Updated: Mar 6, 2019
Bali is a well known name and such a lovely place. I had a pleasant holiday there with my cousin, perhaps because I did my assignment prior to my trip. I did a lot of research about this place simply because I had heard from some friends that there are a lot of beautiful tourist spots in Bali and goods are really cheap. Hhhmmmm, yes I agree but not actually "really" cheap. I accept that Bali is a tourist destination, but what spoilt it for me was how so many of the locals took advantage of selling their merchandise to tourists at inflated prices. I encountered many sales staff at the local market, bazaars and boutique stores that look at you from head to toe, weighing you up before they will say the price of the item you are looking at in their shop; Especially if it is pretty obvious that you are a foreigner. This I observed at about 90% of all the shops we went - except of course, inside the larger Bintang Supermarket, Coco Supermarket and Guardian Pharmacy where items are all properly price-tagged.
I even had experiences with taxi drivers in Seminyak and Denpasar where they will give you a high rate only to discover later that your destination was just a kilometer away from your origin. Some taxi drivers were even more dishonest - they would not initiate to give me my change,I had to ask twice before they moved and gave me my change. One taxi driver attempted to fool me by giving me IDR2,000 instead of my supposed change of IDR20,000! This is also the "trend" with some of their Foreign Exchange stores. A Forex teller tried to fool me by counting the money very fast while handing it to me and would try to pretend that he didn't understand when I told him that he had shortchanged me, after I had counted my money. He pretended that he couldn't understand English despite clearly speaking it before doing the transaction! There were so many con artists, I had to be one jump ahead all the time I was there. Be careful in Bali for rip-off the tourist scams and you'll survive.
However, I could not say anything bad about the tourist spots, we visited the Monkey Forest, the Luwak Coffee Plantation, Batik House, The Mask Museum, Tanah Lot, Rice Terraces, Tegenungan Waterfalls, Seminyak Beach, Uluwatu Temple and all the other beautiful temples in Ubud - each one pleasing to the eyes, with beautiful memories to keep forever in your head.
Just that one thing that spoilt the beauty of the place, it still makes me cringe, is how we felt that we were taken advantage of by some of the locals. I don't begrudge the locals making an honest living but if they are to encourage more visitors to spend their money there, they should clamp down on this sort of exploitation. We were tourists in their country. We were on a holiday. We were ready to splurge and feel the fruits of our labor for this vacation...but we were not ready to be made fools of. It was a sad indictment of a very spiritual and gorgeous setting.