Changing Money In Bali, You Have Been WARNED
Careful when changing money in Bali
Your go to guide on changing money and not getting completely ripped off at the same time.
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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. If your coming from other parts of Indonesia you probably already have Rp so no need to change money. But, many Indonesians have foreign currency that they might want to change in Bali.
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 to 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. If your staying in a villa, then you will be picked up at the airport so you do not have to stress about changing money for a taxi or transport once you arrive. There are loads of money changers in Seminyak & Canggu so you can do it once you’ve settled into your villa.
There are heaps of money changers all over Bali from; hotels, bars, restaurants right through to actually 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 holes in the wall money changers. They are again really 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 shortchanging 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 maybe 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 losing 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 every day 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 lookout 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 lightning speed and you walk away short-changed. So be very aware of this.
Be warned: You get a much much better rate at authorised money changers in Seminyak, Canggu etc than at the airport. If you change money at the airport when you arrive in Bali you will get a weaker exchange rate so wait till you get to your villa, start walking around the area and look for proper money changers. You’ll get anywhere between 10-15% better rates outside the airport.
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 we can give you.
Best Places to Change Money in Bali
They are all over the island but here are a few really good places to change your holiday dollars into Rupiah in popular tourist areas.
1. Central Kuta Money Exchange
Central Kuta Money Exchange also has hundreds if not more money exchanges all over Bali; the majority being in Denpasar, Seminyak, Kuta and Legian. For most tourists coming to Bali the one inside Seminyak Square Shopping Mall just off Kayu Aya Street or Eat Street is a safe and really good place to change your money.
2. Money changers along Jalan Batu Bolong in Canggu
There are some large glitzy very bright ( especially at night ) money changers in the popular tourist area of Batu Bolong in Canggu. Some of these include BHI ( Bali Hastie Indomalaya ), the money changer opposite Pepito Supermarket & BMC & a few smaller well-known places in the area that have a proper shop front.
3. Money changers in Seminyak
There are lots of these places all along Jalan Kayu Aya leading all the way through to Petitenget and Oberoi. The image below will show you the type of place to look out for. Note that these look legitimate and have actual shop fronts and have full-time staff.
This article was written by Steven Waldberg who is part of the marketing team of Bali Villa Escapes who knows the ins and outs of changing money in Bali . You can see his videos about Bali on the Bali Villas TV on this website.
✅ Is it safe to change money in Bali?
Yes it is off you go to an authorised money changer.
✅ Where can you change money in Bali?
There are authorised money changers throughout Bali’s main tourist areas like: Seminyak, Canggu, Berawa, Kuta, Ubud and Legian
✅ Can I change money at Bali airport?
Yes you can and there are many money changers at the airport who can change Australian & US dollars into the local Rupiah currency.
✅ What is the local Indonesian currency?
The local currency is Rupiah.
✅ Are there ATM’s in Bali?
Yes they are and they are all over the island, especially in the main tourist areas like Seminyak, Legian and Canggu. They are mostly in the street but there are also ATM’s in convenience stores and supermarkets.
✅ Can I get ripped off when changing money in Bali?
Yes you can unless you change your money at an authorised money exchange.
✅ Does it cost money to change money in Bali?
No it doesn’t cost you any money to change money in Bali as most money changers will not charge a fee.
✅ How will I know the exchange rate when I change my money?
All authorised money changers will advertise their currency rates outside where you can clearly see them.
✅ Where are money changers in Seminyak?
Money changers in Seminyak are mostly located along Jalan Kayu Aya or Eat Street.