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Bali tourism and coronavirus

Bali tourism and coronavirus

Old Feb 3rd 2020, 11:15 am
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Default Bali tourism and coronavirus

Bali tourism is feeling the pinch as the coronavirus threat takes hold in Indonesia. From the Jakarta Post -

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/...n-tourism.html

Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Kerobokan have been hit hardest of all. Last weekend we dined at a well-known cafe in Seminyak, popular with the mainland Chinese crowd, less than a third full, with no Chinese, this on a busy Saturday evening.

On Sunday we were in Bedugul by the lake for a couple of hours. Ditto the situation at the lake temple and in the town shops and market - one (small) group of Japanese, some Australians and other Westerners. No Chinese. The local Balinese food hawkers and souvenir sellers looked most unhappy.

Here in Sanur, we don't see as many Chinese as those other less fortunate tourist havens on the West side of the peninsula - I for one am most grateful. The return of peace and quiet is, to say the least, refreshing.

To be fair, the better-educated Chinese who tend to travel in smaller groups or as couples are well behaved. Unfortunately a majority seem to be lower-middle class workers who obviously haven't traveled out of China. Their behavior shows this.

The recent absence of Chinese tourists has been noted, however. The Hardy's shopping complex in central Sanur was, for a few months, a planned stopping-point for buses of Chinese looking to buy cheap souvenirs and clothing In the past week, no tour buses have stopped at Hardy's and the difference is astounding. The supermarket and bottle shop staff actually smile at the customers (tho they are no more helpful with queries and service than in the past) and it is again possible to cross Jalan Danau Tamblingan, the main street, without life and limb from racing busses.

For all that, we hope the coronavirus crisis won't affect Bali too badly in the long term - according to the JakPost, 1.9 million Chinese came to Bali last year and to date 15,000 have cancelled their bookings. February and March will be quiet. We can only hope the crisis will have abated by April, but on the other hand things may get worse before they improves.

Sad, as the island depends on tourism and with all such crises it is often as not the 'little people' who suffer, the management and top brass in the tourism trade know how to look after themselves.

Rant over. To be pleasant, Sanur suits me. Until those damn tour buses started rolling in and clogging the parking spaces at Hardy's, life here was 100% bliss.

There are so many good things about expat life in Bali and a list of plus-points for this enchanted island would be a long one. Best of all, Sanur is not Kuta, or Legian, or Seminyak, here we are in a different world, if not a planet apart. Long may it last.

Time out now for my late-afternoon small reward for having lived yet another day on the isle of bliss - a cold Bintang in the courtyard at Cafe Batujimbar. As I said... bliss!!

Last edited by scrubbedexpat019; Feb 3rd 2020 at 12:02 pm.
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Old Feb 3rd 2020, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Yes I've been wondering about this, having seen a huge increase in Chinese tourists to Bali in the 20 years I've been visiting.

Local traders who obviously geared up for this market will need to rethink their strategies.

(I'd do my selfless part by visiting but it's not so easy from my current location.)

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Old Feb 4th 2020, 2:12 am
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

"Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Kerobokan have been hit hardest of all. Last weekend we dined at a well-known cafe in Seminyak, popular with the mainland Chinese crowd, less than a third full, with no Chinese, this on a busy Saturday evening"....

I have to admit... I'm one of the 1st person to pay my check, or walk the other way when I seen a couple Tourist Bus's coming down the road. Not sure if it's all about what citizenship the new comer's are holding...but when 40 plus package tourists start heading my direction (mental picture of a herd of cattle returning to the barn to be milked) ...that's my signal to move on.

To be fair, before the Chinese invasion... it was the "Insert nationality", and then dial back a few more years, and it was the "insert nationality".... All the way back to the British/Aussie/Americans/European looking for a sunny holiday or retirement destination.. Same Same...just a different flavor.

I've noticed Numbers are down here in Penang for the last week. Way too easy to say "hurray, less lines, quieter,etc... Long term visitors sometime overlook the facts of the trickle down effects when the locals are dependent on the tourist trade.

I'm off to Hua Hin (Thailand) for a bit of a recon trip toward the end of the month. Hopefully things have settled down a bit by then.



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Old Feb 4th 2020, 11:12 am
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Thanks, WiredTight. I agree, more or less.

I've been around Bali long enough to recall the various invasions and their effects on the image of Bali. As most of us " of a certain age" will remember the Australians and their hijinks in the 1980s and 1990s and the scorn heaped upon them by other tourists. Nowadays the Aussies are for the most part, well behaved and throng to all the better places on the West Strip. Even the vomitorium pub tours so beloved of the bogans seem to have gone the way of the dinosaurs, certainly not missed at least by me.

