Travelling with poor health sucks, especially over Christmas time. My husband and I had planned to spend Christmas in Bali and were looking forward to some very relaxing couple of days in Ubud. Little did we know that we would spend Christmas Eve (my husband) and Christmas Day (me) in bed. Our beautiful villa quickly turned into a sickbay and my husband and I would take turns running to the bathroom. Merry Christmas to us! (lol)
Bali Belly is mostly caused by consuming food and water that has been contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli. However, staying healthy is easy with a few simple precautions - so you can enjoy your holiday instead of running to the bathroom. To save you from going through the same experience, I’ve collected a number of tips that I found online and what was shared with me via messages. Thank you for everyone’s DM’s, some of your tips really helped me get back on my feet. If you’re wondering what Bali Belly feels like, here are some of the most common symptoms:
Typical Bali Belly Symptoms
- Stomach cramps and pain
- Sore tummy and bloating
- Mild temperature
- Body aches & pains
- Loss of appetite
The absolute worst is usually over after 24 hours but Bali Belly generally lasts between seven to ten days depending on your body. The first 24 hours are pretty damn horrible and are best spent in a comfortable bed with access to a bathroom. I felt like I was coming down with a flu, my lower back was in a lot of pain, I had shivers and my whole body was extremely achy. I also suffered from a nagging headache which lasted for 2 days. On the plus side, I was not nauseous and did not vomit once (thank God).
How to Avoid Bali Belly
- Two weeks before your trip start taking Travelan, a natural travel probiotic that will strengthen your gut.
- The best way to protect yourself is to avoid local tap water. Instead seek out bottled water. In most cases, we become ill because the pathogens in the water (e.coli bacteria) are foreign to our immune system.
- Brush your teeth with bottled water!
- Wash fruit/ vegetables with bottled water.
- Avoid street food unless you have an iron stomach.
- Avoid local Warungs and go to reputable restaurants/cafes instead.
- Don't eat raw food. Vegetables and fruit often get washed with contaminated tap water. There are a lot of raw food eateries in Ubud which mostly are fine but to be cautious, opt for cooked food.
- Ask for drinks without ice. Spoils the fun of iced coffees and frozen margaritas but freezing water does not kill bacteria. Ice cubes present the same problem that tap water does.
- Take charcoal tablets or bentonite clay or both after a questionable meal.
- Use a natural toxin-free hand sanitizer like this one.
What to Do If You Get Bali Belly
- Drink lots of fresh coconut water (it's a natural electrolyte).
- Add electrolyte sachets to your bottled water. You can get them at local pharmacies.
- Sip on a ginger and turmeric tea with honey and coconut oil.
- Peppermint and ginger will stop the nausea.
- Take herbal anti parasite tablets like these to combat nausea and loose stool.
- Take charcoal tablets.
- Drink bentonite clay mixed with water and a squeeze of lime.
- Eat raw garlic cloves twice daily. Sounds crazy, I know but garlic is a natural antibiotic.
- Avoid alcohol and spicy foods.
- Drink Yakult (I don't know if it really helps but it was recommended to me by several people who claimed it helped them to get better.)
Finally, give your body time to recover. It took me a week to eventually start feeling normal again. Be sure to always have access to a bathroom during the first couple days. You will run to the bathroom pretty much after every drink or meal. I hope this guide will help you to stay healthy in Bali or (if you’re already sick) will at least help you feel better soon. Leave a comment below if you’ve suffered from Bali Belly or have any additional tips missing from this list. Stay healthy, and enjoy your holiday!