Bali - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

in travel •  9 days ago


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I lived in Bali for 6 months.

That’s so cool! Is the response I get most of the time. “You are so lucky, you got to live in paradise!” something like that. Which yes, they are right. I am lucky, I am SO lucky, I am privileged. I found a way to make money online, that is, reviewing and managing content over at supboardguide. I get to play around on inflatable SUP’s. Though when I was in Bali that didn’t happen because of their 50% tax laws. Not even our cheap SUP review is financially viable with those rates.

Worklife in co-work space The Dojo - Canggu
Worklife in co-work space The Dojo - Canggu

The difference between visiting/ traveling and living in foreign countries is HUGE. You start to see the foundations on which everything was built when you get past the culture shock. You stop spending the days in hyper tourist mode looking at all the things. You stop walking around like a nervous deer ready to run at the noise of a twig snapping.

The stunning architecture and aesthetics of Balinese hotels
The stunning architecture and aesthetics of Balinese hotels

You start to REALLY see.

And it’s amazing and beautiful and chaotic and terrible..all at the same time.

This is how I feel about Bali.

I don’t hate it nor do I love it. I just feel like I know it now. I know what’s good and what’s bad. I know about the amazing system of the Subak that has been around since the first Balinese planted their rice. I know about their generosity and kindness. I also know about how they suffer from harsh judgments about how they are all out to rip people off. Though most of those people ripping people off aren’t traditionally Balinese.

Escape to the hills and you'll find beautiful communities

It’s hard to navigate stereotypes and warnings when you are only visiting. It’s also understandable that you do believe a stereotype rather than take risks with your safety.

Some Things People are Wrong About


You’re destined to have a motorbike accident. Think about this for a moment. 90% of the traffic is on bikes and scooters, the traffic moves and work in accordance with bikes. Sure it’s like navigating quantum physics but once you become okay with the chaos, you’ll find it’s actually pretty safe to drive. (Just don’t drink drive!!)

Bahasa is the language. It’s “Indonesian”, the generic tongue for all islands to speak to each other. Bali has its own language you’ll only find remotely. Tip: The word for “Full” in Bahasa means “horny” in Balinese. Yes, I told some grandmas I was horny.


Consistent, clean to-die-for surf conditions

The Good

  1. The Outskirts. The small towns outside of the busy hubs. You can’t google them - they don’t have a listing! You just have to get on a bike and explore. Take roads out from Ubud. Always take sweets with you, Balinese LOVE and I mean LOVE sugar. If you are passing into a town, stop, get some fuel, buy some snacks and share some sweets.
  2. Food. Okay, so it’s tricky to find the good places but mmmm the food. Canggu has some amazing restaurants. Tip the waiters privately and them personally, their monthly wage is the same as what you just spent on a meal.
  3. Surf. Of course, the surf is just insane.
  4. The scenery. Though the rubbish is a real problem, you need only to go for a drive to the hills and it’s not as bad. Tourist operators won’t take you remote areas for the most of it. It’s not really their way nor is there as many places for you to spend more money!

The Bad & Ugly

  1. The rubbish. It’s hectic. Before you judge though, there is no government system to clean up. Have a moment of gratitude that you’ve never had to worry about what to do with your years worth of waste after it’s in the bin. There are tips and landfill, but you have to pay. Pay money out of the last few dollars being spent to feed the family. Burn the rubbish or not feed the family? What would you pick?
  2. The taxi mafia. Most of these guys are not Balinese. It’s incredibly tricky and finicky business navigating transport. Get on an FB page for the area you’ll be staying in and ask for a recommendation for a driver. You’ll save yourself a massive amount of hassle and probably get a legit driver who runs his own business to care for his family. Not the mafia ring.
  3. Scammy ATM’s. Find ones with guards at them or the big banks that have theirs inside. The inconvenience of having to travel to get money out is better than losing your holidays spending money to an ATM hacker.
I could go on forever! Though part of why we all travel is to experience new things. So, best to not be too prepared right ;)

Hope some of these tips help you get immersed in some of the cultures that are struggling to keep alive amongst the western tourism influence. It’s a truly unique and beautiful place in its own chaotic and crazy way.

