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Recent Tragedies In Bali Highlight Why Travel Insurance Non-Negotiable

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Everyone wants to be frivolous and fancy-free on vacation. A little bit of fun in the sun is the very least we all deserve.

But recent tragedies in Bali have shown that in order to have the vacation of a lifetime, a few non-negotiable must be put in place first. 

IV Drip in Bali Hospital.jpg

Travel and health insurance are essential when traveling anywhere in the world, but especially in Bali.

Recent tragedies that have affected a number of tourists on the island should serve as an important reminder to tourists to make sure they are fully insured before jetting off into the sunset. 

Medical costs are expensive anywhere in the world, and sadly, the cost of unexpected and emergency treatment always mounts up quicker than even seems possible.

An Australian tourist in Bali was shocked by the amount of money he was charged for treatment for food poisoning at a hospital in Bali. 

@travelwithholl my top 5 tips to avoid getting sick in Bali & south east asia! Also let’s normalise not calling it ‘bali belly’ and understanding it’s just food poisoning! #balitips #bali2023 ♬ original sound – Hol🏝️

The tourists took to social media to help better understand how he was charged nearly AUD 700 for treatment for suspected food poisoning.

The man told the Facebook group Bali Boagns that he has medical insurance but has to pay the bill upfront and reclaim the hospital fees when he is back in Australia. 

He shared a photo of his medical bill, which amounted to IDR 6.75 million. The Perth-based holidaymaker had constructed food poisoning while on the Gili Air as part of his visit to Bali.

Doctors’ fees amounted to AUD 50, and injections to help curb the acute gastroenteritis he was suffering from cost $172, and a further $350 for other costs related to treating the food poisoning. 

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No problem with the local food just the time we decided to get a fancy western dinner 😭🙅‍♀️

♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) – CKay

The tourist feared that he had been overcharged while fellow Bali lovers shared similar experiences. Thought the general consensus revealed that the average cost of food poisoning treatment in Bali is much closer to AUD 150, not AUD 700. 

Thankfully, the tourist has travel insurance and can, at the very least, submit a claim and hopefully get reimbursed; without travel insurance, the AUD 700 is gone forever. 

There are many reasons why tourists may need to call upon travel insurance while in Bali, even when they have followed all the best travel guidance. 

@tee.a.gardner I mean this with no disrespect, just educational purposes for those travelling into Bali and looking at partying which is one of the most popular things to do here. Be aware of these things and have a good time 💙 #bali #thingstodoinbali #partyinbali ♬ original sound – Tee | Bali | Real-life

This week a traveler from New Zealand was hospitalized with methanol poisoning. The tourists enjoyed a few drinks at a ‘reputable’ five-start establishment in the heart of Canggu.

A few hours after returning to his accommodation, the man started showing signs of methanol poisoning, a kind of poisoning that happens when comes someone consumes bergs that contain methanol rather than safe alcohol. 

Symptoms of methanol poisoning included severe abdominal pain, rapid and erratic breathing, loss of vision, loss of coordination, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and in too many cases, even death.

This is a serious issue in Bali, and tragically, there are reports of both local people and tourists losing their lives every year after drinking even a small amount of alcohol tainted with methanol. 


This is another reason why travel insurance is so important; though having insurance won’t protect tourists from getting menthol poisoning, it will help ensure they get the treatment and care they need should the worst happen, without concerns about how to pay medical bills. 

There are a series of steps tourists can take to reduce the risk of methanol poisoning in Bali. The simple safety mechanism is to not drink hard liquor or spirits in any form.

Methanol poisoning awareness campaigner Colin Ahearn has urged tourists not to “drink anything that gets free poured from a bottle behind a bar.” 

He adds, ”Cocktails, shots, simple vodka, and coke, any spirit that is poured from a bottle and mixer added, just NO.”


Another potential health issue that tourists must be aware of in Bali is the use of harmful black henna.

Across the southern beach resorts, many street vendors offer black henna tattoos to tourists.

Black henna is not to be confused with traditional henna, which is made from natural ingredients that do not cause allergic reactions in most people.


Black henna contains paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which causes severe allergic reactions in many people resulting in blistering skin, burning rashes, and even lifelong scarring.

Many tourists, especially children, have ended up in hospitals needing urgent and costly medical care in order to treat the chemical burns caused by black henna. 


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