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 for staying safe in 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.
Make your visit to Bali as safe as possible with these top tips!
Is Bali Safe?
Bali is backpacker central, and can appear overrun, 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.
On the whole, Bali is pretty safe but that’s not to say it’s 100% safe (no where really is).
Natural disasters play a big role when it comes to safety in Bali. Indonesia is prime volcano territory sitting on the ring of fire, and the island itself boasts three active volcanoes. Modern technology allows scientists to predict when an eruption may happen, but, that being said, there’s nothing they can do to stop them.
Earthquakes are also a risk, and the sea current is not to be underestimated.
Then there’s the human element e.g. pickpockets, scammers, and one’s own drunken stupidity. It only takes one bout of methanol poisoning to stop your drinking days – for good. Scamming can happen in the way of dodgy money changers, rip-off markets, greedy motorbike rentals, and credit card fraud in ATMs.
However, at the end of the day, we have no problem saying, from personal experience, that Bali is very safe.
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 practise 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. 🙂
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 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 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.
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 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
There aren’t any “dangerous” places in Bali, so say. 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.
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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.
- 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. Make sure to use a reputable company. Do your research, and read reviews. That’s the best way to not only stay safe but bag yourself an awesome tour, 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 travelers?
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.
Pick up some more tips and tricks in our Travel Alone as a Woman Guide.
More about Safety in Bali
We’ve covered the main aspects of Bali’s safety already, but there is loads more to know. Read on for more detailed information on how to stay safe when visiting Bali.
Is Bali safe to travel for families?
Bali is very safe for families! Locals absolutely LOVE children.
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.
Is it safe to drive in Bali?
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.
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.
Is Uber safe in Bali?
There isn’t any Uber here – Bali is all about Grab and GO-JEK 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 Indonesia to get to where you’re going; easy.
However, there IS some tension in certain areas as the locals want to keep business local.
To avoid any hassle – because there might be some – try to use the apps discretely. This means not waiting in front of a busy taxi rank for your ride to arrive.
Sometimes hotels don’t allow Grab or GO-JEK. Just walk a dozen feet away and arrange your ride from there instead.
Are taxis safe in Bali?
In Bali, taxis are essential when it comes to getting around the island. At some point during your travels, you will most likely need one. 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, super cheap. But they can be tricky.
- Make sure the driver uses a meter and doesn’t take long detours to rack it up. As soon as you flag one down announce ‘meter please’ and watch them turn it on.
- 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… They have an app and can also be ordered through the GO-JEK app.
- 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.
Is public transportation in Bali safe?
Public transport isn’t really a thing in Bali. The only thing you’re going to find here is a few 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 are 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.
Since everyone is getting around via taxi or scooter, you probably won’t end up on a bus anyway.
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.
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 being said, you need to try Bali street food at least once – just ask for recommendations beforehand.
- 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.
- 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.
You’re in for a treat, not only is the scenery great but, yes, the food is DIVINE. 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 you can’t leave the island without trying at least one portion of street food – I recommend lalapan.
Can you drink the water in Bali?
Straight up, no. Not even the locals drink their tap water.
Stick to bottled water, which is widely available pretty much across the whole island. And make sure you bring your own refillable bottle to cut down on plastic waste!
Is Bali safe to live?
Bali is a safe to live and a lot of expats do live in Bali.
Many expats travel here for the hippie vibes of Ubud and stay to open a vegan cafe in Canggu. That’s definitely the vibe going on here. And if that sounds like you, you’ll find quite a few like-minded 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 a 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.
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Is it safe to rent an Airbnb in Bali?
Yes, it’s absolutely safe to rent an Airbnb in Bali. With the secure booking system, you can check reviews and ratings of each property, which makes choosing where to stay even easier. Most Airbnbs are held at a very high standard in Bali, so you’ll definitely be in for a treat!
There’s always safety in numbers, so if you want to feel extra safe, book a room in a hostel or co-living. We recommend Tribal Bali, the perfect place to live, work, play and stay in beautiful Bali! Bali’s first custom-designed, purpose-built co-working hostel and a hostel that’s truly unlike any other… This is the place where backpacker babes, aspiring entrepreneurs, adventurous explorers and vagabond hustlers alike come together to work, eat, play and fall in love… well, at least with the absolutely fantastic coffee and beautiful views!
Mingle, share inspiration and find your tribe whilst working in the TREMENDOUSLY FUCKING HUGE co-working space and shooting a game of pool on Tribal’s electric pink billiards table. There’s a gigantic pool as well so it’s always time for a refreshing dip to break up the day’s hustle, brainstorming, work, and games…
With epic food, legendary coffee, awesome cocktails (Tribal Tonics are the best signature cocktails you’ve ever had in a hostel – I guarantee you that!) and a dedicated co-working space, this is the place where you want to be when visiting Bali.
Is Bali LGBTQ+ Friendly?
Bali or Indonesia, in general, does not openly welcome LGBTQ+ members. While Bali is relatively relaxed and you can definitely visit with your significant other, you should keep public affection to an absolute minimum. Locals won’t get violent, but you will get weird stares and comments.
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!
Bye for now, but not forever!
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