Health in Bali

The information given here does not replace professional medical advices. It is meant to be a guideline to prepare for your trip to Bali.

Vaccinations:

There are a number of vaccinations, which are necessary or advisably also in western countries. In tropical countries, these vaccinations become even more important due to the warm and humid climate and the higher spread of those diseases here. Therefore, one should be vaccinated at least against Tetanus, Polio, Diphteria, Hepatitis A and B. Check with your physician your Pertussis situation, where often a combined vaccination together with Tetanus / Diphteria is given.

If travelling to Indonesia, a vaccination against Typhoid (not to be mistaken with Typhus) is advisable, as in warm countries there is always a higher risk of contaminated food with salmonellae. As more you are travelling in rural or un-developed areas with a questionable hygiene situation, the more a vaccination against Typhoid becomes necessary.

A vaccination against Rabies makes sense as well, especially if you are travelling often to tropical countries. In Bali, statistically, most of the reported Rabies cases are connected to monkey bites, not to dog bites. There is not an extremely high risk of Rabies in Bali, but still - considering that without any vaccination protection against Rabies, you have only several hours after a contagious bite to get proper medical help – a prophylactic protection is reasonable. Also with a vaccination protection, you should seek medical help after a suspicious bite by an animal.

Malaria / Dengue:

There is no vaccination against Malaria or Dengue fever available. Both, Malaria and Dengue fever are transmitted by mosquitos, but different types. The prophylactic therapy with Resochin or Lariam, which has been done often in previous years, is not common any more nowadays, as there is a high risk of the Malaria / Dengue fever pathogen developing resistances against the medicines.

The best protection is to avoid mosquito bites by repellents and long pants / shirts, especially in the evening. There is no extremely high risk of Malaria in Bali, but an increasing spread of Dengue fever has been reported world-wide in the last years.

Food / drinks:

In general, there is a low risk of problems with food or drinks in Bali, especially in the tourist areas. Even ice cubes (which are generally not advised in tropical countries) are of little risk, if they are coming from a reliable source, which is mostly indicated by round ice cubes with a hole in the middle. It is often advised, not to consume raw fruits with a thin skin or uncooked vegetables in tropical countries, but in Bali, a risk of food poisoning by that can be considered quite low. It would be a shame if you miss the delicious fruit juices, which are famous in Indonesia.

But as already mentioned in the section “vaccination”: The more you are travelling in rural areas, or the less trustworthy the hygiene situation is, the more you should be careful with your food and drinks.

Bali offers a wide range of Indonesian food and western food with a high level of quality and authentic taste.

Sun:

Be careful with sun bathing without proper protection. The solar radiation is often underestimated and can lead quickly to sunburn even with blisters or heat stroke. Especially the bright skin type is endangered or if you are coming directly from the sunless winter of your home country. Even if you spend the whole day under the umbrella, the sun can lead to sunburn, as the radiation can penetrate the umbrellas  fabric, or the sand (yes, also the sand!) or water can reflect the radiation.

Taking just a few precautions and you can enjoy your sunbathing in this warm and tropical climate.

Beach:

Especially on the west coast, one should not underestimate the currents and the waves. Even experienced swimmers can start panicking when rolled under the waves and dragged out with the current.

Follow the indications of the flags at the beach and the instructions of the life guards and you will be safe. If in a rare case, the current should drag you out and is too strong for you to swim back, don’t panic (yeah, I know, easier said than done), swim parallel to the coast line and try to come ashore a bit further up or down the coast line.

Alcohol:

Due to high taxes on alcohol in Indonesia, the prices for beer, liquor and wine are relatively high in the shops. In the restaurants, the prices are relatively normal compared to western countries, as the profit margin of Indonesian restaurants is not as high as in western countries.

The high prizes of alcohol can tempt the interest in local, self-made products. But please be careful with the purchase of local spirits, if the source is not reliable, as it can happen that (if not produced professionally) it has a high content of methanol. Methanol in high concentration is harmful to health and can lead even to death.

Alcohol in restaurants / official shops is reliable.

HIV / STD:

Unfortunately also Indonesia has not been excluded from the rise of HIV, and there is an increasing number of affected, especially among the youngsters in Bali. We can only repeat that the best protection (besides abstention from sex) is still condoms, not only for HIV, but also for other STD. So please respect your health and the health of others and play safe.

The Indonesian government is aware of the HIV situation and started health programs. Especially in Bali, there are a number of groups dealing with that subject and information / help starts to be available.

For medical help, related to HIV / STD, we can recommend Balimedika (www.balimedika.com).

Hospitals / health insurance:

It is highly advisable to have a travel health insurance, including repatriation. There is always a possibility of health issues, let alone motor bike accidents, which even doesn’t need to be your fault. The risk of being left alone with enormous hospital or repatriation bills weighs more than some Dollars or Euros for an insurance.

In certain cases, medical help might even be rejected, if no payment can be assured.

There are also quite big differences in the costs for treatment of different hospitals. Some of them see health problems of foreigners as a possibility to invent fantasy prices. We can give you some hints on hospitals with good recommendation.

Dangerous animals

The danger of wild animals in Bali can be almost neglected, especially in tourist areas. There are no insects, which are venomous enough to be a fatal threat for humans. Bites of some spiders or scorpions result at most only in skin reactions around the bitten area.

In rural areas or areas with a lot of vegetation, some venomous snakes can be found. They attack humans in general only, if threatened or surprised. So if walking through tense vegetation, make enough noise to give the snakes time to escape. Most snakes you will encounter, are harmless. In doubt, do not approach them. There is a very helpful and friendly organization in Bali, which helps you to recognize or in the worst case to remove snakes: Bali Reptile Rescue, http://www.breptile-rescue.blogspot.com, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For dangers resulting of animals with rabies, see “vaccinations”.

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