For as long as I can remember, I have had visions about the paradise that can be defined as Bali. I had never been there, but in my mind when someone said ‘Bali’ I immediately thought of paradise.
Ask anyone around you to come up with one word when they hear you say Bali. I will guarantee they will say something that revolves around tropical, paradise and beaches.
They may even mention Eat, Pray, Love, which seems to be a common correlation to the island.
So you can imagine my expectations about visiting Bali, as they all involved similar thoughts. I was in love with the prospect of visiting such a unique place and had visions of beaches and serene calm every time I thought of the island. Boy, was I mistaken.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed our time in Bali and have been back 3 times. For everything I didn’t like, there was something that I did.
The island just didn’t live up to my expectations of what I thought a visit would be like. It was a sad reality but having been and gotten that out of the way, I now love Bali in a different way.
Arriving in Bali and visiting the beaches in Kuta left me sorely disappointed about the images I had harbored in my head about the magical island of Bali. The beaches were non-exciting, dull brown sand with wild surf crashing.
The beaches were so full of people; you could hardly reach the water. The constant stream of pushy people was enough to cause us to stand back and just gawk in amazement. As if that wasn’t enough, add pushy locals chasing you while trying to sell you stuff.
Maybe I am just spoiled by having visited many islands in the Caribbean and taken trips to beautiful beaches in Thailand, but my expectations for what defines a nice beach are up there. And quite frankly, Bali just doesn’t have it.
I could see it trying to show us subtle glimpses of the paradise it maybe once was, but it is too masked by obnoxious tourism to shine through to its roots.
You cannot go to a beach here and simply enjoy yourself without being half trampled by the passing crowd or constantly haggled by the touts.
It is really great when a country is given a boost by tourism, it helps the locals and the businesses, but in Bali, it has taken on a whole new meaning.
Walking down the streets in Kuta you are constantly accosted by locals trying to sell you stuff, trying to get you to eat at their restaurant, trying to sell you transport, trying to sell you Viagra (yes, Viagra), trying to push you into their shops, you catch my drift.
It is exhausting and at some point during your stay, it ruins part of your vacation/trip. We attempted to escape the madness of Kuta by heading inland to Ubud, which is a lovely little town in the rural center of the island.
Although we had a lovely stay here, unfortunately, the madness is seeping deeper through the island. We found ourselves constantly hassled in much the same way as we had been in Kuta. They aren’t as aggressive here, but it’s only a matter of time.
This is slightly the same as above but takes on a different meaning. When you do actually decide you want to do a little shopping and start wandering through the markets you naturally expect some haggling. This is all part of it.
You are told at every stall to come in, take a look, just looking, no problem. Followed by a cheap price, cheap price for you.
You finally spot something you like, so you wander in, maybe try it on, it doesn’t fit or you don’t like it, look at something else and ultimately don’t see anything you have to have, thank them and leave.
No big deal, right? Wrong. This has led to many women throwing amazing tantrums about us leaving their shops without buying anything.
Screaming to other stall owners and shouting down the hallways, ‘Oh my God, these people do not buy anything’! Seriously? I didn’t see anything I liked, why are you throwing a tantrum? This happened to us twice in 1 hour while shopping in a local market.
The sad part is although I didn’t purchase anything at first, I just wanted to check out one other stall and then return to probably make a purchase. But after the display of a tantrum, sorry, I won’t be buying anything from you today.
On our first visit to SE Asia, we didn’t have one occasion of someone trying to blunt face rip us off. Since we arrived in Bali, I can’t even begin to count the number of times we’ve caught blatant rip off attempts on us.
Besides the short change at the register, which happened in the first 24 hours we were here, I think my ultimate favorite is the ‘I don’t have change’ excuse. It seems the more western the place, the more prevalent this is.
You just finished having a peaceful meal in a nice little place and ask for your bill. They bring the bill; you look it over and then pay.
