It’s a rule most people know about when travelling to places such as Bali – but there’s still some tourists who miss the memo.
If you have visited the stunning hotspot, chances are you’ve been told not to drink the tap water and there’s a reason. It will likely make you very sick.
The island is a popular holiday destination for Aussies and it’s not hard to see why, with its tropical climate and beautiful beaches.
However, Indonesia is notorious for ranking among the worst in Asia in regards to sewerage and sanitation coverage due to maintenance and infrastructure issues and for this reason, drinking tap water in Bali isn’t recommended.
Aussies have been inundating Facebook groups dedicated to the island explaining how the act has made them quite ill.
One woman said how a family member contracted Bali belly after drinking contaminated tap water.
“So guess what. He’s been sick all day with Bali belly and ear aches. A lot [of] vomit and the sh*ts,” she wrote in the group, Bali Bogans.
Another woman posted to TikTok how she also fell ill, while another said they copped Bali belly from having ice in their drink.
“I only drank bottled water in Bali but I did drink iced drinks like coffee,” they wrote.
Australian doctor and founder of Femma, Emma Rees, explained that tap water or natural water as a source of hydration should be avoided in Bali unless it has been boiled or purified.
It is recommended to boil for three to five minutes.
“There is a risk of pollution to water sources in Bali, which is linked to problems with infrastructure for sewerage and water treatment and also due to water pollution caused by industry in neighbouring islands,” Dr Reese told news.com.au.
“Tourism usually requires an increased amount of water to support swimming pools and food outlets among other activities and with less investment in water supply, the safety of potable water suffers.”
She said tourists can contract Bali belly caused by ingesting bacteria from contaminated food or water.
“Travellers diarrhoea (Bali belly) usually lasts for four to five days and causes stomach cramps and profuse watery diarrhoea,” Dr Reese said.
“It can also give you joint aches and pains. It is important to stay hydrated if you do develop travellers diarrhoea and purified water is a must.
“It can make your trip away pretty miserable so it’s best to avoid it if possible.”
Dr Rees said you can limit your chances of developing Bali belly by only drinking purified or bottled water, or by boiling water before drinking it.
“Avoid foods which have been washed in tap water and ice cubes where possible. Try and eat food from vendors that have facilities to enable them to use safe water.
“[And] make sure you wash and sanitise your hands as often as possible.”
Dr Reese’ advice comes as a “really dumb” viral TikTok trend has turned dream holidays into travel nightmares.
Tourists have been filming themselves drinking water straight from the tap, with the aim of “strengthening their immunity”.
“I’m a trained professional tap water drinker! Pls don’t try this at home,” a British tourist captioned a clip as he filmed himself drinking tap water.
“The water tastes a bit funny here.”
His clip has been inundated with comments from shocked viewers almost four months later.
“I hope you’re joking because we locals don’t even drink the tap water, because it’s not safe for drinking,” an Indonesian viewer commented.
The experiment – which often seems to induce stomach bugs – has also been slammed by Australian expat Tristian Weatherburn who lives in Bali.
He branded it a “dumba**” trend.
The video begins with him drinking from a bottle filled with filtered water from a tap in the jungle before explaining why travellers visiting areas such Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta or Ubud can’t do the same.
“The reason why I can drink Bali water and you cannot … is because I’m up in the jungle,” Tristian explained.
“The reason I can do that is that I’m one minute away from a rainforest and the water delivered here comes through a tiny plastic pipe which constantly leaks water, rain water.”
He said in places such as Canggu, Seminyak and Kuta, “the water is very bad for you” and having “big glasses of it will make you sick”.
Meanwhile, a British TikToker who has 6.2 million ‘likes’ on her clips also warned of the dangers of drinking tap water.
“Don’t drink the water,” she advised, saying while it is obvious, “it’s not obvious to a lot of people”.
“No body drinks the water. My dogs don’t drink the water – don’t drink the f***ing (water), you will get E. coli posioning.”
Another TikToker disposed of her toothbrush after it touched the sink water, not wishing to risk getting sick.