Have a fun, safe & enjoyable holiday with our guide to staying safe in Bali.
1Cover’s Bali survival guide is packed full of hot tips and good neighbourly advice to keep you safe on your next trip.
What Do We Know About Safety? Well, we’ve been working in the travel insurance industry for over 10 years so we’re the most up-to-date travelling buddy that you could ever wish for. We take safety seriously, but we won’t ever sound like your mother. We also like to have fun, because that’s what travel is all about!
Bali, known as the 'Island of the Gods', is a tourist mecca because of its top-notch beaches, gnarly surf and stacks of culture. But like anywhere in the world Bali also comes with its fair share of thrills and spills. From moped accidents to drink spiking, it’s important to know the risks associated when travelling so you come home safe and sound.
Before we go through all the things you might need to be careful of,
here's our top things that you NEED to do if you're visiting
There are some amazing sunsets to see in Bali so make sure you head to a relaxing spot with your camera in hand. Some of the best spots include Jimbaran Bay, The Rock Bar & Tanah Lot.
White water rafting, scuba diving and kite surfing are just some of the adventure activities you can do. If you’re more of a land lover you could try climbing Mount Batur at sunrise for a spectacular view.
Whether you spend a week here or just a day trip the rice paddies of Bali will give you firsthand experience of how the locals really live.
Bali is known as one of the world’s number one surfing spots. There’s waves for everyone from beginners to the pros.
Don’t miss out big time on one of the best parts of Bali culture! Make sure you try Sate, Nasi Ayam and Nasi Campur and Betutu.
There are thousands of temples in Bali. Must sees include Besakih (the mother temple), Ulun Danu Beratan and Uluwatu.
If you can’t get into Indonesia than your trip is over before it’s even begun. But never fear - when it comes to visas and entry here’s what you need to know:
You’ll need at least 6 months validity on your passport or you won’t be allowed into Indonesia.
The Indonesian Government has introduced visa-free short visits (30 days) for New Zealanders.
For other visas you will have to contact the Embassy or Consulate of Indonesia.
Be careful what you bring into the country too - Indonesian customs allow you to bring in a max, per adult, of:
Maximum 1 litre
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco.
A reasonable amount of perfume.
Phoning home is pretty cheap when you’re in Indonesia. SIM cards are easy to purchase and the major national operators include:
IDD code - 64 - Area Code - Land phone number.
IDD code - 64 - Nine digit mobile phone number.
IDD code - International Direct Dial code. Depending on your phone provider you will have a different code.
64 - Country Code of New Zealand.
0011 - 62 - Area Code - Land phone number.
0011 - 62 - 9, 10 or 11 Digit mobile number.
00 - Exit code for New Zealand, and is needed for making any international call from New Zealand.
62 - ISD Code or Country Code of Indonesia.
Area code – 1 of the 25 area codes in Indonesia.
or (0361) 751598
(0361) 155 4
or (0361) 257550
Bali Government Tourism Office (0361) 222387
You have three options to get yourself from Ngurah Rai airport to your accommodation.
This requires the most effort. You’re going to have to carry your own bags outside of the airport grounds and flag down a taxi.
In this cab you’ll pay by the meter which could end up costing you a lot more. Use this option as a last resort.
Some hotels offer a shuttle service from the airport right to your hotel doorstep. This service is the most convenient of them all, so check if your hotel offers it when booking your accommodation. Some shuttles to your hotel can cost a fee (payable directly to the hotel).
These guys are the only taxi service that operate out of the airport. They have a service counter located just outside of the arrivals hall (when you exit arrivals turn right). Let the attendant know where you’re going, pay the fare and proceed to the taxi with the receipt. The rates are fixed and this option usually works out to be the cheapest.
Taxi drivers wear blue patterned shirts. Anyone
else who offers to help you
with your bags will ask to
be paid for assisting you and may not be a taxi.
Always check the calculations and know what you’re owed before handing over any money. Count the rupiah twice and don’t let anyone else touch it. If you find that your cash doesn’t stack up, go back and ask for the rest of your rupiah (most keep a ledger of the amounts they have skimmed, so they will know exactly how much you have been shorted).
There are lots of adventure activities you can undertake in Bali, like white-water rafting, surfing, scuba diving, paragliding, volcano climbing and quad biking just to name a few.
Take the right precautions, always get travel insurance and make sure you’re covered for any activities you plan to take part in.
*without an NZ licence
The New Zealand Government issue travel warnings for destinations depending on the security issues at hand. You can find them at SafeTravel. Since the Bali bombings in 2002 the NZ government has advised to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali, due to the threat of a terrorist attack.