Two minutes later, you are handed back your change and being told they don’t have all your change. Sorry. It is usually the 1,000-9,000IDR over the round number.
Excuse me? This is a busy place and we BOTH know you can provide me with the correct change. They usually stand there waiting for you to say, no worries, keep it. I refuse to do this.
Although it isn’t much to me, in terms of exchange, it is still my money and I am the one who gets to decide how it is spent, not some waitress trying to short change me.
This practice is too common and something we should all be mindful of when visiting a place like Bali, it isn’t ok for them to short change us on their terms because they think we can afford it. For lack of a better word, that is extortion.
Getting around Bali can be a painful process because the streets are overloaded with scooters, cars, buses and trucks. Moving anywhere, even in the rural areas takes forever.
Nothing I say can really prepare you for this but you need to take traffic into account for every single transfer you make. A short trip to Ubud can take hours if traffic is not flowing.
The abundance of scooters just causes congestion that doesn’t flow well on the streets. Just when things flow, hundreds of scooters edge in causing cars to stop while they zip in and out of traffic.
You can’t count on being anywhere in a timely fashion, and although it is nobody’s fault, it makes moving around and exploring very slow. We found that staying in places and making short runs to see things was the best approach.
When we visited Ubud, our bus there took almost 3 hours because of traffic and on the way back to Kuta, took 2 hours. Both times we were told it was an hour to hour and a half bus ride.
You may think that this article is about being negative, but it isn’t.
I was just as shocked by all this as I am sure you are after reading this article. I wasn’t prepared for how crazy it would be there, but I can now safely say that I have picked Bali up out of my ‘dream destination’ bucket and dropped it into the ‘Asia wanderings’ bucket.
Despite it all, there is still magic in Bali and I would still recommend you take a chance and seek them out.
Some great reading if you’re planning a trip to Bali: Avoid the Bali Crowds – Uncovering the Hidden Gems
Have you been to Bali? What were your thoughts on your first visit?
More on Bali:
- 21 Epic Things to Do in Bali
- INAYA Putri Nusa Dua Review: The Other Side of Bali
- Best Time to Visit Bali: Month by Month Breakdown
- What to Wear in Bali: The Ultimate Bali Packing List
- 15 Unmissable Things to Do in Ubud, Bali
- Ubud Monkey Forest Survival Guide (Do Not Visit Without Reading!)
- 15 Photos and Facts About Visiting Gili Trawangan
- We Got PADI Open Water Certified in Gili T!
52 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why Bali Is Not the Paradise You Think It Is”
Only go because of the cheap airfares from Australia. Hate the place.
Will need to look at Thailand.
I’ve lived here for a year for work and am sorry to say that it doesn’t get better over time. I disliked Bali from the moment I stepped off the plane and got hounded by the taxi drivers at the airport. This is a thing all over Asia, but not nearly as bad as in Bali.
I find Balinese men to be the worst. I’ve tried so hard to get along with them, but am constantly disappointed. It’s the worst combination of stupidity, shallowness and arrogance. I’ve met a couple of brilliant people here too, but the percentage of ‘not brilliant people’ is higher than anywhere else I’ve been in the world.
The trick is to get away from Bali and explore other places in Indonesia. I’ve found the people in East Java, Nusa Penida and Lombok to be much more likeable and more genuine than the Balinese. Also the Papuans who work in Bali seem to be really nice people.
I am going to RAJA next year and deciding, if I should include Bali to trip, or not. trip Indonesian. I was reading your article. An now ..
Just out of curiosity, and understand you better, I would like to know, which places is in your ‘dream destination’ bucket? And which island in the world is the most beautiful island you have ever visited?
Raja Ampat is easily one of our favorites! We also love the Calamianes Islands in the Philippines, Fiji, Hawaii, Maldives, many other islands in the Caribbean, etc. Bali is great too, as long as you manage your expectations! Enjoy your trip, Indonesia is one of our favorite counties and we’ve written quite a lot about it on this site. Cheers!
