Volcanoes, emerald green rice terraces, sparkling beaches, and some of the most unique temples you’ve ever seen; Bali is Indonesia’s most famous island. Long travelled by Westerners, far-flung Bali is a surprisingly easy place to visit.
But this paradise island has some safety concerns, including the threat of natural disasters and scams. Combined with the sometimes out-of-control tourists, you’re probably wondering, “is Bali safe?”
That is why we have created this epic insider’s guide on how safe is Bali.
We are going to be covering a vast amount of topics – from if it’s safe to visit Bali right now, to whether or not you should eat Balinese food – and just about everything in between – we’ve got you covered.
There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide, and this article is no different. The question of “Is Bali Safe?” will ALWAYS have a different answer depending on the parties involved. But this article is written for savvy travellers from the perspective of savvy travellers.
The information present in this safety guide was accurate at the time of writing, however, the world is a changeable place, now more than ever. Between the pandemic, ever-worsening cultural division, and a click-hungry media, it can be hard to maintain what is truth and what is sensationalism.
Here, you will find safety knowledge and advice for travelling Bali. It won’t be down to the wire cutting edge info on the most current events, but it is layered in the expertise of veteran travellers. If you use our guide, do your own research, and practice common sense, you will have a safe trip to Bali.
If you see any outdated information in this guide, we would really appreciate it if you could reach out in the comments below. We strive to provide the most relevant travel information on the web and always appreciate input from our readers (nicely, please!). Otherwise, thanks for your ear and stay safe!
It’s a wild world out there. But it’s pretty damn special too. 🙂
Updated April 2023
Is Bali Safe Right Now?
Bali is incredibly safe to visit, pretty much always. While petty crime has increased in the wake of the pandemic, with some street smarts and simple precautions, this shouldn’t be any issue for you. Pack away your bag under the seat on your bike, don’t hold your phone ready to be grabbed, and avoid wandering the streets at night – easy to do, and keeps you safe.
Volcano eruptions are an imminent risk in Bali, and always well broadcast. In 2017 all flights out of the country were grounded due to the smoke and ash – hitting news shows worldwide. The escape routes and danger zones are well documented, although the main tourist areas (Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu) on the small island aren’t in the immediate vicinity and are low risk.
Indonesia is on the Ring of Fire, an area of very high seismic activity, so there’s always a little bit of concern. However, this shouldn’t deter you.
Mother nature can definitely interrupt tourism and life in Bali, but so far nothing has devastated it outright. People still visit Bali in droves, and the island is prepared should the worst happen.
It’s totally safe to visit Bali right now!
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Safest Places in Bali
While the whole island is pretty safe, there are a few spots that are well-known for offering that extra little bit of secure comfort.
- Sanur: Sanur is the family area in Bali. It’s a very laid back, calm and friendly region. The beach is white, the sea doesn’t pose too many dangers and locals are incredibly kind. You can find lots of expats in Sanur, but not a lot of wild action. A bit further outside the big tourist hotspots, you can enjoy peace and serenity, riding your bicycle along the streets without crazy traffic or driving concerns. Sanur is one of, if not THE, safest area in Bali.
- Ubud: Ubud is the yoga heart of Bali. Located in very central Bali, it’s not near the beach, but when you stay in Ubud you get stunning jungle vibes. The Ubud community is very alternative, friendly and chill. If you’re into yoga, ecstatic dance, energy exercises and breath work, this is the right spot. Ubud also offers some of the best cafes in Bali, with different coffee experiences and workshops. Rentals are more expensive these days, but still pretty cheap. One of the dangers in Ubud are the naughty monkeys that might steal your belongings. Since there aren’t many night clubs or parties, you won’t see as many drunk idiots on their bikes.
- Uluwatu: Uluwatu is also in the South of Bali. It’s the surfer capital, and generally very laid back. The sun can be brutal down here, but the water is clear and beaches are white. There are lots of amazing restaurants and cafes, which make the ideal spot to take a break between your surf sessions. Since there are less tourists than in Canggu or Seminyak, you won’t have to deal with much pickpocketing or petty theft. That being said, you should still keep an eye on your belongings. The roads are a lot steeper and less maintained too, be careful when driving your bike through dusty lanes. And you definitely shouldn’t forget your sunscreen!
Places to Avoid in Bali
The answer to “Is Bali dangerous?” is no, not really when you consider actually dangerous locales. BUT the general rule is: the more tourists, the more pickpocketing and petty theft. As long as your are diligent and watch your stuff, everything should be easy breezy.
