The article [An Abuse of Authority], detailing complaints on the high prices being charged travel agents by PT Angkasa Pura I – the managers of Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport – brought a number of letters joining the chorus of displeasure with how Bali's airport is managed.
“Yes, Bali is fast becoming a place of 'Money Grabbers.' Tourists must soon get tired of this and wake up. We can travel overseas to other destinations without feeling like we are just there to squeezed for more money. We are not millionaires and work hard to save for our holidays, so wake up because there are plenty of other beautiful islands to spend our holidays.”
- Helen Jensen wrote to say:
“The Ngurah Rai Airport - including customs service - are only a mirror of this whole country!”
- Charlotte Woerner wrote from Indonesia:
“The comment about the over proliferation of money changers at Bali's Airport has been a pet hate of mine for years. Why do we need 15 moneychangers all offering the same rate, hanging out their windows waving at the arriving visitors? What a pathetic site.”
- Russell Davies said the following:
“Predatory Porters - My husband and I have been travelling to Bali since 1999 but for the last three years have not visited Bali quite simply because we hate having the porters force themselves on us. If you say NO to the porters you can almost guarantee that you have to turn your bags out for the customs people. It is the most horrible welcome to any country. It has been going on for so long now I doubt very much it will ever be addressed.”
- Another reader from New Zealand who identifies herself only as “Older Traveler” contributed:
The threat by some Bali travel agents to boycott cultural sites who have dramatically increased admission rates [Delisting Cultural Icons in Bali
] saw one reader speak out in support of the higher admission rates:
“I certainly think all tourists can afford the increase in Temple admissions. Although the percentage increase is high, it is applied to a very humble fee.”
Our coverage of local vigilante committees being formed among community members in Kuta to curb lawlessness in that areas [Taking Back Bali's Streets
] merited some spirited reaction.
“Well done to the Kuta community. What has happened to Kuta is a disgrace. I have been coming to Bali for twenty years and am disgusted with what I see. How things change if some sort of law is not implemented. The youth on the streets around the time of Australian School holidays are pathetic. If only they realized what Kuta was once like."
- Colleen wrote from Australia:
"Yes, I came when I was 20 years old and loved the nightlife, but after what has happened now, I would actually advise people not to come. I once would walk the streets of Kuta and Legian alone at night and feel completely safe. It was an exhilarating feeling of freedom that kept drawing me back. Not now! I still love Bali and the Balinese people."
"Unfortunately, for them, we as Westerners have ruined their paradise. Gain control and at least try to curb the violence and the sleazy behavior of the workers on the streets.”
“That would be great! Every night I am in Bali, the relentless bass from the Engine Room wakes me up at about 3 a.m.. As I lie there, I can actually hear them turn it up louder till 4 a.m.! 2 a.m. is a fair time to shut bars and clubs - if you haven't had enough grog or fun by then, well you didn't start early enough or go hard enough. In my experience, people who like to stay out later in Bali are often "pill heads." Good on the local banjars for taking back their streets!”
“Yes. Yes. Yes. At last! The Balinese must start to realize what is happening here and do something about it.”
- Also from Australia, but resident at Bali, Daniel Baker had this to say:
[Predators in Paradise]
- an article that covered comments by a leading Bali academician and Bank Indonesia
official on how Bali’s endemic population is being short-changed by tourism development got a huge number of hits and earned several letters.
“I agree Bali is killing itself. People are greedy now for money. But it is going ‘kaput.’ In the end, Bali will have too many hotels and too many Russian tourists who don't respect Bali. It is sad!”
- Included among those writing in were Yvonne:
One reader of [Playing by Chinese Rules]
wrote to offer a very interesting explanation as to why Chinese officials are making their citizens obtain visas before coming to Bali:
“The Chinese bureaucrats are entitled to ensure that their nationals have a valid visa before departure to Indonesia.”
“This is the result of Indonesian Immigration officials mistreating and forcing the Chinese tourists to pay extra and illegal payments on arrival.”
“Indonesian immigration should learn how to conduct themselves more professionally with less corrupt practices.”
[Kintamani Tourism in Danger of Being Left Behind
] bearing warnings from the Regent of Bangli that the people living around Kintamani must improve services and raise their game ,brought a large amount of emails:
“After multiple confrontations with sellers several years ago, we will never visit that area again.”
“I first went to Kintamani in 1983 and the souvenir sellers where almost climbing in the bus windows. I vowed to never go back again, plus it was a long bus drive just to view a volcano from a distance and then a long drive back home. Many years on and many holidays later, I went back with a local and she took me on a private tour which included driving to the bottom of the mountain and spending the afternoon lazing in the hot spring and enjoying a lunch while being at ground level with the lake. Such a wonderful day and something tour groups will never do. The hot springs are shaped as large baths and one has a pool bar. Kintamani would be a better attraction if they promoted the hot springs and then people can arrange a private tour with local friends. Not a tour group.”
“Kintamani is indeed one of the most aesthetically pleasing places to visit n Bali. Immediately after you come off the long climb up to the location, there is a sense of awe and amazement at the view across the valley, the volcanoes and of course the glassy lake.”
- Mike Edwards from Australia expressed the following:
“First time tourists are generally very excited to be able to get off the bus and take it all in, only to have stuff thrust into their faces with a chorus of 'yes is good prise’ or ‘you buy.' It's kind of like an encounter with the bush flies in central Australia: maddening.”
“My first visit to Kintamani uplifted my spiritual self by witnessing god's majesty; it took my breath away as I am sure it does for many others. We are not so appreciative of how generous God can be to create visions like the view from Kintimani and I personally believe tourists need to be left alone to absorb this creation and have a wonderful and uplifting experience, as I did the first three times I went to Kintamani.”
“The tourists know the hawkers are trying to earn money to feed their families, however, the competition for the rupiah is very aggravating. I know enough Indonesian to sort it for myself. Others are polite and say nothing, until they go home and tell others to give it a miss. That's how ‘bule’s’ react.”
“I can remember when Kuta was the same and walking was like running a gauntlet of hawkers who were persistent and totally ignorant of how it was for the ‘bule.’ It was about coercion and bullying a ‘bule’ into buying something they didn’t want. Kuta isn't like that anymore and those who do commerce in Kuta know about their customers.”
“Sounds like Kintamani needs the same overhaul that Kuta got. Perhaps try keeping the hawkers across the road from the look out and allow the tourists to take it all in and then let them go up to the restaurants where it's fair game.”
“I have been coming to Bali for 35 years. In the early days the trip to Kintamani seemed obligatory. If this beautiful spot were in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong or Thailand it would have a coach car running down to the lake and numerous other amenities. (Its current state) may show the lack of foresight and intent on the part of the Indonesian developers with regards to Bali.”
- Dennis Malone from Australia had this to say about Kintamani:
“Perhaps the first step should be to close down the corrupt toll booth leading into Kintamani, the last time through there they demanded I pay Rp. 350.000.00 and I was not even going to Kintamani. I was on my way home to Lovina. refused to pay and the attendant kicked my car.
- David wrote this about roadside toll booths in Kintamani:
We also got a lovely piece of fan mail from a Balinese living in the U.S.A.:
“I have been living in the United States of America since September of 2000. I just want to say ‘thanks’ to Bali Update for the new and the information that kept me update to what is going on in my lovely island. I am pursuing my bachelor degree in visual art (photography & graphic design) and am planning to graduate this year. Bali Update is a great site and design and I am satisfied with its link and its contents. My wife, Janet, and I are Florida residents and greatly appreciate your info."
- Wayan Pariws kindly wrote:
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