Bali is one of the worst places I’ve been. Would tell everyone to avoid it at all costs.
Hi Lina I just came by your article and I totally agree. If you want to get ripped off – go to Bali. I no longer have any wish to spend my money in a place where the rivers are filled with trash, hungry and dying dogs on every corner, dishonest people and an increasing crime rate. I find the beaches at nyang nyang the only somewhat untouched place left and the only place where I find some peace. A side from there, there is no longer any peaceful place in Bali, not even in the water. Luckily there are other beautiful places in the world.
There are a lot of hidden beautiful places in Bali, if you are going to Bali and wanted to search for the best beaches or place to stay, don’t take all the information from the internet because most of the places and beaches that written on the internet are already crowded by the tourist. Ask the local. The are a lot of beautiful place in bali such as Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, Gunung Payung beach, Kintamani area and others…
I couln’t agree more with your article. I came to Bali the first time in 1992 and even then it was crowded and too many vendors wanting to sell you too much junk. Since then, in the last 22 years I had to go to Bali about 4 times a year for business. And it has gotten to the point where I don’t even recognize things although I was just there 4 months ago. The building boom of hotels and glass “palaces” is unstoppable. Mostly black money parked in new construction of hotels which are never even open. Or they might now with millions of Chinese pouring in,
The hassle on the beach and street is tiring, even for somebody like me whom many of them recognize. And the rip off is one of the worst in Asia. I have been cheated on my credit card in a 5 star hotel in Yogya and in several banks in Kuta. Weeks later somebody went shopping – apparently with my card, although that card was at home and with me. But I could trace where it happened, because I only used it there. And lets not talk about traffic. I go to Kediri district where were are very few tourists. But the traffic is not better. The local government seems to be unwilling or unable to deal with the problem and building Sunset Road hasn’t helped much at all. Bali is not a paradise. It is becoming a hell.
So basically… because you suck at moving around it´s a bad place… give me aa break. You didn´t leave the “turist” area.
Natalia, have you read the entire article? Your comment leads me to believe you didn’t. The article is not about moving around or being/not being in ‘tourist’ areas. It is about the misconception that Bali is a total paradise. It’s the image that is conjured up abroad about it being a place of serene relaxation. As the post states, while you can find that in Bali still, the initial impression of the island leaves much to be desired. The reality is that people dream of places like Bali their whole lives while saving their money and planning what they think will be an authentic, beautiful vacation. Only to arrive in Kuta and have that image completely shattered. Can you still find beautiful areas in Bali? yes, of course, I’ve been to them. But that doesn’t change the first impression nor the disappointment of arriving in a place and being presented with something completely different than what you expected to find. Cheers!
It’s also the non tourist places. You want to hike a UNESCO world heritage and the tourism mafia tries to force you to take a overpriced guide and wants an per person entrance although it’s completely free to hike. But if you denied and told them that it is a officially free site they get aggressive and pushed us around and threatened us. Just left and don’t gave any money to those mafia scammers. That’s what I see all-around Bali. Better go to other Indonesia Island, more natural, more culture, less pushy and scamy people. It’s really full of scam, they want prices that are more expensive than in 1st world countrys. Scam island full of rubbish. Have traveled all over Asia and Bali was worst place I have seen.
Well, thank you for the tip.
I cannot see homeless starving dogs withount been emotionally effected, it.s like the end of fun.
Now, i am going to fly 5 hrs r/t from kuala or jakarta to be harrased to buy tshirt or get stuck 3 hrs or non stop solicitation to eat …
It.s common sense, when something get over popular, than it loose that beauty , and i feel bali is no exception.
And from youtube videos, ..so far i am not too excited about bali..
