Health tips when visiting Bali
Drink Bottled Water
Keep hydrated to avoid heatstroke but don't drink from the tap. The tap water in Bali is often the source of many a tourist's case of "Bali belly". When in Bali, stick to canned drinks or bottled water. For more information see our article Drinking Water Overseas.
When travelling to Southeast Asia getting a few vaccinations to protect you from serious diseases is always advisable. Talk to your doctor and see what they recommend. Vaccination against Hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, smallpox, and typhoid are some they may recommend.
Dining Out in Bali
When dining out look for the places that are busy and have a high turnover of local customers. This generally indicates fresh food and a good reputation. Like any country locals customers would never return to a restaurant with a bad reputation. Asking the concierge at your hotel is also a good idea.
Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands regularly to eliminate any bacteria. Carrying hand sanitizer is also advisable as you're unlikely to find soap in every bathroom.
Do not drink Arak
Arak is the local rice spirit. If it is not distilled properly deadly methanol can be introduced. Beware of cocktails that might contain Arak. Locally produced bad stuff can be indistinguishable from the good stuff until it has caused brain damage, blindness or death. If you want to try Arak, purchase it from a supermarket or at a good restaurant. A number of tourists have died in the past few years from drinking locally produced Arak. It's not worth the risk and there are plenty of other alcoholic beverages available.
Ask if you really need that tattoo
Whilst it's popular to get a tattoo in Bali, avoid dubious tattoo shops. The high standards you expect from Western tattoo shops is not universal. Before laying down some ink make sure the shop meets certain standards such as a proper autoclave for sterilizing tattoo needles, new sterile needles used and that ink, ointment and other items are not returned to a universal container. If you must get a tattoo ask around for advice and check any certification and qualifications.
Avoid black-henna tattoos
Getting a henna tattoo is a common souvenir from Bali as it is temporary. A natural Henna tattoo is a lighter redder colour; however tourists sometimes unknowingly go for the darker black henna. Black henna is a type of hair dye not meant to be applied to the skin. Black henna contains the additive known as paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which may cause an allergic reactions ranging from itchiness, blistering to long-lasting scars. Before getting a henna tattoo ensure it is natural henna. You're after a temporary tattoo not a long-lasting scar.
Watch out for the Macaque monkeys
They're cute and entertaining to watch but not much fun when they try to steal your bag or attack you. Avoid smiling at Macaque monkeys as they interpret showing teeth as an act of aggression. If they steal something from you don't try to grab it back off them as you will most likely get bitten. If you can't do without it, wait until they get bored and discard it before trying to retrieve.
Don't Get Bitten
Originally considered rabies free, Bali has had an increasing rabies problem for a number of years now. Best to avoid contact with stray dogs, cats, monkeys and other animals. If you get bit by a random dog or monkey head straight to the doctor for a shot of rabies immunoglobulin. You may also want to consider a rabies vaccination before travelling to Bali.
Carry Some Condoms
Bali can be a very romantic place and well known for its tourist hook-ups and holiday flings. It's easy to get carried away in the moment but keep in mind that HIV, Hepatitis B, and other STD's are a major problem around the world particually in Asia. Play it smart and safe, and buy some condoms.
Know Where to Get Help
Know where the closest hospital, clinic or medical centre is in your area. Bali's medical infrastructure is very advanced by Southeast Asia standards. If it is a serious medical emergency you will most likely be taken to the main government run hospital at Sanglah, Denpasar.
For information on keeping safe and secure in Bali see our article Personal Safety and Security in Bali.