After surveying over the forum, hubby decided to book a driver for our five day stay via melancongbali.blogspot (or Victory Tour Bali). Hubby started enquiry his service via email in late March. He dealt with a guy name Bagus. It was mentioned in the email that the charge for one day driver (inclusive of petrol and the driver’s meal allowance) was Rp350,000. This amount covers 12 hours. Bagus also provided the itinerary for four days. For our five days and four nights, Bagus initially quote hubby at Rp 1,650,000. Some questions were posted to him but at times Bagus has difficulty understanding hubby. At the end, we provided him our flight details.
On arrival in Denpasar airport, the driver named Putu was holding a piece of paper with hubby’s name on. The driver for the whole trip was Putu until the last day when Bagus sent us to the airport.
- They are usually 30 minutes early, waiting for us.
- They do give recommendation on where to visit, but will get our consent first.
- They always remind us to bargain for items that we purchase.
- They always remind us not to exchange money by the roadside and how easily we can be cheated. Instead, when we wanted to exchange money, they brought us to a legal money changer
- They (or maybe the driver) are not too wise in advising for food. We wanted to have dinner on our first day – he has no idea where to bring us, but just stop by the nearest convenient stall that serves nasi padang. Then, we wanted to have babi guling on the next day. Instead of bringing us to a good one, the first stop was at a stall where all flies were all over the food; yet, he still asked if we wanted to eat there. [Anyway, hubby says that their role is a driver and not a tour guide]
- The driver did not really tell us the locations we were in until we asked (but he says he forget to tell).
- When it is almost 12 hours, we notice that the driver can’t wait to go home. So, when we wanted to do something or go somewhere, he will usually give negative reviews (but don’t know how true is the negative reviews).
- Bagus was very desperate to ask hubby comment on the website tripadvisor.com. It was to the extent that after we were sent back to the hotel, Bagus came personally to meet us. And, then, he makes sure that we went online using the internet in the hotel, to post good comment on them. He was indirectly coercing us to do so. He even asked us to post his contact details in the comments. We did it but unfortunately or fortunately, the comment was reviewed by tripadvisor and rejected few days later (when we were back in Malaysia).
At the end, Bagus only charged us 3 days rate, which is Rp1,050,000. I think they definitely earn some commission from the places that they bring us to such as buying coffee in the farm (where the prices are kind of high), silver jewellery and buffet at Kintamani [but I guess this is their side income]. We actually cut short our trip, for example visiting temples. Therefore, Putu actually went off early on the fourth day, where he dropped us at Legian at 4pm.
Overall, I rate their service as average.