Volcanoes, emerald green rice terraces, sparkling beaches, and some of the most unique temple architecture you’ve ever seen; Bali is Indonesia’s most famous island. Long travelled by Westerners, far-flung Bali is a surprisingly comfortable place to visit.
But Bali is not always a paradise – the threat of volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and even bombings are very real. Combine these with sometimes out-of-control tourists on holiday and you’ll probably be wondering, “is Bali safe?”
Of course, that’s something we can definitely understand. That is why we have created this epic insider’s guide for staying safe in Bali.
We are going to be covering a vast amount of topics in our guide. From whether it’s safe to visit Bali right now (what with all those ongoing eruptions), to whether or not you can safely eat Balinese food – and just about everything in between – we’ve got you covered.
So you may be curious about travelling to Bali with your children, or you may be thinking about visiting Bali as a solo female traveller. Whatever your worry, we’ll be addressing all these concerns and more in our epic guide.
Table of Contents
- How Safe is Bali? (Our take)
- Is Bali Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
- Is it Safe to Visit Bali Right Now?
- Bali Travel Insurance
- 19 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Bali
- Keeping your money safe in Bali
- Is Bali safe to travel alone?
- Is Bali safe for solo female travelers?
- Is Bali safe to travel for families?
- Is it safe to drive in Bali?
- Is Uber safe in Bali?
- Are taxis safe in Bali?
- Is public transportation in Bali safe?
- Is the food in Bali safe?
- Can you drink the water in Bali?
- Is Bali safe to live?
- How is healthcare in Bali?
- Helpful Bali Travel Phrases
- Final thoughts on the safety of Bali
How Safe is Bali? (Our take)
Bali may appear overrun nowadays, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on your radar. This Indonesian island boasts its own unique culture and some pretty AMAZING natural beauty to discover. We’re into it.
And, on the whole, Bali is fairly safe but that’s not to say it’s 100% safe (few places in the world actually are).
This is prime volcano country and Bali itself boasts no less than THREE active ones. Modern technology allows scientists to predict when an eruption may happen, but, that being said, there’s nothing they can do to stop them. Volcanoes are devastating when they’re bad, and even keep flights grounded when they’re NOT so bad.
With volcanoes come earthquakes. These are also, naturally, pretty dangerous.
Add to this the danger of swimming in strong currents, plus other sea-based dangers, and the natural side of Bali alone is enough to spook any traveller.
Then there’s the human element e.g. pickpockets, scammers, and one’s own drunken stupidity. Bali has a history of illegal distillation and a bad batch can really ruin your day.
Terrorism is an active issue in Indonesia and Bali has been the victim of a couple of attacks, notably in 2002 and 2005. This shouldn’t worry you too much though as terrorist activity is still very rare, more so than in many Western countries.
But at the end of the day, we have no problem saying that Bali is very safe.
Is Bali Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
Bali is safe to visit, we’d say.
In July Bali received more than 5.69 million visitors and that number is on the rise. It’s definitely a popular destination.
And whilst petty crime does pose a little bit of a problem, there were ‘only’ a total of 3,347 criminal cases recorded. That’s 1 case per 1,700 tourists and that’s a number that down from the year before. Violent crime itself is relatively low as well.
Petty crime is the main thing you should be worried about and most of it happens around Denpasar.
It’s more the NATURAL side of Bali that may give you problems.
Which begs the question…
Is it Safe to Visit Bali Right Now?
If you’re scared of volcanoes or earthquakes, then you may not feel safe in Bali.
Eruptions happen frequently here – the latest eruption of Mount Agung began in December 2018 and it hasn’t really stopped.
There’s actually a warning from the UK government advising against “all travel” within 4 kilometres of the volcano’s crater. Even the locals are on high alert. It’s been spewing ash pretty much continuously, coating nearby villages. When it erupted in 2017, all flights out of the country were grounded, leaving over 120,000 people STRANDED.
Indonesia is on the Ring of Fire, an area of VERY high seismic activity. There was an earthquake on Lombok in September 2018, a tsunami in Sulawesi in the same month, and Western Java and South Sumatra suffered a devastating tsunami (due to an offshore submarine volcano) in December 2018.
