If you plan to visit Bali or you know someone who has, you’ve probably heard things here and there about the drinking water. But do you really know what to expect during your upcoming trip? If you’re unsure or you simply need someone to lay it all out for you, we’ve got some info and tips for you. Let’s talking clean drinking water in Bali!
Many of us take for granted the ability to turn on a tap and get potable water we can use for drinking, cooking, brushing our teeth, etc.
You probably wake up in the morning, turn on the faucet, brush your teeth, hop in the shower, open your mouth without thinking and everything is okay. It’s a totally different story once you’re in Bali, which is still a developing country. While some people don’t mind being a bit riskier with their choices, we tend to be pretty careful since we have kids and I personally have a weak stomach. Some pretty unpleasant things can be found in the water in Indonesia (Hepatitis A and Typhoid, according to the CDC, to name a few). Our motto has always been, there are some risks worth taking and some that simply aren’t. Messing around with the water in Bali falls into the latter for us!
Playing it Safe with the Water in Bali
For those that wish to err on the side of caution, these are our top tips and suggestions on dealing with the water in Bali based on our experiences traveling multiple times through the island for weeks at a time. Keep in mind, my husband grew up in Indonesia (so he’s very familiar with certain aspects of the country) and we consult our Travel Clinic prior to each visit to make sure we’re up on the latest when it comes to food, health and vaccines. We always recommend doing the same prior to traveling to any country.
Before visiting Bali it’s important to understand what you should potentially expect when it comes to dealing with anything water-related.
- Water from the tap is typically not okay to drink, cook with or brush your teeth with. We personally don’t even wash our faces with tap water while there.
- Bottled water is very easy to get in touristy areas and always available in local grocery and convenience stores, even outside the super touristy areas from our experience.
- Be wary that you purchase bottles that still have the seal intact. We’ve seen refilled bottles filled with everything from water to fruit juice sold by vendors. If in doubt, don’t drink it. Always listen for and feel for the “snap” of the seal when opening up your water bottle.
- The rules for ice are similar to that of water. Don’t drink anything with ice in your drink unless you know for certain they have their ice delivered (clean ice is often trucked in to resorts, nice restaurants, etc.).
- Most hotels and resort provide a couple individual size bottles of water every time they turn over your room. Often these bottles of water are left bedside and in the bathroom. This isn’t enough to survive on each day, but does help reduce what you have to buy a bit.
- There are a number of brands of water available, from Cleo to Danone Aqua. There’s often also Nestle and a one or two other international brands at larger stores. We tend to prefer the taste of Danone Aqua the best (it’s a mineral water and we’re used to natural spring water where we’re from), but it’s really up to you. You can also find expensive water brands in glass bottles, but they tend to be harder to travel with and less cost-effective.
- Water will typically cost you anywhere from 600 to 1300 rupiah per liter, depending on where you buy it. The markets in the more touristy areas obviously cost more than those in more locals-only regions, but even on the high end you’re still talking about $1 USD on the high end based on current exchange rates. Not bad at all!
- Keep in mind, if water isn’t safe to drink, it also won’t wash your vegetables/fruit well. It’s important to ensure that any fresh fruit and veg you eat that doesn’t have a peel (which you peel yourself) should come from a trusted restaurant or resort. The CDC suggests not eating fresh fruits and veg without peels for the most part. We have a select number of resorts we trust that we haven’t had an issue with.
- Don’t open your mouth in the shower! It may take some serious effort, but don’t.
- Pools are typically chlorinated, so from our experience they’re safe to use. While we wouldn’t necessarily suggest taking a big gulp (just typing that made me a little nauseous!), we’ve never gotten sick from swimming at well-kept resorts and villas.
- Make sure you purchase enough bottled water to stay hydrated in Bali’s heat and humidity. If you’re unfamiliar with the climate in Bali it is very hot and incredibly humid. If you don’t drink enough you could easily and quickly get dehydrated. We always make sure we have enough for 8 cups (65 ounces) for drinking and another 1-2 cups (8-16 ounces) for brushing teeth and washing faces for each person, each day. We do this by buying our water in 6-12 liter bottles at a time. Consider bringing a durable tote bag that easily folds in your luggage to haul around your water bottles. Otherwise, you’ll be left lugging around multiple plastic grocery bags if you move from place to place.
- There are often deals if you purchase a certain number of bottles of water (we mostly see this at local grocery stores). For example, sometimes if you buy 6 or a whole case you save a couple hundred rupiah per bottle. Check signage for deals like this.
- We don’t recommend relying on boiling your water for drinking water in Bali.
Basically, bottled water is your best friend when you’re in Bali and something you’re going to have to find relatively quickly once you land. We always bring 1 case of water with us (a frequent topic of conversation by those that follow us on social media) to give us a day or so to meander down to our favorite markets, but it’s a good idea to look up a local grocery store before you visit so you know where to stock up on water. Asking at your hotel, if you forget to research ahead of time, should prove helpful as well.
How do you brush your teeth with bottled water in Bali?
We’ve gotten quite skilled in brushing with bottled water and unless you’ve camped or visited a country that didn’t have potable water in the taps you may wonder how you go about brushing your teeth without using water from the sink.
This is how we get it done:
- We leave the sink off until we’re done brushing so nobody forgets not to use the water.
- We pour a small amount of water on the toothbrush from the bottle to wet the toothbrush.
- Apply toothpaste.
- Rinse our mouths out by taking sips off the bottle, swishing around, then spitting into the sink a few times.
- Pour a small stream out over the toothbrush head to rinse it, then put it away.
- Then once we’re totally done brushing our teeth, we turn the sink on to rinse out the sink.
How do you wash your face with bottled water in Bali?
This is a little trickier than brushing your teeth, but totally doable. This is how we personally do it:
- We leave the sink off until we’re totally done washing our faces so nobody forgets not to use the water.
- Pour a small handful of water into one hand and wet our faces.
- Use our normal face wash (careful not to overdo it and use excess soap as that’s just more to try to remove) and lather.
- Using either a disposable toilette or large cotton pad, we soak it in bottled water and begin wiping off all the soap.
- Repeat if necessary.
- Using one last little handful of water, we do a final rinse of our faces.
- Once we’re completely done, we turn on the sink and rinse it out, careful not to use the water on our faces.
We have tried multiple cotton pads and towelettes for face washing and our favorite by far was one we mentioned last time we were in Indonesia called Pack-n-Wipes. I can’t tell you how excited we got over these! They were insanely absorbent, soft and could even be used a few times if rinsed between uses (we typically didn’t do this, but we did experiment based on the brand’s claims). They’re really awesome!!! If you’d prefer cotton pads or something you can grab at the store in the U.S. before heading to Indonesia, Swisspers makes some large, rectangular cotton pads I’ve used as well. While they’re not quite as easy to use or as helpful in conserving water in my opinion, they get the job done as well.
Before going to Bali, try experimenting at home and see what works for you if you have a chance! You’ll want to make sure you’re able to wash your face thoroughly (especially at the end of a long day), so as silly as it may seem, it’s actually going to be a comfort you’ll really appreciate once there!
That about covers it! If you have any other questions regarding water in Bali feel free to comment them below or comment on our Instagram account. We’re always willing to give advice on topics we have experience with!