Like most places, South-east Asia has its safe spots and dodgy no-go zones. Of course you always need to keep your wits about you no matter where you go. Things aren’t always perfect in paradise. Indonesia is considered a third world country, so the standard of living might be lower than what you’re used to. Crime, pollution, corruption and scams do all exist.
Overall, crime in Bali is low, however petty crime (as well as vehicle thefts) do happen and sometimes violence is used. The most common vehicle stolen is motorcycles.
Thieves on motorcycles may snatch handbags and backpacks from pedestrians.
More recently there has been an increase in reports of violent crime in Bali. This includes muggings and street robberies involving tourists in the Kuta area.
Drink spiking and assaults also occur. Look out for your friends when out on the town, watch your drinks and be aware of your surroundings.
Methanol poisoning is also a huge concern and can even be deadly. Methanol is found in home-brewed alcohol (also known as Arak) which hasn’t been distilled correctly. So make sure you know what you are drinking! The symptoms of methanol poisoning include headaches, dizziness, amnesia and drowsiness. As well as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, blurred vision and hallucinations.
Even the official stuff can be deadly. Arak is essential homebrewed alcohol and if distilled incorrectly it can contain methanol, which can make you very sick.
This includes cocktails. If you are going to drink spirits buy the whole bottle of a brand you know, make sure it’s sealed, and open it yourself to share with friends.
Know and understand the symptoms of methanol poisoning in yourself and your friends. Such as headaches, dizziness, amnesia and drowsiness. If you start to feel any symptoms go to hospital ASAP!
There are two types of taxis in Bali - the Bluebird taxis
(the real deal), and the not so good ones. If you’re a fan
of a metered cab go for a Bluebird – they’re the reputable ones.
If you’re more of a free spirit you can get in an unnamed car
– but you may not know how much it’ll cost and you might pay
more than you bargained for.
If you are planning on seeing lots of Bali you could always consider hiring a personal driver which are affordable and can be more reliable than taxis.
Bali is a great place to travel with the tots! With heaps of family friendly resorts, beaches left, right and centre and more activities than your heart desires, you’ll be asking yourself why you haven’t gone before!
Travelling as a family means you'll have to be more organised. Follow our family friendly tips to make your holiday easy and breezy!
Fresh milk, nappies and toiletries. Some have baby formula but to be safe it’s best to bring your own from home.
Some villas may not have pool fences so be sure to check this when booking your accommodation.
Some hotel balconies can be damaged or have low railings or balusters that children can climb.
Prepare your kids beforehand by letting them know that they can’t drink the tap water – including in the bath or shower.
You might consider taking a stroller with large wheels for the beaches and un-even footpaths.
Best to research beforehand and find a private driver or a company you can hire one from. You could also take one from home.
With dedicated playgrounds, pools and fun activities for the kids to do.
A pram will come in handy during meals at restaurants and cafes.
Staff at restaurants will often pick up your kids and give them a lot of attention.
Balinese women breastfeed in public, so it is safe to do so. Just use discretion, you could take a light weight shawl to cover yourself.
Many parents take advantage of hiring a nanny in Bali so they can have a more relaxing holiday (and enjoy time off from the kids). If you take the right precautions it can be a safe and a perfectly rewarding experience for you and your kids.
Bring funky water bottles to refill for the kids. That way they will always remember that they can only drink water from this bottle.
Through word of mouth. Ask friends or the hotel you are staying at for a recommendation.
Do they speak English well? – this is important so they can communicate with your kids
Ensure they have had CPR and first aid training. Can they swim?
Inquire into their experience – how many years have they been a nanny?
How would they react to certain situations – Allergies? Emergency situations?
As a guide Nanny’s cost about $66 NZ for a 12 hour day, some places charge more.
Getting scammed can happen anywhere, but when you’re a tourist in a new city you’re often a prime target for scams. Read up on the scams you need to know about and you should be A-OK!
Always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle and make sure you have the correct licence with you. Corrupt police officers may force you to pay a bribe – it is illegal to pay or offer a bribe so we don’t condone this kind of activity, it is best to not to draw attention to yourself around police.
While out and about in Bali you can choose to check out the chaotic Kuta with its infamous nightlife, Seminyak for its legendary sunsets or Sanur for a more family friendly vibe. While exploring you will be offered endless deals and bargains, some will be good value, some will not!