Needless to say, it’s important to understand that seismic events happen pretty much all the time here – sometimes they’re minor, sometimes very major.
That being said, it’s still business as usual in Bali. Nature can definitely interrupt tourism and life here, but so far nothing has devasted it outright. People still visit Bali in droves and the island is prepared for the worst. People still go on with their lives and tourist still have an amazing time in Bali.
It’s safe to visit Bali right now, but just be aware of the current geologic activity and what to do in case of an emergency.
Bali Travel Insurance
Get insurance! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance. Have fun while visiting Bali, but take it from someone who has racked up thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before, you need it.
As a wise man once said, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you shouldn’t be traveling – so be sure to get your backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure! We highly recommend World Nomads.
To find out why we recommend World Nomads, check out our World Nomads Insurance review.
If you want to shop around a little, then read up on competing companies and what they can offer. There are lots of insurances out there, so don’t feel limited.
19 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Bali
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. So 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 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.
- Respect local customs – things like dressing appropriately at local temples is pretty much mandatory.
- Be aware of Nyepi (Balinese New Year) – this is a celebration of silence – there are no lights, no noise, no entertainment, barely any electricity, no flights. Be aware and respect it.
- Careful during the rainy season – flooding can occur between October and April.
- 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 you’re 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!
- Pollution is a bit of a problem – especially water pollution. After heavy rain, swim away from streams. Be sure to clean up after yourself and help in the fight against litter; some of the beaches here aren’t as pristine as they once were.
Imminent disasters can feel pretty unnerving. But withholding a trip to the paradise of Bali because of something that may or may not happen would be silly. Stay aware, travel smart, and be responsible when you’re turning up in Bali’s nightlife, and you should be fine!
Keeping your money safe in Bali
Petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching are problems pretty much worldwide. There’s nothing quite like getting your stuff stolen for basically no reason other than you’re a visitor.
And Bali, unfortunately, is not immune to this issue. The busiest, most touristed areas of Bali are perfect sites of operation for petty criminals, but there’s one way to stop them in their tracks. And that’s a money belt.
We’re not talking about any money belt. (Trust us, there really is a WHOLE LOT of different money belts to choose from out there.) No, we’re talking about the Active Roots Security Belt.
This thing is rugged, it’s affordable, and it even looks and behaves like a regular belt, which we like.
There’s no way to have eyes in the back of your head, and spinning around all the time in fits of paranoia isn’t going to give you a stress-free trip at the end of the day. You can’t be vigilant 100% of the time, so having a money belt, just in case something bad DOES happen, is going to be the best way to stop any would-be thieves.
Is Bali safe to travel alone?
We think solo travel is AWESOME – you get to basically 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, thankfully 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 SAFE to travel alone, too.
- Heading out on a tour? Great idea. These are a perfect way to see the island and to take a break from planning all your own adventures (it does get exhausting – trust us). They’re also a good opportunity to meet some fellow travellers also backpacking around Bali.
- And if you do head out on a tour, make sure to use a reputable company. Do your research, read reviews, and only make sure to use someone, or a company, that has a lot of good reviews. That’s the best way to not only stay safe but bag yourself an awesome tour, too.
- Drink spiking happens, so keep an eye on your drink. And even if people seem friendly and want to buy you a drink, just politely decline.
- 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 whilst you’re travelling by yourself in Bali. It can end up pretty badly if you get lost, go swimming near dangerous currents, or even accept a spiked drink. Keep your wits about you.
- You can get a pre-paid sim card at the airport- this a good way to keep in touch with your friends and family at home. You may be going to Bali for whatever reason, but that doesn’t mean you should go completely off the grid. Post updates, call your mum and dad, tell your best mates how it’s all going. It pays that people back home know where you are, as well.
- On that note, tell people where you’re going. Your new travel buddies, the staff at your hotel – just take a few seconds before you head out (and to all intents and purposes disappear) to TELL them where you’re off to. If you get into trouble, again: it’s better that SOMEONE knows where you are than NO ONE.
- 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, answer some emails, do some washing, or simply DO NOTHING. Trying to do every little thing in the guidebook is only going to end up stressing you out. Where’s the fun in that?
Bali is, all 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. Add to this Bali’s intriguing aesthetics, the friendly Balinese people, and the laid-back attitude, and you’ve got yourself pretty much a dream destination for solo travel.