However, there are a few places we wouldn’t recommend hanging around late at night. Watch out in these areas:
- Oberoi Street – you’ll find a lot of night clubs in Seminyak, specifically on Oberoi Street. This brings a higher risk of drunk drivers, or hammered tourists walking in the street. Be careful after dark, and especially during the weekend. If you can, get a GO-JEK or Grab home. If you are driving, make sure you are very alert and careful.
- Batu Bolong – this area in Canggu is famous for Old Man’s bar. It is also one of the busiest areas, which means petty crime occurs quite often. Make sure not to leave anything valuable in your bike, and consider taking your helmet into the bar/restaurant with you. There’s nothing more annoying than realising your helmet has been stolen..
- Sunset Road – Sunset Road is the main road in Bali that starts in Seminyak and leads all the way down to the airport. Since the traffic rules in Bali are slightly lax, this street can be very tricky and dangerous for inexperienced drivers. If you’re taking a trip along Sunset Road, make sure you are ready for anything!
- Bumbak/Umalas – as of 2019 pandemic life on the island, Bumbak and Umalas became the hotspots for pickpocketing and thieves. There are a lot of little lanes and not much surveillance. Make sure your belongings are out of sight, and perhaps avoid these places altogether at night. Simple precautions will keep you safe.
16 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Bali
Bali is one of the safest places you can backpack around in Southeast Asia. A long history of tourism, stretching all the way back to the 1920s, has made Bali something of a veteran of exotic travel.
Even so, that can’t guard it against natural disasters, and, at the same time, that doesn’t stop a few pickpockets from operating here and there. It’s important to have a few smart travel tips in mind when it comes to staying safe in Bali.
- Be aware of earthquakes – not just keeping up to date with them, but knowing what to do in a disaster situation helps. A lot.
- Same with volcanic eruptions and tsunamis – know your disaster drills, people.
- Clue yourself up on the recent political situation – Indonesia can be a political powder keg. Keep up to date with current events.
- STAY AWAY FROM DRUGS – getting caught with these can be SERIOUS. Trafficking carries with it the death penalty.
- The police can be adamant – they occasionally carry out raids on reputable bars and clubs popular with foreigners, sweeping for drugs. They’ve even been known to pose as dealers and then conduct “sting” operations, especially in Kuta.
- Watch out for counterfeit alcohol – people have actually died from drinking alcohol contaminated with methanol. Be careful of alcohol that seems too cheap to be true.
- Keep an eye on your belongings – especially in tourist areas. This is where most pickpocketing and bag snatching occurs.
- And your credit card – cloning happens, so DON’T let your card out of your sight. Keep it in a money belt with some emergency cash.
- There are a number of phony charity programs – if there’s an orphanage that’s frequented a lot by tourists, then it could be fake. These are sometimes scams and set up to separate you from your cash. Do your research.
- Some touts in popular areas can be aggressive – but if you don’t WANT anything, just IGNORE. That’s the best way to go.
- Be wary of other scams and cons directed at tourists – from overcharging to rigged money changers…don’t be a sucker.
- Protect against pesky mosquitoes – they’re more than JUST pesky here; some carry dengue fever.
- Watch out for street dogs – rabies is possible in Bali, so just watch out who your petting.
- Monkeys AREN’T fun – they’re crazy and can be REALLY aggressive. Some may even have rabies. Don’t indulge them. If you’re bitten, like at the Monkey Forest, go to the nearest clinic.
- Don’t swim against your better judgement – rip tides and strong currents are dangerous. Pay attention to RED FLAGS, which mean DANGER!
- Be careful around cliffs – people fall over these when visiting places like Nusa Penida and Uluwatu, and more often than you’d think. Be careful when driving and taking photos when the edge is near.
Stay aware, travel smart, and be responsible when you’re turning up in Bali’s nightlife, and you should be fine! And, as always, make sure you have a decent travel insurance cover just in case.
We think solo travel is AWESOME – you get to see the world at your own pace, without anybody but yourself to answer to. Plus, you get to challenge yourself and get outside your comfort zone.
It’s cool, but it can sometimes be a bit lonely (not to be a downer).
In Bali, you’re going to find a whole lot of other travellers – some likeminded, some maybe not so much – to meet and mingle with. And guess what? Bali is incredibly safe to travel alone, too.
- Drink spiking happens, so never let your drink out of your sight. If you’re worried, order something that comes in a bottle and watch it be opened by the bartender. Don’t accept drinks you haven’t seen being made.
- And whilst we’re on that note, don’t get crazy drunk. It’s fine to drink, of course, but getting completely wasted isn’t going to be the best way to stay safe traveling by yourself in Bali.
