Dealing with health & emergencies in Bali

travel safetyA trip to a tropical destination will provoke thoughts of possible dangers and how to deal with them. Among the concerns are safety of food and drinking water, transport systems and the local safety situation. These concerns are compounded worries about local emergency and health services. Expats living in Bali have to deal with these issues on a daily basis, but get a more realistic picture of the way things really are after a while. For a first-time visitor to Bali there are things you can do to help take the risk out of your visit.

Reducing risks before travelling to Bali:
Reduce risks of travelling to Bali by consulting your doctor. Find out what vaccinations are required and if any existing health concerns might prevent you from travelling. Make sure you carry a copy of your health record and prescription, if there are ongoing health issues that may require treatment while in Bali.

Common vaccinations and commonly cover tetanus, polio, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A & B and a selection of others. Bali is a malaria affected area and you might discuss this with your doctor. Expats living in Bali generally do not take anti-malaria medication, though it may help.

Travel insurance:
Travelling involves risk so travel insurance is a great way to relieve some of the related stress. BootsnAll offers a great selection of travel / health insurance options that are affordable and mean you will not be left for dead should you suffer an accident in Bali.

Drinking water:
Tap water is unsafe to drink in Bali. Although the quality of water throughout the island varies greatly, some coming piped, some from a well, one should always assume it is unsafe to drink without boiling. People living in Bali shower with the local water, brushing teeth etc. with no ill effects, still your drinking water should be bottled water.

Water in warungs and restaurants is bottled water and food is washed in bottled water. The old claim that salad items should be avoided in Bali, because vegetables were washed in tap water is no longer true. Enjoy a great salad in Bali. Ice in drinks is generally okay, but you may want to decline ice in non-tourist areas.




Fruit and vegetables can be enjoyed freely. Many expats cook at home, washing vegetables in tap water with no ill effects. It all depends on the water supply, but as a rule use bottled water if you plan to cook in your villa.

Bali Belly / Diarrhea:
A dose of the runs can knock the wind out of your trip to Bali. A simple way to deal with it is to restrict yourslef to extremely simple food for 3 days, which means bread, plain rice, potatoes, plain meat with no sauce and NO green vegetables. You’d be amazed at how a vicious case of diarrhea can dissappear under that regime. Bali Deli and other places sell a colloidal silver solution (Bali Belly Buster), that once drank will help to knock out intestinal bacteria. Diarrhea will deplete your body of fluid, which when combined with hot humid weather will compound your misery. Drink electrolyte drinks such as Pocari Sweat (blue can with white strip) available in every Circle K to stay on top of the situation.

Cuts & scrapes:
Tiny cuts can develop into tropical ulcers under hot humid conditions. A cut measuring 2mm across can be 5cm in diameter within a week and 5mm deep. Wash out any cuts you get and apply Betadine, giving the cut plenty of air to dry.

First aid kit:
Don’t expect locals to have or know how to use a first aid kit. Carry your own first aid travel kit and learn how to use it.

Getting to medical help:
Staying in a villa 5km out of town can make getting to medical help hard, if you don’t have your own transport. Type the number of Bluebird taxi (0361-701111) into your cell phone for minor indicents and the number of a reputable clinic, such as SOS or BIMC for emergenies.

Utilizing the internet:
Important personal data, such as passport details, banking details, ticketing details and medical information can be stored online for free. Yahoo Notepad for example is a great place to store important info that can be accessed in Bali during an emergency.

Contacting your consulate:
In an emergency you may need immediate evacuation and your consulate might be able to help. Type the number of your consulate into your cell phone just in case.

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