Here are the key things you need to know before leaving:
The first one is simple enough: drink spiking is common in Bali and is easy enough to avoid. Drink from areas you’re familiar with (e.g. your hotel), be mindful of that drink as soon as you order it (don’t let it out of your sight), and don’t overindulge in areas where security is slight.
Now, let’s look at some of the illnesses common to Bali. Dengue fever and Malaria have no vaccines, so you’ll need to be careful not to be bitten by mosquitoes while travelling (you can pick up medication to inoculate yourself against Malaria, though).
Ask your GP, but you may need shots for the following diseases:
According to the Department of Health, you should get vaccinations at least six to twelve weeks before you leave to ensure they have time to take effect.2
Another particularly deadly condition you can contract through animal bites and scratches is rabies, and it’s particularly prevalent in Bali. Smartraveller notes that rabies is a risk throughout Indonesia, including Bali, nearby islands and Nias (off the coast of Sumatra).3
Upon returning to Australia, travellers can be treated for rabies with immunoglobulin. If you require this kind of treatment, a travel insurance policy may pay for emergency transport back home. To avoid this situation altogether, don’t come in direct contact with animals as a general rule.
As a first measure, see a GP before you leave and inform them of your travel plans.
One thing Bali has in spades is motorbikes and mopeds – but should you drive one? The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 31,282 people died on Indonesian roads in 2016.4 Of those deaths, 74% occurred on riders using motorised two- or three-wheeled vehicles. There’s no denying that these roads can be perilous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
When buying travel insurance, we suggest you look closely at the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), as it may stipulate that you hold a current Australian license and an international driver’s license in order to be able to claim (and, you may not be able to hire the vehicle without one). You may even need to take out motorcycle/scooter coverage as an optional extra.
Also, be sure to read up on the rules and etiquette of Bali roads.
Like other tourist areas, Bali is known for its petty theft, which means you should always keep a close eye on your belongings. It also means you’ll want a travel insurance policy that covers loss of luggage, cash theft and more. Be wary that if you’ve left your belongings unattended, you may not be able to claim on your policy, as you didn’t take steps to appropriately protect your possessions in the eyes of your insurer.
Every travel insurance policy has events that won’t be covered. Claims most likely won’t be accepted under some of the following circumstances:
For more information on what’s covered and excluded from policies, visit our travel insurance section of Sergei’s Solutions Hub.
If you’re not mindful of your surroundings, you may be taken advantage of. However, travelling to Bali doesn’t have to be anything short of a safe, fun experience for all Australians.
It’s important you monitor the Smartraveller website for travel advisory warnings before travelling to any foreign region, including Bali. You’ll need to check your policy to see if you’re covered for claims if you knowingly venture into areas where there’s an active travel warning in place (this is often an exclusion). Check with your insurer before departing for more information.
Bali is home to a few active volcanoes, most notably Mount Agung. Not only are volcanic eruptions dangerous, the ash clouds they create can disrupt air traffic and cause mass flight cancellations. Having travel insurance ahead of time can help cover the cost of cancellation in the event of a volcanic eruption.
Finally, always exercise caution in areas with little or no security and avoid protests and demonstrations wherever possible.
In an emergency, do exactly what you would in Australia: pick up the phone, call emergency services (the switchboard can be reached on 112) and organise whatever services are required.
When you next have the opportunity, call up your insurer and explain what’s happened (ideally within 24 hours). Make sure you keep all documentation about the incident. You can also call Australian consular assistance 24 hours a day on 0011 62 02 6261 3305.
Peak season for Bali is between June and September, so plan and book ahead so that you don’t miss out on anything you really want to do.
Consider protecting your belongings by utilising a hotel room safe, and always keep important documents hidden. After all, travel insurance claims could be denied if theft or damage occurs when your possessions are left unattended.
Water sports (e.g. snorkelling, scuba diving, jet skiing) can be great fun when you’re on vacation but may be excluded on your insurance policy. You may be able to include it as an extra on your policy, or by taking out more comprehensive cover – consider all your options before you leave.
Choose a good airline that doesn’t have a reputation for cancelled or delayed flights. While travel insurance policies may cover cancelled and delayed flights, it’s still an inconvenience that can have a negative impact on your holiday plans.
In the past Australians visiting Bali could stay for up to 30 days without a visa, but would have to fill at a ‘visa on arrival’ form to get a free visa stamp. In light of COVID-19, Australians will need to get a health check (including a negative COVID-19 test) and apply for a visa at least seven days beforehand.5
Bali is a beautiful place that’s been popular with Australians for years and is one of our closest gateways to the rest of Asia. Take the leap and enjoy your holiday.
If you’re considering a holiday elsewhere, check out our guide to travel cover for other countries.
N.B. Please refer to or speak with your insurer about limits, sub-limits, restrictions, limitations and additional cover options.
1 Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Consular State of Play 2018-19. Sourced June 2020.
2 Australian Government: Department of Health – Healthdirect: Travel Vaccinations. Sourced June 2020
3 Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Indonesia. Sourced June 2020.
4 World Health Organisation. Global status report on road safety 2018. Sourced June 2020.
5 Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Indonesia. Sourced June 2020