Please share your experiences!


 


This is a guest article written by Sarah "Sacky" Sackville for Always Wanderlust. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or opinions of Always Wanderlust.

bali
Sarah and Butter, one of the puppies she rescued

Author Bio:

Heya, I’m Sarah or as I’m more commonly called, Sacky! I hail from the beautiful land down under, Australia. I’m a part-time outdoor enthusiast, part-time online content manager, and part-time SUP reviewer @Supboardguide.com. My love of adventure and the unknown takes me around the world and my work feeds this obsessive need for constant change. I’m one lucky girl! Wanna say hey? You can reach me at sacky@supboardguide.com.
 

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amazing pix

Good tips! I lived in Indonesia in 2005/06 for a year doing post-tsunami work, mainly in Aceh and Pulau Nias. I absolutely love the people and the country. I've been to Bali a handful of times.

My main advice for folks traveling to Bali is skip Seminyak and Kuta. Get down the Bukit peninsula for a more chill vibe and more dramatic scenery. And if you like to surf of course :) Nice shot of Uluwatu by the way!

And Ubud. Poor Ubud :) Lovely town, you really should visit, but, man, since Eat, Pray, Love, that place is a zoo :)

Bonus tip: if you're going to live in Indonesia for a while, invest a little time to learn the language. It's one of the easiest to learn (at least the basics) and of course the locals will love you giving their language a try.

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Good tips!

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Yes good tip i am agree

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Wow i like you lived in my country,

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Saya cinta Indonesia banyak sekali!!

Amazing! Is so great to see people who have managed to find a way to make money online and can freely live where they want to! I am in the process of that right now... just finding something and having a free life :) great review of Bali! Enjoy and keep living the dream

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Hey, I hunt sunsets too!

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Awesome! 😀

I found this so interesting to read! Loved seeing and reading about the world through your eyes. You are really gifted in how you present things. Thanks for sharing your work!!

vivir y viajar es lo que todos debemos hacer ver lo maravilloso, de la obra de Dios en nuestro planeta.felicitaciones me gusto tu post espero me sigas bye

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I dont understand but good luck to you

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I had a honeymoon trip to Bali. It's good.

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Woww.. Congrat, i like the word of honeymoon, visit my blog

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Thanks Sir, you want to be a beautiful art for you. Many many wishes and congratulations to you.
#plz follow me @upvote @biplobss

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Yes okay, we now as a freind, not forget visit me

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Yes right, i agree, all have in bali, good, bad and ugly i am from bali

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@adonisabril Actually, the place is so beautiful, I think you have walked around to feel your feeling to us, if you go around, and you tell someone that travel story, you feel very happy in your mind,

Enjoy , I found your blog Interesting to read.Thanks for sharing it

Well written article ! Keep it up !

Wow, nice execution (oh wait is this a pun).

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What a wonderful journey.

I gave you an upvote on your post! Please give me a follow and I will give you a follow in return and possible future votes!

Thank you in advance!

Beautiful places that i want to visit!

Bali is a very nice place lots of tourist visit that place every year

Hola amiga.
Me encantaría visitar Indonesia.
Con todas las recomendaciones que has dado podría ir mucho más seguro. Ahhhh y con las que he leído en la pc.
Saludos y Gracias por el artículo.
Suerte

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I am from. Indonesia, i like your comment

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This is a wonderful article. Your presentation is very good. I just love each and every sentence that you have written on this blog. I just seen bali through your eyes :)

I have still not visited bali till now but i really wants to go there and spend some time with my loved ones there.

I read your whole blog, your presentation of your article is very impressive. Thank you for great article and rescue small puppy ..