It's true that every nationality has its quirks and odd behavioral traits, but the Chinese, apparently, more than most. My first draft (original post) was sufficiently scathing that shortly after I had posted it, I returned and quickly edited out almost half of it. Removed was one anecdote about a certain hotel (to remain unnamed) we stayed at in Seminyak prior to our Bali move last year, popular with mainland Chinese group tours which were seemingly marketed to the lower middle classes with money to travel but little nous or appreciation of other cultures, which had so many problems with obnoxious Chinese guests and their off-putting behavior, that management opted to effectively "quarantine" the Chinese to certain floors and also set up a separate breakfast room for them. At that time I had a pet theory that the poor celestial visitors were so dragged about from place to place and hotel to hotel and forced to follow highly compartmentalised itineraries, that they must have been suffering from travel shock. Hence their off-putting behavior.

Going by what I see nowadays on the ground (mostly in Sanur), peace and quiet has returned to many of the central places (Hardy's Complex), the beach esplanade, and certainly the narrow streets which even without the tour busses make getting around by car quite an ordeal at busy times. Yesterday one of the tourist-tat sellers upstairs at Hardy's complained to me that the Chinese are greatly missed as they tend to buy five pieces of cheap Bali mementoes to every one by a Western tourists, who (again from the same seller) are now more quality-savvy and tend to frequent the more upmarket shops elsewhere in Sanur.

Like you I'm aware of the hurt the local sellers and suppliers are feeling just now, certainly here in Bali. And I wish this latest epidemic to be brought under controlled or to run its course as quickly as possible, so things can return for - well, what passes for normal in the tourist centers, NOT my 'normal' but then who am I, a mere expat. I like to enjoy my afternoon snack or early evening beer at one of the pleasant cafes without having to queue up and wait for a table or taken to what looks more like a stool with a folding chair, hastily set up next to the kitchen door to cope with the mob. On the other hand, I do want the locals to make enough to be able to pay for their children's education and their ceremonies and put food on their tables at home. Tourist economies are just that , even if those two words put together translate as "welcome to (-), now you pay".

You mentioned Penang. The situation seems to be much the same elsewhere in Malaysia. My 'overnighter' hotels in central Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, usually popular with the Chinese tours, were less than a third full when I was there last month. As well the stalls of Concubine's Lane in Ipoh were refreshingly free of the usual mobs of visiting (for an hour or so, on their way by bus to or from Penang) Chinese aggressively and loudly bargaining for (mostly China made) tat to take back home to China. I found it amusing that in Ipoh you cannot for love or money buy anything locally made except sometimes a secondhand item (of unknown origins), inevitably sold at highly inflated price.

At the nearby Panglima Lane I came across a beaut remainders bookshop with a good selection of interesting books, and I bought up big for my architecture and art library. The nearby 'junque' market was reasonably busy (altho nothing like in 2018 and 2019) but I was the only customer in this bookshop, the staff were socialising outside and I was told to come and get someone when I was ready to pay. Refreshing!!
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Old Feb 7th 2020, 10:47 am
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Originally Posted by WiredTight View Post
"Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Kerobokan have been hit hardest of all. Last weekend we dined at a well-known cafe in Seminyak, popular with the mainland Chinese crowd, less than a third full, with no Chinese, this on a busy Saturday evening"....

I have to admit... I'm one of the 1st person to pay my check, or walk the other way when I seen a couple Tourist Bus's coming down the road. Not sure if it's all about what citizenship the new comer's are holding...but when 40 plus package tourists start heading my direction (mental picture of a herd of cattle returning to the barn to be milked) ...that's my signal to move on.

To be fair, before the Chinese invasion... it was the "Insert nationality", and then dial back a few more years, and it was the "insert nationality".... All the way back to the British/Aussie/Americans/European looking for a sunny holiday or retirement destination.. Same Same...just a different flavor.

I've noticed Numbers are down here in Penang for the last week. Way too easy to say "hurray, less lines, quieter,etc... Long term visitors sometime overlook the facts of the trickle down effects when the locals are dependent on the tourist trade.

I'm off to Hua Hin (Thailand) for a bit of a recon trip toward the end of the month. Hopefully things have settled down a bit by then.
My family is based in Pran Buri just south of Hua Hin. Things are very quiet right now due to the absence of the Chinese, but you'll also find that a lot of locals aren't around either. Staying away from places like Blueport and Market Village because they're worried about Corona. People wearing masks everywhere. Food courts less busy. Night markets less busy. Oddly enough the Tesco in Pran Buri was really busy the other day, almost as if the Thais were staying away from Hua-Hin because of fears about Corona and going to places where there wouldn't normally be any Chinese.

