Can't really think of a tourist trap unless you expect to see this unusual flower, Rafflesia arnoldi.
One of my goals while in Indonesia was to see this flower. I missed it by three days! It is the largest flower in the world. Grows naturally only in Sumatra, one of Indonesias thousands of islands. It is named after the naturalist Sir Stamford Raffles who discovered the parasitic plant with his friend Dr. Joseph Arnold during their travels. Despite its beauty, it is also called the 'corpse flower' because i really reeks, to attract flies for pollination. Almost 1 meter wide and weighing about 9 kilograms, it is by far the largest bloom in the world, besides being rare and endangered. A rootless, leafless parasite without a stem, this plant drains nourishment and gains physical support from its host vine.
Over a period of 12 months, it swells to a cabbage-like head that bursts around midnight under the cover of a rainy night to reveal this startling, red flower. The bloom only lasts a few days.
Location: BOGOR BOTANICAL GARDENS
Unique Suggestions: Before arriving, check when the Flower will open.
One thing to beware of when "out and about" in Bali are animals. The main concerns for unwary travellers are dogs and monkeys. Most if not ALL untreated animals here in Bali have rabies. A bite from a monkey especially can have disastrous affects. Recently RSPCA Australia was in Bali helping with innoculations of infected dogs . These dogs ,once treated wear a "RED Collar.This programme was initiated by the local Bali "BAWA" Animal Protection Society to prevent local authorities shooting the dogs. This is an ongoing "CATCH AND TREAT" programme by some really underfunded devoted animal lovers.
The monkey problem maybe most travellers don't know of...These animals are rabid and are to be found in many places .I found a lot in the south of Bali and will run straight up to you and steal anything from you..ie: sunglasses jewelry, clothing,in fact anything that they can...but BE CAREFUL these monkeys ALL bite.
.. All I can say is to anyone thinking of buying or transporting any form of drugs here. DON'T. The penalties are harsh if you are caught. One of the most popular scams here is the Police will watch the drug sellers( they know them) sell an unsuspecting fool some drugs. and then an undercover policeman will just come forward and bust them...As wages here are miniscule and to supplement themselves. This is really a set up for extortianate bribery. One such recent case of a stupid 14 year old boy buying drugs and getting busted. He could have got many years in a Bali Gaol but because of his age and after months of gaol and trial he was set free. I beleive there still was a large fine to be paid. Most countries in SE Asia have extremely harsh penalties for drug trafficking..There are signs displayed in every airport and railway station aginst trafficking and its penalties.There is no excuse..Some even have the death penalty.
There are tour companies situated in Kuta providing transport by bus as claimed by them to Surabaya.Beware that this so called buses are actually big van's and are in bad condition.I got this bad experience when i booked a ticket in one of the tour companies not only the van was stuffed with all kinds of goods.To make matter worse it broke down somewhere in Java in the middle of the night.After being repaired it reach Surabaya at noon when it was suppose to arrive at 7.00am.
Fun Alternatives: I understand there is a better transport company called Perama in legian st offering the same service as i thought all the transport co are more or less the same
SOMETHING THAT CAN REALLY BE OVER-WHELMING ARE THE AMOUNT OF TAXI DRIVERS PULLING AT YOU AND GRAPPING YOUR LUGGAGE AND TRYING AT THE SAME TIME TO GIVE YOU A SUPPOSEDLY GOOD PRICED TAXI RIDE TO YOUR DESTINATION........
I WAS EXTREMELY BLESSED IN THAT A LOCAL VTER WAS AT THE AIRPORT TO MEET ME AND WAS ABLE TO REALIZE WHICH TAXI DRIVER TO BELIEVE....
Unique Suggestions: TRY TO TO HAVE A LOCAL MEET YOU AT THE AIRPORT TO GET THROUGH ALL THAT MESS!!!!!
Fun Alternatives: JUST BE BRAVE AND TRY TO DECIDE WHICH ONE TO TAKE...
WHEN I WENT TO JAKARTA..I DIDN'T KNOW IF I WOULD BE GOING TO BALI FIRST OR BACK TO SINGAPORE ....SO I DIDN'T BUY A ROUNDTRIP TICKET.. : 0 SCARY !!!!! CAUSE WHEN I WAS GOING THROUGH TO GET MY PASSPORT STAMPED THE OFFICER THERE QUESTIONED ME A LOT WHY I DIDN'T HAVE A DESTINATION AFTER JAKARTA....BUT THE SAD PART WAS THAT HE WASN'T GOING TO STRAMP BY VISA UNLESS I GAVE HIM MONEY.......HE JUST KEPT SAYING..." IF I DO A FAVOR FOR YOU...THEN DO A FAVOR FOR ME..." I TOLD HIM I COULDN'T AND A FRIEND WAS WAITING FOR ME....BUT HIM ASKING ME WENT ON FOR ABOUT 7 MINUTES!!!! FINALLY HE STAMPED MY VISA.......................BOY...WAS THAT A RELIEF...........AND FORTUNATELY I NEVER GAVE HIM ANY MONEY FOR HIS FAVOR!!!!!!!!!!!
Unique Suggestions: HAVE A ROUNDTRIP TICKET !!!!!!!! IT WILL SAVE YOU A QUARREL....BUT YOU GOT TO BE NICE OR THEY MIGHT JUST SNED YOU BACK TO WHERE YOU HAD COME FROM.. ???????????
