Travel time of 3 hours in a car wins me over every time. Going to Margs does not require getting to or from the airport, going through customs, immigration, quarantine and waiting for my suitcase to come off the conveyor belt. Though funnily enough the actual journey time to both places is quite similar, 3 hours in a car from Perth to Margs, or 3 hours in a plane from Perth to Bali. Its so nice to be able to drive for 3 hours to the food bowl of the world, not to mention the winery of the world, with no worries about passports having at least 6 months on them. If I drive to Margs I don’t have to change money, I can still use paypass or eftpos and I can get medical attention if needed, as I certainly don’t need travel insurance in my own country. Though I must say for Bali its rather pleasant only having to fly 3 hours and be overseas, long haul by no means.
Winner – Margs for travel time for sure. The only time you will queue to go there is during the Easter break when the South West or Bussell Highway banks up with locals heading south.
You get what you pay for, or do you?
In Margs you will pay handsomely for food and drink but you will generally be getting quality or at least a known quantity. In Bali you may get a bargain but the quality may not be ‘bagus’ (good quality).
At least with paying Australian prices you know the server is getting minimum wage and could possibly afford to eat where they are working. In Indonesia they have a word ‘memperkuda’ which literally means ‘work someone like a horse’, many Indonesians are worked like horses. So comparing Indonesian working conditions with Australian working conditions is hardly fair, while Indonesians work for very little in comparison but provide better service.
Indonesians understand how to give good service but I feel a lot of Aussies don’t, or for that matter some backpackers working in Australia either. The hotel receptionist where we are staying in Margs has no clue about making me feel like a valued customer and if I ask about anything she gives me short defensive responses.
To me the service is pretty bloody good in Bali but its not always so great in Australia, but there is a certain honesty about paying high prices and getting shit service, the honesty of knowing you are being screwed over as you pay through the nose and get treated like an inconvenience to the server, at least the server is not getting screwed over! Then there’s the dishonesty I feel in Bali when the servers treat me like a queen and let me practise my Indo on them while I am paying a very good price for daily necessities for food, and luxuries like massages, while I’m winning, the staff are not. I do tip though in Indonesia, at least to make myself feel better. But does it make me feel better? I know in Indonesia that tips are appreciated, especially if you tip discretely, say thank you and shake the server’s hand with the money changing over in the handshake. At lease the server will get the money directly – hopefully.
I am helping my local economy by spending my hard earned dollars in Western Australia. If only it was cheaper and easier to do this. Though maybe the government is trying …. finally. But is it too late? At the time of writing, May 2018, Mark McGowan, the premier of WA, announced a deal with Qantas for flights in WA from Perth to Broome for under $400 return. He himself even suggested it is ridiculous that we cannot even fly around our own state because it is cheaper to go to Bali.
When I tell Indonesians that it is cheaper for me to go to Bali instead of Sydney they don’t seem to believe me. It is bloody outrageous that we cannot see our own country at more affordable prices. For my money going down south in a car for 2 days might or might not get me a week in Bali. Both Bali (and more so the rest of Indonesia) and Margaret River have excellent offerings and I will continue to go to both places as I enjoy them both for different reasons.
There is no tipping required in Australia, and therefore no sense of confusion about tipping or feeling the driver or the tour guide is not earning a decent income, no sense of guilt to tip.
I do like to go to Indonesia to practise my Indonesian but I did learn some local vernacular this trip in Margaret River from our fabulous guide/driver on the wine tour. He taught us ‘do a mainy’ which he explained meant to drive down the main street of Margaret River town. Also you couldn’t beat his stories about working as a tour guide, particularly the one on his very first day as a guide with a hens night tour from hell, but that’s a story for another time.
How much did we spend in Margs for a weekend?
Hotel for 2 nights (Fri & Sat) $238
Winery tour $90 each $180
2 x dinners out and food $250
A lot of wine, drunk in restaurants and also purchased on wine tour $187
Petrol, say $100
How much did our 5 nights in Bali set us back?
Air fare for 2 in April with Malindo & travel insurance $1689
Food (includings Bubba Gump $98 Meal), & drinks $ 250
Transport (including a driver, Grab and Bluebird Taxis) $50