Stingy Bali Tourists, Or Bali Government?

By Vyt Karazija The chairman of Bali’s Tourism Board, Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, opened his mouth wide last Wednesday, and firmly inserted his foot. Annoyed that, despite a rise in total tourist numbers to Bali, visitors are now staying for only an average of three or four days instead of the seven days which was the […]

Security Sanctions Sabotage Smooth Sending

By Vyt Karazija My guests have left, the last minute rush to collect belongings before they head off to the airport is over and peace once more descends upon the villa. All nooks and crannies where overlooked items might lurk have been reluctantly scrutinised by the temporarily resident Teenager (as requested by his mother) and […]

The Downside of Flying No-Frills, Part 2

By Vyt Karazija My return flight to Bali on JQ35 was scheduled for 6.45pm. I should have realised that I was again about to be trapped in the Low Cost Carrier Vortex when I tried to increase my checked luggage allowance. I had already paid $40 to raise the ludicrously low limit to 25kg, but knowing […]

The Downside of Flying No-Frills – No Plane!

By Vyt Karazija I’m not supposed to be here at my computer. It’s 11.05 pm on a Thursday, and I’m supposed to be on Jetstar flight JQ36, lifting off from Denpasar airport at this very moment, enjoying my comfortable StarClass window seat and settling in for the haul to Melbourne to see my family for […]

Behind the Smile, Suffering in Silence

By Vyt Karazija Her smile is radiant, her posture positive and her voice is warm and friendly. A true professional at her job, she always has a kind word for customers, even those who think that wait staff are little more than an invisible underclass in Bali. “How are you, Ari?” I ask her – […]

Not-so-Silent Day of Silence

By Vyt Karazija Nyepi Day – the “Day of Silence” – marks the Balinese New Year. It is both a cultural imperative and an iconic event of powerful significance, and it literally stops all activity on the island for one full day of the year. The airport and all transportation hubs are closed and everyone […]

Security Strictly by the Book

By Vyt Karazija Departing from Ngurah Rai, Bali’s international airport, is always a quirky experience. Even more so now, with the passenger drop-off point having been shifted to a point five kilometres from the terminal. Well, it feels like it anyway. It’s now right in the middle of the gigantic and thoroughly disorganised car park. […]

Sleight-of-Hand at Every Corner

By Vyt Karazija I have just read a fascinating report from the state news agency Antara that warns that up to 40 percent of Bali’s 146 moneychangers are operating illegally. This is shocking news – not because of the number of dishonest foreign exchange places, but because Antara seems to believe that there are only […]