Indonesia bowls a ‘googly’ to Australian travellers

Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple Bali

Thousands of Australians have been left in travel limbo in Bali after Indonesia announced that it will end emergency stay visas handed to foreigners at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Immigration has announced that the temporary visas many Australians have been using to stay on the island while the pandemic passes will end in just 30 days, Channel 9 News has reported.

After that period, all foreigners without an authorised visa will need to leave Indonesia, unless there are no flights available to return to their home countries.

That could mean the 3000 Australians tourists currently in Bali on emergency visas and the 7000 Australian expats who have made a life there could soon be forced to leave, the report added.

Des O’Driscoll is one of the Australians desperate to stay in Bali after making the island his home 18 months ago.

“You’ve built a life here, dogs here, some people in relationships with locals – not married – still have to leave the country,” he said.

Then there are people like Tim Ryan who has lived in Bali for six years. While he hasn’t worked for more than two months, the 53-year-old Australian isn’t going anywhere.

“I could live in Bali for another six months easily without working,” he tells Sydney Morning Herald.

“Rent is cheaper here, living expenses are low and I am not picky. I can eat any Indonesian food. A small bottled water in Australia could cost 10 times [what it does] in Bali; a simple dish like fried rice or whatever could cost you $10 a plate compared to as little as $1 in Bali,” he says.