Avoiding crime in Bali is easy if you know what to look out for. In fact, the same crimes have been going on for hundreds of years. In this guide, I will show you how to stay away from fake Blue Bird Taxis, beach vendors, crooked money exchangers, and thugs and hustlers looking for an opportunity to take everything from you. But, don’t stress too hard, I have never encountered anything bad here in almost 3 years, probably because I am married to a local. Either way, keep your head up, walk with confidence, and you’ll be fine once you finish reading this article.
Buying gasoline or petrol at the gas-station.
Make sure you roll down your window and watch the attendant while they pump. Some stations will short the fuel when you are not looking, So if you give them a 100k make sure the meter says 100k before you drive off. They will fill it halfway and keep 50k.
Recently, there have been cases of people getting their purses or phones snatched while riding their motorbike. These crooks are better known as the “Jambret” which means “snatcher” in Indonesian. They prey on the tourist who is caught off guard while either navigating with their phone app, filming their journey, or taking selfies. The Jambret will also use a knife cutting the strap from your purse sometimes causing their victims to crash. When riding, passengers should be an extra set of eyes, not a distraction. Pull to the side of the road when using your phone. Try to resist taking selfies, and wearing purses with straps. Instead, wear a fanny pack under your shirt.
Instead, put your purse under the seat compartment or carry your belongings in your pocket. So even though it takes a lot of concentration to navigate through the streets of Bali, try to always be on alert and hold on to your stuff.
Know the exchange rate before you walk into a currency exchange booth so you can bargain with them. After you agree to a good exchange rate watch the teller’s hands, never take your eye off the money. Also, count the money twice before leaving. SomeTellers will drop a few bills on the ground before handing you your money. If you notice this and tell them they will pretend like it was an accident. tellers will try to pass off damaged or invalid banknotes to you, so Inspect the money before walking away. Get your money, walk away, and say thank you.
You can check online for the most up to date exchange rates but keep in mind, If you’re going to check websites like XE: The World’s Trusted Currency Authority then be sure to note, these are mid-market rates, that are NOT available to people like you or me.
Do not exchange any amount of cash at airports or hotels where the rates are too high. I also use an app called Elk (for iPhone only) that is extremely handy for converting between two currencies. Go for the pro version of the app.
Children Selling on the streets
This is a hard one to walk away from, especially when you just left your luxurious private villa to pick up a few snacks and a Bintang. Children will often approach you with a wide array of items to sell for at least double the normal price inside Coco-Mart. But with their dirty face and sad eyes, it is hard to say no. Also, keep in mind you’re probably supporting a bad member of their family or boss. Additionally, why aren’t they in school? Your good deed will not help crime in Bali.
If you do wish to help local children, do so by contributing to a local organizations
Many visitors regard street hawkers and hustlers as the number one annoyance in Bali. Visitors are frequently and often hassled to buy things. The worst spots are in Jl Legian in Kuta, Gunung Batur, Lovina, the temples at Besakih, and Tanah Lot.
Use the following tips to deflect attention.
- Completely ignore hustlers/hawkers.
- Don’t make any eye contact.
- A polite tidak (no) actually encourages them.
- Avoid asking the price or ask anything about the hawker’s goods.(unless interested in buying)
Keep in mind, though, that ultimately they’re just people trying to make a living. If you don’t want to buy anything, don’t waste their time trying to be polite. Staying street smart will help everyone avoid Crime in Bali.