The Frugal Balinist

* Car insurance on Bali

Since the vast majority of Bali’s population don’t have auto insurance (asuransi kendaraan bermotor), it’s essential that your car be fully covered. When you buy a new car it usually comes with a year’s extended insurance policy. After the policy expires, a new policy costs US$300-$500/year that provides comprehensive cover in the event of an accident but only about US$1000 to cover damage to the other car. Since this third-party liability is very low, it’s a good idea to increase it to Rp100 juta, which will cost Rp500,000-Rp1 juta per year. If you do have an accident where the other party claims it’s your fault (probably 100% of locals will do this even though in most cases they will actually be at fault), let your insurance company sort it out. To buttress your case, send them video footage or still photos. Choosing to not include coverage for earthquake damage saves you a bit. Sometimes it’s the most expedient to pay for any damage on the spot. For example, if you or your driver side-swipes a motor scooter coming out a side road, just pay the motorcycle driver Rp2 juta on the spot and let your insurance absorb the cost of repairs to your car. Most drivers on Bali use ADIRA, ACA, Sinar Mas, Jasindo and Zurich which all sell full comp insurance. How much you pay depends on the year, make, model and plate number. Tip: When claiming/repairing your car, you’ll be required to take it to an “insurance” repair shop who are less than speedy. Call the shop often, lest they take three weeks or more.


* Kuta Beach bargains

*Get a new hairstyle done professionally by a braider for Rp150,000. The number of braids depends on your type of hair and how long it is, but the usual number is 15 braids which takes her about one minute per braid and less than 30 minutes to do all 15. *A 45-minute massage costs only Rp75,000 for your shoulders and back. These masseuses can even do reflexology which helps maintain the health of your organs. *Lounge chairs are first offered for Rp100,000-Rp150,000 for 1-2 hours, but the real price (if demand is low) is Rp50,000 for at least one hour. Bules always pay more. *For snacks, go to the dozens of warung (foodstalls) under the shade of trees along the wall and eat with the locals at local prices. *To polish your fingernails and toenails, the ladies first ask Rp100,000-Rp250,000 for each but you can actually have them both done for Rp25,000 to Rp50,000. They’ll laugh and ridicule you, but they often have nothing to do, no customers, and they sometimes come back.


* No oil cooking

The Balinese have for generations been roasting (sangrai) their own home grown peanuts (shelled or unshelled), corn kernels, red rice (for bubur and rice milk for old people), sunflower and pumpkin seeds (kuwaci), jackfruit stones, beef jerky (dendeng), coffee beans, etc. In industrial-scale coffee roasting, tumbler-like roasting barrels (mesin sangrai) are employed, but for small households there’s a special handmade traditional wok-like dry roaster available for this sole purpose. They can be purchased in Bringkit farmer’s market, in Kapal and at traditional markets for Rp30,000 (Rp50,000 for Westerners). Called a penyahnyahan, this pot is made of stone or more commonly terracotta. The sangrai roasting method saves money because it requires no oil, just fire underneath a wood-burning stove (tungku) while stirring with a wooden spatula. Add a little seasalt when roasting peanuts (kacang sangrai); at a certain point just rub the warm nuts vigorously with your hands and the skins slough off. The final product – whatever you’re roasting – has a more authentic taste if you use firewood. When roasting green coffee beans, stir until the beans color to the desired degree. Different flavors are achieved depending on temperature and duration. The beans will eventually start to crack, so it takes skill to know when to stop. Roast too much and they will be too burnt and acrid. You’ll know by the aroma that your freshly roasted coffee beans are done to your liking.


* Airport heads-up!

It’s legal for online taxis and metered taxis to drop off passengers at Ngurah Rai Airport’s departure halls and they are also entitled to pick up arriving passengers. They cost substantially less than those sought by the airport taxi cooperative but they face harassment and even physical assault. If you use the cheaper transport options, make a quick entry or exit! *In order to save time at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport, use the new “autogates” that have been installed in both the international arrival and international departure terminals to speed up the inspection of travel documents for both Indonesians and ASEAN nationals. Since all ASEAN nationals entering Indonesia are fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival, the already stored data completes the immigration clearance process out of the country in a mere 25 to 35 seconds. *Flying adds a significant amount of planet-warming gases to the atmosphere. For example, one round-trip flight between Bali and Perth in Western Australia generates about 20% of the greenhouse gases that your car emits over an entire year.


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Copyright © 2019 Bill Dalton

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