Former expat in Asia returning for a vacation... looking for tips/suggestions.

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OrangeDragon

Member
Feb 5, 2019
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Hey all, and thanks to the admins for approving me and managing this forum.

As the title says, former expat. Lived in Cambodia for around 3 years, got married, got divorced, started one of these expat forums myself, sold my half to my partner, moved back home.

It was a wonderful wild adventure, and I'm beyond excited to be heading back to South East Asia again for a vacation. My girlfriend, and another couple, will be joining me this time (all Americans, sorry about the guy running the place). We're in Bali (Semarapura area, beach resort) for 5 nights... obviously much of that spend will just be soaking up sun and surf, but we're also interested in some nightlife (love all music, particularly house music and blues/jazz), the best places to get good grub (local dishes mostly), the best places to get a beer and relax or dance, and so on. Some good cultural experiences would be nice as well, and tour guide suggestions for enjoying them.

Also, would like advice... do's/don'ts.. etc. Example, should I rent a moto, or do I just rely on public transport/cabs/tuktuks/etc? What are the scams to watch out for.

Thanks in advance for any help/advise you can offer!
 
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spicyayam

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2009
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Welcome to the forum! Sorry I don't the area you are staying. Is it this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semarapura

Most tourists hire scooters or rent cars, or rent a car with a driver for longer trips. There is not much public transport left in Bali. Bluebird taxis are generally reliable. There are many similar (fake bluebird) looking cabs, so check carefully before getting in. Grab app is good also. Kind of like Uber, with bike and car options. They are banned however in some tourist areas, like Canggu and central Ubud.

Well I don't think there are too many scams that you wouldn't be familiar with after living in Cambodia. There are some dodgy money changers and ATMs with skimmers, but other than that, fairly safe.
 

OrangeDragon

Member
Feb 5, 2019
33
16
8
Welcome to the forum! Sorry I don't the area you are staying. Is it this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semarapura

Most tourists hire scooters or rent cars, or rent a car with a driver for longer trips. There is not much public transport left in Bali. Bluebird taxis are generally reliable. There are many similar (fake bluebird) looking cabs, so check carefully before getting in. Grab app is good also. Kind of like Uber, with bike and car options. They are banned however in some tourist areas, like Canggu and central Ubud.

Well I don't think there are too many scams that you wouldn't be familiar with after living in Cambodia. There are some dodgy money changers and ATMs with skimmers, but other than that, fairly safe.
Yeah, that's the area. We're really south of there, towards (and on) the beach. Apparently our resort is somewhat remote (Wyndham Tamansari) so the car was solid advise. Just made a reservation for one, thanks for that. Especially with 4 of us, just makes more sense than 4 motos. lol.
 

OrangeDragon

Member
Feb 5, 2019
33
16
8
So a recap of our experiences that may help others.
Buy a SIM card first... google maps is apparently critical, as the taxi we took from the airport (bluebird) lied about knowing where to go and drove all over gods creation for over an hour before getting us to the car rental shop (which was about 6km from the airport). By then the shop was closed and we had to call them to get them to come rent us our car. In the process, we'd asked him how much it would be to just drive us to the hotel and deal with it the next day (we where exhausted) and he wanted $100 American. As much as renting the car for the week would have been. I'm glad I told him to stuff it, because the same ride with a "fake" bluebird from the hotel back to the airport was only 500k INR (the couple we traveled with went back via cab while I returned the rental car).

This was about the only negative experience we had on the trip... everything else was pretty amazing. Loved the food, the culture, the scenery, etc. The resort was nice, though remote. Took proper care of us/etc. Example: The one night their restaurant was supposed to have a special "street food and live entertainment" night, but canceled it, they instead drove our group (free) to the night market nearby so we could still have our "fix" of local flavor, in a more authentic aspect in my opinion. I certainly preferred that to what would have likely been a nicely "pasteurized and shrink-wrapped for tourists" version of it they would have offered. Though I understand many of the more timid tourists would not have felt the same way, lol.
 

SamD

Active Member
Sep 7, 2006
612
186
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Seminyak
Well the taxi wasn't Bluebird because they can't pick up from the airport. It was the other mob who try to use Bluebirds good reputation and quite shameful in my opinion. They wear a very similar uniform and lie about being Bluebird but they are not. All Bluebird taxis use meters. The airport taxis do not which is a dead giveaway.
 

SamD

Active Member
Sep 7, 2006
612
186
43
Seminyak
I used to browse khmer440.com and remember your tag. Haven't been on there for a long time but there were some memorable threads there that's for sure.