduced pace.
What are the possible scenarios?
Right now, the experts say that there are three possible scenarios:
- The Volcano may go back to sleep. (Yay – wouldn’t that be wonderful).
- The Volcano may erupt.
- The lava may just flow over the sides of the volcano, without a forceful eruption.
How will this affect my holiday in Bali?
If things stay as they are now, it won’t affect your holiday in Bali at all. The airport is open. The Volcano is puffing slightly every now and again, but not enough to be putting ash into the air or for there to be any current threat of airport closure. If the lava flows over the sides, if you are outside of the exclusion zone, this will also not affect your holiday in Bali.
If the Volcano erupts, here is where it gets tricky. If the Volcano erupts, and the winds change from their current direction, the airport may be forced to close again. This may mean that you would need to spend a few more days in Bali, or to redirect to another airport in order to get home.
Will the air quality in Bali be affected?
This is another tricky question. It all depends on how forceful of an eruption there is (and of course IF the Volcano erupts). During the last Volcanic eruption, we did not experience ash fall in Sanur, Kuta, Seminyak or Jimbaran (the main tourist areas in Bali). Having said that, we do have masks prepared; and we are including them on all of our dive trips “just in case”.
Has the diving been affected?
Tulamben is closed as it is within the exclusion zone. Amed remains open, though we are currently not running trips to the area. Padang Bai and Nusa Penida have not been affected at all by the eruptions, they remain open (and unfortunately) very quiet – so this is a great time to visit. Menjangan Island is also far from the exclusion zone and remains open and ready for divers.
So, what should I do?
That is a personal decision that each traveler would have to make. Can you afford to spend a couple of extra days in Bali should the airport close? If the answer is YES, then come and see us on our beautiful island! If the answer is NO, then perhaps now is not the ideal time to visit. It is very unlikely that you would be delayed by more than a few days, as there are airports on either side of Bali that can easily be reached depending on the wind direction and the ash cloud. I will be positing a blog about these contingencies in the next few days, so keep an eye out for that one.
Bali is a beautiful island, and we depend on your tourist dollars to survive. It is a beautiful time to visit, with many special offers, quiet roads and lots of space to explore the heritage of the Island of the Gods. So if you can afford the extra days, please come and visit us!
Have questions? Let us know in the comments below or pop us an email – we’d be happy to direct you to the up to date information on the Volcanic activity as well as contingencies on how to get off the island should the Volcano erupt.