When I first traveled to Bali it was more out of convenience than desire. I first landed on this little Indonesian island back in 2013. I had just spent a month traversing the island of Java. And given its proximity to Java, Bali just seemed like the next logical stop.
While most people would be thrilled to have the chance to visit Bali for an extended amount of time, I honestly wasn’t all that excited. Leading up to that trip, I’d heard fairly negative things about Bali from my backpacker friends. That it’s too touristy, too expensive, too overdeveloped. I came into Bali really skeptical – and perhaps it was this skepticism that colored my view of Bali for years to come.
During that first trip I spent as little time on the main island of Bali as possible. Like most travelers who are visiting Bali for the first time, I spent my first few nights in the wild and raunchy Kuta area. And while I didn’t hate Kuta it’s definitely not my scene, and it wasn’t really a place I wanted to spend more than a few days in.
I enjoyed that time in ‘Bali’ immensely. And I wouldn’t change anything about that trip for the world. But looking back, I realize just how mistaken I was about Bali. It’s taken me three years, five visits and 81 days of traveling here to finally be able to say that I get it. I really like Bali. In fact, I kinda love it. I love it here so much, actually, that I have this inkling that one day I could call this Indonesian island home. But I’m pretty sure I say that about most places I travel…
It’s really easy to stereotype Bali based on quick trips. I know, I did exactly that. But the reality is that Bali is an extremely multi-faceted place.
It took me a long time to realize that there is more to Bali than mega-resorts or overcrowded beaches or drunk Australians (sorry guys!).
If you’re looking for stunning nature and yoga studios head to Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali. If you want to spend your days at ultra-hip cafes and of chasing the perfect wave book a few nights in Canggu. If you want to check out some stunning vistas and turquoise water the mellow town of Uluwatu is definitely for you. If you’ve got the urge to get pampered at an upscale resort Nusa Dua’s got you covered. And if you want to experience Bali the way it was 40 years ago then get your ass on a boat to Nusa Penida.
This is only a tiny fraction of places to visit on Bali – and all of these places are vastly different. Seriously guys, I’ve spent a decent chunk of time here and I feel like I’ve barely seen a thing.
I suppose my point is that I feel badly that it took me so long to get this place and to truly appreciate all that this island has to offer. This is just my opinion, but Bali is a great place. It is made up of friendly people (both local and expats), a thriving culture and a diverse and wonderful cuisine (that is surprisingly vegetarian friendly). Bali is chock full of things to do from volcano trekking to diving and snorkeling to world-class surfing and so much more.
So I’m sorry Bali. I’m sorry that I was so lukewarm about you for so many years. I’m sorry it took me so long to understand just how beautiful you really are. All I can say is that I’m incredibly glad to be here. I might have a month left with you but I already know it’s going to be tough to tear myself away from you when it’s time to go back to Beijing. But for now, I’m going to try my best to make the most of my time here.
PIN ME FOR LATER!
Have you been to Bali? Any recommendations on things I should see or do during my month here? Please let me know in the comments below.