The biggest game, which all the hotels play is the setting up of the USD rate very far apart from the offical exchange rate , while charging your card, finally you end up paying not the USD price, but atleast 10% higher price on exchange manipulation.
Unique Suggestions: Never buy the hotel in USD, but always in the local currency and pay in the local currency.
Fun Alternatives: Best would to be buy the hotel online. The system automatically takes the best exchange rate.
Whenever you book a tour , always ask to pick you at the nearest convenient store( there are practical one near every hotel) or restaurant/eatery and dont reveal your hotel especially if it is situated at a posh district .
Besides improving security , many tour operators will flatly refuse any discount/bargain if you are staying at a 4 star hotel above ( even if you had a discount due to online booking or due to off season) as my sister found out in her recent trip.
Tirta Empul has a purifing pool and those who took a bath experienced elation .
But in the street next to it were the vendors have setup shop , the vendors are quite aggressive and one of our fellow tourist was cornered and out of fear she bought something to escape from them as she was alone.
Unique Suggestions: So....go in a group if you are intimidated by groups of vendors surrounding you. Guys were generally left alone as they are not the target market for sarongs/scarfs ect. but if there were few tourist on that day prepared to be surrounded .
Fun Alternatives: Better to avoid the vendors and to buy at Jl.Legian/Kuta were there are plenty of shops and competition among the vendors plus much tourist milling around that you wont be an exclusive target.
We have been defrauded in using the FlipKey service when booking a villa in Bali called Villa Olesha. Villa Olesha is promoted by FlipKey as an award winning Villa in Bali but we lost over USD2,000. 00 booking a family holiday there to celebrate my mother’s birthday.
Be really careful when dealing with them because we are not confident that FlipKey has owned the problem sufficiently and fixed it for future. They are telling us that the owner’s email was phished even though it was through a FlipKey link that we were put in touch with the fraudulent agent. They are telling us that we should pursue the owner of the Villa if we want our money back. when it still leaves some really serious concerns about FlipKey’ s security.
FlipKey’ s customer service has also been questionable when dealing with the problem. It would seem that they have a standard company response to the issue pointing you to the owner based in another country because they don’t want to take responsibility. FlipKey makes it difficult for people living outside the US to complain & it would seem they are holding the line through their repetitive written customer care responses that don’t really respond to questions asked. They have refused to put us in contact with anyone with decision making capability within the company. Of course the owner too is disclaiming responsibility saying that we should speak to FlipKey. The owner’s name is Jacob Mathai & we are told he lives in California.
Unique Suggestions: Key lessons learned: The agent Joanna Homes is fraudulent. Do not TT money to Western Union & be very careful about FlipKey’ s internet service.
Be aware there is an organised tourist con in bali. It involves the use of women and children carrying babies in their arms, walking through the traffic begging for money. This is actually a business and a very dangerous one. I had no idea this was an organised business till the driver of the taxi I was travelling in told me to ignore the young girl holding a sickly looking infant, who was begging through the window for money. I was reaching for my purse, when the driver told me it was an organised con. The babies are neglected to make them look sickly and a lot of them are drugged when they go out on the streets to make them appear unconscious due to being malnourished. I was horrified when the taxi driver informed me it was a con.
Unique Suggestions: Please! do not give money. By giving money, you are only supporting the abuse of young children and babies. It's a cruel and dangerous practice, that needs to be discouraged. Instead,
try to find out the name of a genuine orphanage in Bali from the hotel you are staying at, or even one of the taxi drivers. Then go to the orphanage and donate money direct. The other alternative is to speak to your driver or the staff where you are staying. Ask about their families, take an interest in their lives. If you feel inclined to help them, when you have the opportunity, slip them a small amount of spare Rp. (not too obviously), and thank them for their good service. It is then not seen as charity. Believe me every cent you give these hardworking and very underpaid workers will make a huge difference in their lives. It's the best way to insure you are truly helping the Balinese.
Once you get through Immigration and then customs and baggage porter scams you'll need a Taxi!.. Unless you are one of the very lucky few that have someone meet you on arrival . The taxi is your only option especially arriving on a very early flight as I did.
When firstly leaving the airport you will be confronted by taxi drivers wanting your fare..ask them how much to go to ??? (keep walking) and how far it is!! as you walk past them.. This way you will get a "ballpark figure" on the cost of your fare..Then pick out the taxi that YOU want..
Taxis here will try and take you to accomodation that they reccomend as the best!! This is usually only because they get a "kick back" on the buisiness...You know..it's the same old story..
I find when getting a taxi anywhere I first ask the driver if he will take me to a certain destination..Once that is established. I ask their cost.and the approximate distance. Don't let them touch your bags until your deal is done.!!
Be very firm about the cost and explain that this is ALL that you will pay.!! BE FIRM No excess charges for baggage , road taxes, or tolls?? Write this down on a note pad...show the driver the agreed amount so there is no misunderstanding with the language. After this has been firmly established get into the Taxi and NOT before. If possible share taxis with fellow travellers if all going to the city centre. This of course will lower the chance of a "rip off" if you are not alone.
Upon arrival at Denpassar Airport Bali after receiving entry visa. Firstly make sure that you have the correct foreign currency for entry taxes!! Then after proceeding to to another customs baggage check BEWARE of Porters "dressed as officials" that ask you to one side and pick up your bag!!. Like myself most people I spoke with were under the impression that these were officials that wanted to do a bag search. This of course is a normal procedure in Indonesia.Then of course once they have your bag demand payment for carrying your bag..This is a SCAM..Once I realised what was happenning I took my bag and refused payment!!! The porter then got very angry and I walked away and let him complain. This of course is your first introduction to the many scams that you will come across here. Be careful in Bali ...also when you go outside then there are the Taxis!!!
