Tour guide to the rescue: viral video shows one guide in Bali scolding suspected money changer scammer on behalf of foreign tourist

The video, which has been viewed more than 300,000 times, was shared on Twitter. Screengrab: Twitter
The video, which has been viewed more than 300,000 times, was shared on Twitter. Screengrab: Twitter

People who have visited Bali or heard of the island may be familiar with several things about the destination, from its beautiful natural attractions to unique traditions, and also its remarkable hospitality; which travelers are likely to receive all around Pulau Dewata. 

The local dedication to hospitality and service became even more evident in a recent video that has gone viral, in which one tour guide can be seen scolding a suspected money changer scammer on the island, demanding the person at the counter to pay back one allegedly cheated tourist.

“You’re embarrassing us bro … We work hard to build Bali’s reputation,” the tour guide can be heard saying in the video. 

The tour guide is Bonik Ingunau, who told Coconuts Bali via WhatsApp that cases like this are not uncommon, as there are many unauthorized money changers which are intentionally set up for scamming. 

“I just want authorities to do something about it, so that it doesn’t seem like this issue is being neglected. It’s an open secret that these unauthorized money changers are scammers anyway,” Bonik said. 

He explained that the tourist he was helping in the video had exchanged EUR300 on the “money changer,” but only received about half of what he ought to have gotten in rupiah. According to Bonik, no one apologized to the tourist for what happened, though he was eventually given the correct amount. 

Bonik said that there are a number of such establishments, which he claimed are definitely scammers since the exchange rate they put up are questionable and that some even sell drugs on the side.

Travelers, be warned. Many of these dodgy-looking kiosks in Bali offering money exchange services are indeed questionable, and should you not have a Bonik at your service, there’s a good chance you might lose your currency’s worth. Some of these operators rely on a sleight of hand, where notes “go missing” behind the desk, and an unsuspecting traveler might not even notice it. 

Thirty-seven-year-old Bonik, who is based in South Kuta, told Coconuts Bali he’s been working in the tourism industry for a long time and started his own tour guide business in Bali two years ago. 

The video showcased a glimpse of Bonik’s anger and frustration, and he explained that he was especially riled up because “these irresponsible people” often ruin the good image and reputation of Bali he and his peers have been working on. 

“I’m a tour guide. I make my living in the tourism industry. Building a good reputation is not an easy thing to do, especially in this day and age. I work so hard promoting the safety and comfort in Bali, but there are these irresponsible people,” Bonik said. 

“It’s like they are assaulting all of us who have worked so hard to build that [reputation].” 

On Twitter, where the video shared by one account has received more than 300,000 views, many social media users went on to praise Bonik and his dedication to uphold the image of tourism in the country. 

“Salute! This trashy mentality must be cleaned up, one by one. Indonesia needs a good image, so that Indonesian tourism can continue to grow. Respect, bli,” one user said, using a local term that means uncle or brother.

Another user claimed that he was charged more when visiting the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, which was supposed to be entirely closed for a concert at theHe highlighted that the guide who took him around actually helped him out. 

“My guide in Bali once defended me, and I’m a domestic tourist …Same language was used: we work so hard to preserve tourism in Bali … So cool, keep thriving, Bali.” 

“No wonder Bali has become known the world over. So grateful to have visited Bali, [where] I had an experience I’d like to live through again,” another user tweeted. 

According to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), Bali welcomed more than 6 million foreign tourists in 2018. The number makes up nearly 40 percent of the total number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia last year. 

 

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