Bali Tourism Reviews: Watch Out for These Scams and How to Counter Them

Exploring Bali? Watch Out for These Scams and How to Counter Them

Bali, Indonesia, often dubbed the “Island of the Gods,” has long been a magnet for travelers seeking the perfect blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality. From its lush terraced rice fields to its vibrant festivals and pristine beaches, Bali seems like a paradise on Earth. However, beneath this idyllic facade, there exists a world of scams targeting unsuspecting tourists. These scams can not only tarnish your vacation but also drain your wallet. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll shine a light on some of the most common scams in Bali and provide you with essential tips to safeguard yourself against these deceptive schemes.

Navigating Tourism Scams in Bali, Indonesia: Tips to Stay Safe and Informed

Rideshare Drivers Go Rogue

Navigating Bali’s busy streets often involves relying on taxis or rideshare services. Services like Grab can be a convenient choice, but be wary of rogue drivers who inflate fares once you’re on the move. To ensure a fair ride, stick with reputable companies like the Blue Bird Group, making sure they use the meter for a transparent fare calculation.

Tip: Opt for official taxi services, book through reputable apps, and always clarify fares before starting your journey.

Fake Blue Bird Taxis

Bali’s taxi mafia is notorious for mimicking the trustworthy Blue Bird taxis with similar colors and logos. These impostors can lead you astray with rigged meters and overpriced rides. To ensure a safe ride, choose official Blue Bird taxis, available at airports and by using the official Blue Bird app.

Tip: Confirm the official taxi logo and ask your hotel to call a Blue Bird taxi for you.

Currency Exchange Scams

Money exchange kiosks can seem like a reliable way to convert currency. However, scammers often use slight-of-hand tricks to shortchange tourists or give out damaged notes. Stick to ATMs for better rates and inspect your money before leaving the exchange kiosk.

Tip: Use ATMs from reputable banks, inspect your exchanged money, and choose bank branches for currency exchange.

Beach Hustlers and Touts

Bali’s picturesque beaches are often frequented by persistent sellers offering souvenirs, massages, and more. While engaging with them is a matter of convenience, be cautious and avoid making purchases from children, as it can perpetuate unfavorable practices.

Tip: Politely decline unwanted offers and engage only with reputable service providers.

Temple Entrance Fees and Guides

At popular temples, you may encounter individuals demanding entrance fees or offering guiding services. Official ticket windows and reputable guides are the way to go. Don’t be fooled by impostors looking to take advantage of your visit.

Tip: Proceed to official ticket windows, and rely on official guides for reliable information.

Bonus Parking Fees

Unofficial parking attendants often set up makeshift stalls at popular attractions, demanding extra fees for parking. Choose free parking spaces or avoid confrontation by parking elsewhere.

Tip: Opt for official parking areas or inquire about parking fees beforehand.

Motorbike Rental Scams

Rogue motorbike rental offers are a common occurrence, often resulting in hidden fees or motorbike theft. Stick to renting from legitimate rental shops to avoid potential troubles.

Tip: Rent motorbikes from reputable shops or arrange rentals through your accommodation.

Fake and Corrupt Police

In encounters with traffic police, particularly on motorbikes, some officers may attempt to solicit bribes or fines on the spot. Be cautious and ask for proper identification before handing over documents.

Tip: Keep a small amount of money in your wallet and avoid separating from your group or belongings.

Room Renewal Scam

Extending your stay at a hotel can result in higher prices than the initial online booking rate. Hotels often charge walk-in rates for extensions, so be prepared to check out and re-book online to maintain the lower rate.

Tip: Book your entire stay online to lock in the original rate and avoid surprises.

Dangerous Arak

When enjoying alcoholic beverages in Bali, be cautious of potential substitutions of locally-produced spirits like arak, which can be dangerous due to contamination. Stick to bottled imported spirits and avoid arak-laden cocktails.

Tip: Opt for bottled and sealed imported spirits, and inquire about ingredients before consuming any alcoholic beverages.

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FAQs About Bali Tourism Scams

1. What are some common scams targeting tourists in Bali?

Tourists in Bali often encounter scams such as rigged currency exchange rates, fake taxis, temple entrance fee hustles, and motorbike rental scams, among others.

2. How can I avoid falling victim to currency exchange scams?

Avoid exchanging money at unofficial kiosks or shops. Stick to banks or reputable exchange offices. Count your money carefully and be cautious of anyone trying to distract you during the transaction.

3. How do I identify legitimate taxis in Bali?

Look for Blue Bird taxis, which are reputable and have proper meters. Be cautious of vehicles that resemble Blue Bird taxis but have slight variations in logo or color. Use the official Blue Bird app for added assurance.

4. Are there any precautions to take while on the beach in Bali?

Be cautious of beach vendors and touts offering goods and services. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially when approached by sellers. Be firm in declining their offers if you’re not interested.

5. How can I protect myself from motorbike rental scams?

Avoid renting motorbikes from individuals on the street. Rent from established rental shops or inquire at your accommodation. Check the bike thoroughly for damage before renting and take photos for documentation.

6. What should I do if someone approaches me for a temple entrance fee or guide?

Always verify official entrances and ticket counters. Politely decline unsolicited guides and refuse to pay unauthorized entrance fees. Dress modestly and carry your own sarong if needed.

7. How can I prevent being overcharged by rideshare drivers in Bali?

Use reputable rideshare apps like Grab and ensure that the driver uses the meter. If they ask for additional money beyond the app’s quote, decline and wait for another driver or negotiate.

8. Are there precautions to take when extending my hotel stay in Bali?

Be aware that walk-in rates for extended stays might be higher than online rates. Book your entire stay online to lock in the lower rate and avoid the need for negotiations.

9. How can I avoid falling for fake police scams in Bali?

If approached by individuals claiming to be police, remain cautious and do not hand over your passport. Insist on seeing official identification, and stand your ground if you suspect foul play.

10. How can I contribute to raising awareness about scams in Bali?

Share your travel experiences and insights in the comments section of this article. Spread the word by sharing the article on your social media platforms to help educate others about the scams and precautions in Bali. You can also provide valuable information about tourism scams by reaching out to us via email at Your input can aid in creating more resources for informed and secure travel.


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