Its massive tourism creates a sense that Bali somehow belongs to international tourist. At least that’s what I feel every time I come to Bali. I’m not discussing right or wrong here, I’m just saying that as a local tourist, I feel like Bali treats me differently (sometimes).
There are some reasons behind it I believe. But one of them is (maybe) because the number of international tourist is higher than the local one. I don’t have the data but you can sense it when walking through the streets in Bali which is always packed with international faces (not indigenous face like mine 😁 ). And this comes with consequences.
Based on my experiences, these are the things you can expect when visiting Bali as local tourist:
1. As a local, it’s bit hard to rent a motorbike.
When I was in Ubud two weeks ago, I spent hours to get a place that willing to rent a bike to me. Most of them said that their motorbikes were all already booked even though tens of them were still available (you can see it from the hanging “for rent” sign on the motorbikes 😂). Some said it was because renting a bike to locals are more risky than to foreigner. Why? Locals, they assume, tend to be involved in bad behaviors such as robbery, illegal mortgage and trafficking. This may sound like stereotyping but the motorbike owners admitted that they had bad experiences with local renters. Others say that renting motorbike to locals is less profitable because they couldn’t charge them as high as to international tourists.
I tried various things to deal with this problem, from pretending as Malaysian tourist 😆, to asking help from the hotel staff where I stayed, but the result was still zero. Then, I realized that the outskirt area of Ubud, is not really commodified. There you can find affordable foods and less suspicious motorbike owner. So I finally got a rent from Go Bali motor rental which is located in Jalan Nyuh Bojog (next to Warung Be Pasih, not far from the Monkey Forest). Another tip is to rent a motorbike in Kuta then ride it to Ubud as there are many providers in Kuta so they are more competitive and less judgmental.
2. As a local, you will receive less offer from restaurants
Well, I don’t always see this as a bad thing, haha. Being local tourist is sometimes identical with poor tourist so the fancy restaurants wouldn’t bother to offer you their menus when you’re passing their places. Don’t take it too personally if you saw a waitress cheerfully greet international tourist but didn’t say anything to you 😀 . Again, tried to avoid the main areas like Jalan Pengosekan or Jalan Hanoman. Instead, go to alternative areas like Jalan Sukma Kesuma or Jalan Nyuh Kuning where cheaper options are largely available. Don’t afraid to buy food from street vendors either as they sell quality foods in affordable prices.
3. As a local, they will over charge you to shoo you away
Well, like I mentioned before, being a local tourist can also mean that you are not as profitable as international one. This makes some sellers or providers feel reluctant to serve you. For example when renting beach chair and umbrella at the beach, sometimes they will give you unbelievable price you wouldn’t take it for sure. In this case, you can try to bargain, ask for extra bonuses (like free young coconuts) or simply throw your beach towel and sit on it 😀 .
But, despite all those “hard times”, Bali is always special for me. Its beautiful nature and culture never cease to amaze me in many senses and intrigue me to come over and over again.