Bali belly - The Good Observer Blog

Tips on food poisoning in Bali (or Bali belly)

Hello my friends!

If you are planning your trip to Bali, spoken to people who have visited or read articles, I’m sure you came across “Bali Belly” or food poisoning. This blog post is not supposed to refrain you from going to Bali but hopefully, I will give you some useful information should anything happen or if you just want to read it out of curiosity. I’m also not a doctor but I’m simply sharing my experience solely for your information.

Scared yet? I hope not and you shouldn’t be! Let’s dive in!

What is the Bali belly?

The Bali belly is a sickness related to food poisoning. You would experience vomiting alone or with diarrhea. If you are staying for at least 1 month, this could happen. It doesn’t matter if you eat clean, western or eastern food. If you eat at the restaurant or stand on the street. The reality is that you can get it everywhere.

What to do?

Try to drink at least 1 teaspoon of water between vomiting to keep your body hydrated. If you have electrolytes in hand that’s even better. Having anti-vomit and diarrhoea tables with you could also be very helpful. These are things I’ve been advised to do, however, I didn’t have this information at the time and I ended up in the hospital!

What if you don’t stop for hours?

I’m sharing this because it’s exactly what happened to me. If you don’t stop feeling sick after a few hours, call the reception of your hotel or anyone you know close to you. If it happens at night, you might find a night guard around you. Call that person immediately and ask to be taken to the nearest hospital/urgent care. I went to this one in Ubud.

In my case, I waited too long to ask for help so I was hospitalised after 6 hours of sickness (vomiting, diarrhoea, high fever). It turned out I had a parasite and bacterial infection. This is why you should be seen if your sickness continues. You have to make sure you don’t have these infections. If you do, they will prescribe anti-parasites and antibiotics.

How long does the sickness last?

If it’s only Bali belly, everything should stop after some time following the anti-vomit medication, so within a day. In the case of parasite/bacteria infection, for me, it took 12 hours before I could leave the hospital. However, I had fever and diet restrictions for another 2 days so I would say it lasted 3 days in total.

What could I do to prevent any food poisoning?

  • Probiotics are key! You can start taking them 10 days before leaving for Bali. Make sure to get the ones you don’t have to refrigerate.
  • Bring vitamins and electrolytes with you or get them in Bali. There are lots of pharmacies dotted around the island.
  • Avoid grilled fish by the beach. I noticed that the fish wasn’t stored in ice or cold temperatures. It’s very likely that grilled fish caused the parasite infection I experienced.

Get that travel insurance before leaving

Whatever travel insurance you choose, make sure to read the T&Cs very carefully. I used the travel insurance provided by work and I found out it only covered 65 days of traveling. This meant that even if I had been hospitalised on the 20th day, my insurance would still not pay because the length of my trip was longer than 65 days. 

I would also suggest calling your insurance before the trip and asking what are you supposed to do in case of urgent care. So that you know exactly what to do in case anything happens, knowing your expenses will be covered 100%

I ended up paying £300 for the urgent care but the price could be much higher, so make sure to get your travel insurance sorted before your trip!

If you don’t have travel insurance yet, check this one out!


If you are reading this in Bali, I hope you are having fun and found this blog post useful. If you are still at home and you are getting overwhelmed in your planning phase, this blog post will make you feel much better! 

Ciao for now,
Silvia x

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