Bali Survival Guide


Have a fun, safe & enjoyable holiday with our guide to staying safe in Bali. 






1. What's This Guide All About?

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.


2. The Best Of Bali

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


  • sunset
  • See A Breathtaking Sunset

    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.

  • mountains

  • Head Outdoors

    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.

  • barley
  • Live Like A Local In The Rice Paddies

    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.

  • waves

  • Catch Some Waves

    Bali is known as one of the world’s number one surfing spots. There’s waves for everyone from beginners to the pros.

  • eat
  • Eat Like The Balinese

    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.

  • temple
  • Visit A Temple

    There are thousands of temples in Bali. Must sees include Besakih (the mother temple), Ulun Danu Beratan and Uluwatu. 


3. Know Before You Go 

i. Visas & Entry

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:


passportYou’ll need at least 6 months validity on your passport or you won’t be allowed into Indonesia.

visaThe Indonesian Government has introduced visa-free short visits (30 days) for New Zealanders. 

embassyFor 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:


alcoholMaximum 1 litre
of alcohol.


ciggarette200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco.


perfumeA reasonable amount of perfume.




ii. Sim Cards & Dialling Home 




Phoning home is pretty cheap when you’re in Indonesia. SIM cards are easy to purchase and the major national operators include:

Indosat  -  Telkomsel  -  XL  -  AXIS  -  Smart Telecom  -  Tri ”3”  -  Hutchison Telecommunications


Calling New Zealand From Indonesia


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.



Calling Indonesia From 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.


 Bali Important Phone Numbers


  • emergencyEmergency Call Number 112

policePolice 110
or (0361) 751598

tourist policeTourist Police
 (0361) 155 4

ambulanceAmbulance 118 
or (0361) 257550

fire brigadeFire Brigade

bali taxi Bali Taxi
 (0361) 701111

bali governmentBali Government Tourism Office (0361) 222387




iii. At The Airport 


You have three options to get yourself from Ngurah Rai airport to your accommodation. 


Metered Taxi 

Outside of Airport


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).

Ngurah Rai 

Aiport Taxi


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.


Top Tip: 

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.





iv. Money 


Money Exchanges 


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).


What Not To Do At Money Exchanges

  • Don’t use a money changer that is located down a laneway or alley. Going down alleyways for anything is pretty dodgy, so don’t go down one to change your money.
  • Don’t use a money changer if the sign does not say “authorised” (and even if the sign does say authorised be cautious).
  • Don’t use a money changer with an advertised rate which is better than any other in that area. (If the rate is too high it’s probably too good to be true).

money  bag


  • Don’t allow anyone to distract you during the transaction, or you may find yourself short changed.
  • Don’t accept any smaller denominations than 50,000 or 100,000 notes (beware if they say they have no large notes and try to give you small notes instead).
  • Don’t allow anyone to touch your rupiah once you have counted it and are sure it’s right, keep your eye on the prize.



v. Adventure Activities 


There are lots of adventure activities you can undertake in Bali, like white-water rafting, surfingscuba diving, 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.

Some Activities That Are Covered


Zip line

stand up paddle boarding




gorge walking

Gorge walking











Some Activities That Are Not Covered


(By Pretty Much Any Insurer Because Of The Risk!):

base jumping


professional sports




hang gliding


open water sailing

Open water sailing





*without an NZ licence 


Riding a scooter?

Watch the video to learn more about travel insurance restrictions and conditions when riding a scooter overseas.



4. Is Bali Safe? 

i. New Zealand Government Travel Warnings

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.


Stats and Facts

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.


vehicle theftsOverall, 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.


handbagMore 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 spikingDrink spiking and assaults also occur. Look out for your friends when out on the town, watch your drinks and be aware of your surroundings. 




ii. How To Avoid Methanol Poisoning 


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.




Beware Of Arak

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. 



Avoid Spirits

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 The Symptoms 

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!



iii. Taxis In Bali


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.


Top Tip:

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.


Getting A Taxi In Bali


iv. Families In Bali


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!


