Bali is a mesmerizing destination, but like any popular tourist hotspot, it’s wise to be aware of common scams to ensure your stay is as magical as the island itself.

Bali, the tropical paradise known for its lush landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality, is a dream destination for many travelers.

However, like any popular tourist spot, it has its share of scams. Awareness is key to avoiding these pitfalls, ensuring your experience remains idyllic. Here are the top 10 scams to watch out for:

The Taxi Meter Scam

One of the most common scams involves taxis not using their meter, leading to exorbitant fares. To avoid this, always insist on the meter being turned on at the start of your journey. If the driver refuses, find another taxi. Alternatively, use reputable taxi apps like Gojek or services known for their reliability.

Timeshare Presentations

These involve being offered free gifts or tours in exchange for attending a sales presentation. These presentations can be high-pressure and time-consuming. Politely decline such offers and be wary of overly generous freebies that come with a catch.

The Money-Changing Scam

Some money changers use sleight of hand tricks to give you less than the promised amount. Always count your money before leaving and use only authorized money changers with a good reputation. Avoid changing money on the street, no matter how favorable the rates seem.

Overpriced Goods and Services

As a tourist, you might be quoted inflated prices for goods and services, aka “bule prices“. To avoid this, do a bit of research to understand the average prices. Always be ready to negotiate and don’t hesitate to walk away if the price seems unreasonable. Being with a local usually helps.

Motorbike Rental Scam

Renting a motorbike is common in Bali, but some renters face issues with unfair damage claims upon return. Always document any pre-existing damage with photos or videos before using a rental bike. It’s also advisable to rent from reputable agencies.

ATM Skimming

ATM skimming involves stealing card information through hidden devices connected directly to actual ATM’s. This has been a growing problem in Bali. Use ATMs in secure locations like banks or large shopping centers and be vigilant for any unusual attachments on the machine.

The Fake Police Scam

Scammers posing as police officers may try to extort money by accusing you of a non-existent offense. Always ask for identification. But be aware that real police officers sometimes ask for on-the-spot “fines”, as in bribes for minor offenses.

The ‘Broken’ Camera Trick

A friendly local or fellow traveler might ask you to take a photo with a camera that doesn’t work, then blame you for breaking it and demand compensation. Politely decline such requests or be extra cautious while handling others’ belongings.

Aggressive Street Vendors

Some street vendors can be persistent or use guilt-tripping tactics. While it’s okay to buy souvenirs, don’t feel pressured into making purchases. A firm but polite “no thank you” is usually enough to dissuade them. Then walk away without engaging in the conversation any further.

The Drugged Drink Scam

This involves spiked drinks leading to theft or worse. Never leave your drink unattended and be cautious about accepting drinks from strangers in bars or clubs. If in a seemingly sleazy place, get your own drinks or watch the bartender making your drink. Safety in numbers.

By staying alert and informed, you can easily sidestep these common scams and enjoy the wonderful experiences Bali has to offer. Remember, most Balinese are incredibly warm and genuine, so don’t let the fear of scams spoil your adventure in this beautiful island paradise.


The Bali Guide