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Travelers Sharing Videos Drinking Tap Water In Bali To ‘Build Up Immunity’ Criticized Online

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A concerning trend has been doing the rounds on social media. Tourists in popular vacation destinations in Bali have been drinking the tap water in a bid to ‘build up immunity’, which can result in seriously dangerous results. In areas like Canggu, Kuta, Denpasar, Seminyak, and Sanur, local residents don’t even drink tap water because it is considered unsafe.

The trend caught the attention of a long-term expat living in Bali who has issued a warning to tourists tempted to try drinking the tap water and an explanation as to why it is possible to drink directly from the tap in some parts of the island. 

Sink and Tap in Hotel Bathroom Water.

The first video of this trend was posted in October 2022. TikTok user @MulletMax_ posted a series of videos of himself drinking tap water and even pool water to ‘strengthen my immune system’. His posts were met with horrified comments from both local people and people who had traveled to Bali. One commenter wrote, “brooo I’m Indonesian, and I don’t dare drink them.” Another wrote, “I hope you’re joking bcs we locals don’t even drink the tap water bcs it’s not safe for drinking, lol”. 

@mulletmax_ Drank a lot of sea water today surfing, so double the intake 💪🏻 *Im a train proffesional tap water drinker! Pls dont try this at home* #bali #indonesia #fyp #challenge #tapwater #dumbforeigner #travel #travelling #backpacker ♬ original sound – Max Jensen

It doesn’t appear that he got ill, at least he didn’t post about it if he did. But another video has surfaced online of another TikToker who drank tap water in Bali and has admitted how ill it made her. TikTok travel influencer @atasiaraetravels posted a video on her account of her shaking her head in her hands. The video is accompanied by the caption, “POV: you posted a tik Tok bragging about how you’re immune from Bali Belly and ever since you’ve been dying a slow and painful death from it. Okay universe my bad”.

One concerned follower commented, “oh nooo you jinxed it” to which Anastasia replied, “I feel so awful, started antibiotics today so hopefully start feeling better soon.”

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@stasiaraetravels Currently 🤢💩😂😭 #ballybelly #sickinbali #baliindonesia #traveltok #sendhelp ♬ original sound – Lilliana 🎧

The trend caught the attention of Bali ex-pat Tris Weatherburn who lives further north in Bali in a village in the jungle. He has shared a couple of videos explaining why it’s simply not worth the risk of trying to drink tap water in Bali unless it’s certain the water is safe to drink. That in this instance, there isn’t such a thing as building up immunity. 

@trisweatherburn How to drink Bali water in Bali without getting Bali belly. #balilife #baliindonesia #baliwater #balibelly #balijungle #junglelife #fyp ♬ original sound – Tris

In his explainer video, which now has more than 4 million views, Weatherburn drinks a glass of water filled directly from the tap in his kitchen. He says,”The reason I can drink Bali water and you cannot is because I’m not in Canggu, I’m not in Seminyak, I’m not in Kuta, I’m not even in Sanur or Ubud. I’m up in the jungle…I drink out of the tap up here. And the reason I can do that is that I’m one minute away from rainforest and that the water delivered here comes through a tiny plastic pipe which constantly leaks water, rainwater.’


He continued, “The water here is fresher than in your country. Down there is Canggu with the Instagram models and lip fillers, Seminyak, which is a holiday area, and Kuta, which is the Australian bogan drunk area…Down there, the water is very bad for you.”


The topic of so-called ‘Bali Belly’ has also been bought up online in other contexts recently. The TikTok travel influencer known as @ThatBaliBitch has posted a series of her top travel tips for Bali. In the videos, she has also highlighted to newcomers to Bali that drinking tap water is not advised.


She’s also called out the fact that calling the bacterial or viral infections that cause sickness and diarrhea’ Bali Belly’ is disrespectful. Noting that if travelers got sick in London due to food poisoning, they wouldn’t refer to it as London Lava. While it’s become a common phrase to refer to Bali Belly or even Delhi Belly in India, there is often a bias in the way food poisoning or parasites are referred to by travelers in different countries.

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Friday 3rd of February 2023

You know in the developed western countries, very few people drink unfiltered tap water, only for bathing, washing things and laundry.


Sunday 5th of February 2023

@JK, a lot of those Idiots think the bottled water from very distant countries tastes better like Fiji and pay £5 +++ UK drinking water is safe, potable and a letter better and its cheap.


Friday 3rd of February 2023

Drinking contaminated water is stupid dangerous. Ask the billions of people who drink contaminated water worldwide….and watch their children wither and die. You do not build up your immunity imbibing contaminated water. Amoebic dysentery can kill you. It is immune to antibiotics. You’ll shit yourself to death. Flukes and Amoeba are not viral. Only an idiot child would drink contaminated water would strengthen the immune system.


Wednesday 1st of February 2023

Isn’t Bali so lucky to have such wonderful Russian tourists to come and disrespect the Balinese people


Thursday 2nd of February 2023

@Vicki, Think you are commenting on the wrong article. But we could always start a thread about your topic.


Wednesday 1st of February 2023

So why haven't the big mouth government officials done anything about it? It's NOT God's Country until you can drink the water and eat the food safely. Even food washed in the water poses a risk if consumed raw. Always boil the water first before using it. This is a problem that affects ALL 3rd world countries and let's face it, Indonesia and Bali is a 3rd world country until the government cleans up it's act and makes sure to keep it's citizens and visitors safe.


Monday 6th of February 2023

@Firechef, oh like in USA where the water is so contaminated it kills you.

I have seen a lot of your posts and it's obvious your a disgruntled little man who obviously is not capable of acceptance of culture. If your in Bali, simply leave, if your not! Get over being dumped by a Balinese girl.

Your sad😔


Friday 3rd of February 2023

@Shorty, If “ bugger all” means a lifetime of disease and discomfort you have it right. Locals are severely affected and live with illness because they can’t afford bottled water or even basic sanitation.


Thursday 2nd of February 2023

@Firechef, In an ideal world I would agree. But the problem isn't the water, it's overwhelmingly the tourist not taking care. How many Balinese do you see affected by drinking, washing, cooking...Bugger all.


Tuesday 31st of January 2023

I fail to wind myself up over this. Fairly low risk activity compared to late night drunk driving on a motorbike wearing no helmet, surfing in garbage ocean or even just walking on garbage beach...


Thursday 2nd of February 2023

@Exp, Well (pun intended) said.