Be very careful when exchanging money on the streets! Yes they may have the best rate of the day along that street, but when the money exchangers count the money, the "slip" themselves some of your money.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure when exchanging money, know exactly how much you are suppose to get (take a calculator or use the calculator on your phone) and ensure you calculate the exchange in front of them. You should also be the last person to count the money, count it loudly in front of them and don't let them touch it after you.
Fun Alternatives: Use the Kodak shops or the Seven-Elevens or hotels to exchange money if you aren't 100% confident with the Balinese money.
Most visitors that holiday in Bali will find themselves especially around Kuta Beach and local beach areas inundated with dozens of approaches by local drug sellers that are everywhere. The majority of tourists of course refuse the offers. BUT for the foolish and unsuspecting that are sold drugs of various types and unknowingly are playing a game of entrapment set up with local police .Who will witness the sale and then arrest these buyers after the drug sale is made and the entrapment is complete.
Recent events in Kuta Beach have seen a minor caught (14 year old) in this way and is in a Bali juvenile jail awaiting his fate..Police know of these drug dealers..!!!
IF YOU ARE VERY FOOLISH AND FALL INTO THIS CATEGORY. EXPECT HARSH TREATMENT HERE AS DRUG OFFENCES CAN CARRY TYHE DEATH PENALTY
WHILE WAITING FOR OUR TRANSPORT, I OBSERVED A CURIOUS INCIDENT ACROSS THE ROAD.
A SALESMAN WAS WAITING FOR TOURIST TO PASS BY AND OFFERED A CARD, BUT THERE WERE NO TAKERS FOR A LONG TIME. SUDDENLY A MIDDLE AGED TOURIST WAS OFFERED THE CARD AND WHEN HE ASKED WHAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO, THE ANSWER: SCRATCH!.
A COIN WAS PRO-OFFERED AND THE GENTLEMAN PROCEEDED WITH THE RUSE. WHEN HE WAS DONE, THE SALESMAN IMMEDIATELY ANNOUNCED THE TOURIST GOOD FORTUNE IN WINNING . AT WHICH THE MIDDLE AGED TOURIST GAVE THE CARD BACK, PATTED THE SALESMAN'S SHOULDER AND TOLD HIM THAT HE COULD TAKE THE WINNINGS WITH HIS BLESSING! AND PROCEEDED TO WALK AWAY!!
THERE ARE A LOT OF RUSE AIMED AT THE UNWARY TOURIST , SO BEWARE!
IF YOU HIRE A VEHICLE, JUST BE AWARE THAT DURING MEAL TIMES THERE IS A GENERAL TENDENCY OF THE DRIVERS/GUIDE TO STOP AT A RESTAURANT OF THEIR CHOICE WITHOUT FINDING OUT WHAT THE TOURIST WOULD LIKE OR GIVING OPTIONS. IN OUR CASE IT WAS A SEAFOOD RESTAURANT IN DENPASAR, AND WITH ONLY GREAT RELUCTANCE DID HE TAKE US TO THE RESTAURANT OF OUR CHOICE.
SO HAVE A FEW OPTIONS AT HAND FOR THE LOCALS THAT YOU ARE VISITING. AND CERTAINLY BE CAREFUL IN GOING ALONG WITH ANY 'SEAFOOD' RESTAURANT.
IF YOU ARE NOT SURE, THERE ARE MANY REASONABLE CAFE ALONG JLN LEGIAN, KUTA WHERE WE CAN CHECK THE MENU UP FRONT BEFORE WE PLACE OUR ORDERS.
HOPE THIS HELPS.
You might encounter a local giving out scratch cards for the Royal Bali Hotel. And then when you scratch them out one will be showing that you've won free t-shirts and the other one showing you that you've won the grand prize. He will offer a free taxi to the hotel to claim your prize; instead when you go there you will be ushered into a room where sales people will be pitching in their scam. don't waste your time with this as this has been going on for a long time. check out http://royal-resorts-bali-scam.com/
Unique Suggestions: Politely tell the one handing you the scratch cards that you are not interested however he begs you that he cannot eat if he doesn't get his commission
When you arrive at the airport and get a porter to take your luggage. When they have to take your luggage to a taxi they take to you a taxi counter when you exit the building. Just tell them you don`t want to go there and just go to the drop off point where there is many taxi`s. Taking a taxi here is much cheaper then paying for a taxi from the taxi counter as there is many Blue Bird Taxi`s that await`s you.
There were so many persist ladies and stall owner that will tell you to buy or rent their sarongs else you cant enter the temple or it will be much more expensive.
Dont be fooled. So long you wear a pants or long skirts (ladies), you are allowed in.
Some temples like Uluwatu will provide you with sarongs for all visitors.
Fun Alternatives: you can arm yourself with one sarong and whereever you visit, bring it along.
there wont be touts chasing after you to buy their sarongs ;p
"You cant enter the temple without our guide. There is religious ceremonies going on. You need to be guided."
We were asked to pay USD20 for an hour of tour guide fee to enter the temple ground. This is on top of the entrance fees and parking fees that were paid earlier. They would ask for your ticket to be checked at their counter.
You will need to hire them as guide as there are religious ceremonies going on where it is out of bound to visitors unless escorted by a guide. Finally I manged to bring the price down to 8 USD for 2 pax.
However, I regretted not asking for a receipt of 80,000 RP. They assigned a kid to us. Should have demanded for a licensed tour guide as the kid speak little English and dont know how to explain things.
We later found out that religious ceremonies are carried out daily in the temple complex. This was their trick to resort you to hiring them at a very high price and sort of protection money else they wont allow you in.
Fun Alternatives: Ask for receipt when you pay for the tour guide fees.
Make sure the guide is licesed with a pass and the photo tallies.
Join a tour that brings you to Besikih Temple.