Home to 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. 

This topical paradise is home to dreamers and digital nomads alike but is this Indonesian gem as safe as it is beautiful? Or does it have a dark side lurking beneath its sun-kissed beaches? How safe is Bali?

Before you sling your backpack over your shoulder, slap on your sunscreen and dive headfirst into Bali’s vibrant culture and magnificent landscapes, let’s get real about what to expect. From scooter chaos to the infamous “Bali Belly”, I’m going to peel it all back and give you the unfiltered lowdown.

After living in Bali full-time for YEARS now, I’ve created this insider’s guide on how safe this magical place really is. Join me as I offer lifesaver tips, tricks and honest-to-God advice to make sure your trip is as smooth as possible. Let’s minimise the list of the list of “I-wish-I’d-knowns” you’ll end up with and arm you with all the wisdom you’ll need. 

So, buckle up, fellow adventurers, as we embark on a journey to discover if Bali is surely the safe haven of your dreams or if you’ll need to keep an extra eye open while you soak in its glory.

a girl on a swing with a white dress on and a flower in her hand with rice fields and palm trees in the background
Bali is magical!
Photo: @amandaadraper

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There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide, as things change quickly. The question of “Is Bali Safe?” will ALWAYS have a different answer depending on who you ask.

The information in this safety guide was accurate at the time of writing. If you use our guide, do your own research, and practice common sense, you will probably have a wonderful and safe trip to Bali.

If you see any outdated information, we would really appreciate it if you could reach out in the comments below. Otherwise, stay safe friends!

Updated March 2024

Is Bali Safe Right Now?

Bali is no doubt the most popular tourist destination in Indoneisa. Statistically more than 4.7 million international visitors arrived in Bali last 2023, and the vast majority had a trouble-free vacation on the island.

This means that 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 an 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.

Volcano eruptions are an imminent risk in Bali, and are 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.

a girl climbing down to a famous beach with cliffs and clear blue ocean in nusa penida
Amazing views.
Photo: @amandaadraper

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. Foreign tourists still visit Bali in droves, and the island is prepared should the worst happen.

It’s totally safe to visit Bali right now – you should just be aware of a few basic precautions.

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Safest Places in Bali 

While the whole island is a generally safe destination, there are a few spots that are well-known for offering that extra little bit of secure comfort.

a large balinese statue in ubud, Bali
Definitely visit Ubud.
Photo: @amandaadraper
  • Sanur: Sanur is the family area of 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 nightclubs 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 (albeit with lots of coral). There are lots of amazing restaurants and cafes, which make for many ideal spots 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. While I’ve never been a victim of these crimes, I’ve certainly met people who have had something snatched.

However, there are a few places we wouldn’t recommend hanging around late at night. Exercise caution 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 – At the start of 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.

Keeping your money safe in Bali

 One of the most common things to happen to you whilst travelling is losing your money. And let’s face it: the most annoying way for this to actually occur is when it’s stolen from you.

Petty crime is pretty much a problem all over the world. The best solution? Get a money belt.

Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

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 crimes you’ll encounter in Bali, especially on wild nights out – so do be careful! More recently, there have been reports of break-ins, though violent crime is pretty rare. Do your research before choosing where to stay, and know that hostels and hotels will by default be a bit more secure than homes and villas.

a couple taking a selfie with a monkey in the monkey forest of ubud, bali
I am more scared of monkeys than people..
Photo: @amandaadraper

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 their 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 Amsterdam.

Scams in Bali

Bali is far from the scam capital of the world but there are certainly a few to be aware of. Avoid taxis that aren’t associated with ride shares like Gojek and Grab. Blue Bird is another reputable company. Skimmers that steal your card information have also been reported at various ATMs and money changers – so be sure to only use official banks and companies.

A busy intersection in Canggu in Bali. Multiple lanes of bikes are crossing paths.
Scams are far more common in mass-tourism regions like Kuta and Canggu.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Money changers are sometimes known to scam tourists out of significant amounts of cash, so be sure to know the exchange rate and what you should be getting from the get-go.

And then – always be careful of your belongings. I’ve recently read a story of a girl having her iPhone stolen from a phone mount while riding a bike. So in crowded areas of Bali, keep your phone hidden while driving and use earphones or speaker to hear the directions. Also – be sure to keep any bags or pocketbooks on the opposite side of drivers when walking along the road. Thefts committed by locals on motorbikes have happened.

Terrorism in Bali

While quite rare in recent history, terrorism is still a threat in Indonesia, and while it may be at a low risk, that doesn’t mean it’s completely non-existent. The most infamous of which were the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, many of whom were tourists. Now, I’m not saying this to scare you – local authorities have done a ton to combat this in the years since. Terrorist attacks occur in Western countries too – but you should still be aware of the island’s history.

