Aussie traveller shocked over unexpected $700 bill in Bali

Other tourists agreed the man's bill 'seemed very expensive'

An Aussie man's trip to Bali cost him more than he expected after a bout of 'Bali Belly' landed him a hefty $700 bill.

The holidaymaker was off the Indonesian mainland on Gili Air, part of the popular Gili islands, when he fell ill with diarrhoea, and sought medical attention from the local doctor.

'Bali belly', also known as traveller's diarrhoea, is usually caused by bacteria found in food and water but can be caused by viruses like Rotavirus or Norovirus, which brings on gastro. It's common among visitors to Bali.

But the Perth man got a shock when he was billed 6.75 million Indonesian Rupiah by the doctor, equivalent to almost $700.

Doctor Bill in Bali
The Perth man was billed almost A$700 after getting 'Bali belly'. Source: Facebook

Man shocked by $700 medical bill

"This is a LOT more than I expected," he said on a Bali-focused Facebook group. "What are people normally paying?"

A receipt from the clinic shows a doctor's charge of roughly $50 while medicine cost another $100. Injections cost an additional $172 and about $350 was for further treatment.

The traveller said he does have travel insurance and will make a claim when he's back home. But wondered if he was charged too much.

Travellers share their own Bali belly treatment costs

Many hotels or villas in Bali have a doctor on-call, but these prices tend to vary depending on where you're staying. People in the comments revealed how much they've been charged previously, and the prices varied drastically.

"Cost me $520 to get the doctor," one revealed. "I spent $400," said another. But most agreed "this seems expensive" and concluded it should cost around $150.

The poster asked how much Dr Ari charges — a popular local doctor among tourists. Many said they paid between $130 and $160 for medication, antibiotics "and a jab". "Last year I paid $132 for a jab and tablets from Dr Ari. Worked great," one said.

people on Bali beach
'Bali belly' is common among travellers to Indonesia. Source: Getty

But to avoid the hefty cost, some advised pack some medication at home. "It's the medicine that gets you," one said. "I just went to [the pharmacy] and bought Buscopan for the stomach pain and cramps and Imodian for the diarrhoea. Felt better in an hour," another said adding they spent just $10.

What to do if you fall ill in Bali

Chair of Travel Medicine and Executive Dean at Bond University Nicholas Zwar previously told Yahoo those unfortunate enough to get Bali belly should focus on hydrating themselves "especially if it's a child" and use a medication called Imodium which helps "slow down the frequency of bowel actions".

"If you were really quite unwell with fever or blood in the stool, or very severe cramping, you may need to see a doctor and they might prescribe an antibiotic if its bacterial," he said. "Most traveller's diarrhoea will get better in three to five days even if it's not treated with antibiotics."

If in doubt, phone your travel insurance to get advised on where to seek medical help. The Australian Consulate in Bali also has a list of hospitals and medical services.

To avoid getting sick, travellers should avoid foods such as raw seafood that have been sat out while ice in drinks can be a source of germs, Zwar said.

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