10 Most Common Tourist Scams in Lombok
Just because Lombok is popular for its natural beauty and breathtaking views, it doesn’t mean that you won’t find any tourist scams in Lombok.
The island is located on the southern side of Bali – and it is actually more beautiful than Bali. It’s because Bali has become more and more crowded and packed (because of its popularity) that the natural beauty doesn’t seem original or pure anymore.
If you want to go to naturally beautiful place whose beauty won’t stop taking your breath away, then you should go to Lombok.
It isn’t as popular as Bali so it is less crowded too. The beaches are absolutely gorgeous. The wild geography is perfect for those who are in love with the outdoor adventure, such as camping and trekking.
The island is also packed with waterfalls, not people. But then again, never let your guards down with your surroundings and the locals. Most of them would be friendly but some may have bad intention for your money.
Transportation and Travel
One of the most common tourist scams in Lombok is about transportation or travel ticket. For instance, most Lombok visitors may stay in Bali and they depend on the ferry boat service to take them from Bali to Lombok, and vice versa.
The most common scam is tourists would buy the ticket and it turns out that the ticket is fake or it isn’t valid. It’s because they buy the tickets from a street tout claiming that they have the best price and also the best offer.
This is why you should always buy the ticket from reliable company – or at least the company’s official ticket booth. They sell the price on the standard and official rate. Avoid street touts claiming that they have the best price.
Don’t be tempted by the suspiciously very low rate because it is highly likely to be fake. It is also a best move to do your own research concerning the tickets, the routes, and the schedules.
In this way, you won’t be easily fooled by the locals. These tips are also applicable for other tickets services, such as buses, trains, etc.
You may see some local vendors offering their trinkets or general stuff, like beach sandal, sarong, or such thing alike. Instead of selling their stuff at shops, the sellers are usually moving around on foot.
Be careful about spending your money with these sellers as they are increasing the price in a drastic way – it is super expensive, really. Well, unless you are really interested in those stuff and you want to buy from them, just walk on and just say ‘no, thank you’ while shaking your head. Don’t mind them.
You can buy those items at Gili Islands and Lombok, at the regular shops or stalls. They sell the items in a more logical rate.
Never stop for the local vendors or they will swarm you. You can actually bargain with them, but still…. it is much worthy to buy all of those trinkets and stuff at the shops.
Street Food Vendors
Imagine this: You want to try the local street food and you see one that seems interesting and appealing. You have a portion but once you are done, the seller charges you a ridiculously large amount of money – too high for such a portion of street food type.
If you want to try the street food, make sure that you know the price. Ask the details of each portion (how much it is, what are you going to get, etc) before you order anything.
There are a lot of honest street food vendors, but some of the shady ones also exist. So, before you fall into their traps, it is always better to know the details. And you can always ask around for the reputable ones – from their cleanliness, their hygiene, their safety, etc.
Do your research as well as asking around for recommendation.
Drinks, Foods, and Nightlife
Be aware of places that claim to provide the best entertainment and lure you to their places – but when you get there, you find out that the food is lousy, the price is exorbitant, and the entertainment sucks. If a street tout offers you good entertainment, avoid him/her.
If a place is truly good, it doesn’t need such a promotional way – visitors will come on their own. Some restaurants may add some extra charges for things that you don’t order. Always check the bills. And always check the detailed prices before dining in or enjoying the entertainment. This is one of the most common tourist scams in Lombok.
When you are in Lombok, there are only several places that provide foods, drinks, and nightlife entertainment with reasonable prices and good safety concerns. You can go to Mataram where you can go to good (and reputable) bars as well as restaurants.
Another possible spot is Senggigi – having the best bars, restaurants, and nightlife on the island. If you go to these two places, you can enjoy nightlife entertainment and also memorable dining experience.
Whether you are trying the international cuisine or the local one, there are plenty of places to explore. If you don’t mind a bit of spicy taste, the local food of Lombok can be heavenly pleasing to your taste bud.
Want to have a local dining experience at warungs? There are some of the most reputable warungs on the island – and many of them provide reasonable prices too.
Petty Theft and Pickpocket
Petty theft isn’t probably exactly included as a scam, but it is one of the most common criminal actions in the island. Thieves are pretty swift to the inexperienced eyes.
Even if you feel that you are always watching over your belongings, they can take those things quickly when you divert your attention for only one or two seconds away. That’s why you should always be careful.
Make sure that you have a hidden pocket or hidden compartment somewhere. It would be better if you can have several hidden compartments here and there so you can keep your valuable belongings.
Never leave your items unattended – even for a second. These people are quick and they will create a diversion to distract you. Don’t easily trust strangers – no matter how friendly or kind they look.
Always hold on to your belongings, especially in a crowded place. In short, never let your guards down.
This is also one of the most common tourist scams in Lombok is the motorbike rental service. There are possible methods: to charge tourists with high rate or to provide them with already damaged bike.
If the second one happens to you, you will be charged with super expensive repair cost – and you aren’t even responsible for it! The daily rental rate is between IDR 60,000 and IDR 80,000 so don’t rent anything if you are presented with a rate higher than that. And always check the condition of the bike before signing the contract.
And have a contract! It will protect you when things go south, but make sure that you check the clauses, the terms, and the bike before signing it.
You get an offer to go on a one-day tour with unbelievably cheap rate. But after you transfer the money, they’re gone.
Yes, this is one of the most common scams happening to unsuspecting tourists who expect high-quality tour with low rate. That’s why you should be financially logical, but don’t be cheap.
If you are offered by an unknown travel agent with very low rate, be aware. Don’t transfer anything if they ask you to. If you want to take part in a tour, make sure to go to a reputable one.
The reputable one usually charges you on the spot, not requiring you to transfer the money.
This scam in Lombok is similar to the motorbike rental scam where you are given the already damaged stuff. So, whenever you rent a scuba diving gear, a surf board, a jet ski, or something like that, make sure that you check the equipment before you sign the contract.
You don’t want to end up paying a huge amount of money, especially for something that you don’t do.
Another alternative is to go to reputable providers or services with good service. They may charge rather costly but it is worth it.
The most common tourist scams in Lombok is taxi scam where a fake taxi from Blue Bird, Express, Eksekutif, or Silver Bird offer you a ride.
Don’t just pick any taxi from the street just like that – make sure that you call them and reserve for one. Fake taxi may take you somewhere hidden or remote and then rob you.
It is also possible that they may tweak the meter so the rate will inflate uncontrolably. Don’t be tempted by the overly low rate because it will likely that you will spend more than you can imagine.
When you want to go to a place, but then the driver says that it is closed, don’t easily trust them. They may do it to take you elsewhere where they get a commission.
A lot of drivers may get a commission from places if they can get tourists to come – and buy – from those spots. Do your research concerning the open and closing hours.
Even if the driver claims that the place is closed, just go there. You need to see it yourself. And in the event that it is closed, just go elsewhere – as long as you don’t go to the places directed by the drivers.
In the end, as long as you remain careful, you can enjoy your time in Lombok. You just need to be extra careful of the possibility of the tourist scams in Lombok so you can avoid them.