Is Bali Safe? Everything You Need to Know by Remote Year
6. Jan. 2023
Bali is one of the most visited destinations in Asia, with its culture and spiritual charm drawing millions each year.
Petty crimes and fraud are significant issues in Bali, but basic precautions can keep you out of harm’s way.
Violent crime is not common in Bali, and tourists remain safe by avoiding certain places.
Bali sees many natural disasters; tourists must follow official warnings and disaster guidelines.
Bali, Indonesia, is one of Southeast Asia’s most famous destinations, attracting over six million people every year. Known as the island of the gods, its lush tropical atmosphere, pleasant weather, stunning white beaches, and local food make it a favorite vacation destination for remote workers.
There’s so much to see and do in Bali, and the island is always buzzing with tourists visiting its many attractions. Like millions of other visitors, one of the questions you’ll ask when planning your trip to this Indonesian paradise is, “Is Bali Safe?”
Bali is a relatively safe place to visit, but it’s not without incidents. In 2022, Indonesia’s parliament approved a legislation criminalizing extramarital sex. However, the law comes with a provision extramarital offenses will only be prosecuted if reported by a spouse, parent, or child, so visitors are unlikely to be affected.
Natural disasters and petty crime are also challenges digital nomads and remote workers have to consider. However, there are ways to ensure your Bali vacation is as smooth as possible. Remote Year’s Bali safety guide explains all you need to know about staying safe when you visit the city of the gods.
Is Bali a Safe Place to Visit?
Whether you’re planning a workation or want to stay in Bali as a digital nomad for longer, you’ll find it a safe destination and one of the best places to work remotely. While no destination promises 100% safety, Bali’s safety concerns differ from what you’ll find in many other hotspots.
Bali is prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods. Indonesia is a geographical location with high seismic activity, making it home to several active volcanoes, three of which are in Bali. These volcanoes can erupt without warning, so tourists must follow official warnings and instructions when in the city.
Visitors to Bali may also have to deal with petty crime. Thieves are present in Bali, but you can ensure you don’t fall victim to their activities by being vigilant and taking essential precautions while in the city.
Commonsense steps such as packing your bags under a bike, keeping your wallet or phone close to you, covering your drinks, and avoiding dark, lonely areas can help ensure your safety.
Therefore, the answer to whether Bali is safe to visit is a resounding “Yes!” Only a few tourists experience problems, and you’ll be fine if you navigate the city with some common sense.
Is Bali Safe at Night?
Bali has a vibrant night scene and is generally safe. You’ll encounter little or no problems with the locals at night. If there’s anything to worry about, it’s drunken tourists on motorbikes who endanger themselves and others with reckless riding. Observing basic safety precautions means you’ll only have a few problems or none exploring Bali at night.
Crime in Bali
Like any other city in the world, Bali has its fair share of criminal activity. Pickpockets, scammers, and credit card fraudsters are always looking to target unsuspecting tourists. You need to stay aware of your surroundings when paying for items or withdrawing cash from the many ATMs in the city.
Snatch-and-grab crimes are also relatively common. Criminals on motorbikes operate in pairs, targeting sightseers and shoppers, so it’s advisable to ensure that your belongings are out of reach. Be careful in handling your phone. Don’t hold it loosely or keep it in your pocket when a quick breeze on a bike by you may mean it won’t be yours anymore. Adopting a minimalist travel lifestyle by reducing the valuables you move with also helps. No one can snatch your belongings if you don’t have them with you.
Gambling scams are also common, so keep that in mind when you indulge. Unauthorized money changers are another Bali concern.
Finally, always remember never to leave your drink uncovered or unattended in public places to avoid getting your drink spiked. Violent crime is not as common in Bali, and there are rare incidents of muggings and kidnapping, but it’s best to steer clear of certain areas at night.
The Safest Areas in Bali
Bali is a pretty safe island, but here are a few places in the city where you can rest easy:
Central Bali (Ubud)
Bali is famous for its yoga scene, and Ubud in Central Bali is the epicenter of the body stretching movement.
Ubud is beautiful, quiet, and peaceful. It is the perfect spot for those who want to practice yoga and explore their spirituality.
Coffee enthusiasts will also find some tasty brews at one of the many cafés that dot the landscape.
There are no nightclubs or parties in the serene Ubud community, and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is the naughty monkeys intent on stealing from passersby.
Uluwatu is a laid-back destination in Southern Bali. It’s known for its surfing culture and playing host to some of Bali’s finest hotels and resorts.
The stunning clifftop views in Uluwatu also add to the community’s allure. Uluwatu is rather hot and does not attract as many visitors and digital nomads as some of Bali’s well-known spots. Therefore, there are fewer pickpockets and other pretty criminals.
Sanur continues to nurture its reputation as one of Bali’s quiet and family-friendly neighborhoods. Here you’ll enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, fantastic restaurants, and brilliant sunsets at the beach.
Besides, the streets of Sanur are idyllic. You can move on a bicycle without navigating a maze of crazy traffic.
