Be Aware of Your Wares

Unfortunately, I was robbed last week and my wallet expertly removed from my person. And, this was in Australia!. When I reflected back on my misfortune having lost quite a bit of money, bank cards and the ilk, I realised that in all the years I have travelled throughout the archipelago of Indonesia I never had anything stolen from me. That doesn’t mean that I was untouchable. On the contrary, there have been some sticky situations. I nearly had my shoulder bag ripped from my shoulder by a passing and speeding motorbike rider in Sumatra, lost my passport (I thought it was stolen) in Yogyakarta but one of the locals who was walking behind me picked it up off the pavement returning it to me, and there was a case of bumping into a group of rather mean-looking bikers in Semarang late one night who I thought were going to mug me for sure but as it turned out, they just wanted a chat. In Bali, I did fall foul to a scrupulous money-changer but that was soon resolved by tourist police intervention.

So, how safe are you in regards to robberies when you travel to Bali?. I would say very safe and most people who unfortunately are affected by a loss of property, you will find it is really their own misdoings. The majority of Balinese are, in the norm, honest people. This isn’t to say that there are no pickpockets or rip-off merchants in Bali. Of course there is but, it’s a matter of common sense when you travel around the island to prevent yourself becoming one of their victims.

Here is a few things you can keep in mind to avoid the loss of your property:

1. Never flash your money around when in a restaurant or out shopping. This inevitably gets the attention of the unsavory element living in Bali. This also applies to travellers who utilise a money-belt – avoid letting people see what you actually have inside there. And yes, the same applies to Bum-Bags.

2. If you are carrying a shoulder bag, then sling it over your shoulder and not have the bag just hanging loosely from your shoulder. If it’s hanging off your shoulder then it is easily snatched from your person by a thief rushing past you and taking off down an alley, or, easily snatched by a passing motorbike pillion-rider. Always ensure the pockets are zipped-up on your shoulder bag.

3. Never entrust your bag to ANYONE that you don’t know no matter how honest-looking they are. This is all too easily done in restaurants, when out on a day trip or in a shop.

4. When changing money at a money-changer ALWAYS use a reputable one. That is, an approved money-changer as you will find these places do not charge commission. Here, the policy of not flashing your money around applies. Banks are the same.

5. If you are carrying your passport to a money-changer or bank to cash traveller’s cheques, then after you have done your business, secure your passport in a safe place. It is always advisable to return to your hotel and deposit your passport in the safety deposit box as opposed to carrying it around with you.

Of course these are only a few sensible ways to avoid losing property or money. Bali is a safe place as far as thieves are concerned but the main thing is just to be aware or your surroundings wherever you go on your holiday and use common-sense methods of security with your property.