Tourists warned about Bali moonshine

Last updated 16:13 04/06/2014

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A travel insurer has warned tourists about the risk of being poisoned by locally made alcohol in Bali.

Travel Insurance Direct Online travel insurer says the local drink arak is a real danger and has advised travellers not to drink it.

Arak is a Balinese moonshine traditionally distilled in the island's east and used in religious ceremonies.

The "tourist invasion of Bali", however, has opened up the market for backyard distillers, said the insurer.

His comments follow the Network Seven documentary What Really Happens In Bali, which aired on Tuesday night in Australia and highlighted the dangers of drinking locally made spirits.

Travel Insurance Direct's Phil Sylvester says people can be attracted to arak because it can give them a cheap night out with plenty of bang for their buck.

"Producing the spirit is cheap, especially when backyard cowboys with no experience are doing it rather than practised, seasoned old Balinese men," Sylvester said in a statement on Wednesday.

"And a bar owner concerned only about profit will lace the drinks with the cheaper stuff," he added.

But if arak is poorly made it can be laced with methanol, which can send people blind and lead to death.

The signs of methanol poisoning are difficulty breathing, blurred vision, agitation, dizziness and stomach pain.

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