Traffic jam in Kuta, Bali is usual especially during holiday. With international tourists and domestic tourists is double up yearly. The jam is more worst during Indonesian holidays with local travelers drive their own vehicles to Bali.
One can feel the jam especially in Kuta, the streets are narrow, the drivers sometimes undecided where to turn to at a junction, and part of the street is occupied for motorcycles parking.
I chose to hire a Bali driver as they know the shortcut to avoid long queue.
You may need to hop off the metered taxi if you have trapped in a jam.
The money changers are the airport give you terrible rates, so it's probably best to avoid them. When you get into town, there are money changers everywhere. Be extremely careful when you are changing money. I had money changers try to distract us while counting the money, and struck up unnecessary conversation about where you're from, where you're staying, how do you like bali, etc. The woman who tried this was so bad at it that it really stuck out at me. I didn't realize they were trying to scam me until I noticed how forced her dialog was.
One money changer stole $100 from me. When I exchanged about $300 USD, he examined the bills and looked closely at the serial numbers. They seem to like certain types of numbers and certain "crispness" in the bills. Anyways, whether that's true or not, they use that as an excuse to request another bill from you. So, naturally you pull out your wallet and flip through your cash. I did this and the guy snatched a $100 bill from my wallet and said I like that one right there. I got a little angry that he touched my wallet, but it distracted me from realizing that he never gave my other bill back.
Dont take money changing lightly. Pay attention and if they ask for different bills, say no. Dont show them your wallet when you walk in, and dont show them where you're putting that money when you leave.
Since I used to study in Medan in the early 90s, I thought that exchanging money will be of no hassle but......
1.There are so many money changing booth where you cant just walk in look at the rate and get the displayed change.....so what's wrong? I went to booth A , checked the exchange rate and told the guy I wanted to change 100 US for the displayed rate. He furiously typed on his calculator for a few minutes and showed a new exchange ( probably by some form of telepathy as no computer/internet was available), hence 20% lower then the displayed rate and nodding his head expressing firm approval of this newly conjured rate which would have brought a heavy fine in most countries if reported , due to exchange rate fraud!
2.The rates displayed at the airport booths looked the highest but none of us attempted to exchange as we wanted to be on our way to the hotel....
3.My friend who exchanged at home received a higher exchange rate then that is prevalent in Bali. Some bonus was thrown in for larger exchanges!
So exchange at home , most if not all , to avoid this exchange hassle and experiencing a tale of exchange of your own!
Our usual guide was not available and we thought that the an elderly gent with a beaten up van hanging out in front of our hotel will be ok but.....When I approached him he agreed on a half day tour starting from legian , travelling to lovina and return. Half way through the journey he started making complaints that the 250,000 rupiah that he initially agreed on was not enough! I duly reminded him on the agreed sum but he was adamant . There was heavy traffic ahead and we decided to return to our hotel, especially with a guide who cant keep his words.
It appears that you cant even make a man to man deal and expect it to be honoured!
Worst he continued to hail us each morning as we walked past the main entrance , as if not honoring your deals is very natural and the best way to earn long term business , truly puzzling.
The next day we took our hotel vehicle with driver and it was without incident.
So be wary of your next road side deal !
Drive or not to drive…
My first Balinese word that I learned was “hati hati” = be careful... seen on many road signs. From my experience, driving there is more than challenging... numerous potholes, lack of signs for danger, no direction (GPS is useless), break down car in the middle of the road, overflood roads, heap of sand on the road, rash ovetakings, dogs, cats, chicken crossing, traffic jam in city area, hazarding mountainous roads, din of horns… Honestly don’t take the risk to drive yourself, hire a safe driver who will well know the roads and its traps. Morever he will be your attentive and friendly guide and will be please to discover his welcoming island.
The local road code is only know by the locals, if you apply yours for sure you are getting in trouble. Scooter accidents seem to be the 1st cause of causality for tourist in Bali.
So be safe!
When travelling here in Bali and Indonesia always make sure that you have sufficent travel insurance as like anywhere when travelling anything can happen anywhere anytime. Many tourists flock to this destination seeing it as the well known destination for its sun and surf but it has a very sinister side with its sectarian violence..
During my last trip to Bali I heard of some horrendous stories of " ripp offs" also a few travellers that were caught out without Travel Insurance and the their accident meant repatriation at a huge cost. The medical facilities here are sparse and out of the Major cities is usually a long way away and rather basic.The unfortunate tourists who are caught out find that cost of medical bills for foreigners here is very expensive.
Bali is a very popular destination with many young tourists and be exceptionally careful when hiring motorbikes etc..:
Be very careful This can be a very dangerous place.
BEWARE WHEN HANDLING ANY ANIMALS HERE.
Wherever I travelled anywhere on the Island of Bali I was extremely careful of DOGS, MONKEYS, CATS or for that fact any animals as many animals here are infected with rabies
The local animal welfare Charity BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) I learned .. the local Animal charity Vaccinates ,Spays,and Neuters captured or surrendered animals...This is a huge and expensive undertaking by local volunteers...The free clinic and Animal shelter located in Ubud is the only Rabies Quarantine Centre on the Island of Bali..
Bali being a huge tourist destination and a major part of the local economy this is a major problem..all animals that have been treated for the disease wear a VERY NOTICEABLE RED COLLAR..SO...You may like to stay clear of other animals especially the monkeys... Also you can volunteer if you like .. PHOTOS TO COME
In general, it's good to keep on your toes and just be vigilant when traveling. Bali is of no exception. There are quite a lot of so-called "surfers" who wanted to entice you to a surfing lesson, but in reality wanted a bit more. Oh sleazy.