As per photographs place look like awesome but your talent of presentation makes it more.

@adonisabril The introductory picture is breathtaking.... Loved it <3

Fantastic work with this one, kudos

Love Aussie, good on you!

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wow! i love your travel blogs. i wish i had the same luxury. keep inspiring us all. you go girl!!!

Nice article keep it up god bless you

eye catching works girl.
i really loved your blogs, its written so nicely that it catches your attention to read all the post.
good luck . @adonisabril

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Thank you for giving us your vision through this publication.

Beautiful views, in love with the first pic

this was an awesome read having been to bali as a tourist, i did get a little insight into this especially the taxis WOW
but having read this article i feel like i experienced it through you.
Thank you!

It is so impressive that you pin pointed all the aspects of Bali whether they are good or bad. and yes you got some amazing photography skills. keep up with good work.

Hi dear, how we can contact you? We are a German couple and have a Germany travel blog too. Like to take something with you in private chat. Thanks, Timo

hi,even i am a travel consultant an according to me bali is really nice place to visit,there are really nice activity to do.
even my blog is related to travel, so you can check my blog if you like it you can follow me too . thank you advance

Thank your sharing. I live in Zimbabwe and I have experienced the situation of tourists who come with utterly wrong preconceptions about the people here and the places. I think tourism in its strict commercial sense provides less value than that which tourists would want. I say this because I have had times when I took tourists to those unmapped places and they met real people living their everyday lives in contrast to pretending cons who show them what is expected. If you want to see a real Zimbabwean dance performance I can assure the high street in a tourist destination is NOT the ideal place. The employed tour guide can't wait to finish his job, get his commission and tip whilst a resident will show you something different, perhaps for longer. Hotel food is nice but whatever they serve as traditional there doesn't taste as good whats made by old granny on a fire oven. Every place has a spirit that one can capture and it becomes a part of you for life, immersion is one way to suck up this spirit selectively and also have memories that last beyond the pictures and the evidence that one went there.

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Hmm good i like, thank plz visit my blog

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I will just give you a brief list, you can check the names and decide if you like it.

Tahanlot, Uluwatu – typical tourist destination
Turtle’s island – I would not recommend it, nothing special and a bit annoying
Rafting – something absolutely amazing to do exactly there on Bali!
Batur, volcano – the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen, but you have to wake up really early and it requires quite a lot of physical activities to get to the top. But so worth it!
Dreamland beach, Padang padang beach – beautiful beaches
Jimbaran – see the sunset and eat fresh fish
Kecak dance – some very weird but very typical dance
Clubs – Potatohead, KU DE TA, Sky garden

I love the photo at the beginning of the publication, the canoes really look like our Indians use them in the Orinoco river ... One of the pride of our country Venezuela .. I also love the photo of the sea in its presentation for surfers ..

adonisabril !Congratulations!

Amazing post, beautiful pics

i like the playfull way this article is written ;)

Nice!!!!

Thank you soooo much for your tips <3 I've always wanted to go to Bali and make a living for at least 1 year, if that's possible. But I'm a little concern about the money... As a foreign, what jobs do you think I can apply for? I work with social media and online marketing...

I apologize for my terrible English :( jaja I hope you can help me. I send you a big hug!

very nice photos

I could go on forever! Though part of why we all travel is to experience new things. So, best to not be too prepared right ;)
Hope some of these tips help you get immersed in some of the cultures that are struggling to keep alive amongst the western tourism influence. It’s a truly unique and beautiful place in its own chaotic and crazy way.

I've been living in Bali for the past 1.5 years and I love it. I do miss home though back in Canada. It's such a beautiful place here. I don't cook, I don't clean, I don't do my laundry.... I LOVE it!

Good description of Indonesian city , well Bali is famous location across the world , but the way u have described creates imaginary thoughts of this place , good job , pls continue

Your presentation is so lovely to me and you try alot for the trip you make in life I'm happy to read your blog