We are here in Bali now and came down with food poisoning the 3rd day into our trip, we have been sick and feel the worst we have ever felt… not to mention seeing homeless dogs who are fending for their lives on the streets everywhere you go was enough to bring me to tears… the trash and pollution is a huge problem and the people harass you to buy things.. the Balinese people are exceptionally nice but other than that we are considering leaving our trip early… not the paradise we envisioned
Some perspective- it’s possible to get food poisoning anywhere, even at home! Your chances of getting it while traveling are a lot higher though because our immune systems are not used to the bacteria of those destinations. It’s really unfortunate that it happened to you, it can ruin any trip. Homeless dogs are a fairly common sight is most developing countries, it is sad and sometimes hard to see. Neither of these things are happening only in Bali. I agree with you though, the harassment that you get walking down the streets there is ridiculous and really ruins the experience. I recommend heading to some of the quieter areas of the island, away from the craziness of Kuta and Ubud. This will help salvage your vacation. 🙂 I recommend checking out Nusa Penida too. Cheers!
Fair points regarding Bali, currently here now and my travel partner is feeling a bit of culture shock with the points you mentioned. Hopefully she can just accept the island for a travel experience
However regarding the change following transactions, there is no extortion in not providing change as you put it. While 9000 IDR may seem like a lot, in reality it is worthless. It is barely 80 cents Australian or 60 cents in USD. The vendors aren’t being rude by not offering you change, they probably don’t have it and you more than likely wouldn’t want it anyway. It’s not that different to putting a 50 cent piece if you are Australian or a dime into the tip jar at a restaurant to avoid carrying around “shrapnel”.
Not everyone is from Australia and makes minimum wage of 40 dollars an hour. And the fact that balinese are scamming and you support it just rediculous. When I push for my change I always get it, so it is a scam. But when waiters are nice I do leave tips
Hi Guys, My first and only time to Bali was in 1998, and I had money stolen from me by moneychangers. Here’s how the scam went: I changed £200 sterling in Travellers Cheques and after counting out a big wad of money, one of the guys distracted me by saying that my passport was out of date. When I was reaching over to correct him, one of his friends (2 of them) stole some notes from the wad of money on the table. When I reached my hotel I checked my money again and there was the equivalent of £16 missing. Also, when I bought a couple of T-shirts from a beach seller, I was instantly surrounded by 4 others hassling me to buy some from them as well. I ended up with about 12 T-shirts in total. On the plus side, I was able to get a reduced rate at The Kuta Natour Hotel when I booked it at the airport. I liked Lombok a lot. I loved Lombok’s Kuta Beach and I also visited Gili Trawangan, which was lovely.
That’s a bummer. Unfortunately it happens a lot. Indonesia is one of our favorite countries in the world though, so much on offer and so unique. Also, love Lombok. 🙂
Terry, unfortunately they spotted you as an easy touch and then went on to prove it. Hopefully you’ve learned a lot in 21 intervening years.
People are people everywhere and all it takes is the right conditions to get the worst out of us.
Totally agree. We just got home from a honeymoon in Bali. Won’t be going back anytime soon. Whilst we had a great time relaxing and being together, the best part of the trip was the first class flight to the island. I could not believe the amount of traffic on every road we went on. I had been told that the locals were so friendly. But all I found was fake nicety to try and sell you something. Choosing Bali was our fault though. We were going to go to southern Italy but changed our minds last minuet because of a drunken conversation with mates. Oops.
Hi guys if you want a nice pristine beach. Visit the southern part of Bali, Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan.. Those places still have virgin beach.
Hello! Yes, you can certainly still find nice beaches in Bali- unfortunately it’s not the first thing you see when you visit! Despite the initial shock of our visit, we actually enjoyed our time in Bali. Been back since and visited some of the other parts as well.
Hi, guys. I agree with you Bali is not worth the visit right now. But you can try to visit Wakatobi Island. It’s still untouched. See for yourselves!
