Bali, the world’s best tourist destination according to TripAdvisor in 2017. Sunshine, beautiful beaches, rich in culture and relatively cheap alcohol. Many of the scams in Bali are the same ones that have been around for years, though every day tourists seem to keep getting ‘got’. You think it may never happen to you, until it does – it can ruin a trip, make you never want to go back, and think negatively about such a beautiful place. So let’s dive into the “Top 5 Scams in Bali To Look Out For In 2019.”
1. ATM Scams
ATM scams in Bali have hit an all time high, especially in the most common places of Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu. Scammers are becoming a lot smarter and are a lot harder to recognise. If you need to use an ATM machine always ensure it is a legitimate one or head to one of the main banks.
One tip, is to feel around the pin pad area and card insert slot. Double check that it is actually fitted to the machine properly, sometimes the scammers can put a fake one over it and this is how people lose their cards. If someone is lurking around and seems a little suspicious ask them to move away or take your card to another ATM.
In Bali, the ATM we give you cash first and then return your card, always remember to take your card. If your card does not come out of the machine, ensure to cancel your bank card straight away, stay with the machine until this is done. Report this to the local police also. The best idea is to always take enough cash with you from your home town and use a legitimate money changer.
2. Scooter rental scams
Renting scooters in Bali is a common thing but scams can happen. We have heard of scooters being stolen back by the owners and charging the customers 4-5 million in a way to get more money, over charging customers for any damage that may have occurred and also no signed contracts in place. Some locals will even rent out their own scooters to put extra money in their pockets. When renting scooters it is best to do your research and go with a well known company.
One I reconmend in Bali is MUTE GARAGE BALI, located in Batu Belig, on the edge of Seminyak and Canggu. It is Australian owned and they have the best customer service with no dramas involved.
Always make sure to lock your scooters when leaving them parked, ensure to take your helmet with you or lock it inside your scooter seat.
Top tip is to avoid renting scooters from the street and stick to renting scooters from proper rental shops, yes they may be more expensive although there wont be many problems to worry about, which will make your rental experience in Bali a breeze.
3. fake taxi scams
In Bali it’s usually cheapest to catch a GRAB or GoJek, unfortunately these are banned in some places. Therefore, you may have to use the local transport which will cost a little extra. Safety is always a priority. It is better to pay the extra and get around safely and legally.
The main taxi company in Bali is called Blue Bird. Whenever using a Blue Bird Taxi, ensure it is CLEARLY marked as a Blue Bird. There has been alot more FAKE Bluebirds being mistaken for the real ones, this is because they are becoming alot more sly, smarter and quicker at reading tourists.
TAXI BALI is not the real deal, they may look similar to the Blue Birds, though instead they use a duck flying on the roof instead of a bird across the front window, they have BLUE BIRO GROUP instead of BLUE BIRD GROUP and they are changing the color of the cars as well. Doesn’t that look similar?
A few other tips to remember to avoid getting scammed while riding around Bali in a taxi is…
- If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t
- Always be aware of your surroundings, including while driving!
- Never get in an unmarked taxi.
- Do no forget to, always take a photo of the number plate before you get in. This way it is easier to report something if anything ever does happen. Or if you forget something inside the cab… It happens
- Ensure the Taxi meter is ALWAYS on! Avoid any taxi that won’t use the meter or taxis that claim it is a fixed price.
4. Currency exchange trickery
Money changers in Bali are everywhere! You will find them on every street, in the back alley ways and then the authorized money converter offices. When available always use authorised money changers and try avoid the ones on the street. The ones on the street may look like a better rate, though this is where the scams happen. Many boast no commission or fees. Though they instead charge you extra commission, do not give you the correct exchange rate or money. The staff at these kiosks are experts at slight of hand. They may count your money in front of you but still manage to drop 50,000 or 100,000 rupiah note behind the desk without you noticing. Sometimes damaged or invalid bank notes are also passed onto tourists here. Always be sure to be the last person to count.
There are plenty of authorised places to change your money including the airport when you first arrive, BMC Money Changer, PT and Central Kuta Money Exchange, these are all authorised money changers and are highly recommended.
Click Here to read more about where to exchange money while in Bali.
5. beach hustlers
They are everywhere! Wanting to go lay on the beach and just relax? In Kuta, Legian and Seminyak this is near impossible. You will be surrounded by Balinese hustlers everywhere. From kids offering bracelets and coconuts, to the aunties offering massages, pedicures and sarongs.
If you are purchasing something off them, expect to pay more than you would anywhere else. This is more of a convenience thing for you. You will find all these products in the shops at half the price and better quality. Don’t be afraid to say ‘Tidak’ (no, prounounced: tea-dah) and send them on their way.
Unfortunately, you will find that most of the kids are being forced by their parents or bosses to do this, instead of attending school they send them out to the beach all day in hopes of making money.
Be smart while traveling throughout Bali. Knowing the “Top 5 Scams In Bali To Look Out For In 2019,” you get out there and enjoy your holiday with confidence that you will not be the tourist who gets scammed.
Now that you have some cash in your pocket and are ready to jump into Balinese Culture, why not get a traditional tattoo?
Click Here to read our post about Traditional Balinese Tattoos.