Bali is ready: Everything you need to know about Mount Agung
Bali is a tropical paradise – enjoy stunning sunsets, drink coconuts on one of hundreds of amazing beaches and join the relaxed vibe that stretches across the whole island. But since one of the most holy mountains on this island woke up, people are wondering if Bali is THE place to be right now.
We – and thousands of expats & tourists happily living here still – think YES IT IS!
We don’t want to tell you Bali is perfectly safe, because nothing is, but we want to give you the most accurate and important information you will need to consider if you think the volcano is a negative factor in your moving decision.
Information on latest state of activity & general info on Mount Agung
Mount Agung is a volcano is located in the northeast of Bali, roughly 70km away from the tourist area of Kuta & 50km to Ubud – Said that, there will be no risk of being evacuated in South Bali, as the affected areas are way up north & are well prepared for a coming eruption.
The Balinese believe that Mt Agung is a replica of Mt Meru, the central axis of the universe. And so the most important temple on Bali, Pura Besakih, is located high on the slopes of this volcano.
While Mount Agung does remain at the highest alert (level VI) for an eruption, the alert level only refers to the danger zone set from the volcano’s crater (6-10km) and recreational activities outside of the red-zone deemed to be safe & going on normal as ever.
Latest information also stating that the volcano has been quiet enough for authorities to consider downgrading the maximum alert level. Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center director Gede Suantika stated that it has seen a drastic drop in activity in the past month compared to December 2017. He also pointed out that there is a high chance that Mount Agung will go back to normal as also the earthquakes drastically declined in the area.
Tourism & other businesses in Bali struggling?
It is true that during the major media coverage about the threatening eruption of the volcano kept people from coming to Bali. Especially in the end of 2017 businesses in Bali had a hard time to keep up to their usual profit and some even thought of shutting down.
Luckily since the beginning of 2018 visitor numbers seem to be growing back to normal and the condition of tourism in Bali has recovered 90 percent of where it was before Mount Agung started rumbling and disrupting the island’s biggest money-making industry, according to Indonesia’s tourism minister.
In his statement he pointed out that the visitor numbers are up to 14,000 per day again – compared to an average of 15,000 visitors per day before.
Where can I find latest updates on Mount Agung activity?
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho is the current higher officials / PR / Spokesperson from the National Body of Natural Disaster management from Indonesian Government – He just recently awarded Asia Geospatial Excellence Award, the world award for innovation and creativity in disaster management, especially in the Asia Pacific region. Sutopo regularly updates the status of Mount Agung on his twitter (Unfortunately tweets are presented in Indonesian language only). For information in English you can check the latest news on the Facebook Page “Bali Volcano Agung Eruption 2017” or on the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs website here.
In the unlike case that the volcano should erupt we also give you some information on what to look out for.
What do I need to keep in mind in case of an ash cloud?
What kind of mask might be needed & where can I get it?
Exposure to ash can harm your health, particularly the respiratory (breathing) tract. To protect yourself while you are outdoors or while you are cleaning up ash that has gotten indoors, a disposable particulate respirator (also known as an “air purifying respirator”) may be considered. An N-95 respirator is the most common type of disposable particulate. It is important to follow directions for proper use of this respirator. If you don’t have a particulate respirator, you can protect yourself by using a nuisance dust mask as a last resort, but you should stay outdoors for only short periods while dust is falling. Nuisance dust masks can provide comfort and relief from exposure to relatively non-hazardous contaminants such as pollen, but they do not offer as much protection as a particulate respirator. Note that disposable particulate respirators do not filter toxic gases and vapors, so you should keep out of reach of the hazardous evacuation zones by any chance.
Respirator Masks in Bali can be purchased in Hardware stores like ACE hardware and in online stores like Tokopedia.com & Lazada.com. In case of an ash cloud there will also be a lot of sellers offering masks in several Facebook groups for a fairly low price.
Do I have to cover windows & doors & open living spaces?
- Yes – Close all windows, doors, and fireplaces.
- Turn off all fans and air conditioning systems.
What else do I have to consider?
- Stay inside, if possible, with windows and doors closed.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use goggles to protect your eyes.
- Keep your car or bike engine switched off. Avoid driving in heavy ashfall. Driving will stir up ash that can clog engines and stall vehicles. If you do have to drive, keep the windows up and do not operate the air conditioning system. Operating the air conditioning system will bring in outside air and ash.
What happens if the airport shuts down?
Indonesian officials have drawn up plans to divert flights to 10 airports across the country and extend visas for stranded travelers and expats should the airport close down due to an ash cloud.
Indonesian transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said preparations had been made in anticipation of any disruption to air travel through the country’s second-busiest airport. The designated airports – in Jakarta, Makassar, Surabaya, Balikpapan, Solo, Ambon, Manado, Praya, Kupang and Banyuwangi – will serve as alternative routes should a volcanic eruption and expected ash cloud force Bali’s Ngurah Rai international airport to close.
Free shuttles are available from Ngurah Rai International Airport to the Mengwi Bus Terminal. From there you have several route options to Juanda International Airport in Surabaya (approx. 12 hrs), Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta (18 hrs), Blimbling Sari Aiport in Banyuwangi (6 hrs) and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta (25 hrs).
Note: Blimbing Sari Airport, Banyuwangi is for domestic flights only.
What are my options for leaving Bali on another way?
1) FLY FROM LOMBOK (BOAT)
Indonesian authorities have reopened Lombok Airport after no volcanic ash was detected there the last time the airport was closed (but keep in mind that it always depends on the wind direction & ash cloud movement).
From Kuta in Bali, take a bus or taxi to Padang Bai port, where public ferries leave for Lembar in Lombok. This journey takes four to five hours and costs about S$4.
It’s then a 40-minute taxi ride to Lombok Airport, from where airlines like Silk Air and Garuda fly to Singapore. Some other services stop in Jakarta before heading to Singapore.
2) FLY FROM LOMBOK (FAST BOAT)
Travelers who feel the public ferries take too long can opt for a fast boat instead. These boats typically take two hours to reach Lombok from Padang Bai.
A one-way trip costs up of S$50, with various companies offering packages that include transportation to and from the ports.
3) FLY FROM JAVA
If travelers have a bit more time to spare, this is another option (and could be worth bearing in mind if flying out of Lombok becomes a problem).
From Bali, long-haul buses go direct via ferry to major cities in Java, including Yogyakarta and Jakarta. Flights to Singapore are widely available from these cities.
According to travelfish.org, a 17-hour coach journey from Ubung bus terminal in Denpasar to Yogyakarta in Java will cost about S$25. Fares usually include the cost of the ferry.
4) FLY FROM JAVA (DO-IT-YOURSELF)
The more adventurous can first make their way by bus or taxi to Bali’s far-flung Gilimanuk port in the west, before paying around S$0.80 for the half-an-hour ferry ride to Ketapang in Java.
Near the port in Ketapang, there is a train and bus station with services to major cities like Yogyakarta, Jakarta and Surabaya, all of which have plenty of choices for flights back home.
5) Private Transfer to Surabaya Airport
Normally prices are between 2-3 million rupiah for a car and driver. While the airport was closed many drivers have been asking 4-5 million. There are several groups on Facebook where you can find drivers offering transfer to the airport in case of a closing.
What happens if I have to overstay my visa due to airport closure?
The Immigration Department will support tourists with visa extension if there is any overstay due to closing of the airport and cancellation of flight due to volcanic ash. Similar services will also be provided by the Indonesian Customs.
You will need to get proof of the flight cancellation from your airline and get a temporary visa from the immigration authorities at the airport.
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