Bali 101: Staying Safe – Beware of Hidden Pitfalls

Travel Basics

The general rules about not drinking unboiled water (think 10 minutes), keeping an eye on your personal belongings, and being careful about contracting sexually transmitted diseases all apply, so I won’t go into them here.

Instead, I’ll focus on two issues that are not usually mentioned in travel guides. The first one is is common to countries throughout Southeast Asia; the second is specific to Indonesia.

Five Star Resorts

Many of the five star resorts in Southeast Asia are stunningly beautiful, but the focus during the design stage is often on aesthetics rather than safety, and Indonesia is no exception.

So palm tree might be spectacularly lit up with spot lights after dark, but steps will sometimes not have lighting. So you need to be on the lookout for steps without proper lighting in unexpected places.

Water treatments are another potential hazard. As with steps, they are often situated at unexpected places – such as just around the corner. They can be easy to stumble into if you are not watching your step.

Safety rails are also sometimes absent.


Throughout Indonesia, you will sometimes find holes – both shallow and gaping – in the middle of streets and sidewalks without warning, and people DO sometimes fall in them!

I almost walked across the wooden sidewalk of a suspension bridge, not knowing that many of the planks were missing or about to split apart.

There was NO sign indicating that the sidewalk was unsafe and that pedestrians should tread on the roadway instead.

It could have been a quick trip into the raging river below!

Always watch where you are going and carry a flashlight when you venture out after dark. Even the poshest hotels and resorts can be full of hidden dangers.

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