Even as Mount Agung has erupted in Bali, Mumbai’s vacation plans seem to have gone for a toss.
Situated in the very heart of Bali, one of the many active volcanoes there, Mount Agung, has erupted. And even while Indonesia may be over 9,000 km away from Mumbai, it has the city in a tizzy, thanks to travel plans landing in hot soup.
Given its low exchange rate, Bali has been a hot spot for Mumbai vacationers craving for an international trip, as well as honeymooning couples. However, with Mount Agung having erupted, and threatening to spew some more lava, many are reconsidering their plans to visit the scenic island.
Ashish Jagasia, a senior consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, says that he decided to skip Bali as soon as he heard about the volcano’s imminent eruption. “My wife Kameshwari Jagasia and I both have a week long holiday in December, and since it’s our anniversary month, we decided to take an international vacation. However, after hearing about the volcano, we have decided against it,” he shrugs.
Mona Abhani and Siddharth Trivedi didn’t have the luxury of time that the Jagasias did, and had to rework their honeymoon plans merely two days before their departure. “Bali had always been on our minds when we got married. About two days before we were to travel, we got a call from our travel agents telling us about the Agung volcano eruption in Bali,” sighs Mona, a company secretary and lawyer. “We took the day to calm ourselves down and then went ahead with our second option, Thailand.”
Sizzil Choudhury, co-founder of StickyGarlic Communications, was in Bali when the volcano erupted and says that it’s best to wait before visiting the island right now. “The locals are generally unfazed but quite helpful to the panicky tourists,” he says, before boarding the flight back to India. “While we knew about the eruption and took the risk, I would suggest that people wait till it settles before considering coming here.”
The Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar is currently open for service after being closed for three days, but Narayanan Hariharan warns that it could be shut again if the situation gets worse. “While there are flights in and out of Bali right now, another eruption is predicted. So, we don’t know how long it will be open for,” says the marketing head of travel company Pickyourtrail, explaining that they’ve had 50 couples rescheduling and cancelling their plans in light of the eruption. “Keep in mind that there could be rescheduling issues during dates like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and other public holidays,” he warns.
Look before you fly
— Narayanan Hariharan, Pickyourtrail