Before travelling to Bali, or indeed any destination, it is good practise to check the travel advice pages of your own government’s website for up to the minute advice on travel and especially for specific threats to your safety based on your nationality, gender, race, religion or sexual persuasion.


In the modern age, terrorism is a global problem that can affect anyone. Aside from the general threat that any traveller needs to consider, in the case of Bali the Islamist bombings of 2002 and 2005, were specifically targeted at tourists and represent a significant additional threat. 


Indonesian authorities have thus far been very successful in counter terrorism measures, arresting and prosecuting hundreds of extremists. Nevertheless, the potential for a terrorist incident remains.


As with much of Indonesia, Bali is volcanically active, and although very much part of its tourist appeal, the potential for an eruption should not be discounted. Bali also sits a short distance above one of the world’s major fault lines and the possibility of strong effects from an offshore earthquake is possible. So too is the potential for a related Tsunami.


Crime is, of course, prevalent everywhere in the world, and in Bali the usual assortment of opportunistic thieves and pickpockets commonly target tourists for portable technology, handbags and luggage, purses, wallets and passports especially at busy tourist sites and markets. As else where in Asia some snatches are conducted from a motorcycle at speed, and can be very dangerous, particularly if the victim becomes entangled with the seized object.


Credit card fraud and ATM skimming can occur in Bali. Never let your card be taken from your sight and, if possible, use ATM’s inside bank premises. There have been cases of violent muggings in the Kuta area. Property and timeshare scams are commonplace. Only use official metered taxis.


There have been instances of drink spiking as a prelude to robbery. Never leave drinks unattended nor accept drinks from strangers. There have also been cases of methanol poisoning from counterfeit alcohol brands served in hotels, bars and shops.


Gambling is illegal in Bali and Indonesia generally.


Never use illegal drugs. It is common for the Indonesian Authorities to randomly test foreign nationals under suspicion. If you test positive, prosecution is certain. Penalties for drug crime are severe and include the death penalty.


Homosexuality is not illegal in Bali, providing it is non-commercial, though under Indonesian law, there are no protective rights. Largely Hindu Bali is in general very tolerant of gays, but overt displays of affection will arouse resentment. The focus of openly gay activity in Bali is in Seminyak. The neighbouring island of Lombok, however, is Muslim, and distinctly less tolerant.


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