So long as you say no, just smile back at them, and be on your way - everything will be fine.
P.S. Heaps of these kinds around Kuta area, down south Bali - where the night life and happenings are.
I USED TO LIVE IN INDONESIA DURING MY UNDERGRADUATE DAYS WHILE ATTENDING UNIVERSITY THERE, WE WERE GIVEN SOME TIPS TO BE SAFE BY A LOCAL CHAP WHO WAS ALSO OUR SENIOR AT THE UNIVERSITY. EVEN THOUGH MY CLASSMATES WERE A LOVABLE BUNCH BUT AS EVERYWHERE THE TOURIST/FOREIGNER APPEARS TO SOME AS EASY MONEY OR TARGET FOR A SCAM :
1.DON'T WEAR ANY GOLD ORNAMENT.(FULL STOP!)
2.IF IN A PUBLIC TRANSPORT YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY SUSPICIOUS LOOKING GUYS TRYING TO STRIKE CONVERSATION AND SIMULTANEOUSLY PLACING A PAPER OVER YOUR LAP OR PULLING AT YOUR LOWER LIMB ! , BEWARE OF LOSING YOUR WALLET. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY ! (@ EXIT STAGE LEFT!)
3.DON'T KEEP MONEY IN YOUR TOP SHIRT POCKET!
4.IF CONFRONTED AND LEFT NO CHOICE, PUT A BRAVE FRONT,THIS UNNERVES SOME !, DONT APPEAR FEARFUL!
5.IF THE TAXI METER RUNS OUT OF CONTROL , STOP THE TAXI AND GET OUT. DO NOT ARGUE WITH A DRUNK/HIGH TAXI DRIVER AT NIGHT , ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE ALONE , SOME MAY HAVE WEAPONS.
5.SOME CLASSMATES DIDN'T CARRY A WALLET ( TO AVOID IT BEING TARGETED) AND ONLY CARRIED CASH.
MY GUESS IS , THIS IS GOOD ADVICE AS I DON'T REMEMBER ANY INCIDENTS TILL I COMPLETED MY STUDIES.
HOPE THIS KEEPS YOU SAFE AND HAVE AN ENJOYABLE HOLIDAY.
OUR GUIDE WARNED US THAT LAUGHING LOUD AND GETTING ANGRY! WAS NOT ALLOWED NEAR TEMPLES AND OFFERING AREAS . HAVING LIVED IN INDONESIA MYSELF, THAT WAS NOT A PROBLEM FOR ME.
BUT LATE ONE NIGHT, MY SIS AND HER FRIENDS WERE LAUGHING ALOUD WHILE WALKING TO THEIR HOTEL ROOM IN THE GROUND FLOOR AROUND A GARDEN, AND SUDDENLY THEY ENCOUNTERED A FLYING MINERAL WATER ( THE 1.5L TO BE PRECISE) WHICH WHIZZED OVER THEIR HEADS AND ALMOST HIT THEM FROM AN UNOCCUPIED BALCONY A FLOOR ABOVE THEM. BEING A CURIOUS AND BRAVE BUNCH , THEIR SEARCH AROUND THE VICINITY DIDN'T REVEAL THE SOURCE OF THE PROJECTILE!
A WAS CONSULTED ABOUT THIS INCIDENT...... BUT HEY! JUST HEED THE GUIDE.
I HAVE SEEN TWO ACCIDENTS BETWEEN PEDESTRIAN AND MOTOBIKES AROUND LEGIAN AND KUTA BEACH IN MY BRIEF STAY OF 5 DAYS. BOTH ACCIDENT CAUSED BY FELLOW TOURIST WHO HIRED MOTOBIKES. THE SECOND ACCIDENT INVOLVING AN ELDERLY TOURIST WAS BAD , WHICH LOOKED LIKE A FRACTURE AND WOULD HAVE NEEDED HOSPITALIZATION.
SO PLEASE BE CAREFUL IF YOU HIRE A MOTOBIKE.
WHILE I WAS CHECKING THE TRAFFIC BEFORE I CROSSED THE ROAD IN LEGIAN/KUTA BEACH , I NOTICED THAT THE MAJORITY MOTORCYCLIST DONT DO LIKEWISE AND JUST ZOOM BY !! , ESPECIALLY LATE EVENING.
Beware of Money Changers especially operating from small stalls/back lane alley around Legian and Kuta.
Firstly, the exchanges quoted are non existent! They will immediately inform you that the rates on the board are old rates and give a absurd exchange rate.
Some of the small stall operators were noticed to have runners to exchange the money from banks, where we may exchange directly.
Safer to exchange at Banks which are located at most streets in bali, but their rates are less than those offered at the airport.
It never seems to amaze me
those who come saying that
it's easy and cheap
to built something in Bali.
They should probably do
some homework and
inform themselves properly.
Read some of the esperiences of others.
From the Forum]
In recent times,
there have been more and more
cases of rabies in Bali.
If you ride a motorbike at night,
you may get chased by a territorial dog.
If you have the unfortunate experience
of being bit by dog,
immediately flush the wound with water
and detergent for at least 10 minutes.
Then apply iodine or alcohol.
Call the rabies tam at Sanglah
or go directly to Sanglah Hospital.
You may require an urgent vaccination
and immunoglobulin depending on the
category of the bite and/or the severity of the wound.
Call the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA)
holine 081 138 9004
and they will pick up the dog for observation.
At the beach, you will find a lot of people coming to you and begging you to take their services like braiding hair, massage,selling nick nacks. If you give one person the opportunity, the others start to follow and will bother you as well.
Also bargain hard before buying anything, they usually quote very high price.