You can get virtually anything when shopping in Bali, with irresistible bargains from handmade masks, to local art, antique furniture and delicate jewellery. A shopping lover's dream! Ask hotel staff how much certain items should cost so you don't get overcharged by sellers.
We all love a good story, but don’t be fooled – this can be a tactic used to leech you of your cash. Beware of people who may seem to be attempting to spin you a yarn or their life story, they may end the conversation by trying to take you to a different location.
Seeing the ancient temples in Bali is at the top of the to-do list when visiting Indonesia. But you can even find people trying to scam money out of you at places of worship. You may be approached by a “holy man” who will bless you and say a prayer, then ask you for cash or food.
Water lovers and gnarly surf addicts unite in Bali! If you didn't BYO board you may notice people on the beach offering surfboards to hire. A good tip here is to check the board before you rush off into the water. Many have been damaged and have been glued back together.
Be careful in places where personal space is basically non-existent. The closer people are to you the easier it is for them to steal out of your pockets. Watch out for sellers who crowd you or people who force you to squeeze past them. The best way is to have pockets with zippers or keep your hands in your pockets.
Humour and a cheeky smile can get you a long way in life, and it can get you a long way when bargaining in Bali too! Haggle in markets and street shops.
Enjoying exotic cuisines is a huge part any travel experience. Avoiding local food, especially in Bali, means seriously short-changing your tastebuds. Feel free to indulge. Head to stalls with big crowds, a high turnover of fresh food and lots of locals.
Choose dishes cooked to order, rather than pre-prepared.
While you’re in Bali you shouldn’t drink water out of the tap. Stick to bottled water and canned drinks, and avoid ice in
your drinks if it’s made from tap water. Many travellers don’t even use the tap water to brush their teeth.
Wash your hands regularly to eliminate any bacteria. Take hand sanitiser to use on the go.
Avoid using tap water to wash your fruit and vegetables.
Drink bottled water, and use it to brush your teeth.
Boil tap water for at least five minutes before drinking it.
Dishes to try include: babi guling (suckling pig), bebek betutu (slow cooked duck) or sate lembat (Bali’s take on satay)
Always dreamed of getting a classic Chinese symbol on your back, or a tribal tattoo around your bicep? Maybe Bali isn’t the perfect place to get your next tattoo. Getting a tattoo in Bali is popular, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe. The standards that you’ll find in tattoo shops back home aren’t usually common in Bali and there has been cases of HIV being transmitted through infected needles.
If you are going to get a tattoo and take the risk, at least make sure the tattoo shop has proper cleaning equipment for sterilizing tattoo needles.
Temporary black henna tattoos are also common in Bali. But black henna is a type of hair dye which isn’t meant to be applied to skin – meaning many people have severe allergic reactions to the dye used. Unlike natural henna, black henna contains an additive known as paraphenylenediamine, which is a dangerous chemical. The reactions it causes can range from minor irritations such as itching to severe blisters and scars.
We know New Zealand can be pretty balmy, but if you didn’t know already…Bali is HOT!
Sunburn can be horrendous on a holiday, and can potentially ruin it if you end up with sunstroke. At the risk of sounding like your mother our advice is:
Use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.
Always carry water, heatstroke is not fun.
Spend less time in the sun during 10am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest.
Dengue fever is viral disease spread by mosquitos, it’s usually not fatal but can cause some symptoms that you probably won’t
want ruining your holiday.
Symptoms may be mild and flu like but in some cases have developed into more severe forms of the disease.
The highest incidence of reported cases of dengue fever in Bali occur in the rainy season which runs from October to April.
There is no specific treatment and no vaccine. Seek medical attention immediately if you think you’ve contracted the disease.
Long sleeved shirts, long pants and long socks are all your friends. Spray repellent on them if you’re heading outside near dawn and dusk and before you go to bed.
As much as you can. The ones with DEET as a major ingredient work the best.
Avoid perfumes and strong aftershave and wear lighter colours if possible.
Indonesia is located in what is known as the “Ring of Fire” – which is an area with lots of tectonic activity.
This means tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions! All sounds pretty scary right? Well never fear, while these kind of disasters do happen in Bali, extreme disasters aren’t very common.
There are a few active volcanos in Bali –
• Batur (the most active).
• Bratan (stunning and known as the Lake District).
• Agung (the highest point in Bali, last erupted in 1963-64).
If you are headed near any of these check the local alert levels before heading there.
Volcanic ash clouds have caused disruptions to airports and flights between New Zealand and Bali.
Check with your airline in the case of volcanic ash clouds before departing for the airport.
