Beware Cleanliness in the Bali Spa's

Bali is the land of Spas and it is as important in a third world country, as it is in a first world country to be aware of the cleanliness of any activity that involves your body. Many spa's offer very cheap massages and facials but beware you get what you pay for. Often the linen is not washed between customers the oils and creams are not what is on the label as they decanted from huge vats into brand named bottles. The process is done by hand and there are no controls on the transfer. 

There are many tourists who come home with a fungal infections that they have caught in a spa that has dirty linen, poor oils or dirty manicure and pedicure impliments. It is essentail that the manicure and pedicure impliments are disinfected with alcohol to make sure they are clean. If you wouldn't accept something at home then dont accept it in Bali.

Beware you can get some serious infections that are extremely hard to treat. A good rule of thumb is the toilet, if the toilet is not cleaned to western standards then the rest will definately not be.

Also, beware of henna tattos - Please refer to the following post on TripAdvisor Bali forum dated November 2009 regarding the danger of having " henna tattoos ."


Risk of methanol or ethanol poisoning

Mixed into drinks at restaurants/bars, as well as arak and "jungle juice"**

The reality: Do a quick google search "bali ethanol poisoning" and the many personal accounts, media articles, and some government warnings begin to appear.

As liquors are heavily taxed, somewhat limited, and quite costly in Bali, restaurants serve drinks mixed with these poisons to increase their profits. 

Avoid the risk:  Consume only bottled/canned beverages you have opened yourself.  CAREFULLY inspect bottles of wine/liquor to ensure they are sealed prior to purchasing them--whether at the store or in the restaurant.  Know that even "reputable" and well-reviewed restaurants have been known to "cut" their liquor.

Signs/Symptoms of poisoning:  Many victims report a sudden, atypical intoxication and a distinctive lack of the "gradual buzz."  Many state one second they felt no effects of alcohol, and then the next moment felt extremely, unusually, intoxicated.  Some say they suddenly experience feelings of the room spinning; blurred vision; are unable to walk; or break into profuse sweating.

The key here:  an individual who consumes alcohol typically knows their body's response to it.  If it seems sudden, severe, and atypical--know it is very possible and likely in Bali that this is a case of mixed methanol, ethanol, or some sort of illegal "jungle juice" moonshine, or arak and it is poisoning.  Err on the side of caution: if you suspect it is poisoning, act as if it is--because NOT doing so could be deadly.  

Emergency response to poisoning:  QUICK action is key (thus the reason many developed countries have a "Poison control hotline"). If you can, phone the nearest emergency medical facility equipped to handle poisonings for advice and to notify in advance of your arrival.  As this is Bali, and such may not available, the immediate, first-response emergency action for this type of poisoning is to cause yourself to vomit. This begins removal of the poison from the stomach, reducing further absorption and poisoning of the organs, which could lead to permanent damage of them (including the brain)--or death.  Of course, this is done whilst travelling to the nearest medical facility equipped to handle poisonings.


Heat Exhaustion:  Drink plenty of water and take care between 11am and 4pm. Dehydration from alcohol can be a contributing factor. Heat Exhaustion can lead to Heat Stroke which can be serious and cause lasting damage. Symptoms of heat stroke include dizziness, disorientation and fainting or collapse.Treatment is needed within half and hour. Treatment includes drinking cool water, electrolytes and a cool shower. An air conditioned room is also useful. Stay indoors for the next day or so and avoid exercise. A bout of Heat Exhaustion will mean the patient is more sensitive to heat for a day or more. Seek medical assistance if in any doubt.