If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re planning a trip to Bali soon and you’re asking yourself “is Bali safe to travel to?”. In fact, you’re likely even curious if Indonesia is safe as a whole.
Well, you’re right in asking yourself these questions, since the areas around Bali have had their fair share of earthquakes and tsunamis and these natural disasters have caused considerable damage in various regions of Indonesia. So, before your trip, you need to know the Bali tsunami danger zones, so you won’t be caught off-guard in case of a tsunami.
That’s what this post is about. Here is everything you need to know about tsunamis in Bali.
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Bali Tsunami Danger Zones
Bali is one of the most outstanding locations in the world. The combination of nature and rich culture make for an exciting vacation.
But there’s one problem that makes Bali a little below perfect – tsunamis. Its position on the globe makes it vulnerable to tsunamis. You see, it falls smack in a region known as the Ring of Fire or the Circum Pacific Belt. This area is in the basin of the Pacific Ocean and it experiences frequent earthquakes and tsunamis. Most of the volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in the world happen within the Ring of Fire.
Three areas are considered major Bali tsunami danger zones. They are; Kuta, Tanjung-Benoa, and Sanur. All three areas are low lying lands facing the Indian Ocean. If you’re vacationing in any of these places, you need to be aware of the risk of tsunamis and know what to do if one strikes while you’re there.
The last tsunami in Indonesia was on 26th December 2004. It was by far the largest and most destructive natural disaster in the region. Since then, there hasn’t been a tsunami around Bali. But Balinese officials and locals are still very much on guard. Earthquakes frequently happen around Bali, and the people are aware that an earthquake is often a prelude to a tsunami.
Because of this, there’s a constant general threat, and there’s no way to be completely safe from tsunamis. The good thing is that Balinese and Indonesian authorities are always working hard to make Bali safer for guests and tourists. To that effect, they have a system to classify the Bali tsunami danger zones.
They divided the island into two zones – the red zone and the yellow zone. Towns in the red zone have a very high risk of being swamped in a tsunami. Those in the yellow zone are generally safer areas to be at during a tsunami. So, before you head to Bali, make sure you check whether you’ll be staying in a red zone or a yellow zone.
We mentioned earlier that Kuta, Tanjung, and Sanur are the main Bali tsunami danger zones. That means they’re in the red zones, other towns like Jimbaran and Seminyak are yellow zone areas.
Tsunami-Ready Hotels in Bali
After the last tsunami in Indonesia, the Bali Hotels Association and the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, came together to draw up evacuation protocols and procedures. Hotels that are capable of carrying out these procedures are awarded Tsunami-ready certificates.
This means that the hotel has the resources and knowledge to keep its guests safe in case of a tsunami. A tsunami-ready hotel has important tsunami information available for all guests. It also has clear signs that show you what to do and where to go if a tsunami strikes. For added preparedness, all the staff are trained to know how to help guests during a tsunami.
What to Do in Case of a Tsunami in Bali
The Island has a siren system that warns people, both in the major Bali tsunami danger zones and other areas. When a tsunami is detected, the siren wails continuously for three minutes. According to the evacuation procedure, people have approximately 15 to 20 minutes after the siren to evacuate red zone areas.
There are trained officials who will be available to direct people to evacuation centers in the yellow zones. Sometimes, it’s too dangerous or too late to leave the red zone. In that case, you will be led to an evacuation building still within the red zone.
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These buildings have higher floors that provide some safety against tsunamis. All of this sounds scary, but with a little preparation ahead of time, you’ll be able to stay safe even if a tsunami hits while you’re in Bali.
- Look for evacuation routes and get familiar with all the escape routes and yellow zones near you.
- Most hotels have frequent tsunami safety drills. You should participate in any safety drills that your hotel conducts.
- Be attentive to the siren. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re having fun, but you should always keep your ears open and listen for the siren.
- Experts have discovered that an earthquake always happens just before a tsunami. Of course, not all earthquakes lead to tsunamis, but it can be hard to tell which earthquake is a sign of an incoming tsunami. To stay on the safe side, move to the yellow zone immediately after an earthquake, even if you haven’t heard the siren.
- One of the things you should never do is stay to watch a tsunami. Some people actually go down to the beach to get a closer look. Don’t do this..ever! If you’re close enough to see the tsunami waves, you’re too close to survive it.
Other Safety Tips for Your Trip to Bali
Once they hear about tsunamis, a lot of people get hung up on the threat of tsunamis and forget about everything else. But the truth is, other traveling risks are real and present dangers.
- There’s a risk of crimes like pickpocketing and robbery. Keep your bag close to your body when you go out, and try to walk in a group, especially at night.
- Terrorism is also prominent in Indonesia. Tourists are usually safe from terrorist attacks, but you should still know that there’s a risk there.
