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Bali, Indonesia

 
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nicwr2002



Joined: 17 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:22 pm    Post subject: Bali, Indonesia Reply with quote

I came here to post my experience and notice someone had already posted a question about the place. I know many people living here from the Western Hemisphere are hoping to travel around Asia, since living in Korea makes that easier. However, anyone planning to go to Bali should reconsider that choice.

First of all, in my opinion, Bali was a terrible place to visit. It is strange to me how Bali is ranked in top ten lists as a great place for a honeymoon. Other websites will state that things are really cheap there, well they might be for other countries, but I found the prices comparative to the States and in some cases Korea.

You are nickel and dimed (squeezed for all your worth) as soon as you enter the airport. The "Pay on Arrival" visa is $25 per person. Once you gather your luggage you are immediately greeted by people who want to offer to carry your luggage unknowingly for a small fee. Luckily I had already read about this on the internet and avoided that scam. Once out of the airport, you are greeted by the overwhelming smell of exhaust fumes as everybody and their momma has a motorbike.

Once you get settled in and start exploring the city you'll quickly find out the next annoying and probably the biggest reason I hated the trip. Peddlers and scam type things are every where. As soon as we were dropped off from our hotel shuttle bus and guy was waiting to capture unsuspecting tourists with this tear open cards that you can win prizes from. After opening one, it will state that you have won a prize and then the guy will tell you if you want to collect the prize you have to listen to a 1 hour presentation and that there is no obligation and no money involved. They have these types things in the States so I told the guy nope not interested. As well walked about 10 feet down the road, we were greeting again by other guy doing the same thing. Then other person with different cards doing the same type scam another block and the same thing in the neighboring city. You are constantly bombarded by this where ever you go.

The next annoying peddlers are the ones that want to sell you stuff. Now I know people are just trying to make a living, but when you are trying to relax on the beach and a peddler comes up to you every 5 minutes you can't enjoy your time. I had a guy offer hats, sunglasses, necklaces, kites, and just cloth. Even the same person will come up to you again after 10 minutes.

The next thing is about taxis. If you do go to Bali, just rent a motorbike and never take a taxi anywhere. There is only one taxi company you can trust and that is Blue Bird Taxi and even they suck. If you bill is 50,000 Rupiah (5,000 won) and you hand them 100,000 Rupiah (10,000 won) they will say, "I don't have change," in order for you to just give them extra money even though they do have change. We forced the driver to wait as we got out and made change for our bills, he was very angry that we didn't fall for that. Also as you walk down the sidewalk, taxi's will constantly honk their horns trying to get your attention to take their taxi. When I say constantly, I mean every 30 seconds as there are a ton of taxis on the streets.

Next, the prices are just as expensive as America and even Korea for some items. Globalization and business owners realizing the fact that tourist will pay more have driven the prices in Bali way up. Name brand stores populate all the major places like Kuta and Seminyak like Billabong and Quicksilver. Western food is everywhere while Indonesian food is few and far between. If you want to eat cheap Indonesian food, be prepared for an unclean environment. I know it is a developing country and I've been to a small Malaysia city before, but I couldn't bring myself to eat at local Indonesian places. Therefore, I had to fork out the extra money for the more upscale Indonesian places.

As you leave Bali you have to pay an exit fee of $15 as well. The price differences from the city to the airport is ridiculous. Water at the store was about 400won, but in the airport is was 1800 won. All in all I give Bali a 4 out of 10.

I forgot to add that the beach was filthy with plastic bags floating in the water everywhere.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try arriving in Bali without new US dollars to pay for your visa and you will be introduced to the criminals that run the country, the government.
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mikesaidyes



Joined: 26 Apr 2011
Location: Sanbon, South Korea

PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not just Bali, but many developing tourism markets in Southeast Asia. It's frustrating, but you just grin and bear it. Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, etc. etc.
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banjois



Joined: 14 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try Lombok or Java; much better.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ubud, Bali in the mountains is very nice. Yogyakarta on the island of Java is probably one of the nicest cities in Indonesia. Jakarta is a real crap city. You can fly directly to Yogya from some cities in SE Asia.
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Enigma



Joined: 20 Mar 2008

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obviously you're entitled to your opinion, but by the sounds of it, I'm guessing you (the OP) only went to the very southernmost part of the island (south of Denpasar) which is, what, maybe 2% of the whole island. That area's basically just a huge tourist ghetto. That's kind of like a tourist going to New York and only going to Times Square and saying, "Oh, New York sucks."

Bali is amazing, but first you've got to get away from that little area in the south. I've been to Bali twice. The first time I went to the Ubud area and Pemuteran (up on the northwest coast). The second time I only had a few days, so I went to the Amed area on the east coast. I had an amazing time with amazing scenery in all three areas. Ubud definitely has a lot of tourists, but it's also easy to go for a walk or rent a bike and get away from the tourist area very quickly. And yes, there are places where you can pay near-western prices for hotels and food if you want, but there are also tons of places that are dirt cheap if you're willing to step outside your comfort zone. For traveling between cities, it's often very easy to hop on a bemo (basically like a minivan bus) and pay only a buck or two. Plus you get to meet locals that way.

I highly recommend Bali (north of Denpasar) to anyone who's considering going. There are beaches, snorkeling, scuba-diving, hiking, whitewater rafting, etc. that are absolutely fantastic, and you most definitely don't have to pay an arm and a leg to do them.
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nicwr2002



Joined: 17 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enigma wrote:
Obviously you're entitled to your opinion, but by the sounds of it, I'm guessing you (the OP) only went to the very southernmost part of the island (south of Denpasar) which is, what, maybe 2% of the whole island. That area's basically just a huge tourist ghetto. That's kind of like a tourist going to New York and only going to Times Square and saying, "Oh, New York sucks."