Finally an honest post about Bali. Our first trip very much left us wondering what all the fuss was about. The old timers will tell you Bali has been loved to death and every time we return we see further evidence of that. Why do we return? Because we’ve learned not to go during peak season and to head north away from the Kuta, Seminyak and the like. But mainly, we use Bali as a transit point. A couple of days either side of travels to other parts of Indonesia. That’s where you’ll find paradise again and again. I feel sad for all those people fixated on Bali never knowing the beautiful, fascinating, friendly and unspoilt places that lie a short flight or boat ride away. Bali is after all 1 of over 17,500 Islands in the Indonesian archipelago.
We absolutely adore Indonesia and will be returning this year but agree with you on Bali. What you said about Bali being loved to death is a good summary. I should note that you can still have a beautiful experience on Bali if you’re willing to head to the North or inland away from Kuta, Seminyak and Ubud. If it’s all you have the time and energy for, there are ways to make your stay great still.
This has not been my experience at all. The black sand beach I visited in northern Bali was desolate…almost to the point where I was uncomfortable because NO ONE was laying out or swimming, just a few fisherman. And it was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen. I looked up this blog to see if Seminyak or Kuta were worth visiting, but I get the impression that I can leave Bali without going there.
This is EXACTLY how we felt when we were in Bali! While we had some good experiences, we probably wouldn’t go back. We couldn’t walk down the street without being pushed to get a massage or taxis honking at us. The short change situation happened on a daily basis too.
I haven’t been to Bali but had it on my list of places to go for a very long time. Then a friend spent two weeks and came back having had a horrible experience. She showed me all of her pictures and on one of them, her husband documented the same thing you talk about with the shop owners throwing a tantrum and yelling at her when she decided not to buy a sarong because it was tattered and frayed. In my head, I pictured these beautiful pristine beaches but the reality of what those pictures showed was just too much. There are far too many places on earth with *actual* pristine beaches to waste a perfectly good trip.
You really need to have a sense of humor in place when you get off the plane. Don’t get me wrong, Bali is still a great place to visit but it is not a beach destination. (In my opinion). Many spectacular beaches in Indonesia to visit though, we went to many. Bali is great for a cultural experience but you really have to get away from Kuta for that.
I wish I had read this post sooner, and be prepared for what was awaiting me. Your post is not about being negative, it is about being honest about what you saw. I just got back from Bali and did not like it AT ALL. The beaches are horrible (I thought I could say that because I am from beautiful Sardinia, where sand is clean and golden and even on the most crowded day there still is a way to find a relaxing spot), and dirty. The traffic is insane. It is incredibly polluted. I felt like I never left a city and could never get to the beautiful rural areas that are publicized. In fact, I doubt they exist. All in all, it felt like a huge tourist trap. I won’t be going back, not in a loooong time!
I am from Malta & we have beaches like Sardinia. Except for the above issues that I agree on and I hate, I still think that the Mediterranean sea has the best beaches to offer.
Some places to mention: Italy including Puglia, Sicily & Sardinia. Then there is Corsica, Greece, Albania & probably could add more 🙂
Myself been to the Caribbean & I I didn’t like the sea. It looks beautiful from away but when you get closer it is more milky color.
The closest paradise I have seen was in Philippines and oh the Mergui islands in Burma 🙂
First time when I came to Bali, I thought I will never come back there 😀 For me it was so different face of the rest of Indonesia, I felt like not in Asia. Everything so similar to things that we have in touristic areas in Europe:) But, then started to think that everywhere you can find negative things, but who is perfect? 😀 Depends on what you concentrate:) If you have short vacations is it really matter to think about things that you don’t like? Just accept it how it is- it’s reality that we can’t change, we can change our point of view:)
I had a complete opposite experience in that I went fully expecting I’d probably dislike it and fully open minded about what lots of people had said about it being touristy and crowded etc etc but I ended up absolutely surprised by what I found, with how immensely warm hearted and friendly the locals were to us, absolutely no one tried to rip us off or be pushy with us and contrary to all my expectations, I’m desperate to return!