Natural Disasters in Bali

One under-discussed aspect of Bali’s safety is its (and Indonesia’s as a whole) location in the Ring of Fire. This 25,000 mile chain of volcanoes puts the entire region at risk of eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Thousands of earthquakes can be felt while on Bali every single year – I quite literally felt one just a day before typing this in March 2024. Luckily, MOST tend to be harmless. Even so, you should always be aware of island evacuation routes and protocols.

Mount Batur volcano in bali indonesia on a sunny day with blue sky and some clouds in the middle
Beautifully terrifying.
Photo: @joemiddlehurst

As for tsunamis, I’m sure you can figure out that the coastal regions are much more at risk than somewhere like Ubud or Sideman. The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami hit the island, but due to it’s location, it’s been more protected than other parts of the Indonesian archipelago.

Volcanic erruptions are something you’re going to want to consider in Bali, especially if you happen to be near one of the two active ones, Mount Batur and Mount Agung. While it’s remained relatively quiet (save for some concerning activity between 2017-2019) in the last few decades, a massive and deadly spew of lava did occur in 1964. But unlike the aforementioned disasters, Bali’s volcanic activity is carefully monitored, and warnings will be issued if anything goes amiss. If you’re super concerned, you can stick to the southern coastal regions, or just avoid being within 10km or so of two active volcanoes.

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How Safe is Bali for Solo Female Travellers?

a girl smiling and making a silly face taking a selfie with a local in indonesia
Friendly locals are the best!
Photo: @amandaadraper

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.
a girl and her friend covered in glow body paint art at a full moon party in thailand
Party hard and SAFE.
Photo: @amandaadraper
  • 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

19 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Bali

rice-fields in Ubud, Bali, indonesia
So GREEN!
Photo: @amandaadraper

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 Southeast Asia 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.

  1. Be aware of earthquakes – don’t just keep up to date with them, but know what to do in a disaster situation helps. A lot.
  2. Same with volcanic eruptions and tsunamis – know your disaster drills, people.
  3. Clue yourself up on the recent political situation – Indonesia can be a political powder keg. Keep up to date with current events.
  4. STAY AWAY FROM DRUGS – getting caught with these can be SERIOUS. Trafficking carries with it the death penalty.
  5. 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.
a large amount of Indonesian Rupiah in Bali
Keep an eye on your Rupiah!
Photo: @amandaadraper

6. 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.

7. Keep an eye on your belongings – especially in tourist areas. This is where most pickpocketing and bag snatching occurs.

8. 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.

9. Always keep an emergency stash of cash – Never keep all your cards/ currency in one place. And hide it all from thieves with a hidden money belt.

10. 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.

11. Some touts in popular areas can be aggressive – but if you don’t WANT anything, just IGNORE. That’s the best way to go.

12. Be wary of other scams and cons directed at tourists – from overcharging to rigged money changers…don’t be a sucker.

13. Take a good medical kit with you – you never know when you might need it!

14. Protect against pesky mosquitoes – they’re more than JUST pesky here; some carry dengue fever.

15. Watch out for street dogs – rabies is possible in Bali, so just watch out who you’re petting.

16. 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.

17. Don’t swim against your better judgement – rip tides and strong currents are dangerous. Pay attention to RED FLAGS, they mean DANGER!

18. Be careful around cliffs – people fall over these when visiting places like Nusa Penida and Uluwatu, more often than you’d think. Be careful when driving and taking photos when the edge is near.

19. ALWAYS respect local customs and cultural norms.

20. NEVER drink tap water as dirty water is one of the biggest health risks on the island.

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 decent travel insurance cover just in case.

Where to Start Your Travels in Bali

Safest Area to stay
Where to stay in Sanur Bali
Safest Area to stay

Sanur

As one of the most family-friendly areas in Bali, you can enjoy lots of safety, stunning sunrises, a 5km promenade, and beautiful white-sand beaches.

Klook.com

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.

two girls on a scooter in Bali, Indonesia holding a small dog and with a surfboard hanging on the side of the scooter
Precious cargo 🙂
Photo: @amandaadraper

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.

The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

Grab an eSIM!

There’s always safety in numbers, so if you want to feel extra safe, book a room in a hostel or co-living.

I always 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!

tribal bali pool logo
I love Tribal.

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.

What to Pack For Your Bali Trip

Everyone’s packing list is going to look a little different, but here are a few things I would never want to travel to Bali without…

nomatic_laundry_bag

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Gifts for backpackers

Head Torch

A decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples, or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must.

Yesim eSIM

SIM card

Yesim stands as a premier eSIM service provider, catering specifically to the mobile internet needs of travellers.

GEAR-Monoply-Game

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Pacsafe belt

Money Belt

This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside – you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off.

Getting Insured BEFORE Visiting Bali

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

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, and ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip!

A girl standing near Sekumpul Waterfall in bali indonesia
Enjoy Bali!
Photo: @amandaadraper

Looking for more info on traveling to Bali?

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!