I can finally check off one thing from my list: Going to Bali. I have always want visit Bali but i'm always going back Hong Kong instead of visiting other countries. This time during the holiday, i decided to go to another country instead of typical hong kong (although i love going back to HK). I was so excited but was also extremely worried that i would get cheated. Just speaking from my experience when i was in China Tianjin during my school study trip. I have to bargain with almost everything in China and i hated it. This is the same in Bali.
Well first day in Bali was a total disappointment. My bf and I arrived at the airport. We did not arrange any transportation to the hotel. We were gonna take a cab instead and i know roughly the price to get to Nusa Dua from the airport. Probably about SGD 20 at most. BUT I GOT RIPPED OFF. URGH. I hate to talk about this but i'm seriously writing this post to warn those first timers in Bali.
Sure there are a lot of posts and sites about Bali but i couldn't find one that answer my questions. For example, i wanna know roughly how much to get from one place to another (Really dun wanna get 'cheated', NOT EVEN A DOLLAR). Won't you feel like a dumb when you paid $15 for something and later realise that it actually cost $10? At least that is my mindset.
When we arrived at Ngurah Rai International Airport (Bali's airport), there wasn't anything to shop at the arrival gate. Basically, just some cosmetic and alcohol shops. Definitely not like in Singapore. Then you are already out of the gate after a few minutes of walk after collecting your baggage.
We have to complete a declaration form indicating where are we staying at etc. The process is pretty fast, basically the officer didn't bother reading it too. He just took the paper from us and let us went through. In the airport, you can also find many tour-around-bali brochures near the baggage area. So that's it, we were out from the airport.
Then you will see a lot of taxi drivers at the entrance asking you if you are going anywhere. I was stupid, i didn't see properly if the driver was from Blue Bird Group or not. Blue Bird Group is the most reputable taxi group in Bali. They on the meter when you board their taxi, so you won't have to worry about bargaining. The only thing i was a little worried about was that the driver might drive a longer route to earn more money. haha. I'm not innocent with this kind of things at all. I always think about how this person will try to raise the price and etc and try to rip me off. NO! YOU CAN'T!
But .... yeap.... i kinda got ripped off a little on our first day. So the story continues:
A driver was asking us where we were heading to and we said Nusa Dua, how much? The driver quoted 25USD. Balinese like to quote prices in USD. My bf was like 25USD? ohh okk u want or not? I immediately went NO NO NO. 25USD IS TOO MUCH. Then i quoted 20 without a second thought. But i forgot one thing: IT IS QUOTED IN USD. so 20USD is like 25 sgd???
The taxi driver was like 'Oh ok 20.' and the price was settled. Honestly i would have quoted 15USD but brrrr first timer, what to expect. Then the driver waved at two guys and they 'helped' us with our luggages. I was a bit shock i thought 'wow nice service... help us take luggage too.'
Then 2 minutes later while still walking to the carpark, i sensed something wrong. Initially i thought the helpers were in the same group with the taxi. i thought its part of the service. And then on the deeper thought, they were wearing different shirts. The drivers were wearing blue and the helpers were wearing white. And then i whispered to my bf, "I think these people will be asking us for tips later. watch out."
BECAUSE I KNOW THERE ARE NO FREE LUNCH IN THIS WORLD. And true enough they asked us to tips. Damn i was so pissed off because firstly, my guess was correct. Secondly, I DIDN'T ASK THEM FOR HELP. THEY CAME AND TOOK OUR LUGGAGE WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION. Thirdly, THEY ASKED US FOR A $5 TIP. They specifically requested for a blue note 50,000 rupiah from my boyfriend. So smart of them, they surely know money changer gives 50,000 rupiah to travellers.
Well we were so nice we couldn't say no to them. We don't usually reject people you see. But i was like a black chicken already. Face black and super pissed off. I gave one of them 50,000 rupiah and asked them to share. Oh wait i wanna add one more reason to why i was pissed off: and FOURTHLY EACH OF US ONLY HAVE ONE LUGGAGE AND WAS SUPER LIGHT WE COULD WELL CARRY BY OURSELVES. Really angry that they took our luggages and i was so stupid to think that its part of the service (since we are in the airport. Thought they are the airport staff). If i would to go to Bali again (which i definitely am not going back for a long long long time), i will show them my black face and say "DON'T TOUCH MY LUGGAGE THANKS IM NOT GIVING TIPS". LOL.
