Traveling to a new country can be a little daunting. I get it... I was nervous before I traveled too! But exploring somewhere new brings a whole fresh glow to your life.
Traveling to Bali is a popular choice for millions of tourists every year. And why wouldn’t you want to?
When I visited, I could enjoy the luscious jungles, bewitching culture, mouth-watering food, and some of the best beaches for surfing and suntanning. Bali really is a backpacker's heaven!
This guide is definitely for you if you’re thinking twice about safety in Bali or Southeast Asia. From one solo traveler to another, I’ve covered every topic under the sun when it comes to staying safe while traveling in Bali.
So if you’re wondering, “Is Bali safe for travelers?”, keep scrolling and bookmark this page for use later when you’re actually there!
But like any other trip, there are a few things to be mindful of. Keep reading to discover all things safety in Bali and what to avoid!
Is Bali Safe to Visit?
The simple answer is yes! Bali is one of the safest islands in Southeast Asia, enjoyed by millions of foreign visitors each year.
And no, there’s no impending doom on that side of the world!
There is a harmless range of petty theft or scammers looking to make an extra buck, but that’s about it.
Bali is spread out over 95 miles, with 141 million people living in it. Calling Bali a dreamy destination wouldn’t be a lie, but the province has its ob wn share of safety issues you should watch out for—like robbers and scammers.
Naturally, crime tends to occur more in tourist areas. Yet, this risk is low in comparison to other regions across Southeast Asia.
So rest easy because you’re making the right decision if traveling to Bali. But before you go, here's all the info you need to know, aside from understanding that common sense is the best first step!
Is Bali Safe to Visit in 2023?
The answer is still a resounding yes!
Bali is one of the safest places in Indonesia and Southeast Asia in general, popularized by both Westerners and Asians alike as one of the best places to visit.
While some countries, such as Canada, issue travel advisories for Indonesia, they're restricted to regions like Indonesian Papua for increased threats of tourist attacks and political tensions, and Mount Agung for a possible volcanic eruption.
Tourists are generally very safe and Bali is not located in any of the areas where there are travel advisory listed. The only issues that plague most tourist destinations are pickpocketing, scams, and other petty thefts.
Violent crime is very rare, especially with tourists. Regardless, exercise caution when travel.
What Should You Know About Bali Crime Rate?
The crime rate that impacts tourists in Bali is extremely low. In 2019, there were 72 crimes per 100000 inhabitants, which equals to about a 0.072% chance of being a victim of crimes. Thankfully, that number still hasn’t changed in 2023!
But I want to warn you that Bali is no stranger to petty crimes like scams, pickpocketing, and robbing. With a sleight of hand, you might lose some cash or discover your wristwatch’s gone.
The main crime that’s been rising in recent years is credit card scams. Shop or restaurant owners record credit card details when you pay for something.
And you might not realize immediately, but your money will slowly drain out. So when you’re touring Bali, keep paying in cash.
Pro Tip: Make sure you exchange cash before you travel to Bali. Store your money in a secure bag in your hostel locker to keep it safe.
If you need more cash, use a reputable bank's ATM. ATMs can be found in many popular tourist areas.
Top Scams in Bali to Watch Out For
Crime in Bali is mainly petty and rarely becomes violent. But there are quite a lot of scammers waiting to pounce on innocent travelers like you. Thousands, and I mean thousands, of people every year get caught up in these scams in Bali.
So I wanted to run you through the top scams to avoid in Bali. Knowing about them and preparing beforehand is better than getting caught up while you're there!
From traveling in Athens to vacationing in Mexico, taxi scams are among the biggest ones to watch out for. And these are designed to target unsuspecting tourists like you and me!
And yes, I fell for it myself, so please learn from my mistakes.
Taxis in Bali come with a meter that is supposed to calculate the fare at the end based on government guidelines. Some taxi scammers won’t run the meter and then extort you for a large sum once you’re at your destination.
They might even take longer routes and delay your ride to rack up the amount to an insane value.
Other scammers will be extremely polite and load your suitcases or bags in the car. But once you’re at your destination, they’ll speed off with your luggage! So never leave the taxi itself unless you’ve got all your items out.
Drink spiking is a sad reality in many countries, regardless of whether it’s a tourist country or not. And unfortunately, this act leads to sexual assault and theft.
So when you’re out and about in Bali’s exotic nightlife, keep an eye on what you’re drinking, whether it's alcohol or a more tame option. Drink spiking in Bali mainly happens to women, and you’ll wake up with most of your precious belongings gone!
So if possible, hang out in groups with your friends and let each other watch out for any spiking.
But if you’re a lady solo traveler like me, don’t lose hope yet!
What I found extremely helpful for avoiding these situations is getting a drink-spiking cover scrunchie. This sneaky cover can be a scrunchie you wear on your wrist or tie up your hair when the weather is windy.
But when you’re out drinking and have to look away from your drink, cap your glass with this!