Actually a really good time to visit IMO, nice weather, not busy. I imagine there's a lot of vacancies in all hotels.
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Old Feb 8th 2020, 3:01 am
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Things still seem to be normal in Penang, a few more people wearing masks, but overall...except for the drop in Mainland tourist groups...it's just another day (actually
their is a large Hindu holiday over the weekend).
I think the next 2 weeks will be a make or break period. I fly out on the 24th (via KLIA) so unless infection rates spike, I have no plans to cancel my trip (yet).
Unfortunately... I made my plane and hotel booking in early Jan...The prices were still good, but I missed out on any Virus deals. Perhaps a trip to Bali in March
could also be in the cards.
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Old Feb 15th 2020, 6:56 am
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Now even Western tourists are avoiding Bali - we were in Kuta yesterday for some shopping and a light lunch at Made's Warung, an old established venue which we occasionally visit.

Very few tourists about. Locals are complaining about "no money" and the usually bloated offers for this and that service were being heavily discounted, probably from desperation. Not to say that additional inflated charges would suddenly appear (the Balinese are especially good at popping up with surprise extra costs, "you must pay for parking" or "you must pay for (temple) tickets" being the most usual two ploys). Our Bali Taxi driver who we use now and then for such excursions, was giving us all his best kassian (loosely translated as "asking without asking") poverty plea from Indonesians hoping for any sort of handout from the filthy rich Westerners. So yes, times are tough.

I will be in Malaysia next week for my usual Indo two-month visa run. A few days in KL and Melaka, then down to Singapore and out to Bali via Changi. Hotel prices are way down - I've not seen them so low in Melaka for a very long time. According to one of my local contacts there, the narrow streets of Old Melaka are refreshingly free of all the monstrous tour busses which block up and clog traffic when transporting mainland Chinese visitors from one destination to another. I have always hated the way those busses all park up to six in a row in otherwise pleasant places as the Stadhuys Square and run their motors, turning the air purple-blue with noxious diesel fumes to keep their air-conditioners blaring at frozen level.

Like so many others, I hope and pray for the coronavirus crisis to reach its peak and end, asap. On the other hand, it will be pleasant indeed to be able to breathe fresh sea air again in Melaka and visit St Paul's Church overlooking the sea without having to zigzag my way through the usual mobs of pushy Chinese crowding all the open spaces to clicking selfies of their families and friends carrying on like circus clowns.
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Old Feb 15th 2020, 10:29 am
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Originally Posted by JDW View Post
Now even Western tourists are avoiding Bali - we were in Kuta yesterday for some shopping and a light lunch at Made's Warung, an old established venue which we occasionally visit.

Very few tourists about. Locals are complaining about "no money" and the usually bloated offers for this and that service were being heavily discounted, probably from desperation. Not to say that additional inflated charges would suddenly appear (the Balinese are especially good at popping up with surprise extra costs, "you must pay for parking" or "you must pay for (temple) tickets" being the most usual two ploys). Our Bali Taxi driver who we use now and then for such excursions, was giving us all his best kassian (loosely translated as "asking without asking") poverty plea from Indonesians hoping for any sort of handout from the filthy rich Westerners. So yes, times are tough.

I will be in Malaysia next week for my usual Indo two-month visa run. A few days in KL and Melaka, then down to Singapore and out to Bali via Changi. Hotel prices are way down - I've not seen them so low in Melaka for a very long time. According to one of my local contacts there, the narrow streets of Old Melaka are refreshingly free of all the monstrous tour busses which block up and clog traffic when transporting mainland Chinese visitors from one destination to another. I have always hated the way those busses all park up to six in a row in otherwise pleasant places as the Stadhuys Square and run their motors, turning the air purple-blue with noxious diesel fumes to keep their air-conditioners blaring at frozen level.

Like so many others, I hope and pray for the coronavirus crisis to reach its peak and end, asap. On the other hand, it will be pleasant indeed to be able to breathe fresh sea air again in Melaka and visit St Paul's Church overlooking the sea without having to zigzag my way through the usual mobs of pushy Chinese crowding all the open spaces to clicking selfies of their families and friends carrying on like circus clowns.
How dare those pesky Chinese people use public open space, take photos and act in a way you don't like
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Old Feb 15th 2020, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Like so many others, I hope and pray for the coronavirus crisis to reach its peak and end, asap.
Me too.
We were looking to book NZ to UK flights for our first visit in a decade but I am now dithering bigtime.
Our much preferred plan was a good stopover in Singapore both for the outward and inward journies as the back to back two long haul legs can rather take it out of a person.
Now I am not at all sure.
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Old Feb 16th 2020, 8:06 am
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Originally Posted by BEVS View Post
Me too.
We were looking to book NZ to UK flights for our first visit in a decade but I am now dithering bigtime.
Our much preferred plan was a good stopover in Singapore both for the outward and inward journies as the back to back two long haul legs can rather take it out of a person.
Now I am not at all sure.
If you had said Bali, I would have advised due caution - but Singapore (or for that matter Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia), I personally would not worry. At any rate I will soon be finding out as I will be due for another visa run.

