Bali Earthquake & Tsunami Information
Hello- you are likely here because you have booked to travel to Bali or the surrounding Indonesian islands and are wondering about how often there are earthquakes or tsunamis in Bali, and wanting answers to the question “is Bali safe?“.
We were stuck in Bali throughout many earthquakes due to our 5 year old’s serious head injury; she was medically unfit to fly out and the whole experience was pretty horrendous. All the information I have put together about the earthquakes/tsunami, and my personal opinion about whether it is safe to travel to Bali, is in this post.
The first part is our diary of the earthquakes; scroll past it for current information about the safety of Bali with regards to earthquakes.
If you are travelling to Bali do see these articles below for help and advice about your trip after you have read this post, and if you want a comprehensive pocket guide we recommend the Lonely Planet guide below.
- Essential Beginners’ Guide to Bali
- The 8 Most Dangerous Bali animals (and how to stay safe)
- Best Places To Stay In Bali (and the one place to avoid!)
- 11 Ways To Avoid Catching Zika Virus In Bali
- The Only Ethical Turtle Sanctuary In Bali (+ How To Visit)
- 5 minute guide to Ubud- where to stay, what to do, where to eat
Caught In The Earthquakes: My Previous Bali Earthquake & Tsunami Updates
July 2018 Blog Diary Entry- The First Earthquake. Hi guys. This morning (July 2018) we were woken at around 6.45am by a rumble and shaking. Initially I thought one of the kids was playing a prank, and mumbled “stop it! Guys, stop it!” before waking up to realise our bed was banging against the wall.
The metal grates on the windows were rattling and there was some shouting outside. I was still sleepy and thought I might be really dizzy, until our five-year-old wandered in to tell us that she’d been “bounced out of bed and the blanket fell on top of me.” (She was totally exaggerating but at least I knew it wasn’t just me!)
A quick Google of the news and this was top of the page:
There have been two earthquakes in the past 12 hours, with the epicentre being reported to be on Lombok, although there are also suggestions that an epicentre of one was on Java. These are both islands near to Bali which is why we felt the shakes.
Update 5th August: There has just been a 6.8 earthquake with the centre in Lombok. It was big and scary but we haven’t heard anyone injured on Bali island yet. There is no current tsunami warning.
Update 7th August– Over 100 people are confirmed dead after the earthquake, I don’t know if any of these were on Bali but the majority are on Lombok, with a few on the Gili islands. Over 1000 people were stranded on the Gili Islands with no electricity and I believe the national search and rescue service are working today to get them back to Bali. Streets in Bali have been damaged; it seems to be the biggest earthquake people can remember here.
Update August 23rd: There have been many Bali earthquakes in the past couple of weeks, most of them with the epicentre in Lombok. I would definitely advise against travel to Lombok or the Gili islands at this time due to ongoing quakes. Bali had its first nearby earthquake (of this recent ‘set’) this morning, about 100km south of the island in the ocean, measuring 5.5.
If you are of a nervous disposition I would advise against travelling to Bali at this time- many people are suffering from a psychosomatic condition known as ‘earthquake sickness’, where the constant tremors and frequent quakes induce dizziness and a feeling of shaking even when there is no quake. It is not pleasant.
If you are travelling to Bali I would advise researching tsunami red and yellow zones and ensure that you are not staying in a red zone. There is no current warning for a Bali tsunami in 2018. We live in a yellow zone and again it is not a pleasant feeling. Life here is going on as normal but it is making people nervous.
Update October: There has been no tsunami warning reported in Bali and a few people are often keeping an eye down on the shore to look out for unusual ocean activity. Unfortunately since the tsunami in Sulawesi it has become apparent that the tsunami warning system, which is supposed to sound a loud alarm along the beachfront should a tsunami be triggered, is deeply flawed. It did not work at all in Sulawesi, leading to hundreds of unnecessary deaths of people who were holding a ceremony on the beach.
While we initially did not feel at direct risk from the earthquakes, the recent tsunami has made us feel differently. We are now back safely in London but keeping an eye on the earthquake situation in Bali. People are often asking us “should I cancel my trip to Bali?” or “Is Bali safe to travel?”
The fact is that we cannot give you an objective answer as earthquakes and tsunamis are unpredictable. If we were in Bali now I would be ensuring that we were nowhere near the coast for several hours after an earthquake.
> If you are planning a trip to Bali my personal opinion would be that it is wise to avoid the smaller islands such as the Gilis, avoid Lombok and have accommodation a couple of miles from the coast. If you do experience an earthquake, I would move away from the coast immediately for several hours. This is not official advice and I cannot be held responsible for anything that happens to anyone in Bali (or anywhere else in the world). <
Injuries on Bali island from the earthquakes have been minimal, but there have been hundreds of reported deaths and injuries on Lombok island, several thousand deaths from the earthquakes and tsunami and Sulawesi, and unstable structures as well as single storey buildings are said to have crumbled.
Update December 2018: There has recently been a volcanic eruption which appears to be the cause of a tsunami in Java, Indonesia. This has caused significant damage including tens of deaths. Indonesia is in the notorious “Ring of Fire” which is an extremely active area for volcanic eruptions, tectonic plate movements that cause earthquakes, and tsunamis.
Bali Earthquakes Information for 2020: Is Bali Safe From Earthquakes & Tsunamis?
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding Bali earthquakes:
Are earthquakes normal in Bali?
If by normal you mean fairly regular and expected, then yes. The larger earthquakes and tremors that we experienced were the largest in decades but there are fairly regular earthquakes around the island that are under 5 on the Richter scale. When smaller quakes happen life generally carries on as usual after pausing to leave buildings/ get under cover.
When was the last time Bali had an earthquake?
Bali has earthquakes very frequently, sometimes every couple of weeks depending on the plate activity.
Is there a tsunami threat in Bali?
Bali and other Indonesian islands are under constant general threat of tsunami due to their location in the Ring of Fire, an area of high volcanic and tectonic activity. At the time of writing this post there is no active tsunami warning (we experienced one after an earthquake while in Bali but there was no tsunami). Regions to the south of the island such as Sanur, where we lived, are thought to be most exposed to a potential tsunami.
Is Bali safe to visit?
There is no accurate and safe way of reliably predicting when and where the next eruption, earthquake or tsunami would be (if there were, there would be no deaths or injuries resulting from them). Unfortunately if you are wanting to know if visiting Bali or other islands in Indonesia is safe, the answer is that it is always a risk. There is no way to visit Indonesia and be completely safe from earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions.
There are of course things that you can do to minimise potential effects such as staying away from the beach and volcanos, although this of course does not stop earthquakes or potential disruption to your trip. We have friends living happily in Bali with their families, so not everyone is put off by this. It is really a completely personal decision.
There have been no hugely significant Bali earthquakes recently and no tsunami warnings. People are visiting the island as normal; if you have concerns do visit the official UK travel advice website on Indonesia. I would highly recommend purchasing this Lonely Planet guide packed full of info, Bali destination guides and tips to ensure you get the most out of your Bali holiday and read our collection of Bali travel blog posts for more insider tips.
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