Family Friendly Tips:




Supermarkets Do Stock

Fresh milk, nappies and toiletries. Some have baby formula but to be safe it’s best to bring your own from home.

unfenced pool


Unfenced Swimming Pools

Some villas may not have pool fences so be sure to check this when booking your accommodation.

dangerous balconies


Dangerous Balconies

Some hotel balconies can be damaged or have low railings or balusters that children can climb. 


tap water


Be Careful With Tap Water

Prepare your kids beforehand by letting them know that they can’t drink the tap water – including in the bath or shower.



Consider Taking A Stroller

You might consider taking a stroller with large wheels for the beaches and un-even footpaths.

car seats


Taxis Don’t Have Car Seats

Best to research beforehand and find a private driver or a company you can hire one from. You could also take one from home.


kids club


Resorts Have Kids Clubs

With dedicated playgrounds, pools and fun activities for the kids to do.

high chairs


Highchairs Are Rare

A pram will come in handy during meals at restaurants and cafes.



Balinese People Love Kids 

Staff at restaurants will often pick up your kids and give them a lot of attention.


breast feedingIs It Okay To Breastfeed In Public?

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.



pramIs It Safe To Hire A Nanny In Bali?

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.

Top Tip:

Bring funky water bottles to refill for the kids. That way they will always remember that they can only drink water from this bottle.




Tips To Finding A Good Nanny 


speakerThrough word of mouth. Ask friends or the hotel you are staying at for a recommendation.

speechDo they speak English well? – this is important so they can communicate with your kids

first aidEnsure they have had CPR and first aid training. Can they swim?


childrenInquire into their experience – how many years have they been a nanny? 

allergiesHow would they react to certain situations – Allergies?  Emergency situations?

cashAs a guide Nanny’s cost about $66 NZ for a 12 hour day, some places charge more. 


5. Street Smarts - Corruption, Bribes & Scams 

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!




1 Police

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.



2 On The Street

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!



3 Shopping

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. 



4 Sob Stories

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. 




5 Temples

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. 



6 Surfboard Hire

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.



7 Pickpockets

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.


Top Tip:

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.



6. Looking After Yourself

i. Bali Belly


1 Can I Eat The Street Food?trolley

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. 


2 Can I Drink The Water?water

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.


How to Avoid Bali Belly


tap waterWash your hands regularly to eliminate any bacteria. Take hand sanitiser to use on the go.


vegetablesAvoid using tap water to wash your fruit and vegetables.


waterDrink bottled water, and use it to brush your teeth.


kettleBoil tap water for at least five minutes before drinking it.


Top Tip:

Dishes to try include: babi guling (suckling pig), bebek betutu (slow cooked duck) or sate lembat (Bali’s take on satay)


man with tattoo

ii. Irreversible Skin Damage

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.

Black Henna Tattoos

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.

Sun Stroke

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:


sunscreenUse a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.


bottleAlways carry water, heatstroke is not fun.


timeSpend less time in the sun during 10am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest.



iii. Dengue Fever


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.


pest control

How To Avoid Being Bitten


Cover Up!

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.


Use Mosquito Repellent.

As much as you can. The ones with DEET as a major ingredient work the best.


Dark Colours And Strong Smells Attract Mosquitos.

Avoid perfumes and strong aftershave and wear lighter colours if possible.


7. Mother Nature

i. Natural Disasters

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, check here for the most updated information on Bali volcanos.

Volcanic ash clouds have caused disruptions to airports and flights between Australia and Bali.

Check with your airline in the case of volcanic ash clouds before departing for the airport.

Also make sure you check 1Cover's Travel Alerts before you book. 





Strong earthquakes can occur anywhere in Indonesia due to the tectonic activity.

  • If an earthquake occurs it can trigger a tsunami or mudslide.
  • In the event of an earthquake protect yourself and follow the direction of local authorities.
  • Get to higher ground if there is suspicion of a quake out at sea.





Tourists hot spots like Kuta, Tanjung Benoa, and Sanur – are in low-lying areas that may be easily swamped if a tsunami occurs.