Anyway, the other helper came and asked for tip when we already told the other that this $5 is for both of them. Then my bf told them nononononononono and we hop on the taxi and left. Actually its all thanks to that driver. He was the one who asked them to take our luggages. Super hate this kind of thing. If you wanna help, you can actually say "Let me help you with your baggage" before snatching them away from me right? At least if i say yes then i wouldn't feel like a stupid girl because i actually allow you to carry my luggage. But now you are taking them without our permission and want tip from us. wtf is this. Makes me wanna scold vulgarities.
And this makes me reject all the services i encounter in Bali. Whatever thing that people offered me; I reject. I rejected the welcome hand towel when i reached the resort, i rejected the welcome drink (but i eventually drank it after knowing that its really part of the hotel service). My mind was like :they are gonna ask me for tips. they are gonna ask me for tips. This thought haunts me.
Wait a minute, i'm not a stingy person but you only deserve my tip if your service is good and transparent (or should i call it clean). You don't just anyhow ask people for tips just because you did something for them and it wasn't even nice.
Ok... i think I'm complaining too much. Actually this whole trip has a lot of complains. Everybody is praising Bali and the beach and the Bali vibe what not. My bf and I were like WTH we didn't like this place at all.
So anyway for your info, a taxi ride from Bali airport to NUSA DUA should only cost you around $15 USD AT MOST. And please reject those help with luggages. It saves you 50,000 rupiah.
We stayed at Bali Tropic Resort and Spa in Nusa Dua for the first 2 nights. If you search on Agoda, i recommend you to find resorts or hotels that are right next to the beach (if your purpose is to see the beach first thing in the morning in Bali). Bali Tropic is one of them in Nusa Dua. There were tons more. All resorts are just right next to one another, along the beach. So to our left was Holiday Inn, to our right was ... i can't remember but there was Westin, Nusa Dua Beach, Club Med, if you go further and further, it would be Grand Nikko and etc. I would like to show you on the photo here:
All those red buttons at the further right are the resorts next to the beach. Theres one thing i have to tell. There are high and low tides in Nusa Dua. When we reached our resort during th evening, it was the low tide. Basically no sea view to enjoy haha. And people don't swim there. No surfing seen too. Those are in Seminyak and Kuta area which i will talk about in the next post. So if you are going to Nusa Dua, you are really just chilling out, looking at the sea, perhaps play some water sports activities and eat the food in the resort's restaurants. U can go to other resort's restaurant to eat. There are free wifi everywhere, just needa ask the staff for the password.
We buy our water from the Guardian store just right opposite our resort. Thank god there is a Guardian at our accommodation area. No shopping area near our hotel. You have to get a cab or walk 40 minutes along the beach to Bali Collection (where you can do some shopping and eat some Japanese food). 40 minutes is not long haha. I walked from our hotel all the way to the other end twice. Passed by so many resorts.
On the rate of 5, i rate Bali Tropic 3. Pool is not super big. Food is not super good. Thankful that bed is clean and no mosquitoes. We can even hang our wet clothes in the room. That's a bonus for us because we were staying there for 8 freaking days. Toilet is the biggest we have seen so far in our stay. We stayed at 3 different hotels.
I recommend other resorts like Westin, Grand Nikko, even Club Med if you are willing to afford $400 a night stay. These are honest opinions from a fussy person.
Water sports activities are not cheap! Parasailing is 30USD per person. Each kind of water sports cost you around an average of 35USD per person. But you can get a good deal if you get referred by the locals. We rented a half day car and the driver introduced us to a place where they have water sports. He said he could help us get good price, i thought he was gonna bargain for us. End up we bargained ourselves.
We played Para sailing, Banana Boat and Jet Ski at 40USD per person. He gave us initially 90USD per person. Can you see the difference now??? That's what i call RIP OFF. We were like what??? so expensive, cheaper. Then he lowered to 80USD and we bargain and bargain and said we didn't bring enough money. 40USD the max. He gave us 45USD. I knew 40USD was ok for him and we pretended to leave and he said ok ok 40USD. There you go, 3 water sports at 40USD. Actually i still considered it to be very expensive. It took less than 20 minutes to finish all these 3 stuff. Para sailing took less than 3 minutes. lol. I was super nervous about that because it seem so high up but it was nothing scary at all. Luckily for me i had someone to accompany me up because they said i was too small a size.
So that's it for our 3 days stay in Nusa Dua. I highly recommend stays that include breakfast because you don't want to be hungry early in the morning looking for food. There aren't many restaurants outside of the resorts. Food in resorts are extremely expensive too. They are just like the price normally pay in Singapore restaurants: $15 for a pineapple fried rice. $32 for steak.
Long post but definitely good information for those getting around Bali the first time.
That's it for now. Ciao~