Indonesian Insights – Avoiding the Tourist Scams You’ll Encounter in Bali
Bali has been attracting tourists to its shores as it offers a great climate, low cost of living, a stunning coastline, world-class surf spots and an abundance of cultural sites to explore. This little Indonesian island is a mecca for tourists from across the globe. As well as being easy on the eye, the Balinese are a friendly, warm and welcoming people and their kindness has kept people returning to the island over and over again. But there are a few cautions you need to be aware of.
For Australians in particular, a trip to Bali is not some expensive far-flung fantasy, especially with financial assistance, such as travel loans available from companies like Latitude Finance. Travel loans can make the entire experience more affordable. The paradox of Bali, though, is that while its splendour rivals many other locations in Asia, the influx of tourism has caused some issues for travellers. As with any well-visited destination, you need to be aware of the tourist traps and not allow the few scammers have a negative effect on your Balinese adventure.
Changing The Exchange Rate
While exchange rates tend to fluctuate, local shops offer tourists competitive rates to get the competitive advantage over banks and hotels. Because most travelers want to get the most for their dollar, many are attracted to street vendors and small shops that advertise these more attractive exchange rates. While it might be tempting to get a little more for your Australian dollar, tourists often come away with being cheated. Often times when exchanging money these vendors will charge high commission rates or even skim money from the bottom of the stack before handing it to you.
When handling currency of any type, most people count bills one-by-one to guarantee the customer receives the right amount of cash back; as opposed to handing the customer a stack of bills while skimming some off the bottom. To avoid being duped, know the rates before exchanging your money, and make sure to count your money before leaving. Even better, while the rates might not be as lucrative, go with an established hotel, bank or shop in the area to ensure you don’t get ripped off.
Taxi Surcharging And Overcharging
On arrival and during your travels, you will inevitably have to take a taxi at some point. Always avoid taxis where there is no metre present, where it seems the driver takes long and unnecessary routes or where the driver asks for a sky-high fee.
To avoid being taken advantage of, arrange a shuttle service to your hotel. If you must take a taxi from the airport to your accommodation, then make sure to take a metered taxi. It’s crucial that you agree on a fare before you get into a taxi and if ever in doubt, just get out and try another driver. There is no shortage of taxis in Bali and you’re under no commitment to take the first one you see.
Being Taken For A Tour Guide Ride
With Bali’s undeniable popularity, it’s no surprise that the market for licensed and unlicensed tour guides is huge. While the licensed tour guides are not a problem, it’s never a pleasant experience to take a tour that fails to meet your expectations or just outright robs you of a great experience and your money. Many sites and restaurants that will pay guides a commission for sending business their way so if you don’t want to be brought to expensive tourist restaurants and bars, then stick with licenced companies and guides.
To avoid being scammed, simply book tours with licensed agencies that have trained tour guides. These tours can be booked through your hotel and you will have a point of contact at the hotel to deal with. If the price seems excessive or you have any doubts as to how reputable the provider is, don’t book. Trust your gut and shop around for the best deals.
Focus On The Beauty Of Bali
A great trip can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t pay attention to those trying to swindle your hard-earned money from you. Bali is a true island paradise but, unfortunately, with the masses of tourists visiting every year, a few dishonest people have found ways to cheat visitors. However, with the right approach and by keeping your wits about you, you can have a hassle-free and enjoyable trip to this beautiful part of the world.
#3 By Celica21gtfour, from Wikimedia Commons