Raja Ampat/Lembeh in Dec?

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jjmochi

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Hi all,

It's been a long time since I logged on here, I had so many trips planned for 2020/2021 pre-COVID and all but my Sept/Oct 2021 trip has been cancelled (White Manta not willing to make a decision until August). No refunds for deposits, only trip credit, with varying expiration times. The earliest credit expires in Dec 2021, most expires Dec 2022, and I have until early 2023 for a couple. I'm currently based in HK so am going without a real break or vacation for 2 years (there is sadly no domestic travel), and even being fully vaccinated you have to go through 2 weeks of hotel quarantine (out of pocket) + 1 week of home quarantine even from the "low risk" countries (which Indonesia is not). However I am moving to Singapore in likely November which only requires 1-2 weeks home quarantine, which I'm willing to do, so trying to decide on a trip for late December.

There seems to be some news that Bali/Bintan/Batam will reopen in July to select vaccinated tourists from certain countries including Singapore. Bintan/Batam obviously easiest from Singapore (only short boat ride away) but I've been to Bintan before and wasn't that impressed (did not dive tho).

I'm debating rebooking my Raja Ampat trip on Mermaid I (previously Dec 2020) to Dec this year, as they still have the 20% off promotion and I wouldn't have to pay extra. 85% of the trip has been already paid and is being held as a voucher (from deposits of 2 cancelled trips), and I feel pretty good about them letting me push out further if Indonesia is still not open 2 month before (when the remaining 15% would be due) based on prior experience. I'm not concerned about covid risk given full vaccination (Pfizer) and general good health/young age (sub-30), just logistics of being able to get in / get back.

The Lembeh leg is the credit that expires by the end of the year (Bastianos). I only paid about $1k in deposit and could try asking for an extension, or I could take my chances and tack on a week after Raja Ampat (would not book tickets or pay remaining balance until confirmed open). I recall there was a direct flight from Sorong to Manado and a direct flight from Manado to Singapore.

Is there anyone on the ground in Sorong / Manado that has a sense of how things are currently, what the milestone targets are for reopening (vaccination of local population or vaccination of tourists?), or any guesses on how much later than Bali these more remote areas will open?

There are options that are already open - Thailand (Phuket) will be open to fully vaccinated people in July, and Maldives is already open. Both easily accessible from Singapore, but I have such a backlog of store credit I need to use I don't really want to pay for any fresh trips.

The one after this would be July 2022 which I feel pretty optimistic about.

How are you all thinking about Indonesia/Asia options generally?
 

Pressurehead

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There is "talk" of a 'travel bubble' between Singapore and Australia later this year [if you can believe the two 'leaders' sprouting about it on the news today].
I know, their lips were moving, can't be true, right?
 

Scuba Client

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There is "talk" of a 'travel bubble' between Singapore and Australia later this year [if you can believe the two 'leaders' sprouting about it on the news today].
I know, their lips were moving, can't be true, right?
I think Singapore is going to charge a lot of money for onsite testing.
 

chillyinCanada

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Hi all,

It's been a long time since I logged on here, I had so many trips planned for 2020/2021 pre-COVID and all but my Sept/Oct 2021 trip has been cancelled (White Manta not willing to make a decision until August). No refunds for deposits, only trip credit, with varying expiration times. The earliest credit expires in Dec 2021, most expires Dec 2022, and I have until early 2023 for a couple. I'm currently based in HK so am going without a real break or vacation for 2 years (there is sadly no domestic travel), and even being fully vaccinated you have to go through 2 weeks of hotel quarantine (out of pocket) + 1 week of home quarantine even from the "low risk" countries (which Indonesia is not). However I am moving to Singapore in likely November which only requires 1-2 weeks home quarantine, which I'm willing to do, so trying to decide on a trip for late December.

There seems to be some news that Bali/Bintan/Batam will reopen in July to select vaccinated tourists from certain countries including Singapore. Bintan/Batam obviously easiest from Singapore (only short boat ride away) but I've been to Bintan before and wasn't that impressed (did not dive tho).

I'm debating rebooking my Raja Ampat trip on Mermaid I (previously Dec 2020) to Dec this year, as they still have the 20% off promotion and I wouldn't have to pay extra. 85% of the trip has been already paid and is being held as a voucher (from deposits of 2 cancelled trips), and I feel pretty good about them letting me push out further if Indonesia is still not open 2 month before (when the remaining 15% would be due) based on prior experience. I'm not concerned about covid risk given full vaccination (Pfizer) and general good health/young age (sub-30), just logistics of being able to get in / get back.

