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  • Writer's pictureAnna Genders

Oh no.....could it be 'Bali Belly'?

East and Drink at popular tourist focussed restaurants

I get so many questions about 'Bali Belly' and particularly "What can I do to prevent it"…..and to be honest there is no simple answer!

I strongly believe that 'Bali Belly' is not the same as it used to be where the main cause was from unhygienic practices or from the consumption of water. Things have changed DRASTICALLY over the years. Strict dietary habits are no longer required to prevent spending your Bali break within two steps of a toilet. Once upon a time, salads, cut fruit, ice cubes and most meats were on the 'stay away from' list, but hygiene standards have improved hugely across the island, and many kitchens offer good quality organic produce. While dodgy prawns will always be out there, by staying hydrated, avoiding notorious local liquor arak and consuming street food with a degree of caution, the dreaded Bali belly should be kept at bay.

Just remember you are in a completely different country to home. The food is different, the spices are different, the germs are different. It’s not uncommon to feel a twinge in the stomach here and there or maybe the odd ‘faster than normal’ trip to the bathroom. This does not mean you have 'Bali Belly'. This simply means that your body is adjusting to a new environment with new factors that you are just not used to. People are so quick to blame food, or bad hygiene practices, but honestly so much of what people perceive as 'Bali Belly' is just your stomach adjusting. There is even a lot of suggestions that 'Bali Belly' is actually airborne and that the germs(again ones you aren’t used to back home) are present and easily injected into the body and it’s not food related.

It's quite funny… experience has shown me that the more panicked people are about catching 'Bali Belly' the more likely they are to get it. I’ve been to Bali more than 30 times and I have NEVER had any issues(touch wood)

My suggestions to avoiding the ‘tummy rumble’:

+ Eat where other tourists are eating. Follow the crowds! Unless you're a seasoned Bali traveller with an immune stomach, I would stay away from the local ‘Warungs’ or street food for now.

+ If you’re stomach is on the more ‘sensitive side’, make sure you choose food items from the menu that are cooked, rather than raw.

+ Keep your hands clean as often as possible.

+ Ideally be eating food that is freshly prepared, rather than ordering something that has been pre-prepared(ie Hotel Buffets).

+ Bottled alcoholic drinks like Bintang and Smirnoff are a great way to control the alcohol you are ingesting. Stick to reputable bars for your cocktails where they will use quality and safe spirits.

+ Keep well hydrated the whole holiday!

If you’ve got any more tips you’d like to share, please feel free to leave me your thoughts and i'll include them in the updated version in the coming months!

Anna xx

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