Guide to Bali

5 ways Bali will try to rip you off (and how to avoid it)



Bali, Indonesia

Bali has quickly become the place to go for travellers – its beautiful beaches and tropical climate make it the ideal destination for a quiet getaway. With that in mind, there’s still things to be vigilant of so that you’re not left out of pocket before the end of your trip. Here are 5 ways Bali may try and rip you off, and how to avoid it happening.


Overcharging in the markets
Bali, Indonesia

Head to one of the busy marketplaces in Bali and you’ll likely stand out as a tourist. It’s inevitable – locals have become accustomed to the traits of a traveller, and their opportunistic side comes forward when you interact them. Be aware that, if they can tell you’re inexperienced and new to the area, they may likely try and overcharge you as you won’t know any better.
This is where you’ll need to showcase your haggling skills. If you’re a seasoned traveller it’s likely that you’ll have no trouble in attempting to bargain with the vendors. If it’s your first time, it can be understandably daunting. Not to worry though – guides like this one outline how to do it respectfully and correctly. Many vendors are used to having to barter, so don’t feel as if you can’t do it. They’ve most likely seen it before, and therefore expect it from you.


Opportunistic taxi drivers
Bali, Indonesia

It’s a problem that has become infamous in Bali, so you’ve likely heard about it already from those who may have fallen victim. Taxi drivers have a multitude of sneaky tricks to try and fool you into paying extortionate amounts for journeys that should cost much less. You’ll want to be vigilant and keep an eye out for those who are reputable and registered, so that you don’t become a victim of a con.
As soon as you get into the cab, look for the meter. If it’s turned off – or if there isn’t even one in there – that’s a warning sign, as the price will be made up and probably much higher than it should be. Look out for longer routes being taken and extra fees being placed atop what you should be paying, and make sure you don’t pay up what you don’t owe. Sometimes public transport is the best option if you don’t feel confident enough.


Expensive dining
Bali, Indonesia

Don’t confine yourself to restaurants in Bali – you could be paying massive amounts for the same dishes you can find on the streets for much less. Street food is affordable and usually delectable, so long as you buy from the correct stalls. However, as Lonely Planet details, a “lavish night out” could cost in the region of US $40 – perhaps not a lot of money for some, but still much more than you should be paying in Bali.
Steer clear of the more suspicious and quiet areas for dining, as these places are susceptible to raising their prices for the right person. As mentioned, street food is always a safe bet for incredibly cheap and extremely delicious dishes often showcasing the best of Bali’s cuisine. Roasted pig is an incredibly popular meal in the country, as is sate – grilled and skewered meat. Or consider picking up a quick portion of nasi jinggo, the snack that packs rice and vegetables inside a banana leaf for easy consumption.


Tricky “money changers”
Bali, Indonesia

Everybody’s done it – the money you converted previous to arriving runs out, and you’re left having to make do with your card. That’s where Bali’s money changers come in. They’re not exactly official places to exchange your cash, though. Instead, these guys wander outside the country’s busy hotspots waiting for tourists to come and ask for their services. They have some dodgy tactics to trick you out of money if you’re not careful enough, and when exchanging large amounts, this is incredibly dangerous.
This guide to Bali anticipates encounters with said money changers and tells you how to avoid being scammed by finding a reputable outlet. Avoid heading down alleyways or passages in order to exchange money as you’ll more than likely be walking into dangerous territory. Don’t fall victim to an exchange rate that seems much better than anywhere else, as it’s often a ruse. And, most importantly, stay vigilant when actually interacting with the money changer – things such as dropped notes and distractions around you are common tricks that could leave you short changed.


Unlicensed tour guides
Bali, Indonesia

If you’re new to Bali, it’s likely you’ll be actively seeking a guide to show you around. That’s all well and good, but you will want to choose the right one. It’s a case of guides being licensed and registered, as choosing someone you shouldn’t could lead to you paying much more than you should for a tour that won’t be anywhere near as fulfilling. They may also lead you into areas that tourists shouldn’t be visiting – certain parts of Bali are uncharted and visitors may not be welcome.
So long as you stick to the main areas of the island and find a guide that is certainly accredited and popular in the area, you’ll be in for a treat. But you may not even need a guide at all – Bali is a beautiful part of the world that offers endless amounts of incredible sights, peaceful tranquillity and unparalleled fun. Don’t hesitate – so long as you keep these money-saving tips in mind, you’ll be in for the Balinese trip of a lifetime.



Luke Clifton
Luke has always been a weekend traveller. She used to go with her brothers on camping and fishing tours. She's currently finishing his masters degree in Forestry and Environmental studies and works as a freelance writer for a few travel and pro-environment websites. She's been to European and North American countries though she's planning to tour around Asia once she's done with her studies.




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