I first travelled to Bali in 2016 with a group of friends. We had a great time and did a lot of day trips around the island and also did the typical tourist activities. I did notice though how in some areas that had more tourists the prices were a lot more expensive and in some shops the locals were charging more for something than what I could get for that item back home. For the most part though I wasn’t bothered by the prices and had a great experience.
Early 2019, three years later I travelled back to Bali and stayed right in Kuta. First off this was a horrible decision but it was a flight/accomidition deal I got. I was abosultey shocked at the state of the streets, how to local Balinese were speaking to me and how little of Balinese culture seemed to be present.
I found it incredibly hard to find any meal under $5 and most places charge the same or more for a meal that I could get back home. I found that all the souvenir stores were charging remarkably high prices for shirts, sunglasses, shoes and I just could not believe what I was hearing. I thought about it and realised that if you don’t know the prices you should be paying ( which I did from previous travel experience) it would be so easy to fall into the trap to just pay whatever they say. Even when trying to barter the owners would say no because I guess they knew they could get a better price off another tourist.
Walking down to the main streets near the ocean, rubbish is everywhere and everyone is hassling you to buy something or sit down at their beach stand. I didn’t feel as safe as I did the last time I was there and I found it hard to even go outside when I knew how many tourists were out in the streets.
I was really amazed by Ubud the first time I travelled there but even this second time I was shocked at how much the prices had increased and just the whole feeling of being surrounded by mass tourists.
I honestly felt like Bali wasn’t Bali anymore and did not enjoy my time spent there with the mindset that I would never come back. I think next time I go to Indonesia it will be on a different island with less tourism because unfortunately mass tourism in Bali. Especially the south part of the island, mass tourism has really ruined the culture and identity and as a traveller that is what I want to experience.
You may disagree with me and that is fine, I do love the café scene in Bali and some unique stores but as someone who loves to study culture I did not enjoy my time spent in Bali.