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Bali Surf Instructors Shocked By Tourists’ Aggressive Haggling On Prices

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Surf shop owners and instructors who run businesses on Bali’s southern beaches have spoken up about their shock at the aggressive haggling skills of some tourists. Bali’s southern beaches are famous for their surf shacks and novice-friendly waves. Bali Surf instructors have told reporters of their shock that some tourists are haggling too hard for their services. 

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Jack Basri, a surf instructor from Denpasar, has been working on Kuta Beach since he was 11 years old. Now nearly 50, Basri has told reporters how much has changed in the 40 years he has been working on the beachfront. He started selling cold drinks, then moved on to being a surf instructor. He now has his own business on Kuta Beach, renting out surfboards to tourists and running surf school courses. 

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He told reporters, ‘If you study, the lowest price is already [includes] the teacher, IDR 150,000 (USD 9.60) per hour, while the rent for the board is IDR 50,000 per hour. He continues to explain that in busy periods and if the conditions at sea are more dangerous, the cost goes up. He said, ‘If it’s crowded, we also increase it because the stock of teachers is limited, and he has to be professional, I only have three teachers’. 

Basri told reporters that too many tourists are trying to haggle too hard on the price of surf lessons and surfboards. He noted that in his experience, tourists from India have recently proven to be the harshest hagglers, stating that he has noticed many ‘do not hesitate’ to persist if the price offered is not what they want to hear. 

He said, ‘They are bidders, the price is too crazy when it’s finished. Then after [the rental hour is up] he asks for a discount, if [he does not get] a discount the money is taken again with him’. Basri praised Indonesian travelers to Bali, who he said have proven to be more respectful of the pricing system. It’s noteworthy that Basri is complementary of domestic travelers after officials in Bali have warned local businesses to be respectful and grateful for domestic visitors. 

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Basri explained, ‘I don’t know that Indonesians are the best. In my opinion, if they have studied, they have accepted that price. And I like it the most when it’s school holidays because our people will be busy’. Fellow small surf business owner Aris Julianto, 28, also told reporters that the haggling on prices at the beach has become too much. For Julianto though, he says that the western travelers have been the most troublesome in his experience. 

To solve the issue, Julianto has created a fixed rate policy, though that hasn’t deterred the ‘bules’ from bargaining. He said, ‘Nowadays, many guests are bidding, Caucasians are also bidding a lot, so we (set) it at the fixed range of IDR 200,000 (USD 12.80)’. This is the lowest Julianto can go without losing money.


I Nyoman Darsa, 51, has been born and bred in Kuta, now works close to Jery Bar. He told reports that he has also set a fixed rate at IDR 200,000 for an hour-long surf lesson and IDR 50,000 for an hour of surfboard hire.

He explained, ‘it’s a bit quiet, maybe the influence of the beach arrangement because we want to improve it, so we support the Samigita arrangement’. He admitted that his rates were ‘really cheap’ and hoped that the issue wouldn’t get worse for small business owners. 


In recent weeks an Australian tourist took to social media to share her disgust at her fellow travelers’ behavior towards local people. Tanieka Monti, from Victoria, has told reporters that her holiday was ‘interrupted’ by tourists not respecting local people, culture, or tourist destinations. 


While haggling is appropriate at markets, it is not acceptable to haggle on fixed-rate prices nor settle on a price that is way below the original price. As a general rule, when negotiating for souvenirs or goods at a market, the stall owner will offer a price, the potential customer will half it, the market owner will offer a middle point, and the potential customer suggests a final price of around 10% lower than the second amount. 

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Saturday 5th of November 2022

Lol look at all the foreigners moaning about in the comment section while sipping their cocktails living a nomadic life in the beach away from their actual countries and asking the Balinese people to take a hike about their complains. How ironic.


Thursday 3rd of November 2022

Omg,dry your eyes princess! After 4 years living here and having to deal with the number of rude and intrusive hawkers (all seemingly running on auto pilot like robots), I'd call it karma there is at long last some push back. I'm so over being called boss and that due to the colour of my skin I should be expected to pay more. Given the avg daily wage is between idr 100k to 150k per day for a daily worker, this story would suggest these guys are doing well. Only in Bali... moaning about no customers then moaning about customers. In a word, myopic.


Wednesday 2nd of November 2022

Mh agressive is ñot nice. But you guys must not wondering, that "bules" even "localbules" going upsad becoze of Price politic here in Bali, locals dont pay but bule must pay, this is rassism. If there is a charge ( entrance) or a price for a service all have to pay same or nothing. Is not fair local not pay bule must pay, then if you guys come in our countrys you will be treated fair, all pay same price.. And my advice to a business owner like you is, if you have a Price list, stay by that price give maybe discount if someone rent 2 3 hours..and make a comunity with other owners teachers they made same price. If some one not will pay price also good next... But dont use bules as walking ATMs

J West

Wednesday 2nd of November 2022

There’s no way a “fixed price” system could ever work . The Balinese are well known to set prices as high as they can imagine without regard to any notion of fair pricing’. Whether it be the price of beers on the beach or changing meal prices mid way through a seating the operative rule is ‘keep your wits about you and count your change twice.’


Wednesday 2nd of November 2022

Supply and demand. Stop moaning. If tourist wants it too cheap just refuse. If you have no customers lower your price.