Bali – A Love-Hate Relationship

Bali – one of the top three holiday destinations for Australians and in 2015 alone, more than a million Australians visited it. This figure is just 100,000 shy when compared to the number one destination for Australians – New Zealand. Yet, it is funny when you realise that the relationship between the Balinese and the Australians are not going very smoothly. I think that the media were particularly fond of reporting about the “misbehaviour” of Australians on the island.

We have a love-hate relationship with Bali.

There seem to be so many mishaps for Australians in Bali. The latest being the cancellation of all Tigerair flights between Bali and Australia. And just before Christmas, Australia issued a travel warning for those going to Bali because it was flagged as being one of the targets for terrorists during the holiday season.

Then, we had a string of Australians convicted of drug trafficking, possession to murder charges. From the Bali nine in 2005 to the high school boy, Jamie Murphy, case in November last year. Fortunately, Jamie was found innocent when the white powder he had in possession was found to be nothing more than just painkillers. In August 2016, Connor and her British husband was accused of murder and assault causing death. Then, barely a month into 2017, another Australian man, Serafino, who works in Bali was caught with 7.32 grams of hashish.

Although far-fetched, but it is not difficult to believe that there might be a conspiracy going on there. Maybe, I am only saying maybe, that there is a bounty on any Australians caught misbehaving in Bali. If that was the case, would you still want to go?

So amidst all this hostile news that we keep reading in media, is it really safe to go to Bali? I have been to Bali in 2013 and I will be going again this February. I like Bali. I like the people and their friendly disposition. I like their food. I like their culture. It is not going to stop me from going. And yes, you may argue about Bali being full of tourists traps. But let me tell you this, Bali is not going to be your first or your last country that you will ever feel ‘trapped’.

There were traps in Prague – I paid more for a taxi fare. There were traps in Singapore – a friend of mine paid for an unlicensed tour guide. There were traps in Bangkok – I overpaid my meals. There were traps in America – I bought some dodgy light sabers on New Year’s Eve but the light didn’t last until the countdown!

So there you have it, they are everywhere. If you asked me for one piece of advice when travelling to such places, the best advice I can give anyone is to stay vigilant. Being wary and cautious whenever you are in a foreign land, will save you a lot of unnecessary troubles, heartaches and regrets.

Additionally, in today’s day and age, information travels at the speed of light. You need to be diligent and do some research. There is almost nothing you cannot read about (instantaneously) online. To me, doing research on the places you are going to visit, is probably your best insurance. Never assume, and never take anything for granted. Being “tourist trapped” is probably far better than being trapped in a foreign jail cell for something that might be harmless at home.

Last but not least, has some tips for travellers going to Indonesia. Here are some advice from them:

  • Choose wisely with your food and watch closely to your drinks to avoid spiking

  • Caution around nightclubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and airports as these are popular locations for attacks

  • Keep you money and bags close to you at all times to prevent robbery and theft

  • Never travel alone. Travel with a friend, someone you know or tour group

  • Always wear an approved helet when riding motorcycles

  • Be aware of local laws including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards

  • Drug offences are severe and include the death penalty

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