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November 9, 2017

Is it safe to travel to Bali? UPDATED 26/11/17

The island of Bali, Indonesia, with its sandy beaches, historic temples, and phenomenal nature trails has been portrayed as a bit dodgy recently due to the active volcano; Mount Agung. But is it safe to travel to Bali or is the news around a possible Bali volcanic eruption just sensationalized by the media as a stunt to get readers?

 

TLDR: Bali is safe to travel because the volcano (Mt Agung) is far from the tourist areas. The airport is open and operational. Some flights may be interrupted, check the status of scheduled flights at the bali airport homepage here

 

Source: Bali tourism board link

 

What about Bali air traffic interruptions caused by the volcanic ash?

 

From the video put up by the Bali tourism board, it looks like everything is as magnificent as ever, and Bali is safe to travel. The people are as happy, smiling, and hospitable as always.

 

But what if I buy my tickets and then my flights get canceled? And I end up stranded on the island?! With nothing but a volleyball as my only companion?! Like Tom Hanks in Castaway!

 

UPDATE:

  • 25/11/2017 5.30 pm local time – Bali volcano erupts
  • 26/11/2017 9:40 am local time – Aviation warning raised to red (imminent eruption, high levels of volcanic ash)
  • 21/11/2017 5:05 pm magmatic eruption

 

The question remains: Will the air traffic be interrupted by the Bali volcanic ash, should  Mount Agung erupt or increase in activity?

 

According to Bali ministry of foreign affairs, in the case of high levels of volcanic ash air traffic was to be diverted and it is the case today with some minor interruptions. Furthermore, the Balinese government is not expecting areas further than a 12-kilometer radius to be affected.

 

“The 9 km radius zone would be affected by volcanic materials released in case of an eruption. Whereas the 12 km radius zone is the area that would be affected by volcanic ash which would be hazardous to the health.” – source

Should I be concerned about the volcano eruption alerts?

 


UPDATE:
After the eruptions on 21. Nov and 26. Nov Denpasar airport is still open. A small number of airlines have cancelled their flights and the air traffic might be disrupted, causing possible delays.
See the latest information for scheduled flights at the bali airport homepage here

 

Since the level 4 (out of 4) warning was issued, Frontline Aid Workers have reported around 185,000 residents have been evacuated from the 12-kilometer radius around the volcano. However since Mt Agung still hasn’t erupted, 4,000 of these evacuees have returned to their volcano side homes.

 

UPDATE:
The refugee data on Saturday 25/11/2017 afternoon amounts 25,016 people spread over 224 refugee locations. This is nearly a 4-time decrease. The initial surge of evacuees was due to a panic attack. Most of the refugees, away from the danger zone have now returned to their homes.

 

Not even the locals are concerned about the alerts!

 

Indonesia’s National Volcanology Center has a reported a 200-meter tall column of sulphuric smoke arising from the volcano since late August. Seismic activity has also been increasing since early September, with a spike of over 1000 earthquakes on October 18th, but as of October 22nd, the trend is declining with a recorded less than 200 earthquakes a day, the majority of which are unfelt by visitors.

 

Seismic activity at Mount Agung has dropped dramatically. Graph: Indonesian Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation

 

Our Recommendation

 

So while there are earthquakes currently affecting the region, and Mt Agung remains at a Level 4 (out of 4) alert warning, the Indonesian Government remains confident that Bali is still safe to travel to.
Many of the popular tourist locations are over 60 kilometers from the volcanic zone.
Travel companies are even offering many discounts on flights to and from the island due to the lack of sales. In the event of an eruption, flight reroutes have already planned to avoid volcanic ash interruptions. So if you ask us, there has never been a BETTER time to visit Bali! And if you’re a surfer, earthquakes mean swell. So grab that board, swimmings, and sunscreen and get over there!

 

UPDATE
Psst!

By the way, we’re having a giveaway. Win a backpack full of travel gear, running until the 20th of Nov. Learn more

Further information:

call center : +62 361 234099 or +62 813 5396 5324.

The information on the latest condition of Mount Agung can be accessed through:

http://gunungagungupdate.bnpb.go.id

https://sites.google.com/view/updategunungagung

https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/09/25/bali-volcano-triggers-highest-alert-as-mount-agung-shakes/#1b5877213b92

http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/seismic-activity-at-mount-agung-declines-but-alert-level-remains-high/news-story/8aa946e0410ce940b20c04589e995045

 

Alert Level Criteria Interpretation
1

Aktif (Normal)

Monitoring of visual, seismicity and other volcanic event do not indicate changes. No eruption in foreseeable future.
2

Waspada

(Alert)

Increasing activity of seismicity and other volcanic events, and visual changes around the crater. Magmatic, tectonic or hydrothermal disturbance, no eruption imminent.
3

Siaga

(Standby)

Intensively increasing of seismicity with supported by other volcanic monitoring, obvious changes of visual observation and crater. based on observation data analysis, the activity will be followed by main eruption. If trend of increasing unrest continues, eruption possible within 2 weeks.
4

Awas

(Beware)

Following the main eruption, the initial eruption begin to occur as ash and vapor. Based on observation data analysis, the activity will be followed by main eruption. Eruption possible within 24 hours.

 

Latest updates:

  1. Indonesia’s National Volcanology Center
  2. Twitter @BNPB_Indonesia
  3. Earthquaketrack.com

Update on Mount Agung Activities, 18 October 2017 18:00-24:00 ICST, source: MFA ID link