The Lembeh leg is the credit that expires by the end of the year (Bastianos). I only paid about $1k in deposit and could try asking for an extension, or I could take my chances and tack on a week after Raja Ampat (would not book tickets or pay remaining balance until confirmed open). I recall there was a direct flight from Sorong to Manado and a direct flight from Manado to Singapore.

Is there anyone on the ground in Sorong / Manado that has a sense of how things are currently, what the milestone targets are for reopening (vaccination of local population or vaccination of tourists?), or any guesses on how much later than Bali these more remote areas will open?

There are options that are already open - Thailand (Phuket) will be open to fully vaccinated people in July, and Maldives is already open. Both easily accessible from Singapore, but I have such a backlog of store credit I need to use I don't really want to pay for any fresh trips.

The one after this would be July 2022 which I feel pretty optimistic about.

How are you all thinking about Indonesia/Asia options generally?

Good to see you back on the board.

It's so hard to say what may happen and flights that previously existed, may no longer exist.

My last flight from Sorong ended up with a stop in Makassar and then instead of going directly from there to my destination, I ended up cooling my heels for a few more hours in Jakarta and finally reached Bali late at night. That was disappointing.

I've been to Raja Ampat 3 times, two of those were in December and I was pleased.
 

BLACKCRUSADER

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Hi all, . I'm not concerned about covid risk given full vaccination (Pfizer) and general good health/young age (sub-30), just logistics of being able to get in / get back.

A woman from the US who came to Taiwan had been Pfizer vaccinated, well a month after her second injection she is now covid infected. A vaccine does not mean you cannot contact the virus.
Indonesia might want to have a travel bubble but in reality it is unlikely as covid is still prominent in Asia and vaccinations are not happening at the rate some countries wanted.

To enter Indonesia atm or even for this year requires a business visa & quarantine. December 2022 might be possible but who really knows at this stage? As for other countries in Asia I am not booking anything until there are firm allowed tourists and what type of quarantine will be required both to and from a trip.

Taiwan woman COVID-positive after full Pfizer vaccination | Taiwan News | 2021-06-10 16:19:00
 

chillyinCanada

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A woman from the US who came to Taiwan had been Pfizer vaccinated, well a month after her second injection she is now covid infected. A vaccine does not mean you cannot contact the virus.
Indonesia might want to have a travel bubble but in reality it is unlikely as covid is still prominent in Asia and vaccinations are not happening at the rate some countries wanted.

To enter Indonesia atm or even for this year requires a business visa & quarantine. December 2022 might be possible but who really knows at this stage? As for other countries in Asia I am not booking anything until there are firm allowed tourists and what type of quarantine will be required both to and from a trip.

I could easily do one of Thailand's sandbox openings. Phuket is almost ready but Samui is really chasing it as their island people are at 50% vaccinated and they want to achieve 70% at a minimum.

I don't blame them.

There's talk that Chiang Mai might try for "sandbox" status too but I've no idea how that could work.

Earlier there was talk of Hua Hin area having golf resort quarantines. I was ready to resume golfing.

But at the time of the move, I gave my niece my clubs and whoever packed my golf shoes can't remember where.

Oh well.
 

jjmochi

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Yeah the move to Singapore is basically confirmed, I think fastest we can go is in 2-3 months, Nov was a conservative target. We have family in Singapore so will have lots of help / not much pain settling in.

Testing costs etc is something we're willing to eat - 2 years stuck in HK is driving me crazy. My US friends don't understand the burnout as there is still pretty good domestic travel and they're still able to take true breaks. Meanwhile in HK there's day trips for hiking or junks, but nothing where you can truly disconnect for a week. As with anything there is a risk but it's a pretty small risk given my profile and something I'm willing to take.

I'm not really banking on travel bubble status - having seen HK/SG fall through twice already. I've accepted I'll need to do the quarantine on the way back, but SG is home quarantine and I can work from home no issues. So the goal is just to find a place that doesn't require quarantine on the way in. Phuket/Thailand is probably where we'll end up if Indonesia doesn't open.

I've reached out to Papua Explorers (where I was originally booked literally within a week of Raja closing in Apr 2020, and hence trip is fully paid) and they said Raja is one of the priority destinations as well if Bali goes well, and interestingly their staff is fully vaccinated already. So fingers crossed...
 

BLACKCRUSADER

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I've reached out to Papua Explorers (where I was originally booked literally within a week of Raja closing in Apr 2020, and hence trip is fully paid) and they said Raja is one of the priority destinations as well if Bali goes well, and interestingly their staff is fully vaccinated already. So fingers crossed...

It is possible I would live to dive Raja Ampat as well but I need to wait for a good friend from the UK as we had planned on doing that together. However Bali is a 5 hour direct flight from Taiwan so when that eventuates I may find myself going alone.
 
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