- You can get a pre-paid sim card at every phone shop – this a good way to keep in touch with your friends and family at home. It pays for people to know where you are. Plus, Google Maps will be your best friend.
- Since you’re by yourself, you may find yourself MORE of a target for street vendors and scammers. The best course of action, as always, is to IGNORE anything that’s overly aggressive or suspicious.
- And, of course, don’t push yourself too much. You need a day or two here and there to just chill the hell out. Trying to do every little thing in the guidebook is only going to end up stressing you out. Where’s the fun in that?
- Don’t trek too far off the beaten path. We know central Bali isn’t for everyone, the tourist areas aren’t exactly chill, but when traveling solo use extreme caution venturing away from the crowds. You don’t want to get stuck in a sticky situation with no one to help or no phone service.
Bali is, when all is said and done, a top destination for solo travellers. There are a ton of different people to meet, a whole lot of incredible hostels to stay in, and a huge selection of adventures to have for yourself on this Indonesian island.
Is Bali Safe for Solo Female Travellers?
Bali is a welcoming, friendly place that is SUPER popular with solo female travellers. They’re drawn by the beauty and culture of the island, as well as simply being able to be independent.
Bali is safe for solo travellers in general. However, like most areas in the world, simply being a woman makes travel riskier.
To help you on your journey, here are a few safety tips to travel intelligently around Bali as a solo female traveller.
- Pick yourself well-reviewed accommodation. One of the first steps to staying safe in Bali is having somewhere safe and secure to return to every day.
- Common sense. We’ve all got it, but when you’re on your own it’s more important than ever to trust your gut – if a situation seems a bit off, it probably is; if a person seems shady, they probably are.
- If you do find yourself somewhere that doesn’t feel 100% right, remove yourself. That’s a good way to stay safe: by simply avoiding a potentially dodgy situation before it gets actually dodgy.
- Dress appropriately for the situation. We know, Bali is heavily touristed, but that doesn’t mean that this island is a liberal haven. There are plenty of rural villages, markets and religious sites that still require you to NOT show your shoulders or anything above your knees. Go loose rather than tight-fitting, and pack breathable clothing for Bali (plus a big-ass hat).
- As a woman by yourself, you’ll be more of a target for bag snatchers. Make sure you keep it close to you, or better yet, use a bag with a cross strap.
- Watch out for dickheads in clubs and bars. You’ll see these a mile off as they are definitely NOT locals. Drunk, possibly in a singlet and short-shorts, and overly insistent. Avoid these travellers if not for your own safety, then for your sanity.
- Keep your doors and windows locked at night. You might want them open to let the tropical breeze blow in, but it’s not a good idea. Not only will it keep critters out, it will keep robbers and weirdos away.
- Don’t go walking alone at night. Down quiet streets, beaches, alleyways, etc. Make sure you have a few mates with you if you want to wander around freely after dark. If you catch a GO-JEK or Grab at night, use the ‘share my ride’ feature.
- Arriving at Denpasar International Airport can feel a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of taxis men lounging around groups. Stay safe by arranging transport beforehand, or getting yourself a licensed cab. Blue Bird taxis are the most reputable.
- Ignore any cat-calls. It’s the best way to stop it from developing into a situation. Especially at night time, the levels of harassment can actually be pretty high.
- Put yourself out there with group activities. A yoga class, hiking tour, cooking class, surf lesson, something you’re interested in. Perfect for meeting fellow travellers and maybe making some friends, too.
Bali is a well-trodden destination that shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge to experienced solo female travellers. In fact, it’s a fine option for first-timers. If you want to spend your time delving into the culture, food, and meeting other fun travellers, it’s GREAT.
Is Bali Safe for Families?
Bali is very safe for families! Locals absolutely LOVE children, and family travel in Bali is easy.
However, the sea can be dangerous, so make sure to keep a watch on your children at all times.
And, whilst you’re on the beach, be aware of sun safety. Your little ones will be very affected by the heat, so keeping them slathered in suncream, covered up, wearing a sun-hat, and in the shade intermittently is going to be the best bet.
Similarly, keep ’em protected against mosquitoes with repellent, covering up in the evening, and burning coils.
DO watch out for animals! Dogs might seem friendly, and so might monkeys, but both can be aggressive and potentially very dangerous, especially for small children. Stray dogs in particular!
But generally, since you won’t be out partying, Bali will be much less hectic and much more relaxing. You’ll be able to participate in some amazing, wholesome family activities, and create amazing memories.
Getting Around Bali Safely
Balinese road safety isn’t exactly ideal, so…you might want to reconsider renting a car.
Erratic drivers, hazards (i.e. dogs) in the road, potholes, and not to mention some truly awful traffic makes it just not worth it.