  • A tsunami ready system is in effect in Bali. Which means there is a siren that is activated in the case of an imminent tsunami. As well as red zones (high-risk areas) and yellow zones (lower likelihood of being swamped).
  • Speak to your hotel about their tsunami procedures.
  • If the sirens are activated leave the red zones immediately.
  • If an earthquake strikes get away from the beach, even if the siren hasn’t been activated.
  • If you can’t get to a yellow zone when the siren is alarmed - get to your nearest vertical evacuation centre.





  • Flooding and mudslides are common in Indonesia during the wet season - October to March.
  • Travel outside of the wet season to avoid flooding. Bali isn’t usually as badly effected as other parts of Indonesia though.
  • An average day during the rainy season will see at least one downpour. Sometimes it can be pretty heavy and result in flooding.
  • If you do decide to visit in the rainy reason always carry around a poncho or raincoat.
  • Dangerous flooding can occur in areas where heavy down pours are partnered with poor drainage. So be aware of this if you plan to drive a car as roads may become unsafe.


ii. Beaches


Bali has some amazing beaches which are perfect for swimming, surfing or just laying around on. 








Top Tips
Geger Beach





Located near the Grand Hyatt and St Regis Hotels, you can use this beach at any time (without staying at the hotels).

Sanur Beach






  Along the beachfront is a 7km wakway great for early morning walks, bike rides or to simply check out the view.
Kuta Beach







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!
Seminyak Beach







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.
Jimbaren Beach




  Amazing place to watch a sunset with a cocktail in hand or for taking a dip in the ocean on a hot Bali day.


Flags At The Beach 

When it comes to safety on the beaches there are a few things to look out for:


Red Flags

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.


Yellow And Red Flags

These flags mean lifeguards patrol the beach and are the safest to swim on. It’s rare to find patrolled beaches in Bali though.


No Flags

This means no lifeguards but are potentially safer than red flagged beaches. 


iii. Stray Animals 

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.

first aid


Bites & Scratches

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.



Macaque Monkeys

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.


8. What To Do In An Emergency 

i. What Do I Do If I Lose My Passport?

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. 




Look In The Last Place You Left It!

Seems simple right? But sometimes your passport may have been left at the last place you stayed so call the hotel.



Report It To The Government

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.



Prepare Documents To Get A New Passport

Things you will need to do to get a replacement passport include: an application form, photos and possibly booking an interview.



Report To The Police Within 24 Hours

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.



Call Your Travel Insurance Company

To report the claim as soon as you can. That way you can confirm cover and seek advice.


Important Contacts


policeTourist Police Kuta - Jalan Kartika Plaza, Kuta, Bali 
(0361) 754 599

passportNew Zealand Travel Emergency Number
+64 4 439 8000



ii. What To Do If I Have A Medical Emergency?


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.


ambulanceCall 118 for an ambulance or 112 for all other emergencies.


doctorFor medical claims you will need a doctor’s report so don’t forget to get this.

smileThe Balinese are always ready to help so if you are in an emergency don't hesitate to ask for help.


hospitalSiloam Public Hospital Kuta, Badung Regency


planeNgurah Rai International Airport 
Jalan Raya Gusti Ngurah Rai, 80362

consulateNew Zealand Consulate-General
Gelora Bung Carno No. 8, Jakarta, 10270


hospitalBIMC Hospital Nusa Dua - Kawasan BTDC Blok D, Nusa Dua, Bali 80363

policeBali Tourist Police
Jl. Kartika, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, 80361

hospitalBIMC Hospital Kuta 
Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung 




iii. What To Do If You're Robbed Overseas




Keep Your Cool

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.


commission office

Get Help

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

Report stolen keys to your hotel. Replacement keys and locks may need to be arranged.


credit cards

Cancel Cards

Cancel all credit cards and report them stolen to your bank.



police station

Go To The Police

Find the nearest police station and report the incident, and obtain a police report within 24 hours.



Transfer Money

If all your cash and access to money was stolen you can arrange for a money transfer from someone back home.



Speak To 1Cover

If you need to replace items such as your beloved camera speak to your insurance company to find out what is covered.


thumbs up

Stay Positive

Last but not least stay positive. Theft can happen to even the savviest of travellers.


Share This Guide With Your Travel Buddies 



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