Watch the Traffic
Like a lot of Southeast Asia, Bali has a somewhat chaotic traffic situation. Work on the assumption that there are no traffic rules, only suggestions. If you do find a crosswalk don’t assume the traffic will stop to let you cross. Motorcycles and scooters will weave around pedestrians. Renting a car and driving it yourself is not advisable, catch taxi’s or get a car with a driver, it doesn’t cost much more. It is not recommended that you hire a motorcycle or a scooter unless you’re an experienced rider. If you do, ensure you wear a helmet and have a valid motorcycle license along with an international driver’s license. If you do not ensure you can legally drive the vehicle your travel insurance policy may not cover you. Motorcycle accidents are common in Bali and on average three people die each day in road accidents. Death or injury involving tourists riding scooters without a helmet is not uncommon.
Steer clear of the Balinese authorities.
Buying drugs in Bali can get you into seriously hot water and subject to draconian anti-drug laws and a lengthy prison sentence. In Bali tourists are regularly approached by street dealers. If this happens to you, or you suspect they are a dealer, just walk away. Do not engage in conversation or you could find yourself caught up in a drug sting. If you are foolish enough to buy and take drugs whilst in Bali just remember that possession is punishable by fines from AU$75,000 to AU$800,000 and 4 to 12 years imprisonment. If you are caught with drugs such as cocaine or heroin in excess of 5 grams, or marijuana in excess of 1 kilogram, you could be looking at life in a Bali prison. If you are travelling with prescription drugs ensure you read our article Travelling with Prescription Medicine.
Apart from the risk of tsunamis the surf and tides can be very dangerous in Bali. The southwest beaches of Bali are well known for dangerous rip tides and undertows. Dangerous beaches are marked out by red flags, do not swim there! Lifeguards are generally rare in Bali, however there are usually patrolled swimming areas at the main beaches, such as Kuta and Legian. Remember to swim between the red and yellow flags.
Bali is Smoke Free
A “smoke-free” law went into effect across Bali as of November 2011. There is no smoking in public areas including temples, tourist attractions, restaurants and hotels. Smokers caught in violation of the law can face fines of AU$5,000 (IDR 50 million) and/or up to six months imprisonment.
For information on keeping healthy when visiting Bali, see our article Health tips when visiting Bali.