If you genuinely want to help the Balinese during these hard
times, BLTF has some suggestions for you. But please read
the warnings at the end!
1) Use only 100% ethical and legal businesses (hotels, drivers,
tour operators, travel agents, money changers, etc.).
2) Balinese children are too often poor and can not afford
educational basics such as pencils. Giving a few dollars of
pencils to a deserving child will both help them develop and
promote a pro-foreign attitude within the community.
3) Never talk down to a Balinese, and never ever swear at
anyone in Bali.
4) When you are negotiating a price at a local market, think
about whether getting an item for 5,000, 10,000 or 15,000
rupiah really makes that much difference to you, because it
may make a lot of difference to a stall holder’s family.
If you like to negotiate, great, get the rock bottom price
and then add something at the end.
5) Ask travel agents, tour operators and hotels to give you
a price excluding service charges, so you can them give this
to the staff personally (to make sure they get it). Service
charges are not mandatory. If an agent, operator or hotel
tells you they are or tells you the price is the same without
service charges, please do not do business with them as it
is clear they do not pass 10% to the staff as they legally
6) Consider buying Indonesian to English language CD’s,
tapes and books from shops like Macro or Matahari while you
are in Bali to give to children. English language skills will
allow them to earn a better living when they are older.
7) Consider sponsoring a deserving child or family. It is
fairly easy, all you have to do is open a bank account when
you first arrive in Bali (a useful thing to do anyway –
see BLTF’s currency exchange page). If you find a needy
and deserving person or family you wish to sponsor (maybe
your driver – if he is unlicensed it is probably because
he can not afford to take time off to do the course and exam),
get their bank account details; if they do not have one, help
them open one. Then arrange a monthly automated transfer from
your account to theirs. If you have the same bank, there are
normally no bank charges for doing this. Then all you have
to do is top up the account from overseas if and when you
8). Report any and all fraud and corruption you witness;
read BLTF’s various information pages for advice on
9) If, despite reading BLTF’s villa page about unlicensed
private holiday homes masquerading as vacation villas you
still want to stay at one. Ask the owner if they will give
you a discount of 20% because they are unlicensed (that is
the approximate advantage they have by avoiding licensing
fees and taxes) and then give that money to the Balinese community.
However, be warned, good will attracts bad eggs and the problems
1) Hotel staff, the most obvious and easiest target for you
generosity are not as needy as the hotel worker who was recently
sent home without any salary, service charge bonus, unemployment
benefit and / or social security.
2) If you go out looking for a poor needy family, you will
probably be conned. It is a well known trick for drivers,
hotel staff, etc. to take foreigners to really poor villages
on the basis it is their village. Do not fall for this nasty
trick and please do not give any such person any gratuity.
If you want to find a needy family go to the remote areas
of Bali on a day trip and eat, or have a bottle water or hot
tea at a local warung (street restraint) in one of these areas.
People may stare at you with often intimidating eyes but do
not worry, they are just being inquisitive and mean you absolutely
no harm. BLTF guarantees if you do this you will both see
the other side of Bali and find someone you are able to help
and who really needs that help.
3) Approaching children you do not know is not a good idea.
But again if you are in a little “warung” restaurant
you will likely get the attention of some, especially if you
have your own children with you. Please do not give anything
to child hawkers in places like Padang Bai (the ferry port
for Lombok). Other good places to meet real Balinese families
are beaches in places like Pemuteran (where the local kids
play on the beach with nothing but empty water bottles and
their underpants) or public natural baths like at Air / Yeh
Sanih. Another great spot to find, enjoy watching and meet
locals is at rivers, where they often bath and wash clothes;
although do not look at anyone who is naked, it is insulting
and Balinese are meant to ignore each other when they are
bathing in public areas.
4) Giving money or gifts to school teachers and / or orphanages
is unfortunately fraught with risk. Many child care providers
in Indonesia think nothing of stealing from the children in
5) Visiting a local temple, mosque or church (yes there are
churches in Bali) will probably help you find the really needy
of the area. BLTF suggests you go to all 3 types so you show
westerners are interested in and also respect Hindu and Muslim
cultures. You will find the people very friendly irrespective
of their religion and it may even dispel some preconceptions
you might have.