Bali, otherwise known as “The Island of Gods” is a popular tourist destination located in Indonesia between the islands of Java and Lombok.
Do not travel to Indonesia, including Bali.
If you’re looking for a tropical, warm and humid climate all year round, then look no further than Bali. The island experiences high temperatures every month of the year and winter doesn’t exist as it only has two seasons – wet and dry. The average year-round temperature is 30oC and the humidity level is unlikely to dip below 70%, so drink plenty of water and be prepared to sweat!
In terms of landscape, Bali has it all – lush forests, mountains with clear lakes, volcanoes and beautiful palm-fringed beaches. It’s not surprising that TripAdvisor awarded Bali as “best destination” winner of the 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards. Bali has so much to offer visitors, and wherever you go on the island, there’s something for everyone. You may want the bustling nightlife of Kuta, the fabulous food scene in Seminyak, the rich Balinese culture and history in Ubud or the best surf in Uluwatu.
Whether you want your Balinese holiday to be spent relaxing at beach bars sipping cocktails or hiking through mountainous forests, it’s important to consider your travel health and the risks of disease. Speak with your healthcare professional about the vaccinations or preventative medicines you might need to protect yourself prior to your departure.
Before you go to Indonesia
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that all travellers are up-to-date with their routine vaccinations including; measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, influenza and pneumococcal disease. These vaccinations are given as part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP). For a full list please refer to the NIP schedule, available here. In some cases, you may need a booster or re-vaccination against a disease to ensure you still have immunity.
Other diseases that are considered a risk in Bali include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, malaria and rabies. Your doctor will be able to let you know which vaccinations or medications are recommended for you, based on the time of year, desination/s, activities planned and the duration of your stay.
All travellers should be up to date with their routine vaccinations before heading off to Bali. These vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox, polio and influenza.6 For a full list, refer to the National Immunisation Program – available here.
There is also an increased risk of contracting hepatitis A and typhoid in Bali, both of which can be contracted through contaminated food or water.9 Hepatitis A can occur regardless of where you are eating or staying, and typhoid is usually more common in rural areas or at street food stalls.
Depending on where you are staying and what activities you have planned, vaccines or preventative medication may be recommended for prevention of the following diseases:
- Hepatitis B
- You can contract this through sexual contact and contaminated needles, so this vaccine is particularly important if you are sexually active in Bali, having any medical procedures or are planning on getting a tattoo
- Japanese encephalitis
- This mosquito-transmitted disease is more common in rural areas, and you may need this vaccine if your trip to Bali will be longer than a month
- Dogs and monkeys that interact with tourists in Bali could have rabies
- The rabies vaccination is recommended for travellers spending a lot of time outdoors or with animals, and for small children as they are more likely to approach animals and not report bites
Malaria is not present in the resort areas of Bali, however, if you are planning on visiting rural areas for extended periods or have lots of mountain trekking planned you should consider antimalarial medication.
See your doctor before you travel to see whether any of these vaccines or preventative medications are required for you.
It is best to consult with your doctor or travel health clinic at least one month prior to your departure.They will be able to advise you about any vaccinations that you may need for your trip well before you leave, based on your specific travel plans.
What your doctor will need to know:
- When you plan to travel (time of year/season)
- The duration of your trip
- The areas of Bali you will be visiting
- Your planned activities (i.e. if you are going trekking or visiting remote and/or wilderness areas)
- If you will be in contact with animals
- If you are up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
Your doctor may also conduct a general health check-up. This may be needed for your travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
If you are not up-to-date with your routine vaccinations or if the doctor believes you may be at an increased risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease, then they may recommend you get a booster or be revaccinated against a particular disease.
Some health insurance companies provide coverage for vaccinations. You will need to contact your health insurance provider to see what they cover.
When you see your doctor regarding your trip, Medicare may cover the total cost of your consultation fees (if it is a bulk billing practice), or otherwise a portion of the cost. However, if you need to be vaccinated, Medicare will not cover the cost of the vaccines themselves.
Tattoo parlours overseas may not have the same health standards as we have here in Australia. There is a risk of contracting diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, as well as other skin infections. Vaccinations are available against hepatitis B, but not for the other diseases.Talk to your doctor before you go.
Also try to avoid getting temporary black henna tattoos as they contain a dye that can cause serious skin reactions.
If you are trekking in Bali, you should consider vaccination against hepatitis A and typhoid, as these diseases occur in Indonesia. Other vaccines which might be considered include vaccination against Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis B and rabies.
It is also important to ensure that your routine vaccinations are up-to-date including measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, influenza and pneumococcal disease.
Bali has a very large dog population (estimated to be over half a million) and has had incidences of rabies in the past. Bali vaccinate thousands of dogs yearly, so the chances are that the dogs you may encounter in the street will be rabies-free, but it’s not worth taking the risk.
Try to avoid street dogs where possible and keep young children away from them. Speak to your doctor about whether you (or your children) will need a rabies vaccination at least one month prior to your departure.
