My first impression of Bali, when I arrived at the airport, was not good. My expectation of Bali before I arrived was that it would be an island paradise but now leaving Bali, I feel it was extremely overrated.
While Bali is a wonderful place to visit there are a number of reasons to not visit Bali. For example, we all hear about the amazing food in Bali but is it safe to eat, and will you get food poisoning from it.
In this post, we will go through reasons NOT to Visit Bali. So let’s get started!
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Reasons NOT To Visit Bali
Though Bali is a wonderful country to visit there are a number of reasons not to go to Bali. What I have listed below might seem cranky or over-critical but it is my option. I would like to share with you my reasons why not visiting Bali.
Please note this is our personal experience and view. This is purely how I felt and observed in Bali.
- Openly selling drugs.
- Police corruption.
- Aggressive upselling.
- Beaches are overrated.
- Having to haggle on prices.
- Food is hit or miss.
- Careful when changing your money.
- Service charge and sales tax are not included in the price.
Pick Pocketing Is A Problem
This is a big problem, particularly in Kuta. There is really nothing been done about this. Every local just seems to be involved in this.
From the taxi drivers, bar staff, security staff, and guys on the motorbike and seem to be loads of gangs at this on the streets, and these gangs are in the bars also. Trying to pickpocket every tourist that passes by.
My experience of the pickpocketing is that about five guys surrounded me with the pretense of friendly banter patting me on the back and it became fairly uncomfortable.
And then suddenly felt a hand go into the side of his shorts pocket where my phone was and shouted at them ‘What the f**K you doing’ and they all just shattered and walked off quickly.
Regarding the police or tourist police on the subject of pickpocketing they simply don’t care. The tourist police are totally useless and in reality, are part of the problem. And the police are no better.
Openly Selling Drugs
There are guys in Bali, on nearly every street corner or they will be just walking up the street. Will shout over or just walk over while I would be in the restaurant eating. And ask if I want Viagra or some other one, as I keep saying no. He will work his way up to the class A drugs.
In many cases, some of these men are working with police that are undercover and once you agree to purchase drugs, they will arrest you in hope of a bribe or even worse a lengthy sentence in an Indonesian prison.
Police Corruption Is A Problem
Corruption in Bali towards tourists is a problem. And the always traffic police watching for tourists. They will very quickly slap a fine on you for the most trivial things.
For example not wearing a helmet, license, or some other things. The fines are a form of bribe, which you can settle immediately by paying an amount ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 IDR to them.
They just didn’t leave me alone or anyone alone. Walk past a stall, shop, restaurant, or go to the beach, everyone is trying to sell something.
While on the beach, there were trying to sell surf lessons, massage, and drinks and there was one guy selling a bow and arrow on the beach.
And then again after 10 mins the same people selling the same stuff, come around again, and again and again.
Beaches Are Overrated
The beaches in Bali were fairly overrated. The beaches were ok with some being partly dirty, crowded, and really nothing special. When I compare the beaches in Bali to beaches in Thailand or Cambodia.
Thailand wins hands down even though Cambodia had way better beaches than Bali.
Have To Haggle The Price Of Almost Everything!
In trying to do the touristy stuff like doing the Mount Batur Sunrise trekking was originally quoted and advertised at 850,000 IDR which is about 55 euro.
The price was haggled down to 430,000 IDR which is about 28 euros. Fairly nice discount. Most people we meet on the trek paid the higher price.
Some places refused to haggle on the price, so we just go to the next tourist place. We received and were offered discounts on other touristy stuff.
Food Is Hit Or Miss
With the food there just seems to be no consistency. I got food in one restaurant and the food was pretty good and I returned 2 days later and the food at best OK. Again the food on the island is hit or miss.
Careful When Changing Your Money
In Bali, there are loads of money exchanges. Good percentages of these exchanges are there to solely rip off the tourist. They will advertise a very favorable exchange rate.
Once you enter, they may have a funny calculator or give you small notes and say that they have no larger notes. After showing the stack of notes, they will lower it behind the counter and drop a few notes before handing them back to you.
Remember, always make sure to use authorized money changers in Bali when you want to change your money.
Service Charge And Sales Tax Not Inclusive In Price
This is more of a pet peeve, mostly with restaurants where the prices on the menu do not include the sales tax and service charge. The sales tax is about 5% and the service charge is 10%.
Both seem to vary from place to place. But either way, it adds 15% to the final bill which is a nice bit.
USEFUL TRAVEL RESOURCES
Booking.com has a large range of properties from hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and resorts where you will find the best deals. Airbnb and Hostelworld also have a good range of places to stay at good prices.
Skyscanner is a flight search comparison website that searches millions of flights all at once. Ultimately it is the best flight comparison website online at the moment.
Booking Transportation & Things To Do
Rome2rio and 12Go is a great way to plan how to get anywhere by searching train, bus, car, and ferry routes. Especially useful in countries like Vietnam or Thailand. While Klook is great to explore things to do in each place.
Travel insurance is cheap and more than likely you will never need to use it but you will have peace of mind if something does happen, you are covered in case of an emergency. World Nomads have great customer service and competitive prices.
Check out our resource page for the best companies to use when you travel.
Finally to summarize, if you want to visit Bali, just be ready for these things. Most of the people I meet including locals were nice but there are others that see tourists as ATM machines.
Like any trip, you’ll get the most out of it by learning all you can before you arrive.
And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on these Bali Travel Tips – Reasons NOT to Visit Bali was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if you had any problems in Bali.
Finally someone says it! Bali is so overrated 🙏
Thanks for this blog post.