Bali is a great place to relax and enjoy a break, but you should be alert to the serious risks of Methanol poisoning that can occur from inadvertently consuming arak and illegal spirits. These are often added to drinks or used to re-fill genuine bottles in bars, restaurants and hotels. Just because they look real, it doesn’t guarantee they are.
Methanol poisoning can lead to blindness, seizures... and even death. Don’t risk it.
In an emergency, you’ll have vital First Aid information and a guide to symptoms at hand.
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Try not to confuse some of these symptoms with intoxication – if in doubt seek professional help immediately since getting the correct treatment quickly is vital.
Diarrhoea or abdominal pain
Low blood pressure
Dizziness or disorientation
Blush-coloured lips and fingernails
Blurred vision or blindness
Convulsions or seizures
Treat with ethanol (found in all alcoholic drinks) to delay the body from metabolising the methanol – this allows more time to seek treatment. Neat spirits such as vodka, gin, whiskey and rum are best to use since they have the highest ethanol concentration.
Use the following as a guide to dosages of neat spirits, depending on the person’s size:
+62 361 227911
+62 361 779900
BIMC Hospital Kuta
+62 361 761263
BIMC Hospital Nusa Dua
+62 361 3000 911
Q. Are there any alcoholic drinks in Bali that are always going to be safe?
A. Absolutely. Methanol is only found in fake spirits, so you can safely drink beer, wine and cider as well as premix drinks – or any duty-free spirits you take with you.
Q. Are there any establishments serving spirits in Bali that don’t have problems with methanol poisoning?
A. Yes, but there’s no way of knowing for sure that the spirits are safe wherever you are, which is why it’s best avoid them in general.