The big majority of the tourists that come to Bali only visits the hot spots.
The fact that Bali is one of the world’s most famous resort islands doesn’t seem to make it a good choice for those wanting to escape the crowds. It indeed is a very touristy destination, attracting nearly 10 million visitors per year. But the big majority of the tourists that come to Bali only visits the hot spots.
Skip the talk and go straight to:
High-end party places and beach clubs where not long ago was an untouched coastline.
Most tourists only get to know very few places in Bali. Kuta, Seminyak and Petitenget are mainly for the shopping and party crowd. Canggu, which the locals call “White Men Town”, attracts hipsters, digital nomads and surfers. The Bukit Peninsula in Bali’s South is well known for its famous surf breaks like Uluwatu, Padang Padang and Bingin but also has some high-end party places and beach clubs that opened their doors in recent years on what not long ago used to be an untouched coastline.
Those usually searching for a more spiritual and nature related Bali are flocking to Ubud where there is no shortage of Yoga and spiritual retreats along with vegan restaurants and healthy lifestyle shops. Unfortunately in recent years Ubud too has become overload with traffic jams and packed tourists spots where peace and quiet is difficult to find beyond the walls of the many hotels, resorts, villas and home stays.
Uncontrolled construction and the shortage of water are a big concern regarding sustainability.
Next stop for many is one or more of the islands off Bali’s East Coast. Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and especially Nusa Penida do still conserve some of the “old Bali experience” but they also become more and more popular each year. Similar to the famous Gili Islands they now attract thousands of tourists which, combined with poor infrastructure, bring a big problem for the fragile ecosystem. Even more so than on mainland Bali the lack of proper garbage disposal, the heavy use of plastic in all forms, uncontrolled construction and the shortage of water are a big concern regarding sustainability.
A deeply mystical, exotic and ancient Island, blissfully free of the masses.
Even if one visits all the above places in Bali, they would only have seen maybe 10 – 15% of what the island has to offer. Yet all those that venture off the main tourist routes will still be able to experience a Bali that is much closer to what made the island famous in the very first place almost a century ago. A deeply mystical, exotic and ancient Island with plenty of beautiful, magical sights to explore, blissfully free of the masses. A place that gave Bali the name: The island of the thousand temples. The island of the gods.
So are you ready to explore Bali off the beaten track?
Over the next couple of weeks we are going to write a series of blog post under the motto “Instead of… go to…” and “Bali off the beaten track” where we explore parts of Bali that still conserve the islands true charm.
Truth is that most of the recommendations are no secret. With a little time and research anyone could find them in guidebooks and on websites with travel advice for Bali’s hidden spots. As a matter of fact, many visitors to Bali will get even close to those places on day trips or might stop by on the way to their next destination.
The secret is to take your time and dive deeper. Be there when the crowds are heading home. Stay there and go further than the tourbuses as many of Bali’s secrets are hidden in the jungle.
Without further ado, here are our favourite travel tips for those wanting to explore Bali off the beaten track:
Instead of Canggu go to Balian
Instead of Tegallalang Rice terraces go to Jatiluwih
Instead of all the Gili or Nusa Islands go to Gili Gede and Gili Asahan
Bali off the beaten track – Northwest Bali
Bali off the beaten track – Pupuan