Fun Alternatives: MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE GOING SOMEWHERE ELSE AFTER JAKARTA...
I'm sure Ubud was once a lovely little village but it's now little more than a tourist theme-
park, with more than 250 restaurants and even more souvenir shops. The Rough Guide to Indonesia says: "Although it's fashionable to characterise Ubud as the 'real' Bali, it
actually bears little resemblance to a typical Balinese village." No kidding. Nobody in their right mind could call this the 'real' Bali, if such a thing still exists.
Unique Suggestions: If you do go to Ubud, for me the two best things about it were the Ubud Monkey Forest (see my Things to Do tip) and the large flocks of herons that can be spotted in the trees about 3km outside the city. There are also lots of art museums, and of course plenty of crafts to buy if you're there for the shopping. For a more positive view of Ubud, this website has all the information you'll need to plan your stay there.
The morning I arrived in Yogyakarta the first thing I experienced was my hotel owner ripping me off by pushing me to go to an artistic centre. he told me a big story, told him that today is a special day and that he truly truly recommends me to check this artistic gallery. First I said no but he kept on mentioning it and just to have peace I went there... I ended up buying a batik picture there for an overdimansional price as I found out later.... I was ripped off big time! I should ahve informed myself better about this common tourist trap, well now I am... ;o)
When driving around Indonesia it's almost impossible to find public toilets! I headed for a MacDonalds restaurant in search of one and even they didn't have any toilets!!
Unique Suggestions: Plan and think about this before you move on. Especially if you have discovered the food is having an adverse effect on your insides!
Taman Mini is touted as "Indonesia in miniture" and it literally is. There is a lake (pictured) with a miniture archipelago representing the islands of Indonesia. That's kind of neat. There are houses around the lake that exhibit each of the nation's provinces. I visited way back in 1989 - and it was a flying visit... the cable car ride was about all I can remember - and here's a dodgy photo of it!
It's in Jakarta.
Unique Suggestions: Take the gondola/cable car (I never know what to call those things) over the lake. You can test your geography knowledge.
do not rent a surf board near the beach.
Unique Suggestions: ignore them and just walk away
Fun Alternatives: just go to others some shop to rent a surf board. it just about 5000-10000 Rp for whole day compare to beach where you pay about 50000 Rp
i went to uluwatu for sunset, it's marvellous place and beautiful sunset. but be very careful of the monkey there! they will grap ur glasses or camera or just any valuable thing from u and run away! then, there are local ppl there who are "kind" to help u get things back from monkey, b4 they return to u, they will ask u pay for their effort to get it back fr monkey...
i think, they trained those monkey n it's a way local ppl make money fr tourist!
what worst.. monkey might throw ur camera or expensive glasses into the cliff or ocean.....
Unique Suggestions: pls...
dont wear glasses.. dont hang ur camera on ur neck. just don't hang anything that can be easily grap away!
Fun Alternatives: put it in ur bag! or hold tight!
MONEY CHANGERS and BANKS will only accept US Dollar notes that are crisp and without any marks or folds on them. Some of them will only take bills newer than 1996 (they will charge a percentage cut on bills of 1996 and older). They also prefer the new "Big Head" Ben Franklin bills and may refuse older bills with the "Small Head". The denomination they like is USD 100.00 or 50.00. Anything smaller gets a lower rate. Anything bigger will probably be difficult to exchange! This 'new note' rule is only for US Dollars usually but they have been known to refuse other currencies as well. The rate is very variable so it is wise to shop around. Even in the airport there's at least 2-3 place to change money but just change enough for the taxi or bus fare plus first day expenses. If you need to change a lot of money, then you'll have to find a good money changer. Banks typically have lower rates if you sell the foreign currency (not by much if it's US Dollars). Foreign Banks have the worst rates while local banks vary (they can have better rates than money changers sometimes). Currencies that are seldom bought by Indonesians get a really lousy rate. Common ones are: US$, AU$, Sin$, Euro, Malaysian Ringgit, HK$ etc. Seldom sought currencies such as Philippine Peso, Thai Baht, Indian Rupees etc will not get a good rate.
ATMs are everywhere if you prefer to use this method. Just make sure they have the type you can use. Common ones are BCA (Plus system). Many ATMS are Cirrus compatible. It would be wise to check with your bank whether they have ATMS here that would work with your card before you leave.
Traveler's cheques are usually accepted only in banks and big money changers.
Unique Suggestions: Shop around. Check rates at at least 3-4 places if you have the time. Most banks have websites but be aware that the exchange rate might change every half hour or so.
They drive you mad in more ways than one! These so-called Balinese artists who try and sell you 'their' paintings. In the first place these people can't paint! The painting is often done by under aged children in villages in the mountains and they get Rp. 5000 for them, where as they are being sold for around
Rp. 500.000!!!! Uncouth..............
Unique Suggestions: Try and get them to paint something for you on the spot.
Fun Alternatives: It is no fun these guys coming up to you everyday with their sheer anoying persistance! Tell them you're bankrut or try 'singelar pippies' (No money!)
Go in to the local art shops and find out hat the real price is.
You have to be careful when you bargin at Bali. Sometimes they scream and almost cry when you try to get a better price, but they ALWAYS rip you of anyway. DON'T get angry, just act like you're leaving. If you're good you can get a resonable price but you have to work for it.
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