My friends in either city say there are now very few tourists and it's apparently easy to avoid contact with anyone, be it locals or visitors. Many hotels are half to two-thirds empty. The city streets are refreshingly free of tour busses and most shops are bereft of the usual mobs of tourists out to buy, buy, buy everything they see.

In theory, there is always a risk. Of Cvir-19, or for that matter being run over by a bus, a motorcycle or a taxi whilst crossing a busy street. Even with a green light at a pedestrian walk!!

Sensibly, if you believe there is a risk, you could postpone your big journey for a month or two months, follow events and see what happens. The situation may be different in April or May - the weather in Britain will certainly be better than now.

In no way am I trying to tut-tut and talk down the dangers of Cvir-19, but on the other hand as my Denpasar GP pointed out last week, more people died last year from 'influenza than have so far from Cvir-19.

Take all the recommended sensible precautions and all should be well. As I will be finding out shortly.

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Old Feb 16th 2020, 5:47 pm
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Originally Posted by BEVS View Post
Me too.
We were looking to book NZ to UK flights for our first visit in a decade but I am now dithering bigtime.
Our much preferred plan was a good stopover in Singapore both for the outward and inward journies as the back to back two long haul legs can rather take it out of a person.
Now I am not at all sure.
BEVS, I lived in Singapore through SARS and bird flu and would have no hesitation stopping over there right now. During SARS we got our temperature taken every morning on the way into work. Friends that went to the Hong Kong Sevens got put on house arrest on their return, and checked up on!

During the bird flu scare I chucked up all the way from Heathrow to Changi and was met at the plane door by medical staff and a wheelchair, had to go to the medical centre and be checked over before they'd let me back in the country. I'm sure Changi is full of thermal scanners too.
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Old Feb 17th 2020, 2:03 am
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

We've been in Singapore for work and retirement for nearly 40 years.
I can't remember SARS or Bird Flu, maybe we were in UK at those times but just can't remember it.

We feel things are too lackadaisical here at the moment and we certainly take more precautions than most, but that doesn't mean we won't get it.

We cancelled a trip to Penang for 6 days starting on 14th Feb.

We are probably overcautious but we don't mind.
Plenty of time to do things when this outbreak is over.
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Old Feb 17th 2020, 3:51 pm
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Originally Posted by ex reg View Post
We've been in Singapore for work and retirement for nearly 40 years.
I can't remember SARS or Bird Flu, maybe we were in UK at those times but just can't remember it.

We feel things are too lackadaisical here at the moment and we certainly take more precautions than most, but that doesn't mean we won't get it.

We cancelled a trip to Penang for 6 days starting on 14th Feb.

We are probably overcautious but we don't mind.
Plenty of time to do things when this outbreak is over.
Amazed you can't recall SARS, that one did change our lives for a while. We were both working for one of the big tech companies, on a huge semi-conductor (customer) site at Woodlands. Had our own thermometers issued IIRC. Made for cheap holidays around the region too; had a lovely stay on Gangga Island off Sulawesi at a top end dive resort that usually catered to Europeans but they wouldn't travel to the region. Mr K had private dive lessons and I often had the resort to myself.

Penang I can understand being cautious about, different world entirely from Singapore. And it doesn't harm to be sensible. As I get older, especially with my dodgy immune system, I try to be.

Hope you stockpiled those toilet rolls

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Old Feb 17th 2020, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Originally Posted by Kooky. View Post

During the bird flu scare I chucked up all the way from Heathrow to Changi and was met at the plane door by medical staff and a wheelchair, had to go to the medical centre and be checked over before they'd let me back in the country. I'm sure Changi is full of thermal scanners too.
I spent three weeks travelling through Vietnam when the bird flu was making headlines, ate plenty of well cooked chicken but one of our travelling companions wouldn't touch it. I seem to remember signs at Perth airport asking people who had a fever to identify themselves but that was about it. I'm not surprised you were met by a medical crew though, being so ill.
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Old Feb 17th 2020, 6:25 pm
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Default Re: Bali tourism and coronavirus

Transited thru Changi on Saturday morning en route to Melbourne from London for our sons wedding. Most of the SIA staff wore masks for the duration of the flights. As we did ourselves. Changi itself very quiet due to lack of Chinese travelers. Melbourne airport the same. Both rather pleasant tbh.

Temperatures were taken upon exiting the arrival gate in Changi. Not in Melbourne; just a few advisory signs.

Had one of our best ever family holidays in Singapore post SARS. GBP99 return fares London to Singapore. Singaporeans had it all under control. Temperatures taken many places.

We've been able to get MIL out of Hong Kong for wedding but looks like BIL won’t make it; he’s been sent to US by his employer until crisis over.
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