tip sheet

page 3




Knowing the options can noticeably decrease the cost of your Bali vacation.

Money changers

Professional money exchange establishments (particularly those in Kuta's main shopping areas) normally give you significantly better exchange rates than banks, which in turn give you appreciably better rates than you get at hotels and the airport. Note: Although nearly all Balinese money exchangers are honest, there are a few who "accidentally" miscount, use sleight of hand deception, use rigged calculators, or tag on unexpected commissions. Best to get a reliable local source to point you to one of the many reliable money exchangers.


They usually give you a much better exchange rate than money exchangers do. Caveats: Use only use ATMs operated by a major local bank. Some ATM machines are run by firms that charge a hefty exchange fee or tack on hidden extra charges that you discover only when you get back home. And some ATM operators are shady.

Credit cards

When making a purchase, you usually end up saving money by using your credit card rather than with money you obtained through a money exchanger. However, you generally save money by using money from an ATM machine instead of using a credit card (the latter often adds a 3% or so transaction fee to your statement). Credit cards, of course, have an advantage. You don't have to walk around in the streets carrying a large amount of cash.

Travelers checks

Today, few people use them because you lose so much money exchanging them at a local bank, hotel, or store.

Which currency to bring?

You gain more buying power if you exchange hard-currency cash -- such as the Japanese yen and Australian dollar. But for the highest relative rate, bring euros or US dollars.

Dollar denominations

The dollar denomination affects the exchange rate. Prime reason: The larger the denomination, the less likely the bill will be a counterfeit. That's why US$100 bills get appreciably better rates than $50 bills, which get appreciably better rates than $20 bills. Only some money exchangers bother with $10 bills -- and if you have $5 and $1 bills, forget it. Whatever the denomination, bring the latest design style of US currency. And, be sure notes are crisp, unmarred and unwrinkled.

Learn from
my Bali Tips pages 1 to 5

1 - When to go
2 - How long to stay + How to bargain
3 - Credit cards + Money exchange
4 - Taxis + Car rentals
5 - Photography + Etiquette

Read my Bali pages

Rice terraces
Dance & music
Arts & craft
Luxury resorts

Bali tip sheet
Bali attraction map
Best 5 nearby islands




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