6 Common Tourist Scams in Bali and How to Avoid Them
What should you know about tourist scams in Bali? It seems that all popular world’s destinations have their own scams issues, and Bali isn’t different.
Because of its popularity and the fact that many tourists are coming to the place for holiday or travel, the possibility of scam is easily happening.
If you want to avoid such a thing, it would be better if you know some of the common schemes and how to avoid them. Just because you are on a holiday, it doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down.
You need to stay alert and be cautious. Not to be paranoid, but just to be careful.
Overpriced Taxi Ride
One of the biggest problems in Bali is the transportation.
You either rent a vehicle on your own or walk. Finding a taxi is pretty difficult. Even with the online taxi service, it doesn’t mean that your transportation issue can be resolved easily.
Because of this issue, some drivers may charge you a surcharge or a ridiculous rate, especially if you are having a long trip (for instance from Ubud to Kuta).
It would be better if you don’t trust them completely – simply get into the taxi without asking for the rate. And it’s better to choose a reliable one from reputable company, such as Bluebird.
To make sure that you don’t get the fake one, call +62 36170 11111. When the taxi arrives, it should be a light blue car with writing in dark blue.
The driver would use a meter and he wears blue uniforms. You can see his ID on the dashboard.
The car has a clear identification number with Blue Bird Group printed on the windshield. It also has a logo (a bird) on the side as well as the top of the car.
And make sure that you have already made a clear indication of where you are going. Ask for the general rate – more or less. If it is possible, you can record it.
In case something went south, you have the proof to bring to the police.
Online Transportation Service
Online transportation has its own flaws too, leading to several tourist scams in Bali.
What if you are having problems with the online service? In Bali, you can find Grab, Gojek, and Uber.
If you are using the service, make sure that you have everything recorded. The record can be your proof if you have to report the issue to the police.
Generally, it is quite rare to find issues with the motorcycle service. Whether you are using Gojek ride or Grab ride, the driver would obey the regulations.
But it doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. Always record everything. Often times, it is GoCar or Grab Car drivers who try to perform the scam.
It doesn’t mean that all car drivers are shady and jerks. As long as you already have a clear communication, be polite, and convey your intention to go to the destination (without the extra stop), then you should be good to go.
Even if you have to make several stops, say to them from the beginning to see whether they are mind or not. Some drivers don’t mind with the extra charges, but some do even with the extra charges.
You can talk about it like a sensible adult – no need to be a drama.
One of the most common issues is about the extra stops. Let’s say a tourist is traveling from Kuta to Ubud and she wants to make several stops (at the ATM and then at a minimarket).
She doesn’t see it as an issue because it happens along the way to Ubud. But it becomes an issue for the driver because first, he has to deal with the extra time.
Not to mention that he may have to deal with the problem of finding a proper parking spot and also the parking charge.
Second, if the tourist suddenly wants to make several stops here and there, it does cause the driver to deal with the extra work – not everyone is happy about it.
So, if you want to have a smooth ride with the online transportation, always communication.
Convey your intention from the very beginning – from the time you make the order.
If the driver is willing, he can continue. If he isn’t, he or you can always cancel.
Tourists often hire a personal driver so they can explore the island without spending a fortune.
Generally, they can rent a car along with the driver for $40 per day – the fee already includes entrance fees (to several places), petrol, and bottled water.
However, the scams happen when the driver would take you to shops or restaurants, claiming that they have super tasty menu or super good products – and everything is overpriced.
This kind of driver usually gets commission (from the establishments’ owners) if they are able to take tourists there.
To avoid such a tourist scams in Bali, you need to plan everything yourself. Make your own itinerary and tell the driver from the beginning.
Don’t follow his itinerary. It takes extra efforts but you won’t fall into any scam scheme or whatsoever.
Follow the places you want to visit, including the stops for lunch or breakfast.
Another alternative is to rent a scooter so you can explore the island on your own.
But to do this, you need to have an international driver license.
Rental Company Scam
When you rent a scooter, you need to be extra careful.
Some shady rental companies want to make extra money by accusing innocent customers.
The company may accuse you for damages that have already been present when you rent it, but they accuse you instead for causing the damages.
To avoid such a thing, it would be wise if you spend extra time to perform thorough check on the scooter before signing the contract.
Don’t sign it unless you are sure about the scooter’s condition. If the rental company refuses such a thing, walk away.
They already have a bad intention. A valid and legit company won’t mind the customers checking the scooter. Check the lights, paintwork, horn, gas tank, lock, brakes, and alarm.
Make sure to document it with photos and videos. Also check the plate – it should have a valid date. Check the documents too.
And don’t forget to rent the helmet too. Keep the name of the company along with their number with you. Don’t go away without them.
Don’t just easily accept the service of the porter when they offer you.
If you can manage yourself with the luggage, no need to use their service.
Airport porter scam happens when you accept their help and they will charge you with extra high fee at the exit. Keep in mind that trolleys are free, so you don’t have to pay anything to use it.
And the actual fee for the porter is not more than IDR 10,000. If you do need their help, make sure to have a deal on the price before letting them help you.
If they refuse and say that you can talk about it later, just walk away.
It’s one of the most common tourist scams in Bali that will happen to innocent tourists.
In some cases, tourists rent their own scooter,
but they have to buy petrol at street vendors on the side of the street, especially when they are running of it.
In the end, they will have to pay a huge amount of money – which is totally overpriced.
Make sure that your petrol is enough before starting your exploration. If it runs out, go to the official petrol station. And make sure to bring small change so paying the exact amount would be possible.
Those are some of the most common scam schemes that are happening in Bali. Beside Bali, the most well-known destination in Indonesia is Lombok, commonly many tourist who spent their holiday in Bali also consider Lombok as the next opt. So tourist scams in Lombok is also very important to aware. Save yourself and your money and have a safe journey!
As long as you have done your research thoroughly and well, you should be able to avoid those tourist scams in Bali smoothly without offending anyone.