Heads up: a few of the hyperlinks on this web site are affiliate hyperlinks. If you click on and make a reserving or buy, I’ll make a fee (at no additional price to you). I accomplice with firms I personally use and the $$ goes in the direction of creating extra superior, free journey content material.
Bali is a kind of locations that’s been hyped a lot by influencers, digital nomads and social media stars. But is Bali value visiting? Or is Bali overrated?
I spent a 12 months dwelling in Bali and I at all times discover it tough to reply this query. Personally I don’t have a lot need to return and I at all times inform those that they could have a little bit of a shock after they get there.
However I do assume it’s value seeing, simply because it has a singular tradition and I feel it’s value seeing anywhere as soon as.
If you’re anticipating an idyllic island with pristine white seashores although, Bali is unquestionably not that. It’s extremely chaotic, there are tons of scooters all over the place and lots of the seashores on the west coast are suffering from trash.
Pre-pandemic, Bali attracted round 6.3 million vacationers per 12 months and so there’s little doubt it’s extremely common. But the inflow of vacationers has introduced with it the development of many boutique motels and luxurious resorts all around the island. The price of dwelling in Bali has shot up and issues price much more than they did 10 years in the past.
Bali is now recognized for its worldwide eating places, Aussie-style cafes and stylish seashore golf equipment like Ku De Ta, Potato Head Beach Club and Azul. While these issues are cool for guests, it clearly feels just like the island is dropping slightly little bit of its soul.
With Bali being one of many closest locations to Australia, it additionally naturally attracts a number of Aussies who’re searching for an affordable trip outdoors of their house nation. Some of them drink excessively, get into brawls, crash their scooters or simply don’t have a lot respect for the native tradition. Of course not all the Aussies who go to Bali are like that, nevertheless it does appeal to a sure crowd.
On prime of that you’ve got all of the influencers snapping pictures in lengthy, flowy clothes, making the island seem like one thing out of a style shoot. The actuality is considerably completely different and the Instagram pictures don’t fairly seize the precise chaos and air pollution of the island. Yes, Ubud is gorgeous, however no-one’s actually posting pictures of the site visitors on Sunset Road or photos of plastic luggage washed up on the seashore.
Anyway, is Bali value visiting? To reply that query, let’s check out the professionals and cons. I’ll begin with the cons, then end with the positives.
Cons About Bali
Polluted and Dirty
Bali is polluted and lots of the seashores are coated in plastic and trash. This is very the case in Kuta and Seminyak. The wet season is totally the worst time to go to as a result of the rains appear to clean all the things into the ocean.
While dwelling there I travelled all around the island and there are some nicer seashores for positive. Balangan, Bingin and White Sand Beach (Bias Tugel) in Padangbai have been a few of my favorites.
But plenty of them are tough to get to or situated on the backside of steep cliffs. Places like Bingin and Uluwatu have a number of rocks and sharp reefs that make them tough for swimming. These seashores are nice for browsing however not that nice for sunbathers.
Kuta actually sucks. It’s tremendous touristy, very trashy and simply not very good. While it has loads of low cost lodging for backpackers touring on a price range, there isn’t very a lot going for it. The seashore is brown with a number of trash and plastic luggage all over the place. The eating places are form of mediocre.
Yes, there’s loads of nightlife there and many locations the place you may get drunk for affordable. And if you wish to purchase a Bintang T-shirt or some low cost souvenirs yow will discover them there.
But usually I’d say skip Kuta, you’re actually not lacking something.
Too Many Influencers
Bali attracts tons of influencers and digital nomads. Many folks go to Bali to allow them to work from their laptop computer whereas looking on the iridescent rice fields in Ubud. Lots of style designers additionally go to (or dwell in) Bali since they will get their items made cheaply there. The island has fairly a thriving expat neighborhood and subsequently it’s an extremely common spot for working remotely.
Bali is nice for digital nomads, however clearly that comes with its downsides. The island is full of folks trying to get that excellent Instagram-worthy shot. If you scroll by way of Instagram you’ll see pictures of influencers on swings overlooking rice fields or pictures of bikini clad ladies subsequent to swimming swimming pools.
Lots of foreigners are visiting the island staying in fancy villas and utilizing the Balinese panorama as a backdrop for his or her pictures. Are they actually discovering the Balinese tradition? Is their cash going again to the Balinese folks or is all of it going to expat-owned companies? I’m unsure.
Instagram makes all the things look excellent however the actuality is that Bali, like many locations, shouldn’t be so excellent.
There are quite a lot of scams that you have to be conscious of in Bali. The principal one to be careful for is ATM skimming. This is the place folks connect units to the ATM so as to steal bank card information from the magnetic strip and cameras to report you coming into your pin.
While lots of the minimart ATMs are protected, if you wish to be additional cautious, take your money out solely on the airport at respected banks. Banks similar to Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Central Bank Asia, CIMB Niaga and Bank Negara Indonesia all have 24-hour cameras and safety.
One factor to notice is that some ATMs provides you with your money first, then your card. In locations like Australia, the US and Europe, ATMs often give again the cardboard first after which the money. Don’t make the error of strolling away with the money however forgetting your card. I made this error a few instances whereas I used to be dwelling in Bali!