While we didn’t hate Bali, we just couldn’t turn a blind eye to some of the stuff there. I won’t disagree, there are some beautiful spots on that island and we will likely return someday I just think it is better to be reasonable about what you find in places instead of always painting a rosy picture. 🙂
I have the same sentiment about Bali, no doubt sunsets are beautiful. It’s not a place I am craving to go back to anytime soon.
Same here, we can do without Bali. Many other places in Indonesia with comparable (and better!) beauty without the seediness.
Interesting article, and I would have felt the same if I spent my time primarily in Kuta and Seminyak. They were my least favorite places and I’m thankful I spent just a few days in Seminyak at the end of my stay. Of course I don’t what the ‘real’ Bali is ? but what I found came close to any expectations I had – I explored Ubud, north to Lovina and east to Amed, and all the beautiful countryside around Ubud. I didn’t make it out to the west coast though it’s on my list for next time. My recommendation is to travel far away from Kuta, even though interestingly that’s where many locals seemed to think we wanted to be.
Thank you for your comment. We didn’t spend all our time in Kuta and Seminyak but unfortunately that is the area that everyone sees when they first arrive in Bali. While I agree there are beautiful places to be found in Bali still (Ubud is getting way too touristy!) it has sadly been too commercialized. Of course, this is just our opinion. 🙂
Thanks for this. Nice and honest. It makes me think of Zanzibar (which left me disappointed). Ironically Zanzibar is very similiar to Bali with regards to population makeup so I always wondered how they could be miles apart. But it seems they are not.
We are there in September I think. No accomodation booked yet but I reckon it may be worth staying away from the hustle now.
think I agree Lina, it’s definitely not the paradise I’ve seen elsewhere in Southeast Asia…have been on many a better beach, but I still think it’s worth a visit, and you can’t get to the beautiful Gili Islands without going through Bali so you might as well take a look and see what all the fuss is about.
Ya, Bali is a place we would return to, but probably not spend much time. Better places in my opinion to spend the time. You actually can access the Gili Islands without going to Bali via Lombok. So you could not visit Bali at all if your goal was to just get to the Gili Islands. Several boats leave each day from Lombok to Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan. Their pretty cheap too if you book through your guesthouse.
Love this post!
Yes, it is a love, hate relationship for us too. I think the point is just to make sure you don’t have too many expectations if you want to visit Bali!! There’s still lots of amazing things to see there though, so its worth a visit.
We avoided Kuta Bali because we’d heard such bad things, we also visited Munduk which was very rural and quiet and ubud which i really enjoyed. The beach in Seminyak was disappointing but we weren’t expecting much. I would say go to the beaches in Kuta Lombok, we saw about 6 other people whilst on Selong Blaneak beach which was just paradise!
Yea, if you want paradise you can also head to Gili’s!!! Which we did and we loved. You can dive, snorkel or just hang out on the beach. Amazing place to be in the World. Kuta is just madness, although I think every traveler should still experience it. It teaches us not to have such high expectations for things and to just take the experiences for what they are. 🙂
I couldn’t agree with you more.
The filth and the constant Bali Belly are my issues as well. The rice fields mountains are lovely but it’s hard to love Bali when you’ve been to Australian and Caribbean Islands and seen real paradise beaches. I still find myself here, I still don’t love it.
Hi Terry, Thanks for stopping in with the comment! Yes, it is incredibly hectic. We traveled from one end of the island to the other and never really saw a decrease in the traffic craziness! Yes, there are still many lovely things in Bali to see and I still feel that people should still travel there, it’s just better to be in the know than to have high expectations and be let down upon arrival. Yea, we’ve seen some pretty amazing places on this planet, so Bali isn’t a place I’d go for beaches in the future, but again, it’s still worth a visit for the beautiful rice terraces and countryside. I’ve also heard the surfing is top notch and that there is some great dive sites off the coast of Bali.
