Bali, Taiwan and Thailand are OPEN or reducing requirements ahead of schedule
Hopefully you guys are familiar with what we mean by gamer travel. If not we outlined the basics in our first destination here [https://www.balancegaming.network/chiang-mai ] but we're also excited to tell you guys that Taiwan and Bali are available to travel to NOW already while Thailand is working on reducing requirements with some select countries in Europe i.e Germany, Netherlands, Finland and others are starting to offer regular tourist visas. Thailand's requirements are practically a part time job to keep up with but they are going the way of reopening. In particular we were ground floor in Bali and relocated two of our community, testimonials included. Although we are in talks with various tourism and govt related parties in Taiwan, we're only offering Bali and Thailand assistance for now since we don't have anyone on the ground in Taiwan at this time.
This will be particularly interesting for people between jobs who are seeing their savings disappear at a high rate in this Covid-19 crisis, remote workers, people who want to clear a big backlog of games for cheap, and even streamers trying to build up their channels who can get a lot more time to do so vs juggling a day job.
Details per country below.
COVID Situation: Below 600 cases nationwide and just 7 deaths. It probably doesn’t get much better than that anywhere.
COVID Drawbacks: Visitors have to undergo a mandatory 14 days quarantine in a government-approved hotel. This will set you back approximately $2700 USD equivalent at the cheapest option. Leaving your room is forbidden and high fines are to be expected for violation of your quarantine. You must buy a local sim card in the airport upon arrival and use it so that the electronic fencing of your quarantine can be monitored by the service provider. After that time you’re free to go and do as you please. Wearing a mask in public is compulsory and a high fine is to be expected for not following the rule.
Visa: NO COUNTRY RESTRICTIONS - Most people from the west can now enter with a visa but have to quarantine. Normal visas are good for 90 days but there are longer options of 6 months. Even one year is possible if you below 30 and opt for the work and travel visa.
Getting In: Flights are available but it is highly likely your point of entry to the country will be Taipei due to limited international connections. A PCR Swab test is mandatory before departure.
Cost Of Living: Can be as low as below $800 a month in Kaohsiung and Taichung, $1200-1800 in Taipei. Rent can be extremely low but even for a great area, you will get a very nice place for $300. Meals start at $1.
Conclusion: Definitely an up and coming country that checks all the boxes. The cost of quarantine is easily offset by the savings once you stay a few months.
COVID Situation: A total of +10k cases and almost 400 dead makes the top of this list but practically this is still low considering 5 million people populate the island.
COVID Drawbacks: NO ENFORCED QUARANTINE. For now this may still be a grey area experiment.but Self-isolation is required for 14 days. This can happen in your normal accommodation and seems barely enforced. Wearing a mask is mandatory outdoors and a $6 fine is to be expected but practically half of the population doesn’t wear any and no one collects any fines.
Visa: During normal times visitors get 30 days and an extension of another 30 days is possible with the visa on arrival. With the social and business visas it is 60 days and 4 extensions bringing the total up to 180 days. During corona times only business visas are issued but we can help you to get one. Fees are quite high at +500 dollars but nevertheless a good investment.
Getting In: Flights are available but domestic entry is currently only possible in Jakarta so plan for an additional lag till you arrive at the destination. A PCR Swab test is mandatory before departure. Cost Of Living: Thanks to the halt on tourism as a result of the pandemic costs have dramatically gone down. $1000 a month enable you to spoil yourself already but at $1200 already means you are living it up with call-in massages and never preparing your own food. We have recently seen prices for luxury resorts for just $20 a night and even villas (without own pool) run for as low as $300 now which was the price for just a (very nice) room a few months back. Meals start at $1.
Conclusion: There are countless reasons to love Bali but under current circumstances, it is quite obvious why it made it top of the list. Easy to get a visa and no expensive quarantine along with the cheap cost of living makes this the go-to place until the pandemic ends.
If this sounds interesting for you and you need help with certain arrangements you should contact us. We have helped others to make their dream of finally having enough time to game before and never failed expectations. There has never been a better time to escape lockdowns and other madness at home and spend time with the hobby we love.
Testimonial by: Marco
Member profile: https://network.balancegaming.network/members/oliviero/
Favorite game: Total War series
Balance did an amazing job to help me travel to Bali. No matter what time and what questions I had I was taken care of quickly and left with no open questions. Visa, flights, and accommodations or anything else - they know it all. Great support overall and highly recommended.
Testimonial by: Frank
Profile link: https://network.balancegaming.network/members/frank/
Favorite game: Frostpunk
Occupation: Software Developer and Entrepreneur
While the purpose of my travel is less for gaming but be reunited with my fiancé during Corona Balance gave me great support. Very knowledgeable about visa situations and anything else you can ask for from flights to great value accommodations. You can’t do wrong here.
COVID Situation: A total of below 4000 cases nationwide with few daily new cases and only 59 deaths due to their excellent health services.
COVID Drawbacks: Even though the government reduced its quarantine requirement from 14 to 10 days you are still looking at about $2000 cost for your stay in a government-approved hotel for that time. After the quarantine, there are no domestic travel restrictions. You are expected to wear a mask in public and even though fines aren’t enforced the social stigma will make you wear one.
Visas: During normal times most western passport holders get in easy and free and there are multiple options to come for extended periods. Currently, there is on the STV - Special Tourist Visa which is highly impractical and already considered a failure and created more for luxury Chinese tourists. it allows a stay of up to 9 months but won’t be issued to residents of countries that show high Corona case numbers. This Visa scheme comes also with other drawbacks like the need to prepay your accommodation for the duration of your stay and health insurance that explicitly covers COVID19. The visa is relatively cheap at $65 for every 90 days and is extended domestically. Some people on social media claimed that they came with a tourist visa from low COVID risk countries but these are far and few in-between.
Getting In: Tricky, STV holders must come on a charter flight. Currently, these originate in China only. A PCR Swab test is mandatory before departure.
Conclusion: We at Balance love Thailand but the visa and flight situation needs to be improved to really work out for most people. The cost of quarantine can be swallowed if your trip is long enough and you are saving your $2000-3000/mnth living costs at home if you make it in.
Approved countries - List of low risk countries and territories (as of 9 October 2020), as determined by the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand. This list will be revised on the 15th and 30 of every month. You can check the updated list every 1st and 16th of the month with the Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate-General nearest to you. Even though most allowed countries will not see any significant savings especially adding Covid related costs or are even able to travel i.e. Australia we've highlighted some that we think could actually benefit now.
Australia , Belarus, Cambodia , China ,Croatia, Cuba , Denmark, Estonia , Fiji , Finland, Hong Kong , Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan , Lao PDR, Latvia, Macao, Malaysia , Mongolia , New Zealand, Norway, Qatar,. Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland,. Taiwan , Uruguay, Vietnam
Also if you want to do more than just game in Chiang Mai, the video below is a good sampling of what the local life and people are up to and why so many people from around the world and the locals love it here.