Strong earthquakes can occur anywhere in Indonesia due to the tectonic activity.
Tourists hot spots like Kuta, Tanjung Benoa, and Sanur – are in low-lying areas that may be easily swamped if a tsunami occurs.
Bali has some amazing beaches which are perfect for swimming, surfing or just laying around on.
Located near the Grand Hyatt and St Regis Hotels, you can use this beach at any time (without staying at the hotels).
|Along the beachfront is a 7km wakway great for early morning walks, bike rides or to simply check out the view.|
|Waves here are big and the ocean currents are strong, so if you're a keen surfer or an Olympic medal swimmer then this should suit you!|
|This beach is quieter and known as the more upmarket beach - so head here if you want a more 'chilled out' vibe.|
|Blue Ocean Beach||
|Blue Ocean Beach comes alive at night, and is lined with bars, restaurants and Bali's biggest nightclub, DoubleSix.|
|Amazing place to watch a sunset with a cocktail in hand or for taking a dip in the ocean on a hot Bali day.|
When it comes to safety on the beaches there are a few things to look out for:
Some of Bali’s beaches can be pretty dangerous. If you see red flags on a beach don’t swim there, as they indicate dangerous currents and rips.
These flags mean lifeguards patrol the beach and are the safest to swim on. It’s rare to find patrolled beaches in Bali though.
This means no lifeguards but are potentially safer than red flagged beaches.
Stray animals like dogs, cats and monkeys (believe it or not) should all be avoided in Bali, and in the rest of Indonesia.
Rabies is prevalent in Bali and can be contracted through being bitten by an infected animal or if an animal’s saliva gets directly into your eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin. Our tip is to get vaccinated before your trip if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors or around animals.
If bitten or scratched by any animal you should immediately wash the wound thoroughly and seek urgent medical attention. You may need to take antibiotics for high-risk wounds so ensure you are checked by a doctor as soon as possible.
Avoid macaque monkeys, even in tourist areas where you are encouraged to touch or go near them. They can steal things from you or attack you. Don’t smile at them as they see a show of teeth as aggression, don’t grab something they are holding as they may bite you, and don’t show them any fear.
Your passport is your ticket to ride so try not to lose it down the back of a couch, or leave it in the back of a taxi. Follow these handy steps if you do lose your passport.
Seems simple right? But sometimes your passport may have been left at the last place you stayed so call the hotel.
If you are unable to find it after searching far and wide (or you know for a fact it was stolen) then you need to report it to the government.
Things you will need to do to get a replacement passport include: an application form, photos and possibly booking an interview.
Of it occurring. Ensure you get a police report documenting the loss or theft. You will need this report to make a travel insurance claim.
To report the claim as soon as you can. That way you can confirm cover and seek advice.
Tourist Police Kuta - Jalan Kartika Plaza, Kuta, Bali
(0361) 754 599
New Zealand Travel Emergency Number
+64 4 439 8000
If something serious happens and you find yourself severely sick or injured you’re going to need to get to a hospital, and fast. Always make yourself aware of your nearest hospital, just in case. Hospitals in Bali deliver great standards of care. Many hospital and clinic staff speak English, and have all the usual infrastructure like emergency departments, air ambulances and specialist clinics.
Call 118 for an ambulance or 112 for all other emergencies.
For medical claims you will need a doctor’s report so don’t forget to get this.
The Balinese are always ready to help so if you are in an emergency don't hesitate to ask for help.
Ngurah Rai International Airport
Jalan Raya Gusti Ngurah Rai, 80362
New Zealand Consulate-General
Gelora Bung Carno No. 8, Jakarta, 10270
BIMC Hospital Nusa Dua - Kawasan BTDC Blok D, Nusa Dua, Bali 80363
Bali Tourist Police
Jl. Kartika, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, 80361
BIMC Hospital Kuta
Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung
Don’t panic (and don’t fight back if you are aware of the robbery). Your camera isn’t worth as much as your life so best not to risk it.
Contact your embassy or high commission office to get assistance if needed, such as if you have troubles with the local police.
Report stolen keys to your hotel. Replacement keys and locks may need to be arranged.
Cancel all credit cards and report them stolen to your bank.
Find the nearest police station and report the incident, and obtain a police report within 24 hours.
If all your cash and access to money was stolen you can arrange for a money transfer from someone back home.
If you need to replace items such as your beloved camera speak to your insurance company to find out what is covered.
Last but not least stay positive. Theft can happen to even the savviest of travellers.