Bali - Paradise flooded by tourists

Bali - Paradise flooded by tourists

An island flooded by tourists, alleged paradise for digital nomads, the most visited Indonesian island. All that is Bali.

No island in Southeast Asia is as famous as Bali is. And it´s popularity still rises. Therefore we decided to visit it before it changes beyond recognition.

Hinduism everywhere you go

Unlike Lombok, Bali is dominantly Hinduistic and you´ll get to recognize it everywhere you go. Both bigger and smaller temples are scattered all around the island.  Many of them enthralled us by its propinquity to nature. Often the temples are located in valleys behind villages and its maintained gardens turn smoothly into a jungle, unseparated.

Not only can you see the temples but there also are religious statues, ceremony flowers, typical black bricks etc.

World full of tourists

You can sense the tourism at the very moment you step onto the island. You are offer stuff constantly – trips, scooters, junk… Most hotels are owned by foreigners and AirBnB experiences offered by foreigners outnumber those offered by locals. Topping all that, many tourists, usually with packed surfs, drive scooters through cities faster than locals. I managed to find just one not touristic place during the 12 days on Bali.


The capital and also the biggest city in Bali. You could easily spend a week there. Surrounding beaches offer the biggest and the best waves for surfing in entire Indonesia. You can also find tens of surf schools there.

The best surf spot on Bali (many meters tall waves are a common thing there)

One of the most visited and most ravishing places is the Uluwatu temple. It is located right on tens of metres high reef and especially during the sunset, it´s really packed.

Close to the temple, there, surrounded by rock, is a beautiful small Uluwatu beach with the biggest waves as far as far goes.

Uluwatu beach

Should you find yourself travelling to Uluwatu, don´t forget to visit Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. You can find one of the world biggest statues. One of them is to be seen from nearly the entire city. Together with its base, it is almost as high as the Eiffel tower. In addition to it, they teach you historic dances from all over Bali in local amphitheatre.

Visit turtle rescue station closer to the city centre and personally participate in releasing small turtles into the sea. Swim with sharks (if you´re rich enough) and walk through a mangrove forest.

Turtle nesting area

Turtle nursery

Mangrove forest

Driving a scooter around the city is a hell of an experience itself. I sure enjoyed it big time, since it is adrenaline. Comes in handy having smaller, easily manoeuvrable one so you could drive through any cranny in the traffic. In traffic jams, people drive even on pedestrian walks and use every no matter how narrow aisle. Marci had a light accident and carried a heavy shock from then on so weaker natures should avoid Denpasar.


The second most visited city on Bali with a likely even bigger number of tourists than Denpasar itself. The reasons behind it are rice plantations, waterfalls, forests with monkeys and more natural or religious sights around the city.

I stayed in WW Backpackers hostel which stands right above a canyon with a river and offers a sight over an untouched jungle. Beating all that, there was an open air shower. Simple romantical.

Gunung Batur

Local highest mountain – Gunung Agung volcano – erupted shortly before we arrived. Since we enjoy tracks, we took off to climb the second most famous volcano – Gunung Batur. It can be found in the northern part of the island above lake Batur. Locals kept offering us an amazing experience by sunrise with a guide. But you can climb the easy way up in an hour yourself. Unless you fear locals anger you can lie in for an hour or two longer and reach the top shortly before the dawn so you don´t freeze there too long. It´s likely you won´t see much anyways since the mountain peak happens to be cover by clouds or its own fumes. The real experience was the descend on the other side of the mountain, though. There there are huge lava fields which origin dates back only a couple of decades. It tells you something about how powerful nature can be.

We met perhaps the sweetest family on Bali in Songan city under Batur. A local teacher with his wife and little daughter stopped us on our evening stroll, took us to their place and dressed us properly for a visit of the second oldest temple on Bali. They went there with us afterwards, telling us many stories.

Pura Hulundanu temple

Northeast coast

After conquering Batur we made a decision to enjoy a peaceful day snorkelling in Indian ocean waters. By Tulamben city, there is snorkelling zone above sunk world war two boat. Other than that the ocean bottom there is boring and more interesting than watching all the different fishes was watching divers underneath diving all the way to the boat, exhaling bubbles to the surface. The perfection started by Jemeluk city. You can snorkel above flooded temple there. More important is though, there are coral reefs full of life and the water is shallow even tens of meters far from the coast. Without any fear from the deep sea, you can watch fishes of many shapes and colours.

Sure enough, all the fish floated away after I turned the camera on

North coast

100 km west there are famous resorts such as, among others, Lovina. Locals are to force you morning swimming with dolphins. From what I heard it is a disgusting mass attraction with tens of boats and hundreds of tourists. The only interesting thing there is the oldest Bali temple, Brahma Vihara Arama Banjar.

Should you find yourself in a need of unusual relax, visit Hot Spring Benjar.


Bedugul is an area in the mountains, close to Bratan crater. There are three big lakes Bratan, Buyan and Tamblingan. The are could very well be Bali treasure if it wasn´t so touristic. On the lake itself, you´ll find one of the two most photographed temples on Bali – Pura Ulun Danu Beratan Bedugul. Frankly, on the pictures, it looks more interesting than it really is. Also, rarely there is more expensive entry anywhere on Bali.

At the right season visit the nearby Bali Botanic Garden. It is huge and likely it is rather interesting unless you are there, just like me, during the time when nothing is in bloom.

You can find many waterfalls in any direction you go around the road. In the area of Munduk village, there are several lovely hiking trails. One of them leads to a rice field, other around some waterfalls. I, unfortunately, didn´t have time to take either of those.

Most of all I enjoyed the road west of the mountains. I chose narrow, at times unpaved roads through coffee plantations and more agricultural areas. No tourist there! I could enjoy the sights over both mountains above me and greenery under me. The most beautiful place on Bali!

Vihara Dharma Giri temple

My last stop in the inland was Vihara Dharma Giri temple in Pupuan village. It´s not exactly interesting though it is beautiful. And most importantly there is a huge lying Buddha statue.

Tanah Lot

The other of the most photographed and also the most expensive temples is Tanah Lot temple.

This one is located on the south coast and during high tide, it is completely surrounded by sea. Parking and entrance road to the temple seemed to me to be even more disgustingly touristic than those to Beratan or Uluwatu temples. I was there during low tide and honestly; not any nice temple on a piece of rock in the middle of an ugly brown rocky platform on a sea coast. Next time I would try it during high tide, the temple could be at least somehow special then.

Journey west

Sure thing our journey continued to Java. First, we needed to get to the west coast of Bali, without scooter now. The best alternative was, of course, a bus. There are several of those going daily, it´s just its quality varies. We had the unfortunate to go by the worse but we´ve ever been to. Through holes in the floor we could have watched the road, doors didn´t work and were tied by a rope, so it was open for the entire time. At 50 km/h already the whole bus was shaking as it was about to fall apart. Surprisingly, after many hours we successfully arrived in Gilimanuk port.


Bali is an island with beautiful nature, mountains and coast. Other than that it offers the exoticism of Hinduism and many historic sights. It sure has huge potential. All that is devoured by tourism though. If you have a chance to go there, do it as soon as possible – it´s only gonna get worse.




Translated by Dan