Is Bali safe for solo female travelers?
Bali is a welcoming, friendly place that is actually SUPER popular with solo female travellers from all over the world. They’re drawn by the beauty and culture of the island, as well as simply being independent.
Whilst Bali IS safe solo travellers in general, Bali isn’t always the safest place for solo female travellers. Like most areas in the world, simply being a woman makes travel riskier.
But your trip to Bali can be a hugely memorable one. It’s a well-trodden wonderland that’s going to enthrall you every step of the way. To help you on your journey, here are a few safety tips to travelling intelligently around Bali as a solo female traveller.
- Pick yourself well-reviewed accommodation. One of the first steps to staying safe in Bali is actually having somewhere safe and secure to return to every day. Make sure that you do your research and read reviews of hostels, hotels, and guesthouses. This not only ensures that you end up staying somewhere that’s highly rated, but also that the accommodation suits you.
- 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, too. (It’s HOT as well, isn’t it!) So loose, flowing clothing just makes sense.
- 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. Robberies and dodgy people getting into your room. Better safe than sorry.
- 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.
- Arriving at Denpasar International Airport can feel a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of taxi touts and men lounging around groups. Stay safe, or at least peace of mind, by arranging transport beforehand or getting yourself a licensed cab.
- Ignore any cat-calls. It’s the best way to stop it from developing into a situation. Especially in Kuta 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 a GREAT option.
Of course, there are concerns. These are mainly in the form of nocturnal activities in heavily touristed areas, mainly Kuta. People drink a lot here, and things can get out of hand. The best way to avoid trouble? Get out of there the moment things start looking sketchy.
Bali is generally safe for solo female travellers. The important thing is trusting your gut. Do that, keep your wits about you, and you’ll be fine.
Is Bali safe to travel for families?
Bali is very safe for families!
There are a number of family-friendly resorts where you and your children can stay with ease. You can find these pretty much all over Bali, but if you want to avoid the more party central areas, then staying on Bukit Peninsula or in Lovina means you’ll be well away from the madness of Kuta, for instance.
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, by covering up in the evening, and burning coils at night.
Make sure you and your kids are up to date with any vaccines that you might need.
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.
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, all the while, you’re going to be pretty safe in Bali.
Is it safe to drive in Bali?
Balinese road safety isn’t exactly ideal, so…you might want to reconsider renting a car in Bali.
Erratic drivers, hazards (i.e. dogs) in the road, potholes, and not to mention some truly awful traffic means it might not just be worth it.
Hiring a driver, on the other hand, is perfectly fine for a day tour – or longer if you feel like it. 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.
When renting, do your research. There are TONS of places to rent from, so make sure you choose somewhere that has good reviews. And when you get your bike take photos (or a video) of how it all looks from the outside. This will help you if the rental company tries to claim you damaged it when the dent was clearly there before you got your hands on it.
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. There’s also the notoriously congested Madara Toll Road. 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.
It’s probably not the first place we’d suggest if you wanted to learn how to ride a motorbike. Driving in Bali is one for experienced, careful, AND confident drivers. The roads here can be dangerous, and it pays to drive sensibly and PAY ATTENTION!
Is Uber safe in Bali?
No Uber here – Bali is all about Grab and it’s pretty much the same thing.
You’ll know who is picking you up and in what car, track your ride, pay in-app, and don’t need any Bahasa to get to where you’re going; easy. Grab is safe in Bali.
However, there IS some tension surrounding Grab, as there was with Uber before it.
To avoid any hassle – because there might be some – try to use Grab discretely. This means not waiting in front of a busy taxi rank for your Grab to arrive.
Sometimes hotels don’t allow Grab. Just walk a dozen feet away and arrange your ride from there instead.
Are taxis safe in Bali?
In Bali, the taxis are essential when it comes to getting around the island. At some point during your travels, you will most likely need them. Firstly, to get from the airport to your accommodation and then to actually get around and SEE the sights of Bali.
Taxis are EVERYWHERE and, honestly, the taxis in Bali can be cheap. But they can be tricky.
- Make sure the driver uses a meter and doesn’t take long detours to rack it up.
