China warns nationals holidaying in Bali to mind safety risks

China warns nationals holidaying in Bali to mind safety risks

Announcement follows 'accidents involving Chinese tourists'

Travellers line up to check in at Shanghai Pudong International Airport during the Spring Festival travel rush on Lunar New Year's Eve, in Shanghai, on Feb 9, 2024. Bali is one of the favourite destinations for Chinese holidaymakers. (Photo: Reuters)
Travellers line up to check in at Shanghai Pudong International Airport during the Spring Festival travel rush on Lunar New Year's Eve, in Shanghai, on Feb 9, 2024. Bali is one of the favourite destinations for Chinese holidaymakers. (Photo: Reuters)

HONG KONG: China has issued a special warning to its nationals visiting Bali, after multiple "traffic accidents and drownings" involving Chinese tourists in the Indonesian resort island.

The consulate-general in Balinese capital Denpasar on Thursday cautioned Chinese holidaymakers against riding a motorcycle without a licence, and urged them to be careful when driving on narrow roads on Bali and the neighbouring island of Nusa Penida.

In a post on its official WeChat social media account, the consulate reminded visitors that Bali followed right-hand drive, "which is opposite to [the practice] in China, and some roads in Ubud, Kintamani, Nusa Penida, and other places have narrow roads or complicated road conditions".

The jungles of Ubud and the volcanoes of Kintamani are popular tourist destinations in Bali.

The consulate in its original post also expressed sorrow over "multiple injuries and deaths of Chinese tourists" in accidents on Bali and in Komodo National Park "during the Spring Festival", the Chinese name for the long Lunar New Year holiday.

But it deleted the line about deaths and injuries about two hours later, saying only that there had been "traffic and drowning accidents".

The consulate has not responded to the South China Morning Post's inquiries on the details of the accidents and the reason for deleting the lines.

Bali with its visa-on-arrival facilities is a favoured destination for Chinese passport-holders looking to spend a warm Lunar New Year holiday during what is China's largest festival and travel season.

But deadly accidents often occur in its mountainous reaches, and the consulate regularly issues safety warnings ahead of long Chinese holidays. However, the latest special warning came on what was the seventh day of the Year of the Dragon.

The consulate's WeChat post also reminded travellers to be mindful of safety when playing water sports and avoid going into rough seas with powerful waves.

Tourists should "purchase adequate insurance ahead of the trip as international medical fees in Bali are relatively expensive", it added.

Frequent motor accidents are a cause for concern among international visitors to Bali, and drownings are also occasionally reported from the tropical island known for its water and adventure sports like surfing, rafting and scuba diving.

Recent fatalities include Chinese online influencer Huang Xiaofeng, also known as Johnny, who was found dead after being swept away by a massive wave last November.

The 34-year-old had gone swimming at Batu Belig beach in Bali's North Kuta District, according to Chinese media outlet Hongxing News.

On Feb 7, ahead of the Lunar New Year, the consulate also issued a statement warning tourists against driving or renting scooters illegally, and urging them to beware of the risks when driving in hilly areas.

As many as 2.5 million Chinese tourists visited Bali each year before the Covid-19 pandemic. Visa-free travel might also be in the offing, with Indonesia late last year pledging waivers for 20 countries, including China and the United States, as it looks to revive its tourism and economy.

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