While in Bali I visited Ketut Liyer, the drugs man who was featured in Eat, Pray, Love. I went to him for a studying however Ketut turned out to be an entire con artist.
I sat on his porch and he recited a splendidly rehearsed speech whereas studying my palms and my neck. He then proceeded to say the very same factor to the woman who went after me. I couldn’t assist however chortle.
Traffic in Bali is loopy. The roads are full of scooters and many vacationers have scooter accidents. Public transportation in Bali is just about non-existent which implies you need to get round by scooter or rental automotive.
Personally I wouldn’t suggest renting a scooter until you’re a professional. I rented a automotive for many of my time dwelling in Bali however in the direction of the tip I made a decision to hire a scooter as a result of it was cheaper. I got here off the bike however was sporting shorts, so I ended up with nasty street rash and burns on my legs. I nonetheless have the scars at present!
Lots of roads don’t have any site visitors lights so that you simply must beep and be careful for oncoming site visitors. If you’re driving on again roads there aren’t any road lights both, so in the event you’re driving round after sundown you’re principally driving round in full darkness.
If you don’t wish to drive, you then’ll have to get round by taxi or by hiring a non-public driver for the day. That’s nice if you wish to journey between main locations like Ubud and Seminyak, nevertheless it’s rather more tough if you wish to get off the crushed observe for the day.
If you needed to journey to say a distant seashore for the day, you’d have to ensure you have the variety of a driver and prepare a time to be picked up and brought again.
Bali has a very distinctive tradition that units it other than the remainder of Indonesia. While most of Indonesia is Muslim, the vast majority of folks in Bali follow Balinese Hinduism. There are 1000’s of temples on the island and wherever you go you’ll often run into some sort of Balinese ceremony.
There are a number of fascinating festivals all year long, together with Nyepi, Galungan and Tumpek Wayang, which sees wayang (shadow puppet) performances being held all through the island. While you’re in Bali you need to attempt to catch a standard dance efficiency, such because the Kecak Dance, Barong Dance or Fire Dance.
In the streets and on the pavements you’ll often see Canang Sari, that are small palm leaf baskets full of flowers, rice, meals and incense. The Balinese folks ogive these choices to the gods every morning as a type of gratitude for peace on this planet.
I’m positive by now you’ve seen a number of photos of the attractive iridescent inexperienced rice terraces, nevertheless it additionally has some lovely mountain surroundings.
Sitting on ‘the ring of fire’, the island can also be house to some majestic volcanoes, together with Mount Agung, Mount Batur, Bratan and Mount Merbuk.
Mount Batur is essentially the most energetic volcano on the island and it’s extremely common for mountain climbing excursions. If you do the dawn trek you’ll depart tremendous early within the morning so that you could get pleasure from dawn views with refreshments on the summit.
The island additionally has a number of seashores which might be very completely different from one another. For instance, the seashore in Canggu is black sand whereas Bias Tugel in Padangbai is powdery white. Some a are utterly flat and lined with motels whereas others are backed by rugged cliffs.
One factor I actually do miss about Bali is the meals. While I do favor Vietnamese and Thai meals over Balinese meals, it’s nonetheless fairly rattling tasty.
For breakfast I cherished consuming Nasi Goreng, which is principally fried rice with a sunny aspect up egg on prime and a few cucumbers on the aspect.
For lunch I usually ate Babi Guling, which is roast suckling pig filled with a combination of turmeric, coriander, lemongrass, shallots, galangal, chili, shrimp paste, and garlic. It’s often served with some rice, greens and a dollop of spicy sambal.
Other common Balinese dishes embrace Satay Lilit, Gado Gado and Nasi Campur.
The folks in Bali are usually very pleasant and are at all times smiling.
Balinese folks don’t earn very a lot cash and the minimal wage is round 2,297,968 IDR per 30 days, which is roughly $148. It’s not very a lot cash in any respect, and but the Balinese folks at all times appear to be very optimistic.
Yes, in the principle cities you’ll generally be hassled by taxi drivers and other people making an attempt to promote you issues. But normally the Balinese are tremendous pleasant and useful.
A Final Word…
So is Bali value visiting? I’ll allow you to be the choose of that. Personally I feel Bali is overrated, however I’d nonetheless counsel you go see it.
I can consider a number of islands in Southeast Asia that I most popular greater than Bali. I spent a few months renting an condo within the southern tip of Phuket and loved that. I LOVED Boracay within the Philippines and likewise Koh Rong in Cambodia.
There are additionally tons of nice options to Bali inside Indonesia. You might go to Lombok, Sumbawa or the Mentawai Islands. You might see cute orangutans in Borneo or komodo dragons on Komodo Island. Indonesia has 5 principal islands and 1000’s of smaller islands so you’ve gotten loads of choices to select from moreover Bali.
However, I do assume that you need to see Bali for your self. If you’re naturally curious and also you’d prefer to expertise Balinese tradition, then by all means, go. Just attempt to search out genuine experiences and undoubtedly rent a automotive (or a scooter in the event you’re keen to threat it) so you possibly can go all around the island. If you’re not assured with driving, then rent a driver to take you there.
Don’t simply persist with Ubud or Seminyak. Get off the crushed observe, discover the seashores and fewer visited locations. You can undoubtedly discover the “real” Bali you simply must search for it.
Other Bali weblog posts: