Terima Kasih! For those interested in learning Bahasa Indonesia more quickly and easily, check out Shaun and Cici’s “Learning Indonesian” website: which offers a FREE downloadable series of MP3 self-study guides along with some written guides following the lessons that are also free. You can buy the full premium package if you want but for most learners the freebie series is totally adequate. The audio lessons provide an excellent foundation in Indonesian and make a great supplement to any textbook. The app is very easy to follow, and the combination of verbal lessons and study guides reinforces the content from the speakers. The lessons are exceptionally well organized and broken up into manageable bite-sized topics that last for about 10 minutes. Note: Some audio files are extremely large, so the Internet speed where you live in Bali may not able to download them.


Rider Alert. It’s hardly worth buying a used motorbike and putting it in your name on Bali because of the nearly superhuman persistence it takes for processing the administrative paperwork required to do it yourself. It’s far easier – albeit more expensive – to pay someone to do it all for you: 1. Look around where you live or in the nearest town for a small office with a sign BIRO JASA. He’s a go-between and will process it for a fee; 2. Go to a SAMSAT office and wander around looking lost. CALOs (sharks) will be on you in a flash and they will do it all for you, again, for a handsome fee. *Good used manual (gigi) motorbikes on Bali can be bought for Rp3 juta and automatic (metik) motorbikes can be bought for only around Rp5 juta. But you don’t have to go to all the trouble putting the machine in your name. Keep it in the former owner’s name, but make sure to get the title (BPKB) and a copy of his KTP, so you don’t miss paying the vehicle tax (pajak kendaraan bermotor) on time every year. *When renting a motorbike, look for one in good condition. Check brakes and tires carefully. Always wear a full-face helmet, which is mandatory. Police will definitely flag you down if not wearing one. Don’t speed and be especially careful at road junctions. Give way. Avoid riding in remote areas at night when it’s difficult to ride on narrow, shoulder-less roads against oncoming traffic. Start early in the morning and finish riding by evening.


Beware easy money. Don’t let people you love fall for attractive rates offered by an agent of one of the 172 Koperasi Simpan Pinjam (Savings and Borrowing Association), a sort of credit union for small and medium sized businesses. The aim is to make money available to people who don’t have the income or savings to build or buy things they want. Any family legally residing in Bali with a KK, KTP and enough collateral (assets) is eligible. An agent in the cooperative borrows money from a local bank, such as state-owned BPD Bali, at a 10.07% rate, then charges the borrower around 25%. The shorter the payback time, the less interest is charged. The agent may offer Rp50 juta or Rp500 juta so you can visit far-off family members, buy a car or build a hotel. Though it’s tempting, it will turn out to be very costly. For example, if you borrow Rp5 juta, you have to pay interest as high as Rp250,000/month. If you know someone on the staff of the koperasi and don’t want to borrow too much (say, Rp1, 2 or 5 million rupiah for emergency purposes), they will often not even require a BPKB (vehicle title) or certifikat tanah (land certificate) as collateral. For a small business startup, it’s cheaper to borrow money (up to around Rp20 juta) from KUR (Kredit Usaha Rakyat), a lending service that every bank is required to offer. A KUR loan offered by BRI has the lowest interest.


I can’t breathe! Denpasar is routinely considered one of the most polluted cities in the world, an environment that causes heart and respiratory diseases, lung cancer, asthma and bronchial inflammation. Download the Air Visual app to receive a message each day about the city’s shocking air quality. The recording method and wind direction certainly influence the data but when you are stuck in Denpasar traffic or behind an exhaust-spewing truck on a motorbike, it’s not difficult to guess where all the pollution is coming from. If still not convinced, just breathe deeply and see how you feel. To prevent the toxic, health-damaging particles from lodging deep inside your lungs and entering the blood stream: 1) limit the use of your car on highly polluted days; 2) don’t walk on busy streets during rush hour; 3) if you have to walk in the city, lift your child above the level of vehicle exhaust; 4) limit spending time at traffic hotspots such as cars stopped at traffic lights; 5) when doing physical activity outdoors, exercise in the city’s less polluted areas; 5) refrain from burning waste!


E-Bay Indonesia? Order smartphones, gemstones, shoes, watches, handbags, soccer balls, chili seeds and even a new computer tablet to replace a tablet with a broken screen. The ASUS service center in Bali can charge up to Rp2 juta just for the screen, but the whole tablet from Texas, USA costs just Rp1.8 juta delivered to Sanur. You’re also able to track it. It’s not expensive if you buy small items because they are shipped for free (but don’t try to buy a refrigerator). Some international ebay sellers ship to Bali, and some don’t, but if you connect to the Internet via a VPN, you appear to be in whatever country you wish.


TravelWise. A unique and comfortable alternative way to get to Central Java from Bali is to first take the ferry from Gilimanuk to Banyuwangi and then board the Wijaya Kusuma Train connecting Banyuwangi and Cilicap, leaving at 11:05 am and arriving in Cilicap at 4:42 am the next morning. *Passenger traffic in Indonesia tripled to nearly 97 million from 2005 to 2017, the same year that Lion Air controlled 51% of the domestic market. *High speed accidents are pretty rare on Bali, most being of the fender bender variety. *The new electric Powered Mobility Device (PMD) is excellent for people with walking problems. Known as Travelscoots, they are foldable, the battery recharges as you pedal, they don’t need to be registered and the wheels are big enough so it can run over potholes on a footpath or road. *The most popular site used by Indonesians to find flights, trains and hotels as cheap as Rp80,000/night is Tariffs are even cheaper if you bargain or stay multiple days. Use it for finding exciting travel destinations from their social media, website and mobile application. Booking from the website or mobile application is easy with various payment methods offered (bank transfer, credit card or instalments). Pegipegi customer service is always ready to assist, but only in Indonesian. *Bluebird is Bali’s most reputable metered taxi company. Though officially it’s only allowed to drop customers at Ngurah Rai airport, go up to the top floor of the international departure terminal and quickly hop into a Bluebird taxi that has just delivered customers to the departure terminal.


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