New Bali travel scams Aussies must avoid
Millions of Australians go to Bali - and many are flying to the popular Asian holiday hotspot for New Years celebrations.
But there are many dangerous scams which locals dupe tourists with every day.
This is how to avoid getting ripped off:
ATMs are often rigged for skimming so use only those protected by 24-7 security guards
or are inside of a bank, hotel, shopping malls and big attractions such as Kuta's Waterbom
The riskiest ATMs are in freestanding boxes or groups that have no neighbours.
One notorious hub is at Canggu Plaza next to Savage Garden, Jalan Subak Sari, Berawa, Canggu. ATMs deliver terrible exchange rates plus other fees that can mount up to $15 for one transaction. Cash is king.
Keep it in your hotel safe.
Money changers - if the exchange rate is staggeringly good, take a whiff and smell the rat.
Use these outfits and you'll learn the 'commission' on the transaction can be $30 in $100.
Another red flag is if a money changer only has 'small money' and offers vast wads of
IDR10,000 notes ($1).
Check here for creative counting where notes are flicked below the counter at warp speed. Always count back your money twice.
The worst rates are found at the airport, hotels and banks.
Methanol poisoning is an issue throughout Indonesia.
Unscrupulous traders replace quality alcohol in original bottles.
Do not drink any spirits other than your own duty free or bottled cider, beer and pre-mix.
The only way to treat methanol poisoning is by drinking authentic vodka to trick the body to process the familiar alcohol thus abandoning the methanol, which buys time to get to life saving treatment in a hospital.
Blue Bird taxis are excellent, always use a meter and are identified by the clean and
uniformed drivers. They also have an app.
Other taxi companies have jumped on Blue Bird's success and created look-a-like cabs, which should be avoided.
They will try to negotiate a fee, refuse to use a 'broken' meter, invent surcharges and cost a small fortune when you arrive to where you are going.
Make sure it's a proper Blue Bird before you get in.
There is a turf war going on in Bali between local drivers and transport apps.
It is violent and ugly with harassed tourists and trashed vehicles.
Local drivers often congregate in small pavilions playing cards at night or wait outside popular tourist spots.
These men, and it is always men, demand as much as $50 for a ten minute ride that would
cost $10 with reputable transport.
Walk on until you are in a safer area out of their sight and get a Blue Bird.
Most private drivers are good people with a day rate of about $50 for eight-hours in a big, cool, comfy car.
Give them your itinerary and look out for those who hard sell any place since they are likely to take commission to deliver visitors to expensive shops and restaurants.
Try to find a recommendation to avoid endless wasted hours in these places.
Aussies are generous with sharing the names of a top driver on online forums while villas
and hotels often have their own team of preferred drivers.
Illegal freelancers come out at night looking for clients leaving bars and nightclubs offering short rides for between $5 and $10.
They rarely offer helmets, which is illegal and are not licensed 'tourist' drivers.
For a quality motorbike taxi download the Go Jek app, which is in English.
Go Jek riders wear jackets or helmets with the logo, the fare is set on the app, helmets are provided and no surcharges are demanded.
From a Kuta Beach massage to temple 'guides' there are plenty of people trying to overcharge green tourists.
If you want a knowledgeable guide ensure they are properly licensed with an official lanyard photo ID that matches their face.
Find them at the official cashier office where entry is paid.
On the beach agree on the price for a treatment before it starts.
If you decide to add on a hair braiding or nail art, agree on a price before work begins.
Do not leave wriggle room for ramped up prices or an extra set of hands.