How to Stay Safe in Bali

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With all the fun and excitement holidays and a new destination brings, it’s easy to forget that tourists are often targets of petty crimes and common scams (not just in Bali, but in tourist hotspots all over the world).

We want you all to love and enjoy Bali as much as we do, so we have put together this list of things you can do to keep yourself and your belongings safe in Bali so you leave with nothing but good memories!

1

Only Use Authorised Money Changers

Close up of crumpled Indonesia rupiahs
One of the biggest mistakes we see tourists make in Bali is getting tempted by the high exchange rates advertised on the streets. These money changers are not authorised and are like magicians, they will magically make your money disappear right in front of your eyes.

There are a lot of zeros when it comes to exchanging currency into rupiah, and these dodgy money changers will take advantage of that. You will never get the high rate they are advertising; even if you catch them out, your best result will be getting your original currency back only.

To identify a legitimate money changer, you will see that they advertise NO COMMISSION, they should display their certificates & licenses, and they will be in a shop front (not just some random guy with a sign at an open market style place or roadside booth).
 

2

Don’t Ride a Motorcycle Unless You’re Experienced and Fully Licensed

Male traveller on a bike among rice fields in Bali
It can be tempting to jump on a motorcycle and ride the streets of Bali. It’s a quick way to get around and a fun way to see the sights. Bali is not the place to come and learn how to ride on your holiday. The most accidents we’ve seen since living in Bali are bike accidents.

Unless you are experienced and fully licensed (which means having a motorcycle license from your home country AND an international license), don’t rent a bike when you come on holiday. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but if you end up in an accident, you won’t be covered by travel insurance, and you’re putting yourself and others at risk.
 

3

Use Trusted Transport

One of the first things you’ll hear on the streets of Bali is someone yelling to you “transport, transport”. People everywhere are willing to drive you in their car or take you on the back of their bike. We recommend using Grab SuperApp when wanting to take a car or a motorcycle ride. Not only is this an easy way to get around because rides are set prices, and there is no negotiating needed, but there is a big safety element in using this app. All drivers are fully licensed and registered, and your trip is tracked. There is even an emergency tab in the app you can hit in the app should you ever feel unsafe.
 

4

Put Your Phone & Bags Away When You Are on a Bike or Walking the Street

Bag and phone snatching aren’t common as crime in Bali is not high, but they do happen, particularly at night in the main party areas. To avoid this, when you are walking on the street, keep your phone zipped in your bag, and keep your bag to the side of your body which is furthest from the roadside.

If you are on the back of a bike, don’t have your bag over your shoulder, or visible. It is best to have it locked under the bike seat or hidden between yourself and the rider. If you are on a bike, don’t have your phone out (particularly when using it for directions). This is the most common way to have your phone snatched. 

5

Don’t Drink Tap Water or Brush Your Teeth With It

Taman Tirta Gangga Water Palace Water Park Bali
Staying safe in Bali also means staying healthy during your trip. Gone are the days when you can’t eat salad or have ice in your drinks in Bali, but you still must be careful with your water intake.

Only drink filtered water and don’t brush your teeth with the tap water. This will help you to avoid “Bali Belly”.
 

6

Use Mosquito Repellent

Woman spraying insect repellent against dengue fever on legs
Something you don’t want to get in Bali is dengue fever. It is more common during Bali’s wet season, but is possible to contract anytime of year.

The best way to prevent getting dengue fever is to use mosquito repellent. The dengue mosquito is most active during the day time, so don’t just wait until dusk. Most resorts and villas will have various measures to keep mosquitoes away from your accommodation also.
 

7

Use Safe ATMs

Person entering PIN on ATM
Card skimming at ATMs does happen in Bali. This when scammers have attached a device to the ATM in order to skim your card details.

When you choose an ATM to use, it is important that you check for any tampering around the keypad area. Choose an ATM located within a mall, resort or bank rather than a streetside ATM to be extra careful.
 
 

8

Use a VPN

If you need to do any online banking or bank transfers during your stay, we also recommend using a VPN (we do this wherever we are in the world!). This will help stop online scammers from stealing your information on shared WIFI networks.
 

9

Have Travel Insurance

Travel insurance claim application form and hat with eyeglasses on and model airplane
If you can afford to travel, you can afford travel insurance…. but what you might not be able to afford is your hospital bill should you be uninsured as a tourist in Bali.
 

Accidents and illnesses do happen on holiday, and if you are unfortunate enough to have this happen during your time in Bali, you at least want to know you can access healthcare.

Many Bali hospitals work on a pay first, treatment second model. This means if you can’t produce your travel insurance details or a substantial deposit, you are not going to get treatment. Medical treatment for tourists can be very expensive, especially when it comes to hospital stays, surgery and medivacs.

Having comprehensive travel insurance will cover you if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing medical care during your holiday.

 

10

Avoid Common Scams

Fortune teller scam
There are quite a few petty tourist scams that, if you already know about them, are super easy to avoid! We’ve made you a list of the ones we see most often in Bali.
 

Final Words

This list is not to scare you but to make you aware. Knowing this before you travel makes it easier to have more fun while staying safe and healthy in Bali!

Is Bali safe to visit? Yes, Bali is absolutely safe to visit. 

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