After mostly being shut for a couple of years, tourism is back up and running in Bali. I’m visiting Bali in 2022 (July and August), after last being there in 2018. What’s changed? How busy is it? Is 2022 a good time to visit Bali? You’ll soon find out!
Bali in 2022: The Crowds
Bali is one of the most popular island destinations in the world, and back in 2018 it was firing on all cylinders. The streets in popular tourist spots were crowded — some would say too much so — and there was a real energy about the place.
In 2022, this is a little different. With so many hotels, shopping areas, cafés and bars, and nowhere near the same number of tourists, it does feel pretty quiet. Instead of mostly packed restaurants, there might be only a few tables occupied. I sat in a nice café in Ubud for a couple of hours and was all alone for most of that time. It would have been pretty bustling in 2018 I’m sure.
I stayed in Kuta for the first couple of nights, after also staying there in 2018. There were times when I was walking down the street and there were no other tourists, or vehicles for as far as I could see. Definitely quieter!
Just How Quiet Is It?
A driver I was talking to reckoned tourist numbers are at about 30% of what they were before Covid. Not terrible, considering how busy it used to be. The borders have only been fully open for a few months and I’m sure numbers will keep increasing.
Nightlife in places like Seminyak and Canggu is still pumping (so people have told me) and the Gili T is still popular nightlife getaway from Bali (I’ve written a post about the Gili Islands in 2022).
What’s the Covid Situation?
It’s life as normal on that front. You don’t need any tests to enter (proof of vaccination is still required though), and masks are pretty much non existent over here. If you’re worried about catching Covid you’ll probably want to wait a while, but that can be said of travelling in general in 2022.
There’s Still Traffic
Traffic is one of the worst parts about Bali, and from what I’ve seen it hasn’t gotten much better. It took almost two hours to get from Tanah Lot to Kuta by car after sunset (20 km). Those popular tourist areas are essentially suburbs of Denpasar, the main city on the island — and big city traffic in Indonesia seems to be an inevitably.
There are plenty of businesses that haven’t survived the pandemic, or still in a state of hibernation. This shouldn’t affect you too much if you’re a first time visitor, but could be a bit sad if you’re a serial Bali traveller and have your favourite places to return to.
There are still heaps of cafés, restaurants, bars and hotels to choose from, especially in the more popular areas. You’ll also never run out of tours and attractions — you’ll easily fill your days if you want to get out and experience the island.
Hotels and guesthouses seem to be a bit cheaper at the moment. I reckon a lot are lowering their prices to try and attract tourists now (and build up some good 2022 reviews) before putting them back up later in the year — at least that’s what I’d do.
Eating and drinking seems similar, although I have noticed that food portions seem smaller. I’m four years older now, so maybe my stomach is just demanding more these days. I also reckon you get less chicken in a Nasi Goreng or Mei Goreng, although I might just be remembering things wrong.
Is Bali a Good Place to Visit in 2022?
Yes! A major complaint people had about Bali was there were just too many tourists. As I write this in late July, that’s not the case. If you were put off by the crowds before then this is the perfect time to visit — I reckon by this time next year (high season is generally July and August) it could be back to its old self — it might even bounce back to have a really busy Christmas/ New Years, another busy time for Bali.
Are you visiting Bali in 2022? Let me know in the comments below!
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