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I Survived Kerobokan

I Survived Kerobokan

Imagine how you would feel if you were robbed in a foreign country. Instead of the police treating you like a victim, you become the criminal! That was the nightmare Australian traveler Paul Conibeer lived through when he was left unable to pay his bill at a Bali hotel in 2012.

Broke and denied the opportunity to make contact with friends or relatives to send him some money, Paul found himself in a police station where outrageous bribes were demanded in exchange for his freedom. A harrowing tale of survival in Kerobokan, one of the most notorious prisons in the world … all set on an island paradise. Paul was jailed in Bali’s infamous Kerobokan Prison – where he met Shapelle Corby, the ‘Bali Nine’ and a host of other criminals. His ‘crime’ was so petty – a dispute over an unpaid hotel bill and his failure to ‘pay off’ the right people in the Kuta Police system – it saw him jailed.

In I Survived Kerobokan Paul tells his dramatic story of sleeping on a tiled floor at Kuta Police Station for 60 days, using a water bottle as a pillow, before he was transferred to Kerobokan. In his 300 days in Kerobokan, Paul gives the reader a stark insight to the notorious ‘Hotel K’ and the toll it took on him, physically and mentally as he was forced to:

– live with 52 men in a 33 man cell
– sleep on a mattress on the floor with the rats, cockroaches and ants
– barter for food, water and smokes because he had no money.
– continually watch his back lest he be stabbed.

Paul explains his time in Kerobokan “I questioned myself about everything … what was I doing here, what did I do wrong, who am I? But I worked out a system to survive”. A far cry from his previous life in Sydney, Paul was living alongside people who were on death row and those who were sentenced to life. Some of the prisoners he was exposed to included murderers, rapists, drug mules and the innocent, like himself – all searching for a way to survive. He jotted down their stories on pieces of paper and on a phone he smuggled into the jail.


Paul Conibeer was born in Auckland, NZ, in 1968, he moved to Australia as an infant. Paul worked for Qantas before and branching out into the car industry as a salesman. A series of failed relationships led to him wanting a change of pace when he went to Bali in 2012 for what was supposed to be a prolonged holiday.

I Survived Kerobokan is available now.

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