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Indonesia forum

Baggage "handlers" in Bali

Posted by furneburner on 28/10/2009 at 18:54

Hi all,

Never been to Bali before (going in Jan)and have heard numerous stories about locals taking your luggage while you are waiting to get your visa then charging extortionate amounts for it.

Heard someone at work the other day say one demanded $20AUD!

Whats the situation? How is it best to avoid it without any conflict?

Sorry if i sound like a noob but that would be a situation that would really get me annoyed and probably end up with me telling them where to go...which i don't think would be a good idea.

#1 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180

Posted by idreamofdurian on 28/10/2009 at 19:26 TF writer

I was in Bali at the end of August and didn't experience/see any such thing happening. I even had 2 arrivals there.

Security is tight in Bali and not just anyone can wander around the baggage/immigration area! Plus, you get your luggage first, then get your visa and go through immigration. When you go through immigration you must have all your luggage with you.

I've been all over SE Asia and everything at the Bali Airport is very legit -- tight security, no rip-offs at immigration, fixed rate taxis, etc.

#2 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by furneburner on 28/10/2009 at 19:37

well that's comforting.

But i've heard it from two separate people....Thanks for the info anyway!

#3 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180

Posted by idreamofdurian on 28/10/2009 at 20:24 TF writer

They must have been leaving their bags unattended outside the secure area then -- once you're in the main airport building, not before immigration/baggage claim.

#4 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by hallf_brick on 29/10/2009 at 06:51

I don't know about extortion so much, but in 2007 when I arrived in Denpasar, there were a few little porter type dudes looking very official. They helpfully (but unnecessarily) took our suitcases out front to a taxi, after which they asked for a ridiculous tip (around $15 NZD I think) and wouldn't leave until they got it.
We were too naive and too tired to fight it, so we just paid up.
So if a little guy tries to help you with your bags - just politely decline.

#5 hallf_brick has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 13

Posted by somtam2000 on 29/10/2009 at 07:51 admin

ahhh it varies. The main hassle is that the above-mentioned porters grab most of the trolleys that do work, and unless you're firm with them, they won't give one to you.

When a porter/local comes up and motions to take your bag, just say "no thanks" -- I get approached every single time I come through and have never had to say anything more, though I guess if they were persistent, you may need to say "no" a few times.

My mother-in-law got done there a year ago with porters who "helped her" with her bags and she paid them maybe $5 for the priv -- if you do want to use a porter, pay them at the end -- 5,000 Rp per porter is plenty.

The airport is a complete shambles -- and security is actually extremely slack -- there used to be signs up saying that it didn't meet "bare minimum security by US standards" but I think they're gone now.

It's no big deal -- as long as you're not carrying a boogie bag full of pot!

#6 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,576
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Posted by furneburner on 29/10/2009 at 16:15

thanks guys...

I assumed it wouldn't be a big deal, but maybe the people who i spoke to were just a little new to the South East Asian region...

#7 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180

Posted by tezza on 29/10/2009 at 17:42

I have to say when I went thru in April they didn't hassle me - in the past I have had to be very firm with a NO. So maybe someone has responded to complaints.

#8 tezza has been a member since 13/4/2006. Posts: 1,339
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Posted by somtam2000 on 30/10/2009 at 08:39 admin

"So maybe someone has responded to complaints."

Denpasar airport being responsible to complaints -- I'd say that's definitely in the "highly unlikely" basket!

#9 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,576
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Posted by tezza on 1/11/2009 at 18:48

Yeah, I got carried away a bit there.

#10 tezza has been a member since 13/4/2006. Posts: 1,339
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Posted by Mike_V on 2/11/2009 at 06:35

The porters are pretty persistent.

Either don't let go of your bags or just say No, thanks.

You'll probably have to insist several times that you don't want help.

It isn't far at all between the baggage carousel and the taxis.


It's not that big a deal, but I can see how a lot of people get caught by the porters especially if they haven't travelled in South East Asia much.

#11 Mike_V has been a member since 2/11/2009. Posts: 11


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