Bali belly, otherwise known as traveller’s diarrhoea, can be a common travel-related disease, especially when travelling to developing countries.
There is no vaccine to prevent Bali belly, but if you do unfortunately catch it, the good news is it’s usually mild and clears up after a couple of days. To minimise your chances of getting it, avoid drinking tap water and be careful with where you eat street food. Make sure you pack some diarrhoeal medicine, just in case!
The standard of healthcare facilities in Bali vary quite a bit to what we have here in Australia, so it is important you a prepared before heading off on your trip.
- Register your trip with Smart Traveller
- Make sure you have enough of your regular prescription medicines
- Ensure you’re up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
- Take out travel insurance - to cover you and your family for medical and other costs resulting from unexpected incidents and accidents
- Put together a travel kit with medication for pain, diarrhoeal medicine, oral rehydration salts, antiseptic lotion or ointment, adhesive bandages and other wound dressings, insect repellent, sunscreen, latex gloves, thermometer, motion sickness medicine, water purification tablets and compression stockings
- The tap water is Bali is not safe to drink
Only drink bottled or filtered water and check the seal on water bottles (some stores sell boiled water in recycled bottles). Avoid ice in your drinks, and check that salad and fruit have been washed with filtered water prior to eating
- Drink spiking/poisoning from alcoholic drinks is can occur in Bali and has been reported in the past.
Alcoholic drinks have been known to have been contaminated with harmful substances (e.g. methanol). To protect yourself from poisoning, never leave your drink unattended while you are out, avoid home-made alcoholic drinks and drink only at reputable, licensed premises.
- Traveller's diarrhoea or ‘Bali belly’ is common in Bali.
Important ways to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea include:
- ensure you wash your hands with soap and water regularly
- where possible, opt for fully cooked fresh food and only eat fruit that you peel yourself.
- Avoid mosquito bites, although the risk is low, you may be at risk of contracting illnesses such as malaria. Malaria transmitting mosquitoes bite predominantly between dusk and dawn.
There is no vaccination for malaria available in Australia. Preventative medication is available and needs to be taken before, during and after visiting the area where malaria occurs.
Other mosquito borne illnesses which travellers need to be concerned about include dengue, zika, and Japanese encephalitis.
- Rabies is a deadly disease and considered a risk in in Bali. It is spread by the bite, lick or scratch of an infected animal, such as a dog or a monkey. Avoid close contact with wold and domestic animals, this is especially important for children. Do not carry food around, or feed/play with monkeys or other animals. Vaccinations for rabies are available– your doctor can advise whether vaccinations are required for your trip.
- Use high-quality condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS.
- Diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B can also be spread through fluids such as blood and semen.
To protect yourself, do not inject drugs, do not share needles or devices that can break the skin including those used for tattooing, piercings or acupuncture. Vaccinations are available for hepatitis B.
Sources & Citations
- Beautiful World. Bali. Available at: https://www.beautifulworld.com/asia/indonesia/bali/ [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- About Bali. Bali, Indonesia. Available at: http://www.aboutbali.com/ [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Bali.com. Bali weather & seasons. Available at: https://www.bali.com/news_weather.html [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Travel Guide, The Jakarta Post. TripAdvisor presents Bali with the 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards. Available at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/travel/2017/04/21/tripadvisor-presents-bali-with-2017-travelers-choice-awards.html [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Lonely Planet. Destination Indonesia. Available at: http://media.lonelyplanet.com/shop/pdfs/indonesia-9-getting-started.pdf [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- World Health Organization. International travel and health – vaccines. Available at: https://www.who.int/ith/vaccines/en/ [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Australian Government Department of Health. National Immunisation Program Schedule (NIP). Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Australian Immunisation Handbook. Vaccination for international travellers. Available at: https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/vaccination-for-special-risk-groups/vaccination-for-international-travellers#expand-collapse-all-top [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Travelers Health – Indonesia. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/indonesia [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Bali.com. Vaccinations for Bali. Available at: https://www.bali.com/vaccinations-health-diseases.html [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel – Travel Immunisation. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/travel-immunisation?viewAsPdf=true [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Finder, Travel Vaccinations – Can I claim travel vaccinations on my private health insurance? Available at: https://www.finder.com.au/travel-vaccinations [accessed 29 april 2020].
- Australian Government. Smart Traveller – Indonesia. Available at: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/indonesia#health [accessed 29 april 2020].
- Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel – Traveller’s diarhhoea. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/travellers-diarrhoea [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traveler’s Health Pack Smart. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart Accessed 29 April 2020].
- NSW Government. Mosquitoes are a health hazard fact sheet. Available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/mosquito.aspx [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Australian Government. Smart Traveller – Infectious Diseases. Available at: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/before-you-go/health/diseases [Accessed 29 April 2020].
SPANZ.TRAV.20.05.0111- Date of preparation June 2020Show All