Dear Woody and any other possible travelers to Bali……Bali is safe, very safe.
But then again where is safe these days ? Last night in Jordan, the last few days in Australia where they (think) they managed to thwart a major terrorist plot…and I think as Rob1 said in one of his posts, you probably have more chance of falling out of the sky enroute to Bali then being close to or involved in an attack. Most foreign tourists who rent motor bikes in Bali become instant Evel Knievel's on the Bali roads and take risks way beyond their abilities…not sure why this is so but there is your biggest risk of injury. Europeans and Americans that step out onto the road and look left instead of right (without thinking) get cleaned up more than blown up.
Is it safe in London after the bomb ? is it safe in New York after the bomb ? Is it safe in India after the Tsunami ? is it safe in Pakistan after the earthquake ? I am not so sure tourists should be deterred from travelling to places they really, really want to go to….If we spend our time “avoiding” potential bombs we all might as well stay locked up inside our supposedly safe homes….again, more chance of it burning down with you inside than getting struck by a bomb….I think.
Around Idul Fitri is always quiet in Bali, I travel there each year during this holiday period and it is the same year after year. Without all the domestic tourists Bali always seems visibly quieter. Believe it or not, it is actually nicer to be in Bali during these lapses in tourist peaks as it is easier to get around, the roads are less congested, you can go out and walk into any restaurant you like, basically less crowded is better. The main tourists attractions are not congested, bargains are better bargains and the Balinese are even more appreciative of tourists. This actually made me feel safer as terrorists like to have the “big impact” effect, whereas sitting in a popular restaurant with a few people in it did not look like a good target to me. The only real precaution that I mentally and physically took was not to sit roadside or in the front of any restaurant I ate at that was not “enclosed”.
Bali security, lots of it, was visible…not sure a lot of it was always effective in some places I ventured....but others were good. It didn’t really bother me..the ineffectiveness that is…I really did not feel threatened at any stage during the 8 days (last week) that I was there. Sometimes you will think about “what if, watch out, should I” but let it pass and DON’T let it worry you. By not going to a particular place you want to go to because you think it is not safe…forget it. When you wake up the next morning and nothing has happened the previous night you say to yourself “I should have gone there, damn !” …..it is your loss.
Most tourists in Bali are doing more of the “Explore / Tour” type stuff rather than converge on popular bars and shopping centres…. Personally, I am not sure why a Westerner on holidays in a tropical paradise would want to waste time going to the mall.
For people on this forum (from what I can imagine) would basically do the following things in Bali :
1. Swim at the beach…this is very safe…except for some tidal rips that might drag you out to sea. Or swim in the pool at the hotel.
2. You shop along the many street shops….this is safe….no terrorist is going to stop and blow up one lousy shop, particularly the one you just happen to be in.
3. You have cocktails on the beach at sunset…..this is safe….unless you drink too many. This particular enjoyment is normally done at the hotel bar or a secure establishment like Ku DeTa, Gado Gado or just sitting on a quiet part of the beach with a cold Bintang or Anker…which you can buy on the beach.
4. You eat out at a restaurant of your choice for lunch or dinner…this is safe….cannot think of any negatives here…..if you do not feel too sure about down along Jl Laksamana then pick a restaurant that is not in a bunch on a busy street. There are many along Jl Legian, Kafe Warisan had more security than Abu Ghraib, Lolas which is absolutely not a target and well off the road, Made’s Warung had great security and well off the road, Teraz where you actually ascend some stairs to sit up high on the first floor way out of harms way, Fabios with security plus and well off the road, Gado Gado and La Lucciolas both with beach frontage and safe as the Sydney Olympics…you actually have to walk over a narrow bridge to get to La Lucciolas..access from the beach is well secured at both places. Even down at Jl Laksamana, I went to this fabulous Italian restaurant (actually forget the name) which is well enclosed….you can even walk down a corridor and sit out the back well out of harms way….as I did., mainly because it had great lounge seat dining and low tables.
5. Go out for a drink…if you don’t do binge drinking with the Kuta bar crowd (high potential of being punched in the face than blown up) but prefer a more refined establishment …then this is safe. There are many places to go where you just don’t need to think twice if it is a target or not…just ENJOY the drinks, the music, your wife, husband, lover and/or friends and the ambience.
6. Take a tour….this is safe….but always look behind you for the car loads of terrorists that might be following you specifically….sounds ridiculous, well it is.
Not sure what I may have left out, but I hope you get the general idea that there really isn’t anything you HAVE to worry about…unless you WANT to worry about it....but then that would spoil your holiday.
Please have a look at this link of the Beat Magazine and Bali.com where you will find heaps of information about shops, restaurants, entertainent, venues and what to do and see.
Bali is still a great place no matter how many terrorists try to destroy it...the spirit will always live on.