Delayed post. I’ve been off social media and have significantly reduced my presence online for a month. It was all because of the realization of how Social Media has made a significant effect on me after reading the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. I’ll tell more about it on another blog.
After the hiatus, here I am writing this.
I have been to Bali many times, the first one was in 2011. Bali then wasn’t as touristy as it is now. It was right at the beginning of it. It was also right after the time when Eat Pray Love went out in the cinemas. It had this relaxing, inviting and friendly vibe that was hard to resist.
Bali was an old kampong, at least that was my first memory of it. Rice paddies, tranquil and there were less people. It was very laid back. Lush greens and beautiful landscapes. It’s big enough to have a bevy of activities to choose from but small enough one can go through each destination in one to two weeks.
Even back then moving in and out of Bali was convenient since there were a lot of taxis going around. If you’re an experienced cyclist, you can easily rent a motorbike and go around town.
My next visits to Bali were on my own. Moving around was definitely easier since Grab and Gojek were adopted by locals. I am more comfortable using Grab since I also use them in the Philippines.
I stayed in the heart of Kuta. The second visit was a revelation of how bad the pollution has become. The beach was trashed with rubbish. I was mortified and angry. The second visit changed my lifestyle entirely. I opted more on reusable bottles, using less plastic and to live more sustainably.
Aside from the pollution, it’s always a great idea to visit Bali. Relaxing, and meeting people has never been easier. These days you can also share experiences with other tourists.
In the summer of 2019, I tried Airbnb Experiences which was a pleasant change compared to the generic group tours. You can join groups,or you can have your own experience.
The third trip was definitely the most enjoyable of all visits. I get to visit another Island, Nusa Penida. I had no shame getting a tan and savouring the beautiful landscape of the sea and the cliffs. Spectacular turquoise waters and strong waves. I had a VIP experience, I had my own tour guide and my own driver.
I also get to learn how to cook a delightful traditional Balinese cuisine with Dutch classmates. We were fortunate that there weren’t a lot of people who joined the tour with us which made it an exclusive experience.
The best thing about Bali is that it embraced its identity and although there’s Western influence through the years, it remained true to its roots. The tradition and the culture is still present.
Before leaving Bali, I asked my driver how he loves the tourism in Bali, many locals have agreed it’s way too much and has caused a dramatic disruption to their daily life. Traffic has significantly increased, the south side of Ubud became an early version of Seminyak.
Progress changed Bali’s landscape and many hope it will slow down somehow. I love Bali. It will always be one of my favorite places.