Places To Be More Aware Of In Bali
Places with more tourists naturally attract more criminal activity. Bali’s happening spots are no different, though you’ll be fine in the city’s popular locations by sticking to general security precautions. You should be more careful and aware in some places in Bali, especially after dark.
Batu Balong is one of Canggu’s busiest areas and a haven for petty crime. Do not leave any valuables – including your helmet – unattended if you visit this part of Bali.
Oberoi Street in Seminyak is home to many nightclubs and a popular location for tourists who want a feel of Bali’s nightlife. Naturally, there’s a higher rate of pickpockets and petty criminals than elsewhere.
You’ll also have to deal with drunken tourists and drivers, a sure sign that you need to be extra cautious if you’re ever on this side of town.
Bumbak and Umalas
Sandwiched between Seminyak and Canggu, Umalas is famous for its eateries, bars, and cafes. However, pickpocketing and petty thieving have increased in the area since the 2020 pandemic. You’ll need to be extra vigilant or altogether avoid this neighborhood after sunset.
Known locally as Jalan Sunset, Sunset Road is the heart of Bali, and it stretches from Seminyak down to the airport. Local traders are known to display their products and the finest crafts from Bali and Indonesia to interested tourists along this famous road.
Remain alert and prepared for anything while you walk on Sunset Road. Bali has lax traffic laws, meaning visitors must be wary of reckless drivers.
How Safe Is Transportation in Bali?
Bali is a relatively small city, but the erratic transport system often makes getting around harder than it should be.
Options for moving around on the island include the following:
Bali has two main types of buses: public buses and tourist minibusses. Public buses are few in Bali and only operate on a few island routes in the city center, while tourist minibusses connect the most popular routes. You can book tourist minibus rides through your hotel.
Taxis are a cheap and efficient way to move around and see Bali, but they can be tricky. Drivers like to scam unsuspecting tourists by switching off their meters and taking unnecessarily long detours.
You can ensure you don’t fall victim to dishonest drivers by booking a known taxi company through the Grab or Gojeck apps. It also helps to have small changes when you take a taxi, as drivers can easily claim to have no change, meaning you will lose some money.
Scooters are the most popular mode of transport in Bali. They offer a convenient way to get around the narrow roads and navigate hectic traffic. Grab and Gojek offer motorbikes as a vehicle option.
When riding a motorbike, you should stay safe by wearing a helmet and observing speed limits (if there are any on the route you’re on). Do not ride under the influence, and it’s advisable to stay away from scooters if you don’t have a license. Tourists without prior riding experience rent bikes and get involved in collisions leading to severe injuries.
Also, be alert of snatch-and-grab incidents when riding a bike in Bali. Thieves working in pairs attack unsuspecting tourists, dispossessing them of their valuables and speeding off.
Incidents like these usually occur during heavy traffic, and it helps to be extra vigilant at red lights. Also, try to limit the number of valuable items you move around with and avoid riding through unlit areas.
Is It Safe to Travel Alone in Bali?
Whether you live a nomadic lifestyle or just need a workation, you’re sure to meet other remote workers, so you won’t be alone for long. Remote Year’s work and travel Program offers workspaces, accommodation, and convenient transport options for digital nomads in Bali, letting you join a community of like-minded professionals with whom you can explore. The city is relatively safe, yet you should not throw caution to the wind, especially when exploring solo.
Our well-curated Bali experiences include cooking and culture classes, traditional Balinese silvermaking, Melukat cleaning rituals, surfing with Zen, and many other activities to make your Bali trip memorable.
Make sure not to leave your drinks unattended when in a public place to avoid them from being spiked. You may be targeted by aggressive street vendors and scammers when you're alone. Ignore anything that sounds suspicious or seems too good to be true.
Bali offers extreme adventures, including cliff jumping, scuba diving, paragliding, off-the-beaten-path hiking, and many more. However, note that health services in Indonesia are not of the highest standards, so it’s advisable to tread carefully in your adventures, especially if you’re alone. You may not get the required medical treatment in an emergency unless you provide proof of finances or insurance.
Ultimately, Bali offers solo travelers an experience that matches any other global destination.
"The hospitality of Balinese people is the number one thing that Remote Year travelers love about Indonesia. While crimes do happen here like every part of the world, you’ll find the people here look after you like family.”
Vita A., Remote Year City Manager, Bali"
Is It Safe in Bali for Female Solo Travelers?
Bail is relatively safe for solo travelers, but like in many places worldwide, women have to take extra caution. If you’re female and traveling alone in Bali, prioritize finding secure accommodation.
Also, employ common sense and trust your instincts when visiting a location. If something feels off, find an excuse to leave the scene immediately. Women are easier targets for bag snatchers, so keep your bag close when walking or use one with a cross strap.
Also, avoid walking alone at night, especially on quiet streets and dark alleyways. Go with a friend or your group if you must venture out at night. There’s probably nothing you can do about catcalls, especially at night, so it’s best to ignore them.
