Bali… You’ve changed.

Bali, you’re fantastic place to visit, but you’ve changed, like a lot!

Recently I have been extremely busy recently running my business InSyde Media, so travelling overseas and getting away for a proper holiday has been an extremely rare occurrence for me in recent years.

On my first real opportunity have a break I did manage to sneak over for a really brief trip to Bali.

Enjoying one of Bali's spectacular sunsets
Enjoying one of Bali’s spectacular sunsets

Bali is somewhere I’ve been a few times, I’ve always really enjoyed going there.

It’s great for a quick escape because it’s relatively easy to get there from anywhere in Australia and it’s not really all that expensive. But wow, I can’t believe how much the place has changed.

The last time I visited the Indonesia island was back in 2014 and while the Kuta area has always been overly westernised, I’ve never really minded that because I knew could still easily find that authentic Balinese culture with a quick trip to Ubud or Canggu or any number of other less well-known villages.

Now, however, the Instagram cultural has caused the tropical island getaway to change so much that some areas are almost unrecognisable.

The once tranquil Tegenungan Waterfall outside of Ubud now crowded with tourists
The once tranquil Tegenungan Waterfall outside of Ubud now crowded with tourists

Ubud is just one example. What were once remote waterfalls, are now well-tread paths with hoards of tourists lining up to access “Instagram props”. The once scenic vistas of the Tegallalang rice terraces are now overrun with “Bali Swings” and girls lining up to capture their #ootd Insta posts with any number of other artificial backdrops.

Where you used to be able to sit down and enjoy a cheap Nasi Goreng and Bintang with a fantastic view, now charges an admission fee and has premium pricing on meals.

My not so cheap Nasi Goreng and Bintang with a view
My not so cheap Nasi Goreng and Bintang with a view

Now, don’t get me wrong, Bali is still a fantastic place and I can see why tourism is booming there. I also honestly don’t mind paying a bit more, especially when I can see that money helping the Balinese people. But the change has been really dramatic in such a short amount of time!

That said Tanah Lot Temple is a prime example of how tourism is helping Bali.

This sacred temple would have been reclaimed by the ocean years ago if it wasn’t for the tourism money that helped sure up its foundations in the 1980’s and now it’s still around for everyone to appreciate. Even if you have to navigate your way through a market to get to it.

Waves crashing into Tanah Lot
Waves crashing into Tanah Lot

You can also still find the authentic Balinese experience if that’s what you are really looking for. You just need to travel a little further these days to immerse yourself in it.

Where I use to recommend friends spend a couple of days in Kuta before heading somewhere like Seminyak or Sanur to find something a little quieter and more genuine then maybe a couple of days in Ubud.

I’d now suggest heading to somewhere like Canggu. Although in a couple of years that will be drastically different too.

Surfing in Canggu
Surfing in Canggu

I do really love Bali, not only for its culture but also its unique mix of western modernisation and local customs.

I just hope that the local culture doesn’t get completely lost in this current influx of tourism dollars coming into the island. It is definitely great for the people of the island, but it has also changed it so much.

Next time I head over to Bali I plan on exploring further afield to see if I can find a bit more of that genuine Balinese experience.

I’ll also make sure that I visit Lombok as well. In fact, the only reason I didn’t visit Lombok on this trip was that the island was devastated by an earthquake the day I landed in Indonesia.

If you’d like to know more about what you can do when you get there, I’ve also put together my picks for the things you must do when you get to Bali.

And just to help to give you a little more motivation to book that trip, here are some more of my photos from other trips to Bali to help inspire you.

For more travel tips, make sure you check out the rest of my blog posts as well.

Also, make sure you check out the travel tools that I use the most to help you save some money when booking your next trip.

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About the author

Rhys Vandersyde

Traveller, Photographer, Content Creator - I've spent the last 20 years actively seeking out new destinations and new adventures. Find out more about me here:

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