A sunny day at Dreamland Beach in Bali, Indonesia
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Traveling safely in Bali

Marya Sutimi

Contributing writer

Important numbers

Emergencies: 112 (landline) or 0341 112 (mobile)

Information: 108 (landline) or 0341 108 (mobile)

Police: 110 (landline) or 0341 110 (mobile)

Firefighter / Search & Rescue: 0341 251177 (landline) and 0857 9224 0799 (mobile, contactable via WhatsApp)

Bali is one of the safest places to travel in Indonesia, with only a 0.20% criminal rate on the island based on the Indonesian Central Agency of Statistics survey in 2021. However, there are still a few things you need to take into account when visiting the island.

With 80% of annual road accidents involving motorcycles, the local government has become more strict about allowing tourists to rent scooters in Bali. Before renting a motorcycle in Bali, ensure you have a valid and relevant driving license to ride a motorbike. 

In terms of natural disasters, the high seismic activity in Bali makes the island prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis. Bali is also home to two active volcanos, Mount Batur and Mount Agung, making it also prone to volcanic eruptions. 

After a series of Bali bombings in the early 2000s, some people had safety concerns about travelling to Bali. However, these days you will more likely have to deal with pickpockets or getting scammed at an unregistered money exchange office than any form of terrorism.

Natural disasters in Bali

With Indonesia's location being in the centre of the "Ring of Fire," there is always a small chance of earthquakes in Bali. Although it's relatively rare compared to the other islands in Indonesia, like Java or Sumatra, familiarising yourself with emergency procedures during an earthquake can be helpful when travelling to Bali.

As a big island in Indonesia, there's also a potential risk of tsunamis triggered by undersea earthquakes.

Bali is also home to two active volcanoes in Indonesia: Mount Agung and Mount Batur. Some periodic volcanic activities may occur, including eruptions and ash clouds. It's highly recommended to monitor the situations around the volcanoes, especially if you plan to hike to the summit of either mountain.

Travelling to Bali during the wet season from October to April can be risky as the increased rainfall may lead to flooding and landslides on the island. As of 2022, Bali had experienced at least two severe floods in the southern part of the island, including the central tourist areas like Denpasar, Badung, and Sanur. 

Theft and fraud in Bali

Pickpocketing and bag snatching are the most common thefts in Bali. Remember to keep your valuables close, especially in crowded places like malls or beach clubs.

If you rent a bike or scooter in Bali, you also need to be mindful and keep your belongings within your reach when riding it. Many bag snatchers work in a group of motorbike riders, which can be extremely dangerous for your safety on the road too. 

Here are some common scams in Bali:

  • ATM card-skimming scams. Some scammers sometimes even put the fake "Broken" sign at the ATMs nearby to divert the targets so they will have no choice but use one with the card-skimming device. 

  • Overpriced taxi rides. Some taxi drivers will try to scam you by charging extra surcharges for the ride. Make sure to use the taximeter before starting your trip with a taxi in Bali, or you can use Grab or Gojek apps to avoid it. 

  • Currency exchange scams. Calculate your money carefully before leaving the money exchange office, and be sure to use the larger banknotes so it will be easier to identify should there be any discrepancies. 

  • Rental scams, especially if you plan to rent a motorbike to travel around Bali. Be sure to read the blueprints before renting the vehicle, or you can also conduct a thorough check on the vehicle while recording a video so it can be used as proof in case you face an irresponsible rental trying to charge extra upon returning it.

  • Scams at tourist sites usually occur in the form of a "free tour guide." However, they will ask for a donation by the end of the tour, which will be hard to refuse after all the useful information that may be given throughout the tour. Be firm in refusing the offer if you don't want to spend extra money at a tourist site like this. 

Nightlife, alcohol and drugs in Bali

Apart from pickpocketing or bag snatching at bars or beach clubs in Bali, you also need to be cautious about the nightlife around the island. All the Bali bombings occurred at night, targetting bars and restaurants, and some locals are still yet to recover from seeing the pattern. 

The alcohol culture is also more acceptable in Bali than anywhere else in Indonesia, making it more common to see drunk people roaming around the street after midnight. This can potentially lead to violence, so be extra careful when driving after a night out in Bali. 

Possession and trafficking of drugs are serious offences in Indonesia, which can lead to the death penalty. Avoid drugs at all costs to ensure your safety while travelling in Bali.

Staying safe outdoors

  • Swimming at beaches in Bali is relatively safe. Some beaches also have lifeguards with safety signs that you can use as a guideline before swimming. Make sure to assess the beach conditions before jumping into the water, including checking for warning signs, flags, and information boards that may indicate any potential hazards around the beach in Bali. 

  • While most beaches in Bali are also great for surfing, always be cautious of strong currents. Pay attention to any instructions from the lifeguards before doing extreme water sports around the beach in Bali.

  • Although it's rare, some beaches in Bali may have jellyfish or sea urchins. Avoid touching any sea creatures that you may find on the beach. 

  • Respect the environment and wildlife in Bali by not littering. 

  • Avoid hiking or any outdoor activities during the wet season (October-April), as there can be flooding and fallen trees during this time of the year. 

  • There are many stray dogs in Bali, and most of them are not vaccinated for rabies. It's best to avoid them, as they can get aggressive. Consider getting a rabies vaccination to minimise any risks related to stray animals in Bali. 

  • Stay hydrated, as the weather in Bali can be super hot and humid. Make sure to carry a bottle of water, and remember that tap water in Bali is not drinkable. You can buy a gallon of water from the nearby supermarket or get bottled water for your consumption. 

  • Bali is well-known for the high risk of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever or chikungunya. Take measures to avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent, and booking accommodation with mosquito nets attached around the bed.

LGBTIQ+ travel in Bali

While Bali is considered more tolerant toward LGBTIQ+ travellers compared to most parts of Indonesia, it's still important to be aware that it's still a predominantly conservative society with strong traditional values. Homosexuality is not illegal in Bali, but same-sex relationships are not legally recognised on the island or in Indonesia in general.

Be aware that is no specific legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Bali. Travellers may want to avoid public displays of affection on the island, especially in less-touristy areas.

Travel insurance

While healthcare is generally affordable in Bali, it is still advisable to protect yourself with travel insurance when travelling there. Make sure to include extreme sports in your insurance, especially if you plan to do some activities like surfing or paragliding around the island. 

Also, include coverage for accidents and thefts in your insurance policy. This can give you extra protection, especially if you rent a car or motorbike to travel around the island.

Planning a trip to Bali? Read our Bali travel guide.

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Marya Sutimi

Author - Marya Sutimi

Born and raised in Bandung, Indonesia, Marya is a travel blogger and freelance copywriter. She loves travelling as much as she enjoys staying in. When she’s not travelling, you can find her chilling at home or working on a project remotely.

Last Updated 24 May 2024

Taman Lumbini park from the height of the temple complex Candi Borobudur at sunrise in the fog.


The country with the fourth largest population in the world, Indonesia is an archipelago of islands in South East Asia. While there are over 17,000 islands in Indonesia, Bali is definitely the firm favourite with travellers