Might I add that this isn’t just a Bali trick, and you can make this smart purchase for simply hanging out in your hometown safely.
Fake Tour Guides
Tour guides will pop up occasionally, but it’s your job to decline their services firmly. If you’re in Bali for a safe trip, book reliable guides and services beforehand.
You can check out reviews of reputable guides and book one with high ratings and reviews.
Some scammers will pose as airport porters, fake temple guides, and even monks who will loudly demand money for giving you their blessings!
If a porter touches your luggage and tries forcibly carrying it for you, be firm and demand to have their hands off of it.
If you really want a well-executed tour of Bali, I recommend using these platforms:
Gambling and drug possession are highly illegal in Bali, and some laws can land you in troubling waters. Some locals will invite you to gamble a small amount of money in this scam.
But as the gambling continues, the amount will soon become considerable...
You won’t realize that these are underground gambling rings and the scammers are turning you in to authorities. So you’ll either wound up in jail or pay a hefty penalty for breaking the law.
Oh, and you’ll also never get that gambled money back!
Money Exchanging and ATM Scam
Ah, you’re getting money from an ATM to indulge in some retail therapy. Stop!
Many ATMs in Bali have card skimmers that read your personal information and drain your bank account within minutes once you leave the ATM. So don’t just believe that these random ATMs on every other street are a convenience.
Always head to an ATM within a bank or other business properties like shopping plazas. Cover your pin number as you punch it in and press the cancel button a few times before you leave the ATM.
The same goes out for money exchange tables in markets that promise you better rates than the current market rate. Please don’t fall for these traps!
Natural Disasters in Bali
You might be shocked to know that the highest risk to tourists in Bali is natural disasters! Bali is the king of natural disasters, including active volcanoes, which can strike at any given moment.
Some of the most common natural disasters in Bali include:
- Flash floods,
- Volcanic activity or volcanic eruptions,
- Rough seas and riptides.
The rainy season is one to watch out for. Bali's rainy season lasts from October to March, making it the most common time for bad weather’s appearance.
So unless you’re a “I want to see where life takes me,” person, I say plan carefully!
Hot tip: Find out the best times to go to Bali and catch the area during its peak beauty! Or simply avoid the months when disasters are likely to occur.
Remember, check with official government websites about travel advisories!
Other Safety Concerns
Here are some other safety-related concerns or general good-to-knows when you're in the country of Indonesia.
Remember to always be mindful and open-minded of other country's culture, especially as a visitor of the country.
Here are some things to consider:
- Drugs: Drugs are highly illegal in Indonesia, as it is with most Asian countries, and are often punishable by either life in prison or the dealth penalty. Yes, that includes Indonesia and Bali. They're no joke. Avoid doing drugs or being in proximity with drugs, as Indonesian police often set out to catch foreigners doing them.
- Avoid Public Displays of Affection: PDA, such as kissing and hugging, is considered taboo in Balinese cultures. Dress modestly, especially in temples or other religious areas when you're told to do so.
- Bali Monkeys: While it may be cool to interact closely with the monkeys at the monkey sanctuary, they've gotten used to human interactions, and will often steal your belongings and food if they're not secured. Also, I would highly recommend against touching or petting them as some carry Rabies.
- Know Evacuation Protocols: Indonesia, including Bali, often have evacuation protocols in events of natural disasters. Read up on them and ask your accommodation if theres any increased risk that you should be aware of while you'er there.
What Should I Avoid in Bali?
Bali is famous for all it has to offer. From sacred temples to surfer's paradise, backpackers, digital nomads, and tourists fall in love with this majestic island.
But with all the variety, there are things to avoid. I've mentioned quite a few already but here's a direct summary in case you've missed them.
Let's take a look at what not to do in Bali:
- Avoid drinking tap water because it’s not as clean as other countries and can upset your stomach.
- Renting a scooter without a license? Avoid driving without a license at all costs!
- Car accidents can be fatal and common in Bali so don’t rent cars or bikes on your own. Stick to taxis or ride-sharing apps.
- Cover yourself modestly when visiting temples. Showing tattoos or unnecessary skin is prohibited and can have you kicked out.
- Don’t drink locally-brewed liquor because it often results in death.
- Indonesia is a modest country and labels acts of hugging or kissing illegal!
- Always wear mosquito spray or long clothing on hikes. Avoid those mosquitos at all costs, as they aren't as friendly as the locals.
- Steer clear of animals including stray dogs and monkeys. These animals might look friendly but they aren’t. Never feed the monkeys anything, and don’t touch stray dogs because they’re a rabies case waiting to happen!
Places to Avoid in Bali
Like any country, Bali has its share of bad neighborhoods and districts. I’ve been to a few of them because they also happen to be some of the most popular places to visit!
If you’re a solo traveler, I suggest finding some other tourists and making these a group visit to keep an eye out for each other.
