Everybody knows it and no destination in South East Asia is as hyped as Bali. Even though some people don’t know where it’s located or that it’s just a small island in Indonesia, they’ve definitely heard about it or saw some photos of Bali.
Over the last few years this island became one of the top destinations in the world and it was flooded by tourists.
Since I’ve been there as well, I was able to build my own opinion of Bali and here’s what I personally think of travelling there.
Like most people I also saw a lot of photos of Bali on social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. It looked like a tropical paradise with beautiful beaches and untouched nature. An island, where you can eat a personalized smoothie bowl in a fancy beach bar after shopping a beautiful outfit from one of those hip clothing lines. Where you stay in a modern villa taking a relaxing bath in your bathtub decorated with tropical flowers while looking on typical rice fields. A place called yoga heaven where you can swing into the jungle.
Well, you can really do all those things in Bali, but that’s not the whole truth. Social media only shows you one small part of Bali and is not comparable to how it really is. That’s the reason why some people react quite shocked when they come to Bali, because they were believing, that this is all Bali is.
Tourists on Bali
Since Bali is such a tourist hot spot any kinds of traveller’s are visiting that island: low badget travellers, families, couples, luxury travellers and a lot more. What I found quite interesting was the inequality of the parts of Bali people traveled to. For me it seemed like they fly into Denpasar and just stay there. From there it slowly spreads out, so most tourists are staying in Kuta followed by Seminyak. Canggu, Uluwatu and Ubud are like the places most far from Denpasar, where tourists go to.
So in Bali there’s basically the south really crowded and touristy and the more northern or western you go, it gets less. That’s also why places around Denpasar are most developed with lots of hotels, restaurants etc. I personally didn’t like that area around Kuta, because it was just not beautiful and dirty. The beaches there were not the dream beaches you see on social media, they were crowded and a lot of rubbish was laying in the sand.
Canggu – expectations close to reality
I was also staying in Canggu, a place that got really hip over the last years. Like most Southern places in Bali, they change so quickly, that I believe it will be a lot different the time I might return in the future. Canggu was actually really close to my expectations with those smoothie bowls, hip clothing lines and fancy beach bars.
Canggu was also really filled with tourists and I found it quite expensive. But it’s definitely a nice place if you like food, want to go surfing and have a good time with your friends.
Ubud – yoga heaven
This place is also well-known and associated as the traditional center and yoga place in Bali. You can actually do a lot of things there and I really liked Ubud. It is not as fancy as Canggu, but with all the activities such as visiting temples, rice fields, waterfalls and much more definitely a place to visit.
Nevertheless there are many tourists as well, which resulted in very crowded sights. The most famous waterfall called Tegenungan Waterfall always looked amazing on social media, but in real life it’s a super crowded place with overpriced restaurants, loud music and it doesn’t look natural anymore.
Those 3 little islands next to Bali are absolutely beautiful, but also touristy. The famous Kelingking beach on Nusa Penida is really breathtaking, but I actually expected it to be different. On photos you never see the tourist masses, but they give the place a different vibe.
This photo looks like every photo on Social Media and of course I also wanted a beautiful pic without that many tourists on it. But what you don’t see, are the tons of tourists waiting for me to finish, so they can get their photo. On top there were lots of restaurants and at many places you had to line up to take pictures. This incidence didn’t happen just here. At many touristy spots we had to line up or sometimes even pay for taking a photo.
Bali is definitely an absolutely beautiful island, where you can do many activities for every budget. Nevertheless I think I’m not going to return to the south, because for me it was just too touristy and not how I imagined it. If I return in the future I’d like to visit the northern or western less crowded places of Bali. I actually wanted to go there on my last trip as well, but since not many people go there it was too expensive to go there on my own, because I’d had to pay for a personal driver.
I did manage to do a daytrip into the munduk area and it was totally different compared to the south or even Ubud. It was not crowded at all and not that “westernized”. I can recommend it to everyone to get out of the tipical tourist hot spots and go north. And also I would recommend to explore more than Bali, because Indonesia has way more to offer and I actually had the best times somewhere else in that country.