Bali: News from the rip-off island

Pura Besakih

After the last bad experience during a visit to a temple on the Indonesian island of Bali, we had hoped to get to Ubud today without being ripped off by the locals. But we were not yet 5 minutes from the hotel (Sunari Villas & Spa Resort) removed when we drove into the first police checkpoint. With his five chunks of English, which consisted of "Good Morning" and "Driver Licence" among other things, the policeman tried to explain to us that our EU driver's license was not valid here. He kept wanting to see our international driver's license. We kept talking to him until after five minutes he didn't even know what to say and just let us drive on. But this should not have been the last check for today.

Batur volcano

After about two hours drive we reached the volcano Batur (1730 meters). We actually wanted to get a little closer to the summit or crater. After a few minutes of wandering around looking for a road, we passed a guided hike office. It was explained to us that it is possible to drive to a higher parking lot and climb up to the crater from there. But he wanted 45 USD per person for this tour. Clearly too much for the service offered. When we were about to leave, he saw his last chance to convince us of him. He explained to us that we would have to pay a fine of tens of millions of rupees if we went hiking without a guide.

Vulkan Batur
Batur volcano

Nevertheless, we decided to find the second parking lot on our own. But we didn't expect the guide to follow us on his moped. When we discovered the access road while driving past, he used the time we needed to turn around to simply block the path. So we drove past the street and "hid" us in the next side street. When we drove back after about 5 minutes, the way was free again - like in kindergarten. Unfortunately, we still couldn't find the second parking lot, so we just took a few shots in a field of lava rock and the volcano in the background.

volcanic landscape

Rip off the second

On the way to our second destination of the day, the temple complex of Besakih, we came to the second and fortunately last police check of the day. The 'game' was the same again, except this time the policeman immediately spoke of a fine of 100,000 rupees. We tried again our tactic to just talk to him in English and were successful with the first officer. He sent us one control station further, to his colleague. When a policeman with a gold watch, a huge ring and Ray-Ban sunglasses looks through the side window, I personally no longer have a serious impression of him. And we have often read that the police here in Bali rip off tourists into their own pockets. It was a bit more difficult to persuade him to just let us continue than with the first two colleagues. But we were successful here too. I would like to assume from the boys that the sentence would hardly be that high for locals.

Besakih Temple

I had already reported about the pushy and sometimes even aggressive tourist trappers around the temples. Am Pura Besakih, the supposed "mother of all temples", should be no different. After long discussions we rented two such scraps of fabric again to tie them around our waists and climbed the temple. The complex is really very large, it consists of 30 individual complexes and is also really beautifully laid out. Access to the courtyard of the main temple is not permitted during a ceremony – unfortunately, as a guide explained, it lasts all day. However, for a small "donation" he would be willing to accompany us and that would be religiously okay again. But on the way around the complex you can look over the boundary walls.

We would advise future travelers to Bali to get their own sarong.

Lunch break at a beautiful rice terrace of Bali

We took our lunch break in a generous curve on the way to Ubud. From here we had a view of a very nicely landscaped rice terrace. The stop seemed to be popular with tourists, however, because another man with the parking tickets was sitting under a wooden shed. In Bali, we have always only been charged after parking. So we worked on our escape plan while eating. It looked like this: We packed all our things in the trunk, Bodo got into the car and unlocked my door from the inside. Meanwhile I pretended to take some pictures of the rice terraces with my iPhone. With a surprising jump, I made my way to the driver's door and was in my seat within seconds. The key was already in place and we drove away laughing loudly. Great fun!

Reisterrasse von Bali
Rice Terrace of Bali

Dinner in Ubud

At dinner in Ubud we finally met a sensible Balinese woman. It turned out that she was the owner of the restaurant. We sat cross-legged at low tables, which I actually only know from Japanese restaurants, and talked. We learned a lot from her about the special Hindu religion that is practiced here in Bali. We also found her name "Putu" interesting. In Bali it is customary for every first child to be given the name Putu. This is independent of gender and can be supplemented with another name as desired. The second, third and fourth child also gets a traditional name. After that, the names repeat themselves. For food we ordered Balinese specialties such as chicken in coconut milk with local vegetables and rice.

  • Batur volcano
  • Besakih Temple


My name is Christian and I was born in the green heart of Germany and studied computer engineering in Ilmenau, Thuringia. Since 2021, I live with my wife Christin and our son in Merseburg and work in Leipzig as a product manager. What I love about travelling is flying, discovering delicious food and drink, and staying in great hotels. I am a travel enthusiast and always on the lookout for the next adventure. I have been posting about my experiences on the road since 2007.

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