Kuta Beach is notorious for its sprightly nightlife and surfing scene. But it’s also famous for attracting a fair share of pickpockets and scam artists. So if someone comes up with an unsolicited offer or service, run and never look back.
You’ll see a similar case for Jalan Legian too. This one’s a popular street lined with colorful bars, clubs, and shops, but it can get quite rowdy. And I say that from experience.
If your plan is to visit those hidden gem beaches in Bali, keep the sea conditions in mind.
Indonesian seas can get pretty rough, pretty quickly. If you get caught up in any unforeseen accident or problem, you won’t be able to get out fast enough with slow service and a lack of people around.
Best to stick with some main destinations, am I right?
More Frequently Asked Safety Questions
Is Bali Safe for Female Solo Travelers?
Yes! Bali is as safe as other similarly popular tourist destinations, especially for female solo travelers. In fact, you’ll realize that Bali is where a lot of women and girl groups head for their first big adventure abroad.
With friendly locals, an active nightlife, and an incredible community of travelers like you, Bali is a safe haven for those who choose to visit the destination. Often, there are a lot of people around and most districts are safe.
But I want to point out that there may be instances of verbal harassment by local men, especially if you look foreign from a local’s perspective.
You might get catcalled or have to be extra cautious with your drinks in a party district.
There’s no reason not to explore the area or go off the beaten track. That being said, don't throw all caution to the wind.
Trust your gut.
Is Bali Safe at Night?
Yes, Bali is safe at night even if you’re a solo traveler. The nightlife makes it impossible to be absolutely alone at any hour of the night. You’ll also find that locals are more often helpful than dangerous.
At least, I can recommend it as a safe place at night from my own personal experience!
What’s the Safest Mode of Transport?
Bali’s economy relies on tourism and the province hosts over 14 million residents. Do you know what that equals to? A whole lot of headache-inducing traffic!
But wait… let me tell you some safe ways to get around Bali easily!
You can hop in a local taxi without much risk. Just make sure the taxi is a registered one. Look for a sky-blue exterior with a white light on the roof.
P.S. Remember my scam tip from earlier. Always agree on a fixed price with the taxi driver or ask for the meter to be set in front of you. Also, don’t leave your belongings unattended for more than a second!
Not everyone wants to navigate the busy roads in Bali. The traffic can be overwhelming!
If you’re feeling unsure, I would recommend a local beach tour to help you explore. Not only do you get an expert guide, but you also get the chance to meet like-minded travelers.
Local tours offer a little extra safety and, in true Bali fashion, are great value for money.
A Note on Motorbikes
If you're a very confident driver who understands the hectic conditions of Asian roads, go ahead and enjoy renting a motorbike. But, I would say that this is definitely a more risky mode of transport!
If you do rent, make sure that you check over your motorbike, grab it from a reputable company, and get a helmet too!
You'll also need to ensure that you have an international driver's license as a foreigner who wants to drive in Bali.
Safe Places to Stay in Bali
If you’re looking for a safe place to stay in Bali, stick to the main tourist areas!
Areas like Ubud, Seminyak, Uluwatu, and Canggu are just a few areas that offer great hotels and hostels.
Not sure where to start? Check out the best areas to stay for first-timers in Bali!
Wherever you chose to say, make sure your hostel has front desk security, safety lockers, and great ratings from other backpackers.
Safety Tips in Bali
Make the best of your trips with these top safety tips for Bali:
- Keep your phone and other valuables in a secure pocket or bag. Don’t hold it in your hand or put it in your back pocket.
- If you’re carrying a sling bag, hold the sling bag with one hand to avoid a thief from cutting the strap and stealing it.
- Avoid going to less popular destinations at night, especially female travelers.
- Learn basic Indonesian and Balinese phrases to communicate with locals who don’t know English.
- Dress modestly in temples and less touristy areas.
- Book a tour guide or transport service ahead of time online.
- Carry an umbrella with you just in case the weather gets gloomy.
- Always watch out for your drinks and cover them with your hand or any object when it’s unattended.
- Keep your personal belongings and cash safe with a money belt to hide your cash.
- Know basic disaster drills, like what to do in an earthquake or volcanic eruption!
- Don't swim in rough seas or where there are red flags! The tides and currents in Bali can be powerful.
So, Is Travel to Bali Safe?
I've made it pretty obvious... but just to round out this guide: Yep, Bali is a safe place for solo and group travelers.
Crime rates are relatively low, with the only major concern being credit card scams. And, based on my experience visiting Bali multiple times, I felt very safe there, even as a female traveler.
Compared to other areas in Southeast Asia, backpackers, and digital nomads can navigate this island by day and by night with confidence.
With bustling markets, alluring jungles, cascading waterfalls, zen yoga classes, and buzzing nightlife, Bali truly is one of a kind!
And now, you know everything there is to know about staying safe in Bali and taking the proper precautions during your stay.
Backpack Safely with Pilot
Can’t wait to witness the blissful beauty of Bali in person? Make sure that you use a trip-planning platform you can count on!