Advertise with us

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.

1-monkey-via-Jane-N,-chasingthewild

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.

1-tug-of-war

Our Tips:

1. Do not carry plastic bags.
2. Do not let your kids wander too close to the monkeys.
3. Keep your accessories like sunglasses in your bag.
4. Avoid grinning (showing teeth is a sign of threat and aggression to monkeys!) to avoid provoking an unnecessary attack.

Follow us on Facebook for more travel stories like this:

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: seaductionbali

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.

gigantic_wave_nusa_lembongan-1

Photo via: Nevi Snever

Real story: We actually have a friend who was with her friends standing in 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.

Our Tips:

1. Do not wander too near the waterblow.
2. If you’re taking photos, make sure to take them at a safe distance. You wouldn’t want to risk your safety for a selfie.


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.

3-road-to-tsavo-lion

This road is leading to a dead end. And it’s a 2-way road, imagine another farmer’s truck coming out!

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!

car via-cassidy_lw

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.

Our Tips:

1. If possible, do learn some Bahasa Indonesia so you can ask the locals for directions in the event you are lost. If not, consider hiring a driver instead!
2. If you intend to explore the more rural areas of Bali, make sure that the car you are driving has enough horsepower by checking with your provider. It is really dangerous if your car stalls in the middle of a slope as you will have to reverse back to flat ground in order to gain momentum and charge back up the slope.

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.

7-tattos-via-saltinmyhair

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.

7-HIV

Hence, make sure you check the forums for a reputable place, one that people trust and have experienced.

Our Tips:

1. If you really want a tattoo, visit internationally owned tattoo shops that follow strict international standards of hygiene.
2. Do your research before going down to get a tatto.
3. Do not go into any tattoo parlour you randomly pass and get a tattoo without first checking online.
4. Here are 3 safe and recommended tattoo parlours (with really beautiful distinct art too!)
i. Taco and tattoos Tuesday at Duex Ex Machina Seminyak –
Jl. Batu Mejan no.8 – Canggu / +62 811 388 150
ii. Suku Suku Tatau – JL Nakula No 99 x, Seminyak, Bali / +62 815 9691475
iii. Tattoo Hut Bali – JL Benesari, Kuta, Bali / +62 822-3707-1957

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.

6-paddy-fields-via-TripCanvas

Imagine carrying your huge luggage and walking like this for 10 minutes (Photo via TripCanvas)

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!)

Our Tips:

1. Avoid booking an inaccessible stay simply be checking Google Maps’ street view or terrain view to check the walkable distance.

6-terrain-view

2. Before booking, contact the villa host to enquire about road conditions, how to get there, as well as if they would be able to help you with your luggage. (Some private villas will not offer assistance with your luggage, especially the budget ones.)
3. Bring a torch light with you or ask your host to give you one.

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.

9-Legian-street-night

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.

9 unwanted flirt and touts

Unwanted flirt and touts

By avoiding walking alone late at night in Kuta, you’ll be saving yourself some potentially nasty trouble!

Our Tips:

1. If you have to take a cab back from Kuta after a night of partying, make sure the driver isn’t dodgy.

creepy smile

Say no to creepy drivers

2. Use Uber or GrabCar to get a ride. You’ll have the ID, name, number and photo of your driver – just in case.
3. If you do encounter a robbery or sexual harassment, call POLDA Bali (+62 361 227711) the main police headquarter in Denpasar, instead of the local police office.
4. There’s also a special police force for tourism known as PAM OBVIT Bali, which emphasises on the well-being of foreigners. You may contact them at +62 361-759687 or +62 361-224111, for help.

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.

5-Open-concept-villa

Be careful when you stay in open-concept villas like this. While it’s nice to have a view like this, sometimes it might attract burglars.

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.

Our Tips:

1. Before booking, make sure to check reviews to see if there has been any mention of fraud. (If there are no reviews available, we advise to skip it and move on to another stay as a property with no reviews can be a very telling sign.) You should also check how long the villa has been run, just to make sure it’s reliable, since it’s been in business for a good amount of time.
2. Do lock your door from inside when you’re sleeping as people might climb into your villa’s toilet at night.

5-Leave-your-door-close

Close your windows and doors! You might not know what you might attract

3. Purchase a travel safe for an added layer of security and bring it along your trip to store money and valuables.

5-travel-safe-lock
4. If your money or valuables are stolen, make an official report directly at POLDA Bali (+62 361 227711) the main police headquarter in Denpasar, instead of the local police office.
5. There’s also a special police force for tourism known as PAM OBVIT Bali, which emphasises on the well-being of foreigners. You may contact them at +62 361-759687 or +62 361-224111, for help with tackling difficult situations while in Bali.
6. Additionally, you may also make a report to your embassy in Indonesia.
Australia // +62 21 2550 5555
China // +62 21 576 1039
Japan // +62 21 3192 4308
Singapore // +62 21 29950400
5. For other embassy contact information, please find them at – http://www.embassypages.com/indonesia

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.

10-petrol-via-danikacottrell,-angelinacanale

These are bottles of petrol, not Vodka. And yes, we’ve tried this personally. (Photo via : Danikacottrell, Angelinacanale)

Our Tips:

1. When topping up your petrol, watch your oil meter and calculate the consumption rate to see how much petrol is needed for a certain distance. Once you do this, you will know better exactly how much petrol you’ll need for the distance you’ll be driving, and if you should prepare petrol in case you run out.

10-oil-indicator-via-trendyvideoz

Photo via : Trendyvideoz

2. For starters, a 1 litre bottle of petrol can last approximately 35km on a scooter, and 10km for a car. (These bottles of petrol may be purchased from local shops you pass along the way at 10,000 IDR.)

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.4-arak-via-Southeastasiawanders

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.4 how-arak-will-make-you-feel

Our Tips:

1. We strongly urge that you avoid drinking arak, or only consume it at reputable bars, after checking its source from the bartenders.
2. If you’d really like to try proper Arak though, check out Dewi Sri (Arak Bali and Hatten Wines winery are also under this company!). They’ve been producing traditional Arak since 1968. (Jl. Danau Tondano 58, Sanur, http://www.arakbali.com)
3. Remember to go straight to the source for your taste of Arak Attack instead of purchasing it off dodgy shops to avoid unnecessary poisoning.

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.8-ubud-night-via-clockwise-pictures.biz

 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.

Our Tips:

1. Just make sure to pay attention when you walk.
2. Use a torch if the area isn’t well lit!

8-torch-light

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.

11-passport-via-Raymond-Seow

Photo via: Raymond Seow

The story goes that one of Bali’s airport customs officer had cut up his mother’s passport – then summoned her into a room, and only released her after she paid up.

While this has not been verified, when it comes to your passport, it is crucial to ensure your passport’s validity (damaged passports before you travel, or the correct customs stamps when you’re arriving or departing a foreign country, etc).

Our Tips:

1. If airport security detains your passport unlawfully, make a report to your embassy in Indonesia.

Australia // +62 21 2550 5555
China // +62 21 576 1039
Japan // +62 21 3192 4308
Singapore // +62 21 29950400
For other embassy contact information, please find them at – http://www.embassypages.com/indonesia

So now you know what we know.

Some of these dangers we’ve shared might potentially lead to serious consequences if you’re careless. Make sure to take heed and practice safety, to ensure a funtastic vacation in the beloved land of Bali!

Are there anymore dangers and annoyances in Bali you can share with us? Comment below to let us know!

Advertise with us