- There are stories of local men sexually harassing lone female travelers. If you’re a woman traveling to Bali alone, you might want to avoid dark, empty spots. As much as possible, stay in public places with lots of people moving around. Beware of a group called the Kuta Cowboys, they’re notorious for trying to sell sex to women.
- Also, look out for deadly snakes and macaque monkeys. For deadly snakes, the word ‘deadly’ is enough to keep you away. As for the macaque monkeys, they seem harmless, however, this monkey will readily steal shiny objects or food from you. Also, be aware that a bite from a macaque monkey can transmit the B-virus, and cause serious physical injury. Avoid smiling at them; they can interpret your show of teeth as a sign of aggression and attack you.
- Not all Bali beaches are safe for swimming. Don’t try to be brave; you should avoid swimming in beaches that are marked with red flags.
Where is Bali?
Golden sunsets, bronze beaches, verdant rice fields, glistening azure sea. It’s no surprise why Bali is so popular and has been rated the 4th best travel destination in the world. Each year, about 7 million travelers troop to Bali for leisure, meditation, and spiritual awakening.
So what’s all the fuss about Bali? and where exactly is it?
Bali is an Indonesian island in the Java Sea – the most popular one. It is one of the islands that make up the Lesser Sunda Islands. The other islands in this group are Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, and Timor. Bali’s position on the map is 8 degrees from the equator, and about 2,830 miles from the north of Australia, between the islands of Lombok and Java.
It is approximately 153 kilometers wide and 112 kilometers long and altogether, covers a total area of 5,780 square kilometers. The capital city is Denpasar, which is also the largest city on the island. Furthermore, it’s home to about 4.2 million people, a relatively small population compared to some of the other islands. (Java, for instance, has a population of 141 million people).
With more than 80% of its population practicing Balinese Hinduism, Bali is the only Indonesian province with a Hindu majority.
When is the Best Time to Go to Bali?
Bali has two distinct seasons – the dry and the rainy season. The best time to travel to Bali is in the dry season, between April and October. That’s when the weather is at its best. You can enjoy the beaches, go swimming, sightseeing, and participate in outdoor activities.
If you want to save money, the best time to visit is between February and early June. Tickets and hotels are generally much cheaper during this time.
March, April, and May are the quietest months on the island. If you want a quiet and serene holiday without the bustling crowds, you should go around this time. It’s the perfect time for honeymooners or a couple on a romantic getaway trip.
So, Is Bali Worth the Risk?
As Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourist site, we’d say it’s well worth the visit, despite the risk of a tsunami. Even though there’s a lot to see and do on mainland Indonesia, most visitors just skip to Bali. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know that Bali is part of Indonesia! Because of the many things to do in Bali, tourists don’t consider visiting other parts of Indonesia. Let’s not forget to mention the crazy and wild Bali nightlife, that keeps tourists up until the morning hours.
We can’t say we blame them much. Bali is quite different and unique from the rest of Indonesia; it stands out in an unusual yet pleasant way. The island is famous for its scenic natural landscape. Even the looming volcanoes littered across the land have an alluring beauty to them.
Don’t get it twisted they don’t simply rely on tourism, Bali is a heavy producer of rice. You’ll love to see the lush green rice fields that go on for miles. The rice terraces are even more striking.
Now, on to the Bali beaches. Most pictures of Bali show the beautiful beaches and glistening blue sea, as such, it’s perfect for holidaymakers. Bali beaches are known for their legendary rising waves. That’s why it’s called a surfing paradise. There are several luxurious beach resorts dotted along the waterfront so you can enjoy the beauty of the beach right from your room.
Also, don’t worry about the cost of staying in a waterfront hotel. Bali is known to be the place where you can experience luxury on a budget. For £50 (or maybe even less!) a night, you can get accommodation in a fancy hotel. In fact, a similar hotel elsewhere would probably cost you at least £150 a night. So, if you’re on a tight budget but still want a good holiday experience, Bali is the place for you.
Another thing that makes Bali famous is its well-developed art, culture, and religion. You don’t want to miss the electrifying dances, colorful traditional ceremonies, and cultural performances. There are several large art markets where the Balinese people display locally made artifacts, woven baskets, and handmade scarves.
Also, Bali sometimes goes by the name of “island of the gods” because of the strong presence of Hinduism. You see it in their architecture. There are hundreds of temples scattered across the island, some large and some small. Even now, some of the buildings are constructed to look like ancient temples.
It’s not just the buildings that have a Hindu vibe; it’s the general way Bali people live. Every morning, the Balinese start their day with religious prayers. They also offer a daily sacrifice called Banten to their gods. They believe that the early morning prayers and sacrifices will attract blessings and ward off evil spirits.
Bali Tsunami Danger Zones Explored: Conclusion
We hope this article answered all your Bali tsunami-related questions. In addition to following the above safety precautions, a Bali travel itinerary will come in handy for a successful Bali adventure.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you did, share the post with others, or leave a comment to tell us your thoughts about Bali.