Is Bali overrated? I asked myself this question before planning a trip there last year. So many people were saying that Bali isn’t what it used to be. The Bali charm is gone, Rather find somewhere else that is unspoilt to visit etc etc. Looking at the beautiful images online I couldn’t help but doubt that. Maybe these people just wanted to keep everyone else away because it’s that good? I booked the tickets anyway keen to find out for myself if this lush island still had charm left.
So is Bali overrated? Here are five things you need to know before going.
There are loads of tourists
Bali is filled to the brim with every type of tourist you can imagine. Party seekers from Australia, instagram models and travel influencers, people looking to find themselves and people looking to lose themselves. It really attracts everyone.
This means that it get’s pretty full especially during peak season. We went in shoulder season and although still really full I felt it was manageable.
Almost all the tourist attractions are packed so don’t even imagine swinging peacefully over rice paddies in your own personal paradise. You will more than likely wait at least 3o min to get that shot or just give up before you even started.
If you want to beat the crowds just go early. We headed to places like the rice paddies and Kelingking really early which meant that we were almost completely alone while visiting these famous spots.
Bali might have a lot of tourists but they are there for a reason and it’s a good one. If you can beat the system is definitely worth it!
The traffic is mental
If there is one thing you have to prepare yourself for it is the traffic in Bali. My jaw just about dropped on the floor the first time I experienced it. It makes getting around especially during peak times a nightmare.
Riding a scooter is definitely the easiest way to get around as cars get stuck in the traffic for much longer. You need to however be able to drive a scooter in those conditions and it is really not for everyone!
We saw so many tourists causing havoc while driving as they had no clue what to do. The best advice is to just go with the flow when it comes to Bali traffic.
The great thing is as soon as you head out of villages like Ubud it will get way more chilled. Then you can enjoy driving through the gorgeous palm and paddy lined roads!
It is difficult to find an authentic experience
If you want real deal Indonesia Bali might not be the ideal place to start. Being the tourism mecca that it is Bali isn’t the best place to experience Indonesia. As a country with over 17 000 islands I am sure you will find other ones if that is what you are after.
Go to Bali knowing what to expect and you wont be disappointed. Instagram cafe’s, friendly locals, tourist aimed markets and a lot of people out to make a quick buck.
Even though it is overrun with pretty villa’s and stylish eateries there are still some ways you can enjoy a more authentic experience you just need to work a bit harder. Stay at home stays and don’t pick well known areas. Stay away from places that are instagram friendly and eat at more local places.
You Might Get Scammed
With the influx of tourist there has also been an influx in petty crime. Some scams are small and relatively harmless. For instance Balinese people might be insistent when asking for donations at some free places like rice paddies. Other scams are larger like stealing money from your bank card when you use the wrong ATM.
This is when it boils down to really having your wits about you at all times. We had a few tactics to avoid the bigger scams and we didn’t get into any trouble. We do have friends that had their whole experience tainted by getting scammed though.
It is dirty
Yes I must admit Bali is dirty. But think about where it all comes from. Bali is in the unfortunate situation of not only being lambasted for it’s own waste but also other countries. Plastic washes up on its shores constantly and as they are already struggling dealing with their own waste management it is difficult to handle.
Bali hopped on the map relatively quickly and the influx of tourists is something they had a difficult time dealing with. That meant that it was difficult to deal with the fast accumulation of waste. They have no recycling facilities and the western influence have left the locals using more plastic instead of the palm leaves they had been using.
If you do visit Bali then be responsible and take any plastic waste back home with you.
If you have visited, is Bali overrated in your opinion?