The Frugal Balinist

*Tile Up!

When redoing your bathroom, instead of buying non-slip ceramic tiles from a tile shop, pick up exceedingly attractive stone tiles from a stone yard which sell for about half the price of ceramic tiles. Obviously, they don’t come in pretty patterns and colors, but they’re definitely non-slip and look great. *Rough stone for your shower floor works well and for the rest of the bathroom floor just use a rough textured ceramic. *Whether they stain or not depends on what water you’re using. Tap water from the public water company PDAM contains so much calcium that rough textured tiles collect small whitish stains, so better not choose black-colored tiles. *Most bule and middle-class Indonesians buy their tiles at Depo Bangungan (Jl. Teuku Umar Barat 388) and Mitra 10 (Jl. Gatsu Barat 405), but other bargain places to buy ceramic, terracotta and plain colored 20 cm X 30 cm cement tiles are Sumber Cahaya Keramik, Jl. Gatot Suproto Barat No. 419 and Rukun Makmur Keramik Grosir, Jl. Gatsu Barat No. 311.


* Bargain Eats.

Local food warung are underrated in Bali. Patronized mostly by students, workers and low-income people, these very affordable, great-value food stalls sell mild to spicy hot fried chicken or fish, a variety of vegetables, tempeh, tofu, bakwan (corn patty), perkedel (rissoles), soups, noodles. etc. The prices are about one half to one third those charged in sit-down restaurants and five times cheaper than tourist eateries. Look for Warung Jawa (Javanese cuisine), Warung Banyuwangi (East Javanese cuisine) and Rumah Makan Padang (West Sumatran food). For Balinese food, go to Lawar Kuwir, Babi Guling, Bebek Betutu and Bebek Ayam. Prices start at only Rp10,000 to Rp15,000 to around Rp20,000 for nasi campur at a Warung Jawa and Rp,20,000 to Rp30,000 at a RM Padang for a nasi padang (mixed rice).


* Cheap Airfares!

As panic around Coronavirus spreads, AirAsia airfares drop. These pre-season fares, driven down by the complete ban of flights from China, are the lowest fares ever seen with the airline, but sometimes give you only 72 hours to book. Flights from Perth to Bali can be as low as Aus$89. AirAsia is also offering promo seats to domestic and international destinations such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia. Sign up for flight alerts at or via the AirAsia mobile app.


* Grab’s Emergency Help.  

This feature provided by the ride-hailing app Grab extricates passengers from possibly dangerous situations. For example, if a driver is not following the directions given, takes a different route, claims to be lost or directed there by a navigation app. The feature can track your location and the operator will dispatch a Grab task force team to your location. The call center will stay on the line until you’re picked up by a Grab officer, who will then report the incident to the police. *The feature also protects drivers in case of assaults, robberies or escalating arguments over passenger limits or fares. *Grab’s rival Gojek also provides a similar feature called “Emergency Button” to connect users who feel threatened to its emergency hotline. *Or just book a Blue Bird taxi (via their app) which has maintained a proven safety record for decades.


* Pool Savers!    

If your pool is starting to look green and murky, the pool bottom needs to be vacuumed and heavy doses of chemicals added before it becomes a really dirty brown and thick with algae colonies. But even if your pool has been abandoned for months and ends up a dirty frog pond, it can still be fixed without draining it. The correct chemical balance is crucial to keep the water clear. All sorts of bacterium and microbes can be eliminated with the use of calcium hypochlorite or sodium hypochlorite. All that is necessary is to buy a quality chlorine package and place it in the distribution container. After chemicals have been added, wait 24 hours while the powder coagulates all of the foreign particles, then most of it sinks to the bottom. Change the filter at least every 4 years. *If the pool overflows, the balancing tank might need to be drained and cleaned. *Maintaining a swimming pool in the tropics with all its accompanying costs and maintenance isn’t easy and requires know-how and patience. *A well maintained pool is a healthy pool. Don’t skimp on the quality of the pump and filtration equipment. Installing an automated chlorination system and a pump timer will save you much time and effort. *Use a test kit regularly. *Whenever the pool is not in use, throw a tarp over it. Never leave a swimming pool empty.


* Roll-On Roll-Off Tickets.  

You can now make reservations for the Ketapang-Gilamanuk ferry connecting East Java and West Bali (and vice versa) online at or by downloading the application for ASDP tickets available from Play Store. Ticket ordering and payment can also be made via selected mini-markets or other electronic transaction outlets. Give a departure time, your identity, details on accompanying passengers and your vehicle so you can be added to the ferry’s manifest. Online tickets can be paid right up to two hours before the ferry’s scheduled departure time.


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Copyright © 2020 Bill Dalton

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