The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and epidemiology of the anaerobic intestinal spirochaete Brachyspira pilosicoli amongst Indonesians living in rural and urban settings on the island of Bali. Faecal samples (n = 992) were collected on two occasions, 4 months apart, from people living in four traditional farming villages, one peri-urban location and one urban area. Samples were cultured anaerobically on selective agar and intestinal spirochaete isolates were confirmed to be B. pilosicoli by using a species-specific PCR. Forty-eight of the 121 isolates obtained were typed by using PFGE. A questionnaire was administered to participants and analysed in order to identify potential risk factors for colonization. Overall prevalence of carriage on the two visits was 11.8 and 12.6 %, respectively. Prevalence at different locations varied from 3.3 to 23.4 %, with the highest prevalence occurring in the peri-urban location. Considerable strain diversity was found, with the 48 isolates being divided into 44 PFGE types. There was no significant association between colonization and ownership of animals, contact with animals, farming, age or gender. On the first visit, colonization was significantly more common in people who used well water compared to those who used tap water. On the second visit, colonization was significantly more common in people with wet faeces than in those with normal faeces.