Hiring a driver is the perfect solution – and not that expensive. A local driver will know the roads, and how they work, MUCH better than you do.
More popular than a car is a motorbike. Of course, this is Southeast Asia after all. These provide a more convenient way to zip around – especially when the traffic is bad.
You’re going to have to be aware of a few things when driving a scooter in Bali:
- Traffic police will randomly stop you – be ready to pay bribes because that’s what they’ll want – most likely.
- Be aware that navigating isn’t exactly going to be the most straightforward experience. Some signs actually lead to nowhere. Be ready to hear a lot of horns – it’s the custom if you’re overtaking.
- If you want to overtake, do as the locals do and beep. Same thing if you’re going around a blind corner.
- There’s also the obvious thing about WEARING A HELMET. Literally, why wouldn’t you?
- And we would definitely advise against driving at night. People don’t tend to use the lights on their cars or bikes, there can be unseen hazards, and drivers can be drunk as well.
- Oh and with that in mind, don’t drive under the influence. That’s just a good way to have an accident, get a fine, or both.
- Cycling in Bali is best done in quieter locations off the beaten path. It will be too chaotic and totally not fun to cycle amongst hordes of (often incapacitated) scooters.
Riding a Motorbike in Bali
Bali is not a problem for travelers that are used to Asian traffic. However, since driving a scooter is the easiest and fastest way to get from A to B, you see a lot of inexperienced tourists on the street too.
The streets are often very hectic and chaotic, which can be overwhelming for some people. Driving carefully and with an average tempo on the far left side is the best way to stay safe.
If you don’t want to drive yourself, you can use GOJEK or GRAB. These apps are like Uber, just in the Asian version.
As soon as you lose focus, you’re likely to crash. Wearing a helmet is starting to become a mandatory requirement, and that’s for a good reason. You always want to prepare for the worst-case, so you’re better off safe than sorry.
There are scooter rentals everywhere in Bali. Recently, online rentals are starting to become more popular too. Legally, you’d need a proper license, but no one on the island really cares. Its best to take recommendations for motorbike rentals rather than heading to the cheapest nearby.
Whenever you rent a bike, check the brakes, engine, and mirrors, and takes photos of scratches and dents, so there’s no chance for the rental to scam you.
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Crime in Bali
Crime in Bali is pretty minimal besides the typical stuff you see in popular tourist destinations. The island’s overall crime rate is low, with about 60 crimes per 100,000 people reported in 2020. While this number is clearly lowered by the COVID-19 lockdowns, numbers haven’t risen too, too much.
Pickpocketing and other forms of theft are the most common crime you’ll encounter in Bali, especially on wild nights out – so do be careful! More recently, there have been reports of break ins. Do your research before choosing where to stay, and know that hostels and hotels will be default be a bit more secure than homes and villas.
Laws in Bali
In late 2022, Bali made international headlines for it’s shocking “Purity Law,” which made sex (and cohibitation) between unmarried couples illegal. While this may have been the trending topic amongst travelers for about a week, the Indonesian government did make it clear that this wouldn’t apply to tourists.
It’s also very important to respect sacred monuments, and Balinese culture altogether. While not illegal, alcohol is EXPENSIVE in Bali and thus a lot of places end up brewing there own. This can be SUPER dangerous – don’t just drink anywhere.
Drugs are illegal on Bali, but I’m sure you’ve heard the stories… just travel smart and understand that this is not quite Amsteram.
Scams in Bali
Bali is far from the scam capital of the world but there are a few. Avoid taxis that aren’t associated with ride shares, and make sure you only go to reputable money changers so you won’t be ripped off.
Getting Insured BEFORE Visiting Bali
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FAQs on Bali’s Safety
Planning a safe trip to the island of gods can get very overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve listed and answered the most frequently asked questions so you can have a safe trip to Bali.
So, Is Bali Safe?
Yes, Bali is pretty safe to visit for all sorts of travellers. The island is so well-trodden and inhabited by such friendly and helpful people, that it’s one of the safest places in Southeast Asia to travel around.
Of course, there’s always going to be something to watch out for, and that goes for certain areas of Bali more than others. Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu are more sketchy after dark than Ubud, or Jimbaran, for example. That’s just how it is.
A neighborhood’s safety comes down to what it’s frequented for. Seminyak and Canggu are party central – it’s basically for anyone looking to get completely wasted, tourists and locals alike. Travel smart, even when partying.
Most of Bali is very peaceful and you’re bound to be fine while exploring the island. That said, ride your motorbike with care, don’t swim in dangerous water, and know about seismic activity. Doing so will save your ass if anything big happens.
Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!