The infamous ‘Bali Belly’ is known as an essential experience for many travellers to Indonesia. As well as the worst experience that you should avoid at all cost! While it’s up to you to take care, here is an up and close personal experience from the very grips of this tropical disease. Enjoy reading!
I’ve checked into my hotel and switched my mind to holiday mode. A few days of surfing the beach break at Canggu, Bali is just what I need; I’ve been working hard and I’m looking forward to the beach, room service, cable TV and crispy hotel sheets.
Twenty-four hours later I have not been able to even think of the beach, the same episode of CSI has played four times and my crispy hotel sheets are drenched in sweat.
Bali belly. The infamous stomach bug, known to most visitors of the paradise island. Bali belly has finally caught up with me, after years of living here, watching others go through it.
It starts with a sensation mildly similar to getting punched in the gut. “Ok, I think I might need the toilet,” I thought to myself. A few hours later, the sensation persists and I have needed the toilet; several times. I park myself on my hotel bed, on the side closest to the bathroom of course, as I wait for my stomach to empty. The curtains are drawn to keep out the piercing 3pm Bali sun, the AC is as cold as it gets and I am on a first name basis with the toilet bowl. I know that we have a long day and night ahead of us, might as well get acquainted early on.
As I wait for the next round to begin, I decide to Google Bali belly treatments. Activated charcoal. Hydration. Coconut water. Diarrhoea pills. Yoghurt. Sleep. Wait for the cramps to ease and eat something. My mind is reeling at the thought of anything but water, and even that keeps going straight through me.
Bali belly is mostly caused by impurities in tap water. I could have caught the bug during my morning shower, from my lunchtime salad, while brushing my teeth or from the spicy local food I had the night before. All I can do is wait for the tide to change.
After 24 hours, at least as many visits to the toilet, and almost as many young coconuts, I start to feel a little better. The thought of food doesn’t make my stomach clench in disgust anymore and I even dare to peak out of my hotel window to check the surf.
I survived Bali belly. If my symptoms would have persisted for longer, I would have probably gone to see a doctor to be on the safe side, but in this case I just pushed through it. It wasn’t the favourite part of my mini beach break but looking on the bright side of things, paradise is a pretty good place to be sick.
PS. Happy and safe travels to Indonesia!