Bali is one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations, and with some caution and commonsense, solo female travelers will have no problems enjoying their trip.
15 Tips for a Safe Trip in Bali
Bali is a choice destination for exotic experiences and memorable adventures. Here are our top 15 travel tips for staying safe in Bali:
1. Pay attention to the news
Bali is prone to unpredictable natural disasters, so keep up with media reports before and during your stay. Bali has no official newspaper or channel, so you’ll make do with information from social media. It also helps to know evacuation steps in the event of a disaster.
2. Try not to appear too flashy
Appearing overly flashy will more likely attract the wrong type of attention. Gold necklaces, wristwatches, and other expensive jewelry are magnets for snatch-and-grab thieves. Try blending in as much as possible.
3. Watch what you drink and drink responsibly
Cheap counterfeit alcohol that quickly impairs your judgment is common in Bali, and there have been cases of deaths from alcohol poisoning. Know your limits when drinking and avoid alcohol that is too cheap to be true. The tap water in Bali is also unsafe for drinking; best stick to bottled water on the island.
4. Stay away from drugs
Drug trafficking is a capital offense in Indonesia. It’s advisable to have absolutely nothing to do with drugs in Bali. The police conduct raids and stings on bars and clubs frequented by tourists. Never patronize any drug dealer, no matter how cheap their offer. You could land yourself in serious trouble.
5. Keep an eye on your stuff
Pickpockets and snatchers frequent tourist areas, so ensure your items are beyond their reach.
6. Only swim in safe areas
Bali's strong currents and beach tides are dangerous, and you should avoid the ocean unless you’re an excellent swimmer. Swim only in areas where there are other people and lifeguards and also avoid beaches with red flags.
7. Respect local traditions
Bali is a deeply spiritual place, and you should respect Hindu customs. Avoid dressing inappropriately at temples, and do not disrespect the tradition by stepping on offerings or over-negotiating with vendors.
8. Have a backup credit card
The ATMs in Bali are unreliable. You may experience your card getting stuck in them or cloned (if criminals have re-engineered the machines).
Have a backup card on your trip, and convert some of your money to cash if something happens to your credit card. The Rupiah is the official currency of Indonesia, and cash is accepted everywhere.
9. Mosquitoes are a big deal
The buzz of mosquitoes in Bali does not just make the night uncomfortable; their bite can infect you with dengue fever. Malaria is uncommon, but getting preventive medication is advisable if you stay in an at-risk area. You can lower the risk of mosquito bites by getting good mosquito repellent cream or spray at a local shop.
10. Be careful around cliffs
It’s easy to fall over the cliffs in Uluwatu, Penida, and Nusa. Be extra cautious when driving or posing for pictures around Bali’s cliffs.
11. Beware of phony charity programs
Several fake charities and orphanages are set up to trick unsuspecting people with their money. A charity that tourists frequent is quite likely a scam. Do your research before you give money to any charity in Bali.
12. Protect yourself against scammers
Scammers devise methods to get you to part with your money. From dishonest money changers to vendors who inflate prices, you must be careful when dealing with money in Bali.
13. Watch out for aggressive vendors
Some vendors are overly aggressive when trying to get tourists to purchase their goods. Ignore them if you’re not interested in what they’re selling.
14. The monkeys are not your friends
The macaque monkeys in Bali are aggressive and can steal your belongings or bite you. It’s best to remain alert when they’re around.
15. Avoid stray dogs too
You can get rabies from dog bites in Bali. Be careful about petting dogs, however cute they may be.
Bali remains one of Southeast Asia’s most friendly and most visited tourist destinations. The people are welcoming, and very few tourists experience real problems. Like any place you visit, commonsense is necessary to avoid danger, especially at night in unsafe neighborhoods.
Is it safe to drive in Bali?
The roads in Bali could be better. Reckless drivers, potholes, corrupt police officers, and stray animals are common, so driving yourself around this island is a bit of an adventure. If you want to rent a car, consider hiring a local driver who understands the terrain, local speak, and how to navigate the city safely. It is also common to rent a moped but do try riding it first on a small lot so you feel confident this is the right option for you.
Is it safe to live in Bali?
Bali is beautiful, and many foreigners call it home. The Indonesian government has also announced plans for a digital nomad visa. It is safe to live in Bali. The risk of disasters means you need an ear on the news for official warnings and instructions on what to do if the unexpected happens, just be aware. You also need to take responsibility for your security as you would in any other city.
Is it safe to walk around Bali at night?
Yes, it is safe to walk around most places in Bali at night. You’ll be alright if you can avoid drunken tourists and stay away from notorious neighborhoods after dark.
What are the biggest dangers in Bali?
The biggest dangers in Bali are natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods. Tourists should also look out for pickpockets, petty thieves, and credit card scammers.
Is pickpocketing common in Bali?
Pickpocketing and other petty crimes are common in Bali. Criminals target unsuspecting pedestrians and tourists at malls and other crowded areas. They often work in organized groups, and you should take basic security precautions when moving around in Bali.