- The best way to avoid scammy taxi practices is to use a well established, well-reviewed taxi company. One example is Blue Bird Taxis because this company uses honest drivers. Their cars are light blue and feature a diamond shape with a bird in the middle…
- In fact, Blue Bird has its own app. This means you can get a taxi from them with the same safety level as a ride-hailing app. Works for us.
- You’ll have to rely on local taxis in and around Ubud. With these local drivers, you’ll have to agree on a price before you get in.
- And – as always – don’t forget to have small change on you; drivers can claim to have no change, which means losing your big bills. Small denominations, people.
- Taxis depend very much on Bali’s awful traffic. If it’s bad, they’ll take AGES.
All these points taken into consideration, taxis in Bali are essentially safe.
Is public transportation in Bali safe?
Public transport isn’t strong in Bali’s. The only thing you’re going to find here is buses.
These come in mainly two types. There are tourist minibuses that ply the popular routes around the island and connect the most visited destinations. These can be booked through your accommodation.
Then there are public buses – these resemble the tourist minibuses – except their full of locals – or the larger mainliners that usually travel LONGER distances. Both will leave when they’re full and will take a while to do so.
At the same bus stations, you’ll find the humble bemos. Less comprehensive than a minibus, these are practically minivans.
Though government regulated, they neither boast set fares nor much in the way of safety. Often old and driven wildly, a bemos can take you where you want to go in more rural stretches of Bali. Perfect for anybody looking for an adventurous slice of the island away from the norm.
There are also dokars, which are basically a pony and a cart. We advise against using these as we are skeptical that the animals are treated well.
In general, public transportation in Bali is reasonably safe albeit limited AND somewhat rough-around-the-edges.
Is the food in Bali safe?
Balinese cuisine is a dream. There’s bebek betutu (that’s smoked duck), babi guling (stuffed and roasted suckling pig), plenty of pork satay (which you don’t in many parts of mainly Muslim Indonesia) and a lot of good rice dishes to try out. We love it.
There’s also plenty foreign owned, and local, restaurants around that offer up a whole load of Western treats. You can find everything from coffee and cake, to BBQ ribs and Mexican tacos. But you might want to go easy on it – Bali Belly is definitely a thing.
- Go easy on the food and drink. Touching down and immediately gorging on all of this exotic food is just going to result in a bad stomach. Most likely, you’re not used to the food, so ease yourself in and don’t get too greedy.
- One way to avoid getting ill is to watch where you eat. A decent little piece of common sense is to eat at places that LOOK clean. The dirtier a place looks, the more likely it’s going to make you ill.
- That is unless there are a lot of people eating there. Basically, popular place = tasty food. And it’s also going to be less likely to give you a bad stomach. People wouldn’t keep going back to a place that made them ill.
- Similarly, look online. If you’re REALLY scared, then get on Google, TripAdvisor, food travel blogs that recommend certain restaurants and go to those places. It’s the safest bet.
- Since so much of Bali’s food scene isn’t ACTUALLY shacks or streetside stalls, you’ll be fine at many establishments. Don’t be afraid to duck into a clean and cool looking cafe or restaurant. You may find yourself a hidden gem.
- Pre-cut fruits = avoid. Instead, go for stuff you can peel yourself. This is a good way to ensure that you know, well, who’s handling the part of the fruit you actually eat.
- On that note, wash your hands! You can’t guarantee that whoever’s making your food is going to have clean hands, but at least you can ensure your OWN hands are clean. So give ’em a scrub before eating.
- If stuff looks like it’s been lying around in the sun all day, we can only say AVOID. This is the sort of thing that’s going to attract flies and germs and all sorts of bad stuff that’s going to make you ill.
You’re in for a treat in Bali. Not only is the scenery great but, yes, even THE FOOD is amazing. There are a lot of famous eateries in Bali that you might want to consider trying that can whip up some pretty tasty, traditional Balinese morsels.
But take it slowly. Overdoing yourself, and having eyes bigger than your belly, is a surefire way to get ill when you’re exploring the culinary treats on offer on this Indonesian island. If in doubt, do your research and go to well established, well-reviewed places to eat.
Can you drink the water in Bali?
Not really, no.
