Bali is paradise. However, even in paradise, sometimes problems can occur. Bali is a safe place for those who stay on the right side of the law, and below are some of our local tips for staying safe on holiday in Bali.
1. Avoiding Petty Theft
Petty theft can take place while in public areas, and when a traveller’s nonchalance attracts thieves. As with anywhere, avoid opportunistic thieves by leaving your belongings unattended, equally by having a phone left on the table or in a taxi. If you are riding a bike, more so during the night, put your purse or handbag under the seat of your motorbike or in your lap in order to avoid any chance of it being pulled away from the sides. Precaution is the key to a happy holiday!
2. Safety on the Streets for Pedestrian and Drivers
There are minimal traffic laws enforced in Bali, so you should be very careful while crossing the street or riding a motorbike. Always keep in mind that the vehicles have the right of the way and that Bali has left side traffic, and you should be safe..
3. Be Aware of Cheap Drinks
The consumption of cheap alcohol, especially the locally made liquor Arak, can be dangerous due to improper distillation. The exuding methanol can cause blindness and even has been known to have cases of being lethal, so always purchase from a reputable distributor. Moreover, as with anywhere, don’t leave drinks unattended so there can be no chance of spiking. Basically, avoid drinking too cheap alcohol, and always keep an eye on your cocktail.
4. Anti-Corruption and Overstaying
Occasionally, tourists who are breaking the law subsequently offer officers bribes (for example, riding without a helmet is an offense, just like driving without a license or valid documents). You would not do this in your country, so do not defy the laws in Bali, as it leads to increased corruption, and financial consequences for travellers in the long-run if it becomes the norm. Obey the laws. Also, pay attention to the immigration rules, and don’t overstay your tourist visa.
5. Illegal Substances
The drug laws in Bali are very strict. Sometimes you may find that hallucinogenics labelled as “magic mushrooms” or marijuana may be offered, which is also illegal. Avoid buying any drug as the legal and financial consequences may be extremely adverse.
6. Dengue Fever
Mosquitos need to be stopped, so contact vigilance is the answer. The good news is that no cases of Malaria have been reported in Bali, however Dengue-carrying mosquitos are still a common thing on the island. Dengue mosquitos usually are around in the morning or evening. They are easily identified due to the “tiger” colouring over the body and legs. Avoid staying in cold and moist environments near any stagnant water, and always use the bug spray with the highest “deet”.
7. Stray Dogs
Do not approach dogs while walking or riding a bike, as they are sometimes quite unhealthy from being on the streets. The problem of rabies has still not been eliminated from Bali entirely, so don’t pet them if they do not have an owner with them.
8. Aggressive monkeys
The main tourist attraction in the Monkey Forest or Uluwatu Temple may turn into consternation if not following the rules. Monkeys in these places are wild, and thousands of tourists flock through encouraging them to take food, which encourages bad habits. They are primates, so can attack people if they think that they have something to eat, or steal their sunglasses or cameras. Take heed of staff warnings and signs to avoid the unwanted criminal tendencies of these animals, so obey the directions given and keep your valuables out of reach of these sometimes pesky little pickpockets!
9. Sun and Sea Safety on the Beach
Staying safe on the beach and in the ocean is easy if following the usual practices. First of all, put high protection sunscreen on, as the equatorial sun is very intense. And, secondly, do not swim in front of the red flags, which indicate dangerous rip currents.
10. Respect for Surfers
If you are a surfer, do not drop-in on the locals when wave riding, especially in the spots for advanced surfers. If you accidentally drop on the Indonesian surfer apologise, and assure them that you won’t do this again. It is rude in any surfing culture if you didn’t!
These are the main tips which will help you to stay safe in Bali. Always respect the local population and try avoiding conflicts with them, remember: you are their guest. The vast majority of Balinese people are cordial and honest, and they are trying their best to please you and to give you the most enjoyable holiday possible, so stay safe and have fun!