Have you read about the 10 tourist traps to avoid in Bali?
This time around, we’re back with more. While we adore Bali and all the island has to offer, travelling here may come with its own dangers.
Also read: The ultimate guide on where to stay in Bali
Whenever you travel outside of your own country, there are always risks and dangers especially since you’ll be in unfamiliar territory.
Thankfully, we’ve found 11 dangers (in our experience) in Bali, that you should certainly avoid – so nothing will spoil that amazing Bali holiday you’ve always wanted.
1. Aggressive monkeys – Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud
When visiting the famed monkey forest in Ubud, make sure not to carry plastic bags with you – because it looks like there’s food inside
Somehow, the clever primates there have associated plastic bags with food. We’ve seen monkeys snatch visitors’ plastic bags and tear them apart to see if there’s food, when it was only an umbrella.
Photo via: Jane N
In some cases, the monkeys may even bite them!
We suggest you walk in with your belongings secured in your bag. Also make sure not to bring food in, as you won’t want the monkeys catching a whiff of that promising meal, resulting in a tussle for your food.
In the event that they grab your things, do not play tug of war. Chances are, once they realise there’s nothing inside for them, they will drop it – and there really is no point getting bitten, especially if there’s nothing important inside.
2. Killer waves – Devil’s Tears, Nusa Lembongan
If you’re read about the Devil’s Tears waterblow in our Nusa Islands’ Guide, you should know that it’s 1) beautiful, and 2) dangerous.
The waterblow phenomenon happens when waves hit the rock cliffs where pressure builds, and water then blows up.
Photo via: mollyhentz
And unlike the waterblow in Nusa Dua, there are no safety railings on the cliffs to provide a bit of safety and security – and the water blow magnitude at Devil’s Tears is way greater than the one in Nusa Dua.
It’s important to keep a distance as the waves can actually sweep you down from the cliff – not something you want to happen.
Photo via: Nevi Snever
Real story: One reader was with her friends standing at a corner of the cliff when a wave came and swept all three of them off their feet, hitting the reef pretty bad.
One of them even got swept down to the ocean and eventually swam for 2 to 3 hours until some locals came by trying to help throw ropes to pull her out. It didn’t work and she only managed to survive (thankfully) by swimming to the shore in the end.
3. Driving in Bali – Use Google Maps wisely!
Take it from us, when driving in Bali, Google Maps is always helpful when it comes to figuring out the route to your destination.
However, take heed to use the app wisely. Google Maps will often show the shortest path, which might not necessarily be the best.
Sometimes, the shorter routes Google Maps suggests, might be narrow, steep and mountainous paths that are simply not suitable for four-wheeled vehicles.
We almost got ourselves into this trouble!
Photo by cassidy_lw
For example, the road from Lovina to Bedugul is extremely steep and windy. You will not want to get stuck or lost here.
4. Tattoos – Make sure you get it done at a clean and reputable place
Not all tattoo places in Bali are clean, as is the case almost everywhere else in the world. Be very careful when getting your tattoos done.
Photo via: saltinmyhair
In the worse case scenario, if you happen to visit a tattoo parlour that does not practice a certain level of hygiene and safety (reused needles?!), you might actually contract HIV.
Hence, make sure you check the forums for a reputable place, one that people trust and have experienced.
5. Villa location – Before booking, make sure it’s easily accessible
Funnily enough, this happened in Ubud where we booked a stay.
We hired a driver for the entire duration of our trip (Seminyak > Ubud), and when he drove us to the address of our Ubud accommodation, he exclaimed in mock horror “no carpark?!”.
To cut the story short, we made a mistake and booked a stay which was not easily accessible. In order to reach it, you had to walk through a narrow space/alley/running stream between the locals’ homes for a good 10 minutes.
Imagine with me, walking on a narrow and uneven concrete path with loose concrete slabs, beside a running stream WITH your huge luggage. While the villa’s staff thankfully helped us carry our things all the way there, it was a pretty disastrous realisation.
Even more so when we realised how unsafe it would be, making our way back after nights of exploring Ubud’s streets. (Two ladies, walking through that narrow alley with no lights but the ones from our phones. If we missed a step, we could have fallen right into the running stream/river!)
6. For the ladies in Kuta – Make sure not to walk alone late at night
Kuta is renowned for its nonstop parties, beach bars, and all that hectic stuff.
If you’re a lady, and you’re alone, it’s advisable not to walk alone at night in Kuta, as this can attract unnecessary attention.
Unwanted flirt and touts
By avoiding walking alone late at night in Kuta, you’ll be saving yourself some potentially nasty trouble!
7. Villa security – Bring your valuables with you when you head out
In the news, there have been reports of missing cash or valuables when guests at certain villas left them in their rooms.
While our Balinese friends are friendly, warm and hospitable, sometimes you just never know if you’ll get unlucky and bump into bad people.
If you want to avoid losing your money and valuables (who doesn’t right?), then be sure not to leave any valuables in your villa.
PS: Our team has actually experienced hearing people in their villa’s bathroom at night when they were in bed.
Whether it’s a good imagination, ghostly activity, or even people in the neighbouring village sneaking over to use the villa’s amenities (which has happened before!) – you just need to be really careful.
8. Driving in Uluwatu – Very few petrol stations available here!
Uluwatu is pretty hilly, and there are very few petrol stations around. If you are driving, you have to make sure you have enough (or more than enough!) petrol to get back.
The last thing you’d want is to get stranded and lost somewhere in this hilly area.
And if you can’t find any petrol stations, do note that you may purchase petrol from some local shops at 10,000 IDR per 1 litre bottle.
9. The traditional Balinese alcohol, Arak – Only drink at reputable places
Arak is a traditional Balinese spirit made from toddy palm trees, that is a popular drink among locals during festivals and ceremonies.
Legal and extensively sold around the island, Arak can be found in many places from local drinking holes to bars in high-end hotels and restaurants.
Photo via: Southeastasiawanders
In recent years however, occasional cases of methanol poisoning have been happening, due to the consumption of Arak.
This problem is caused by unscrupulous vendors that mix methanol in the Arak, as it is cheaper than alcohol – do note that consuming this mixture may cause blindness or death.
10. Footpaths – Pay attention when you walk or even use a torch
If you don’t want to fall into uncovered drains, or basically take a bad tumble, you definitely should pay attention to the paths when you walk.
One time in Ubud, we saw a couple walking in front of us going down Monkey Forest Road. It was dark, and the road was not well lit in certain areas.
Photo via : Clockwise pictures
All of a sudden, the man simply dropped into a drain because he didn’t see that the cover was off. He fell thigh deep and was stuck in the drain.
Naturally, we rushed to help pull him out, and thankfully he was only scratched and shaken.
While this experience wasn’t too bad, it could very well have been a lot worse. The man could have easily broken his leg or gotten a deep gash.
11. Check your passport – Be diligent when it comes to airport customs
Recently in Singapore’s local news, there have been reports of a Singaporean man posting about his bad experience with Bali’s airport customs on Facebook.