Jalan Kartika Plaza No.90, Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia

Bali Belly – What it is and How to Avoid it

Our clinic is located in the heart of the Kuta area and is within the reach of the tourist areas of Seminyak and Nusa Dua.

Tropical Diseases

Bali Belly – What it is and How to Avoid it

by Dhani Anggara, MD

Bali Belly


Bali Belly, Thailand Trots, Montezuma’s Revenge… you name it, we’ve had it. And missing out on exotic beaches and natural wonders of the world is enough to make you learn how to not only prevent, but also treat traveler’s diarrhea. And fast. No one wants Bali Belly symptoms ruining their holiday in paradise.

What is Bali Belly?

Bali Belly is another name for traveler’s diarrhoea caused by consuming contaminated food or water.  Usually, Bali Belly is caused by bacteria. The bacteria most likely to make you sick with a stomach bug is escherichia coli (e coli) as well as shigella s and salmonella. Viruses like norovirus and rotavirus cause the same symptoms. Parasites such as giardia lamblia are another cause.


Why Are You So at Risk in Bali?

Australians make so many trips to Bali that many travelers treat their holiday like they are visiting another state in Australia. Familiarity can breed complacency, so be aware of the following risks to enjoy a Bali Belly-free holiday:

Water: Bali is a developing country and the water supply is not fit for human consumption.

Food: The warm tropical, humid weather means bacteria on food can grow at much faster rates in Bali than in most parts of Australia

Some cooks in Indonesia may not be educated or have the equipment needed for safe food handling practice. They may serve food that could cause food poisoning due to:

  • poor refrigeration during transit and storage
  • cross-contamination during handling
  • food not being kept hot enough after cooking
  • reheating food after cooking     
  • Also, the personal hygiene of food handlers and preparers may be poor. Any infection or bacteria they have may pass to consumers on the food they have handled.


Bali Belly Symptoms

The classic Bali Belly symptoms generally involve diarrhea (at least three unformed/loose/watery stools within a 24 hour period) and can also include any of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal bloating, cramps and pain
  • Fever or mild temperature
  • Headaches
  • Lack of energy
  • Bloody stools.


Prevention: How do You Avoid Bali Belly?

Sometimes you take all the precautions to avoid Bali Belly but are still struck down with it, while others eat and drink whatever they like and don’t suffer any effects. Many of the risks come from consuming water. To avoid Bali Belly take these steps:

  1. Only drink boiled or bottled water - Bali’s scheme water is not safe to consume
  2. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before eating
  3. Order drinks without ice if you are unsure if tap water was used
  4. Don’t wash any fruit or vegetables in tap water
  5. Leave a note in the bathroom to remind yourself to use bottled water for brushing your teeth. Don’t ingest any water while you are taking a shower.
  6. Only eat freshly cooked food, avoid food that is sitting out at room temperature


Cure for Bali Belly - Treatment Tips

Bali Belly can be a short, sharp 24-hour illness or one that can last for up to 4 or 5 days.

The following medications and remedies are available to treat Bali Belly:

  1. To treat diarrhoea - Diatab (Bali) or Imodium (Australia & Bali)
  2. To treat dehydration – drinks like Pharolit or Gastrolyte (Bali) 
  3. Antibiotics – while readily available in Bali without a script, they can do more harm than good if you don’t know what type of infection you have. Don’t take antibiotics unless they are prescribed by a doctor.
  4. For pain and fever - pain relief medication like Panadol.
  5. For nausea and vomiting - medication recommended by a doctor or pharmacist
  6. Nausea - Charcoal tablets.



  1. https://www.covermore.com.au/blog/travel-tips/bali-belly
  2. http://www.meandmytravelbugs.com/bali-belly-symptoms-and-treatment/
  3. https://blog.hif.com.au/travel/bali-belly-how-to-avoid-and-treat-it-read-this-before-you-go-to-bali


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