When i arrived in Bali, i havent had any idea what is waiting for me there, what i should do or not, and neither how the language works – and in my opinion it was absolutely the right decision, because everyone should explore the beautiful country by himself.
Therefore i dont want to take you the fun of trying all out by yourself, making mistakes (of course not too bad ones) and finding the “right” way. But i want to give you a little “starterpack” which may help you a lot after arriving and in your first days in Bali (at least it would have helped me).
The first thing that might shock, annoy or maybe delight you is the big amount of taxidrivers (seems like there are a hundred-thousand) that will welcome in their very special own way after you left the airport. Eventhough you are tired because of the flight, you have to deal with them if you did not arrange a meeting with someone who picks you up.
Stay friendly and cool, even if they start pulling on your bags to try to get you to their cars.
Try to find a bluebird taxi, they always drive by taximeter and have their passports in the front in case of something is happening. It is the cheapest possibility to drive by taxometer, but if you cant find one it will be the first time you have to prove your skills in negotiating! Dont be afraid of offering a low price, there are so many taxidrivers that three or four refusals are no problem – but maybe you realise that your price in fact is a bit too low!
For most of the pick-up services you have to pay roundabout 120,000 Rp, that might be a benchmark for you.
To lower the price, you have better chances – not only with taxidrivers – if you speak some words bahasa while negotiating.
So here are some advices for not acting like the classic tourist :
If they welcome you, answer (depending on the daytime) “selamat pagi” (morning), “selamat siam” (midday, afternoon), or “selamat malam” (evening, night). Ask them how they are feeling with “apa kabar” and they will propably answer “baik” or “bagus” which means “good“. If they ask you back, just turn it around and thank them with “terima kasih“.
They will see that you are not completly cluesless, which increases your basis of negotiation rapidly!
At least you can try to make clearthatyou area poor student – “saya mahasiswa” – and ask for the price again with “berapa harga“. If you think its too expensive, just answer really shocked with “oh, mahal! mahal!“.
And dont worry.. Negotiating is part of the dailylife in Bali!
I hope it will help you a bit and safe you some money.