Bali could most easily be the most captivating island in the world. Sadly, however, it is not the healthiest. Health in Bali is a major concern not only of visiting tourists but also of locals. There is growing concern over cholera, typhoid fever, stomach problems and so on, primarily due to the unsanitary surroundings. It seems as though people and merrymakers are more concerned of having fun than cleaning up after their nightly binges. Pictures of open sewers, mosquito-infested dumps and pieces of trash thrown to the sea abound in the Internet. Also, there is a widely publicized report of an Australian tourist who is now allegedly wheelchair-bound after getting typhoid in Bali in 2004.
Mosquitoes thrive in stagnant water, trash dumps, and dark and damp places. And when there are mosquitoes, there are incidences of all kinds of diseases such as dengue, malaria and typhoid. Actually, Southeast Asia is the perfect breeding ground of mosquitoes, what with its climate coupled with the irresponsible garbage disposal habits of many locals. Scattered pieces of trash that get wet from the rain and heated by the tropical sun make a very inviting sight for mosquitoes, flies and other kinds of bugs.
Cases of food poisoning are also frequent and numerous. Local food stalls are believed to habitually serve wilted, almost rotting foods masked in delicious flavors, garnishes and spices. These stories, of course, have never been backed up by any police reports or documented cases. There is, however, such a sickness in the island called “Bali Belly”, which pertains to food poisoning from stale food, and “Bali Belly” is catching on.
Fish and vegetables, which are supposed to be the freshest foods in the island, are said to come from dubious sources. Allegedly, fishes that are cooked and sold as food were caught via dynamite or poison fishing from far-away Java and transported to Bali using means that are not entirely sanitary. Vegetables, on the other hand, are believed to have been cultivated and raised using dangerous fertilizers.
These are strong allegations threatening tourism activities in Bali. Yet, thousands of tourists steadily pour in every month. The island is truly so alluring that people take the risk despite the many kinds of alleged health threats. Whether these are baseless or truthful threats, tourists and locals should always be mindful of their habits and ways in order to avoid any kinds of major illnesses, because Bali is definitely worth it.
To maintain good health, tourists should avoid places that are obviously prone to harboring mosquitoes. While there are indeed open sewers and uncovered piles of trash in Bali, there are more areas that are clean and safe. The simple acts of staying away from dark and damp areas, putting on mosquito repellants and staying indoors are very simple steps in fighting the terrible and deadly illnesses related to these pesky insects.
Regarding food poisoning, tourists must avoid too much adventurism. Dining is best done and enjoyed in well established restaurants or cafes with guaranteed safe and clean foods. Middle and top class restaurants abound in the island. Their facilities are more inviting, foods are more delicious, and the surroundings are much more scenic. Such restaurants also serve native and local dishes for those who wish to try and taste something new.
Finally, another simple step in keeping one’s health in Bali is to always have safe bottled water around. The simple act of drinking clean water drives away dehydration, heat stroke, and other health problems that are common in the scorching islands of Southeast Asia.