Beyond the Bali stereotypes

Our member GPH recently headed to a destination they never actually planned to, nor ever wanted to visit! The main reason for booking the trip in the first place was not the destination, rather the fact that Jetstar business class happened to be a cost-effective way to earn our member enough Qantas status credits to requalify for platinum status. But did the destination disappoint, or prove a pleasant surprise?

I’m off to Bali today, somewhere I ( and many others) never planned to visit.
Mrs GPH decided that as I need to re qualify WP, a J seat on JQ 47 was an ideal way to get some decent SC bang for my Buck.
It will also be my first opportunity to fly in the new Dreamliner .

After a flight on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the 8 day vacation in Bali began! With a very good deal on a luxury accommodation package acquired, the accommodation was of a pretty high standard. But the package was really designed for two people, so although travelling alone, our member still gets all of the perks including a “romantic dinner for two” that could prove somewhat lonely!

It wasn’t long before our member is approached by a “touter” in Bali. These kinds of scammers are very common in tourist resort areas – not just in Bali but also in places like Thailand and the Philippines. These con artists usually claim the “lucky” recipient has won a prize and convince the often unsuspecting tourist to follow them to claim it. The prize could be anything, but often it’s a sales pitch to try to get the tourist to sign up for a Time Share.

Anyway I was convinced to open a “FREE” prize draw card. And lo and behold I was one of only 4 potential instant winners. Usually this is my cue to hot foot it in the opposite direction. However the unbridled joy displayed by said Tout was such that I hated to rain on his parade. So with a FREE taxi ride to seminyak off we went. Oh by the way I worked out my worse case scenario was a free T Shirt. It was as I had predicted , a time share scam. My special prize turned out to be a weeks accommodation at one of their properties in either Bali, Thailand etc. needless to say, there are numerous rules and conditions , one of which puts me out of contention once I turn 60.

Thankfully our member did not sign up for anything and put this one down to experience. After returning to the beaches of Kuta, it was time to take in more of the chilled atmosphere and Balinese culture. Despite expectations of the usual stereotypes surrounding Bali, our member discovered that there is in fact more to Kuta than bogans, markets and surfing!

Another interesting encounter occured, strangely enough, as a result of complaining about the way eggs are cooked at a restaurant. Rather than being insulted, the chef was happy to listen to some tips and even invited our member out to dinner with him and his family! And this time, there was no catch.

It just so happened to be Balinese New Year and as part of celebrations, the third day (Nyepi) was a day of silence. Even the many tourists were encouraged to do nothing and no flights were scheduled into our out of Bali on this day. But the festival was not all about silence and contemplation; on other days there were dances and parades you’ll need to see to believe!

With such low expectations, the “real” Bali seemed to be a very pleasant surprise. In particular, the locals are largely friendly and eager to please. But would GPH consider returning?

“Denpasar Dreaming” makes for an exciting read. What else is going on around Bali? And why does GPH almost get attacked by monkeys? Have a look HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]