You’re going to all the wrong spots 😉 Fair and honest breakdown of by the airport, and a few of the beaches. Unfortunately, many see Kuta, and Legian, and Seminyak, and think, “”Bali”. Kuta may as well be Patong in Phuket, or any other over-touristy beach.
I do hear you though; we’ve heard the same thing from folks, and can see why. However, after spending 6 months in Bali, in places like Sanur, Lodtunduh, Kerouatan(both outside Ubud) and Jimbaran, I have to say Bali is the most pristine, quiet and peaceful place I’ve visited outside of here in Savusavu, Fiji, and Koh Lanta, Thailand.
The airport and surrounding traffic is zooish, leading into Seminyak. As for the locals, the persistent ones are just part of Bali. But if you really open up, and speak to more and more folks, you’l find some of the kindest, warm-hearted people on earth.
Next time, stay somewhere in the ricefields, outside of Ubud, and connect with some locals. After the temple ceremonies one Warung owner around the corner brought us plates and plates of sweets, fruits and otherwise amazing food, all without us asking for a thing. Big hearts, so kind, so helpful….and this is after she rented out a motorbike to us for $55 for the month lol! Peaceful, quiet, serene, pristine, with crazy amounts of wildlife, and many of the locals are not jaded by tourists, nor pushy as they are in tourist spots. Totally different island all together.
Jimbaran is also peaceful and serene. Beach quiet earlier in the day, loads up a bit before evening. If you head to Amed and the north end you should be good to go too.
Just stay away from Kuta, Seminyak and that area, if you want to see the real Bali. Someone gave me the same exact advice after my first month there, and on my 3 subsequent returns I did the rice field bit, as well as Jimbaran, and wow was it an amazing experience.
Now if you want paradise, and pristine beaches, and genuinely, authentic, friendly folks, come here to Savusavu. No place like it on earth.
Overall though I do hear ya, in that I can imagine if you have images of palms and white sands, and then you are rushed by transport drivers outside of the airport 😉
Thanks for the share Lina, signing off from Fiji 😉
Hi Ryan, Thank you for your detailed comment. I think our readers will find it useful if they want to see the real Bali. There are many things that we enjoyed about Bali, but it was really surprising to us just how crazy it is there. No matter how you swing it, Kuta is everyone’s first impression. It isn’t very common for people to get off the plane and head to the quieter places. We weren’t bothered by the touts, this isn’t the first time we have been to Asia, so we know that a no thank you goes a long way. There are just so many of them in Bali. We met several friendly locals when we ventured up North of Ubud. Would LOVE to come to Savusavu! It’s on the list. 🙂
Totally agree with Ryan. I visited Bali 25 years ago, spent one day in Kuta/Legian, and then immediately fled. But the rest of the island, and my experience there, was wonderful.
So you simply can’t and shouldn’t rank the whole of Bali based on that unfortunate southern tip. Most people in the know, even decades ago, would tell you not to spend much time there.
Thanks for stopping by! We didn’t spend all our time in Kuta/Legian area. That is clearly stated in the post. We actually saw a lot of Bali and despite it not living up to our expectations, we wouldn’t hesitate to return. I think it is important to be honest with people about how things are perceived, even if it is not the popular thing to do. Bali may have been, at one point, a true paradise, but not today. Again, that said, we will visit again. This time we will be prepared. Cheers!
I completely agree with this sentiment! I spent 2 weeks in Ubud and Amed and can truly say it is my favorite place I’ve traveled. Although I was taken aback at first and Bali was NOT what I was expecting, it turned out to be better! If you look past the crowds and touristy areas, you will find something truly special. Staying in family owned hostels, interacting with the communities, and learning about their cool culture made the trip unforgettable. I met some of the most genuine, kind hearted people that I still keep in contact with today. I would encourage everybody to take a trip to Bali if you’re willing to get out of your comfort zone!