Bali Hype – is it worth it?

Last Updated on December 26, 2023

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.

But is the Bali Hype really worth it?

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 and if it’s worth the hype or not.

High expectations – is Bali too hyped?

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.

You expect the perfect place – a real paradise. And more and more people have the desire to visit the island. But is the Bali Hype really worth it? Or is Bali too hyped?

Bali Hype vs. Reality

Well, you can really do all those things in Bali. There are those fancy smoothie bowls, but nobody tells you that they can also be totally overpriced. There are beautiful beaches, but there also beaches filled with dirt and people. And yes, there are villas that you can rent for a cheap price.

Bali can be beautiful and just like you imagine it, but that’s not the whole truth. Social media only shows you one small part of Bali and that’s not comparable to how it really is. It also depends a lot on the area you choose, but be prepared that the part on Social Media shows only the beautiful side – as always.

That’s the reason why some people react quite shocked when they come to Bali and get stuck in the crazy traffic. When they see the beaches that don’t look like on Instagram. And when they see how many people wait for their photo taken at the same photo spot.

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 (as in 2019).

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.

Of course many influencers and digital nomads also choose Bali as their base. And the Bali Hype might be also the case for them. We can’t ignore the fact, that for this reason, it might also be great and easy for them to connect. But again, you shouldn’t let social media fool you.

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. If you want to see where the Bali Hype and all the side of Bali on social media comes from, you should go there.

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.

Saraswati Temple - Ubud (Bali)
Tegallalang Rice Terrace - Bali
Monkey Forest - Ubud, Bali

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.

And I imagine that know it is even more crowded, since my visit was already a few years ago (2019). When I comes to this waterfall, I truly didn’t understand the Bali Hype and especially why this one was so hyped. I visited so many more that were natural and really beautiful.


Bali Hype - is it worth it?

Nusa Islands – the reality about the famous photo spot

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.

Kelingking Beach - Nusa Penida

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.

So… Is the Bali Hype really worth it?

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.

So, for me personally the Bali Hype was not worth it. I do understand that Bali has beautiful sides and I also understand why people want to visit the island. But Indonesia has really so much more to offer and I wish people would spread out more, to make Bali less crowded and to appreciate all of Indonesia.

Thank you for reading this blog post and don’t forget to check out my photos by clicking here.

Also let me know in the comments what you think about the Bali Hype and if you had a similar experience!

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