Bali is amazing, but first you've got to get away from that little area in the south. I've been to Bali twice. The first time I went to the Ubud area and Pemuteran (up on the northwest coast). The second time I only had a few days, so I went to the Amed area on the east coast. I had an amazing time with amazing scenery in all three areas. Ubud definitely has a lot of tourists, but it's also easy to go for a walk or rent a bike and get away from the tourist area very quickly. And yes, there are places where you can pay near-western prices for hotels and food if you want, but there are also tons of places that are dirt cheap if you're willing to step outside your comfort zone. For traveling between cities, it's often very easy to hop on a bemo (basically like a minivan bus) and pay only a buck or two. Plus you get to meet locals that way.

I highly recommend Bali (north of Denpasar) to anyone who's considering going. There are beaches, snorkeling, scuba-diving, hiking, whitewater rafting, etc. that are absolutely fantastic, and you most definitely don't have to pay an arm and a leg to do them.


You are right, I didn't visit that many places, but I did go to Lovina on the north part. It was a lot quieter, but still had the same peddlers in your face. What I'm giving a heads up to is that travel books make Bali out to be very cheap everywhere and not just the outlying areas. I did read a lot has change there in the last two years so who knows.
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Spike



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enigma wrote:
Obviously you're entitled to your opinion, but by the sounds of it, I'm guessing you (the OP) only went to the very southernmost part of the island (south of Denpasar) which is, what, maybe 2% of the whole island. That area's basically just a huge tourist ghetto. That's kind of like a tourist going to New York and only going to Times Square and saying, "Oh, New York sucks."

Bali is amazing, but first you've got to get away from that little area in the south. I've been to Bali twice. The first time I went to the Ubud area and Pemuteran (up on the northwest coast). The second time I only had a few days, so I went to the Amed area on the east coast. I had an amazing time with amazing scenery in all three areas. Ubud definitely has a lot of tourists, but it's also easy to go for a walk or rent a bike and get away from the tourist area very quickly. And yes, there are places where you can pay near-western prices for hotels and food if you want, but there are also tons of places that are dirt cheap if you're willing to step outside your comfort zone. For traveling between cities, it's often very easy to hop on a bemo (basically like a minivan bus) and pay only a buck or two. Plus you get to meet locals that way.

I highly recommend Bali (north of Denpasar) to anyone who's considering going. There are beaches, snorkeling, scuba-diving, hiking, whitewater rafting, etc. that are absolutely fantastic, and you most definitely don't have to pay an arm and a leg to do them.


THIS! ^^^ I've been a few times within the past eight years..

Kuta is not Bali..

Bali is amazing.. Ubud, Gilis, Lombok, Lembongan even!

If you only stayed in the tourist trap areas, then what did you expect?

Even Sanur, while quieter and with an older crowd, is LOADS better than Kuta..
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Moldy Rutabaga



Joined: 01 Jul 2003
Location: Ansan, Korea

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I first went to Bali in October 2003 just after the hotel bombings there, and had a great time. Because the tourists were scared away for a while, it was quiet and the locals were friendly. When I went back in June 2004, again a good time. But when I returned in February 2011 I had all of the problems the OP mentioned, and dirty beaches, and cheating money-changers. I think there's three lessons.

1. I think Bali has simply gone downhill from the crush of tourists, and it's harder (not impossible) to find nice places. Even Ubud seems a little run-down now.
2. Kuta is probably a lot nicer during low season in summer when it isn't jammed with drunken tourists. If the OP went in Jan-Feb, that's probably the worst time.
3. Do explore outside Kuta. The mountain highlands are very nice. Sanur and Jimbaron are OK too.

I think if I went back, I'd stay at a nicer hotel with flowers and a pool and relax, and get my fill of hawkers and noise in the afternoon in Kuta, and do some day or overnight trips elsewhere on the island.
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bucheon bum



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: DC area

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The high season for Indonesia is actually June-August (the dry season). December-February is the worst time to go to the beaches since it is the heart of the rainy season. While rain isn't necessarily bad, the seas are a lot rougher and the beaches have a lot more garbage on them (especially on the southern ends of the islands).

On the other hand, the country is a lot more green and the countryside is prettier during the rainy season.

I haven't been to Bali, just parts of Java, which is crowded but has some interesting spots, such the aforementioned city of yogya. Haven't had the "pleasure" of experiencing Jakarta yet.

I think the OP goes a little overboard. I've eaten at countless cheap eateries in Java, got sick once, but otherwise was fine. Indonesia is definitely one of the cheaper countries I've been to. It's a bargin compared to Thailand and Malaysia now. A first class 8 hour train ride cost me a few dollars. Most meals are a couple bucks at most.

Anyway, Bali might be bad (I have no idea), but I certainly wouldn't dismiss the country as a whole. It's a pretty fascinating country IMO.
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Cartman



Joined: 30 Jun 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was there in 2010. Started in Kuta beach, travelled around. Yes, sometimes even when aware and prepared for the scams, you still get sucked with almost no way to avoid it.

Also, the Lonely Planet books have done a disservice to tourist - any resort/cheap hotel they list, is jam packed, and the prices have surely escalated, because of the hype and promo.

I met another tourist there who was telling me how the highway police will pull anyone over with light skin, make up some offense they committed (while on his rented scooter), and demand $500 to be let off. He said he was smart to not keep all his cash in his wallet/pouch, and only had $100 and change - he begged very nicely and apologized, so they took his money. Scammers.
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