Beware of Bali Belly

In The Art of Travel Fall 2017, 11. Travails, Sydney by Falynn2 Comments

For Fall Break, my suitemates and I decided to make our way over to Bali, a beautiful tropical island that gets flooded with Australian tourists multiple times throughout the year. The first legs of our trip were spent separately in various parts of Australia. Since we had spent the first few days exploring Australia plus traveling to the island takes up a whole day, we had limited time in Bali, about three full days. With that in mind, we did some research so we could pack everything we wanted to do in the time we had. We were looking forward to trips to the beach, water sports, white water rafting, ATVing, experiencing the nightlife, etc. For the first two days, it was non-stop action. On the first day, we managed to spend hours at the beach, visit the beautiful Tanah Lot temple, see a rice farm, take a coffee bean tour, and get two hour massages. The second day was just as hectic: driving two hours to go ATVing followed by white water rafting, then out to dinner at a traditional Balinese restaurant and then to a very touristy nightclub.

Our bodies were running on adrenaline the entire time, considering we hadn’t had enough time to properly sleep. We decided to leave the nightclub around 2:30AM because we were planning on catching an early ferry to the ‘party island’ Gili Trawangan. Leaving the club didn’t work out, since we ran into some fellow Americans outside. They were extremely friendly and invited us back to their villa to hang out for a bit. (I know this wasn’t the best choice and sounds like the start of a pretty bad travail, but everything turned out fine!) We hung out in their living room, listening to music and talking about where we were from in America and why we chose to come to Bali. It was all good and fun until suddenly, around 4:30, my stomach took a serious turn. For a while, I tried to ignore it. But after a while, I knew something was very wrong. I got up so fast and said, “It really is late, we need to go!”. My friends gave me a strange look but agreed to go. The guys we met looked slightly offended, but I in that moment I didn’t care at all. I ran out so fast and called us an Uber, but the Uber didn’t come in time. I ended up puking all over the side of their villa. My friends laughed, now understanding my rush. We got in the Uber and headed home, where I stayed up all night feeling deathly ill.

The next morning, I walked out to the rest of my housemates, looking and feeling like a wreck. As I looked around at all of them, I saw a similar feeling in their eyes. It turns out that after my incident, each of my friends got sick throughout the night/morning. What we found out later on was that we all fell victim to ‘Bali belly’, an acute case of gastroenteritis that results from a bacterial or parasitic infection. The reality is that Bali doesn’t have the most up-to-par sanitary conditions in their restaurants and accommodations. I assume that we were affected later in the trip because of our visit to the traditional restaurant. Prior to that, we were very cautious about drinking bottled water and washing our hands frequently. We never did make it to the Gili Islands. We all spent our last day in Bali in bed. Regardless of our unfortunate cases of Bali belly, I loved every moment that I spent on the island. Like all travails I’ve experienced in my life, it ruined our plans, but it turned out to be quite a funny story, something to look back on in the future and smile.


  1. Falynn!

    I wrote about literally the same thing- puking on the last day of an otherwise fun trip! I feel like half of the people here wrote about missing trains and flights while the other half wrote about stomach problems (lol). Indonesia is still really lacking in the food sanitation but I’m glad your stay in Bali was great anyways! I went for my 16th birthday because I have family in Jakarta but definitely need to visit again soon!

  2. Hi Falynn!!!
    I’m so sorry that your trip ended with you and your friends all getting sick. It’s a bummer that you weren’t able to go to that other island :(. I really sympathize with your post now because I am just going through a case of food poisoning now and it’s the worst!!! But, I’m glad you were able to enjoy Bali before you got sick!! I have never been and I hope to someday get the chance to go!! It sounds like a lot of fun and I’ll be careful about where I eat and washing my hands ;).

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