Changing Money In Bali, You Have Been WARNED

Careful when changing money in Bali

The local currency is called Rupiah and it is always shortened to Rp. If you want to change dollars into Rupiah then you have to be extremely careful in Bali. Whilst you may think it’s OK and legitimate there are a lot of shoddy operators out there looking to cheat you out of your hard earned holiday money. Changing money in Bali is easy but you have to know what to look out for to avoid disappointment or getting completely ripped off.

The best thing to do is change your money at the airport. As soon as you arrive in Denpasar once you get through immigration and clear the terminal there is a money changer right there on the right hand side. Obviously you do not want to change a whole heap of dollars into Rupiah here and carry large wads of cash around. So the best thing to do is change a couple of hundred dollars which should see you over the next couple of days. Obviously,the rate here will be a bit lower than outside where it’s more competitive but at least it’s safe and completely legitimate here.

There are heaps of money changers all over Bali from; hotels, bars, restaurants right through to actual designated money changers. They are literally all over the place and very easy to spot. You do not have to look far. On top of this you can go to the many banks all over the island and change your money. Essentially you do not have to worry about changing your money in Bali.

Except, for the many hole in the wall money changers. They are again real easy to spot and for the unsuspecting tourist this is a BIG trap that many of them fall victim to. BE WARNED avoid these money changers at all costs as they are really sneaky at short changing you.

Because the Rupiah to the dollar is in the thousands you are going to get in some cases millions of Rupiah when you convert for instance Aussie, Euro, US or Singapore dollars into Rupiah. They count the money out in front of you note by note and there may be say 50 or even 60 notes. Whilst doing this they get someone to distract you and they then slip a few of these notes very quickly into a draw. You will never notice this. They are that good and that skilled at doing this daily, that you will never suspect anything. Once all the 100 notes are laid out in a nice neat bundle they give it to you minus what they have skimmed off the top. It’s a great little scam and you the tourist can end up loosing big time. You can go in there thinking you are going to get 2 million Rupiah and you end up walking out with only Rp1 500 000 in small notes.

There are now cash machines or ATM’s all over the place in the tourist areas so if you do not want to change money just go to any local ATM. They are safe and in a lot of cases air conditioned – this is something you will notice and enjoy when walking the streets. The air conditioned ones are the best! You can generally withdraw 2-4 million Rupiah in one go so this is an ample amount to keep you going.

You will generally get a better rate of exchange at the legitimate money changers in Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta, Legian, Ubud, Sanur or Jimbaran, than in the hotels. The hotels are a lot safer but you will end up getting less due to the lower exchange rates. Once you can identify the best local money changers in Bali you will know where to go everyday to change your dollars. Going back to the same one ( and they are probably right outside your hotel) will make it easier and more convenient for you.

An interesting point to note here is that the local currency changers want pristine notes in great condition. Any tear, mark or the slightest blemish in the note may result in them refusing to change this.

You are on holiday in Bali, you want to enjoy yourself so be aware of these pitfalls, be on the look out for these scams and go only to money changers that look like they are safe. If you are walking in the street and guys come up to you offering to change money, just politely walk away. Also, if you go to a place where the exchange rate looks too high then this is also a scam. What they do is offer a great rate way above the norm and then they begin to work the scam on you. You walk in there thinking you are going to get a great deal and all of a sudden you are surrounded by 2 or 3 locals looking on trying to distract you. The money (in small denominations) is counted out at lightening speed and you walk away short changed. So be very aware of this.

If you are staying in one of our holiday Villas make sure you speak to the in house staff  or the villa manager – they will point out the best local money changers – THIS IS the best advice I can give you.