Scam on Flipkey
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.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Luxury Travel
Kumbasari market in Denpasar
When visiting Denpasar, it is hard to go pass visiting this special market, as we've been told that's where the local shop, could this mean cheaper price? Yes and NO. It is true that all the locals shop here, but they have some ladies which will come forward to talk to you, take you to shop here and there, make you think they are the owner of the shop, but they aren't! Tnher are there to take profit from the owner should they hit a sale. They usually want you to buy t-shirts, sarongs, etc. We find this extremely annoying and felt very uncomfortable. They like to follow you wherever you go as well. The result was that we ended up buying nothing.
Unique Suggestions: Because this is where the real local shop, it is still worth a look. This place is not very clean and can be a bit smelly in some places, but it offers wonderful opportunity to take exotic photos.
Fun Alternatives: We suggest you due directly to the shop owner whe you can, and just ignore these ladies who follow you, it is impossible to miss them. Always remember, because of the bad economy now, this will work in your advantage to haggle on the price, figure around 30 to 50% off, and always stick to your budget, bargain with a smile, so that it's fun and not appear rude.
BEWARE OF TAXI SCAMS AT THE AIRPORT
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.
- Hiking and Walking
- Road Trip
TOURIST GUIDES AND THIER FAVOURITE RESTAURANT!
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.
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
Street Beggars With Young Babies
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.
- Women's Travel
- Family Travel
Be careful of Guides if going to Kedisan
Just stayed at Segara Hotel in Kedisan, Kintamani and it is owned by a lovely couple who were all dressed up for Temple the night I was there, they explained the service they were off to and their staff were all very friendly. However, I was hassled at dinner by a 'guide' trying to get me to climb the mountain (Mt Batur). I asked the staff who he was as he had followed my car down from Penleokan (at the top near Kintamani) all the way to the hotel. I was shocked when they told me that he was now 'my guide' and they could do nothing about him. I questioned what they meant and they said that as I came with him he was my guide. I quickly explained that he just followed me and never spoke to me, and they said they were very sorry but they had already paid heim 15% of my room rate and he was 'my guide'. I found this very frustrating and again asked why this guy was getting money. They said that he brought me to this hotel. I quickly explained that I got the hotel from the Lonley Planet and was coming here anyway. They seemed scared of the 'guide', and said they had to pay him or he would threaten them, I was amazed. Later I asked them about their price for to climb the mountain and they told me that I had to use 'my guide'. I gave up trying to explain that he was not my guide as they kept insisting until I realised they were actually scared of this guy.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure you tell these "Guides" that you have a booking already! This is very important as they are threatening local hotel owners into paying them commission and then they hassle you constantly to use only them. They will even hang around you until you agree AND try and sell you a painting at the same time (which is a fake)
Fun Alternatives: It is a lovely area, just make sure you tell anyone that stops you at the top that you already have a booking, this is very important. I spoke to the owners of the hotel and they are literally scared of these people (these "rip off guides" are not from this village, they come every day to take commission from these small family run hotels). You must go and stay in this area as the Lake is beautiful and these families need the business, but make sure you tell the guides you have a booking or reservation1q
Don't book your transport/tours with Victory Tours
Hello everyone! Just got back with three friends from a 4 day trip to Bali, really enjoyed it!
However, one experience there really put a damper on our trip. On our third day we booked a Toyota Avanza from PT Victory Tour and Travel (http://www.balivictorytour.com), from a counter near to Kuta Beach. It included a driver and petrol for 300k IDR. We thought it was a really good deal since our previous driver charged 375k for the same package (i.e. car, petrol, driver for 10 hours).
A guide and a driver came to pick us up. It quickly turned into a nightmare when we showed the guide our already planned itinerary for ourselves (we would go from our Hotel in Kuta, first to Ubud for lunch and to visit the market and then to Lake Batur and the surrounding region for sightseeing) and he told us that Ubud traffic is 'stuck' in the morning, even worse than that of Kuta, so it would be better to go up to the lake and Kintamani and stop by some batik and silver making factories so as to save time from being in the jam.
We had our reservations about this, but went along with his suggestion. He then proceeded to bring us to shops catered to tourists which charged exorbitant prices on their goods (e.g. a straw woven bag I bought from the Ubud market for 40k IDR was retailing for 880k in the shop!)
After the 2nd shop, we insisted to be brought to Ubud immediately. We reached the market fairly quickly, with no jam that could rival that of Kuta's, by the way. He probably lied to us so that we would go along with his plans. We were disgusted by this.
After we were done with our activities in Ubud, the guide called the agent and passed the phone to us. He said we have to pay 50k extra for going to other places. They seem to have forgotten we actually booked a car, and not a tour package! We reminded the agent of this on the phone and were not charged extra. But then he started to keep tabs on our whereabouts by calling the driver or the guide from time to time. The guide and the driver also became very unfriendly to us. It was very annoying.
We ended our 10 hour trip prematurely at the 8 hour mark as we were not enjoying ourselves at all with their constant grumblings to each other in Bahasa (my friend speaks Bahasa and could understand what they were talking about) and the agent tracking us everywhere we went.
Another side note is that most of the specialty shops that day tour providers bring you to are a ripoff. As I said, the prices are crazy, but we saw a few tourists making purchases all the same. Please do not be tricked. Just don't buy anything if you think there is something wrong. Yes, 880k for a bag and 100k for a small packet of vanilla pods is too expensive!
Overall, the trip left a bad taste in our mouths and we would never again book anything with Victory Tours; we advise you to do the same. It is our bad luck to have ever spoke to the agent at the counter near Kuta beach! Avoid it at all costs!
Unique Suggestions: If you find yourself sucked into the same situation as we did, just be firm and insist on where you want to go. Don't blindly go along with their suggestions, because you know they will bring you somewhere where is it more expensive and less interesting than what you see on this site!
Fun Alternatives: Do your research before going.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
YOU SCRATCH , YOU WIN !
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!
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.
Tirta Empul : Aggresive Vendors
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.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Hotel Prices in USD and Paid in Indonesia Rupiah
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.
- Business Travel
Money changer at Ngurah Rai International Airport
Coming from the international arrival there are two money changers, on your left and on your right.
They are bank branches and have better rates than the two money changers across the domestic arrival.
Unique Suggestions: Change your currencies at the bank branches right outside the international arrival, they and got better rates.
Fun Alternatives: Photos on these page taken on 20 September 2014.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel