Travel Tips, Advice & Blog

Common Tourist Scams in Indonesia and How to Avoid It

Scams in Indonesia

Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia. With this, the country has been blessed with the world-known attractions that make tourists all over the world to go crazy about going to this country. However, due to the economic conditions of the country, there are locals who would do terrible things to break the expected amazing experience of excited tourists. We do not want you to suffer the experiences of the tourists who became the victims of the scammers in Indonesia so this article is for those who are planning and wanting to visit the country and don’t know what to expect.


Scam # 1 – The Money Changer Scam

Indonesian Dollar Rupiah

How This Scam Works?

This works on the tourists who don’t have any Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) at hand and looking for the nearest money changer. There are lots of money changers in Indonesia with whiteboards listing their higher exchange rates and no commission or any fees included with that. But lo and behold, the staff in this kind of money changers are very equipped to misdirect the tourists. As they hand the IDR to the tourist, they will simultaneously drop a 50,000 IDR or 100,000 IDR in their counters in a split second.

How to Avoid It?

Just go to the credible money changers kiosk. There are reliable money changers establishments in the Indonesian airport with its normal rates that you can search through the internet. With the rise of internet technology, one can also look for the reputable names in the money changing business ahead of time. Be mindful to the budget that you have for your trip.


Scam # 2 – The Taxi Scam

Taxi Scam

How This Scam Works?

Taxis who have no meters, no changes or extra charges are the best way to identify this scam. It may seem too appealing to tourists. But once they fall on the bait they can expect an exaggerated amount to pay for their trip.

How to Avoid It?

As possible, book your shuttle services in advance! Your designated hotel or accommodation may also offer you their transport services so let them know if you’ll avail it. There might be an extra charge for their services but it’s better to sure than sorry, right?


Scam # 3 – Unnecessary Guides

Tourist Guide in Indonesia

How This Scam Works?

You might find many “non-commissioned based” guides who will offer their service to visit their “recommended” places as soon as you start your tour in Indonesia. Like the other scams, they are offering their services at low rates than your researched rates. But don’t fall for it as you may end up paying higher than what you intended to.

How to Avoid It?

Research for the credible agencies that offer tours and packages at the normal price that you may know. If you don’t know the possible rates for the tours, you may simply ask your hotel receptionist to recommend any touring agencies.


Scam # 4 – The Timeshare Scam


How This Scam Works?

The scammers usually do this by making a sales pitch to their contests or offer. It may be on a simple scratch and win the lottery and announce that you are the lucky winner. As you get your price, the scammer will bring you to their nearest so-called booth or far hotels to get your details. Once they have your contact details, you will hear their hard-to-resist offers sooner or later than you ever imagined.

How to Avoid It?

The best way to avoid this scam is to simply say that you are not interested and continue with your vacation.


Scam # 5 – Other Form of Extortion


How This Scam Works?

There are a lot of ways on how the scammers can execute their tricks. But the most common form of extortion that any tourist may experience is charging you by taking photos. Being in a different place and culture may be truly an amazing thing and you don’t want to miss any single moments of it. A scammer can take this as an advantage as it will politely volunteer to take your photos in the famous landmark only to realize that it will charge you in exaggerated fees. Also, note that any scammer can also be in the form of an old woman or children.

How to Avoid It?

You can avoid this scam if you can get a decent tour agency to take your photos. Or you can even let your friend or family take your photos with those picturesque attractions.


There are various scams that you can expect possibly experience not only in Indonesia but with other countries as well. But to avoid being the victim one best way that you can do is plan out the itinerary carefully and research everything you need to know in the country that you’ll be visiting. Whenever possible coordinate with your hotel and touring agency to prevent you from causing your holiday vacation a terrible experience that you might not want to have.


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