We would say that it’s NOT safe to drink the water in Bali. Doing so puts you at risk of Bali Belly- and you don’t want that.
Stick to bottled water, which is widely available pretty much across the whole island. That’s that.
ICE, however, is a different story. This is totally safe because the quality is controlled by the local government.
Is Bali safe to live?
Bali is actually really safe to live in and a lot of people DO live in Bali.
Many expats travel here for the hippie vibes of Ubud and stay to open a vegan cafe in Seminyak. That’s definitely the vibe going on here. And if that sounds like you, you’ll find quite a few likeminded expats in Bali.
This island is a beautiful place, but it comes with the looming threat of natural disasters. This means being AWARE of nature, whilst also knowing what to do in the event of one of these natural disasters hitting the island.
You’ll have to be aware of the WEATHER too, which can be hectic. In the rainy season, flooding can be especially dangerous.
If you’re planning on driving in Bali, all our tips above apply. Even walking around Bali can be dangerous: pavements are pretty much nonexistent and SMALL if they do exist.
Bali is a lot safer than other parts of Indonesia and other places in the world, for that matter.
Of course, crime does exist. Break-ins and robberies have been known to occur, but this is usually centred around more touristed areas.
But if you’re ready to explore a paradise of an island, Bali is definitely going to appeal. All you have to do is some research to find out just WHERE on this lovely little island you want to live!
How is healthcare in Bali?
Whilst a trip to Bali is usually jam-packed with beach fun, temple hopping and laid back living – things CAN go wrong. You may get injured, you may get ill…
Whatever it is, you’re going to want to use the Balinese healthcare system. Thankfully, healthcare in Bali is good. Bali boasts modern ambulances that can come in the event of an emergency, as well as staff that (quite often) speak English.
For private healthcare, check out BIMC Hospitals. This agency is well known throughout Bali for treating foreigners. It’s a private hospital with a 24-hour clinic and a doctor that can even be called-out to wherever you’re staying.
There are lots of pharmacies in Bali, which means you’ll be able to get a hold of many meds, including antibiotics and other over the counter items.
If you’re feeling hungover, you can even get an IV drip delivered to you. The Dose Bali is one such company. We wouldn’t know about the effectiveness, but we know they exist and that there’s more than one of these in operation.
In summation, the (private) healthcare in Bali is pretty damn good, just so long as it’s nothing serious.
Helpful Bali Travel Phrases
Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of Indonesia and is universally understood throughout the country, including Bali. Those who have been traveling in Indonesia who already and know a word or two will be well off in Bali.
For a refresher on Bahasa Indonesia, refer to the Indonesian Travel Phrases section of our backpacking Indonesia guide. Many Balinese speak good English.
Did you know that Bali has its own traditional language called Balinese? This fascinating language is very distinct from Bahasa Indonesia and the two are actually unintelligible to each other. Traditional Balinese isn’t used as much these days as the standardized Bahasa Indonesia is the dominant language these. In fact, the script is becoming so uncommon in day-to-day life that most can only speak Balinese.
English is widely understood in Bali thanks in part to the hyper-developed tourism infrastructure and the inflated presence of Westerners. If you can’t manage any Balinese or Bahasa Indonesia at all, you’ll still get by while solely speaking English.
As always, it definitely helps to know a local phrase or two when traveling in a foreign country. Even if you know a basic amount, the locals will still receive your attempts very well and will open up much easier.
For your benefit, I’ve included a list of pronunciations for a few helpful Balinese phrases with English translations. Note that, for the sake of variety, these phrases are Balinese and not Bahasa Indonesia. Knowing either will be beneficial, but knowing more of the former will really impress the locals.
Final thoughts on the safety of Bali
Bali 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 is more sketchy after dark than Canggu, or Jimbaran, for example. That’s just how it is.
A neighborhood’s safety comes down to what it’s frequented for. Kuta is basically party central – it’s a den of vice for basically anyone looking to get completely wasted, tourist and locals alike. If you want to have a good time in Bali, by all means, head to Kuta or Legian – just watch out for anybody getting too rowdy, or anything beginning to get a bit too sketchy. 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.
And, whatever you do, get travel insurance.
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! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means we earn a small commission if you purchase your insurance through this page. This costs you nothing extra and helps us keep the site going.