Guess What? YOUR BELOVED BALI IS OVERRATED.

This is going make every blonde girl sitting on the back of a Kuta Cowboy’s motorcycle angry:
“BALI IS OVERRATED!
It might be the most overrated place in Asia.”

There I said it.
Now don’t go getting your yoga pants in a bunch.
I’ll give my reasons for why I feel this way and maybe that’ll make you feel better.
If it doesn’t, you can always go get your “aura cleansed of negative energy” or some shit.

Here are the reasons I think Bali is overrated:

THE BEACHES.

One of the main reasons people come to Bali is to relax and hang out on the beaches.
Well I have to say, you picked an interesting place to do that at.
As with many beaches in Indonesia, they look good from far, but they’re far from good.
Bali is overrated because most of their beaches are bad.Indonesia has a SERIOUS issue with trash, especially ocean trash.
You can see some of it from boat rides between islands.
But you definitely notice it on the shores when the tide goes out.

Most of my time spent on beaches was down in Uluwatu.
Uluwatu has a bunch of beach options to choose from and I did a review of them here
.
You can see which ones are worth your time and which are to
be avoided.

The beaches near Canggu, Nusa Penida, and Nusa Lembongan weren’t that amazing either.
I was on a quest for these pristine slices of paradise that I see all over the internet.
I can’t say I ever found them in Bali.

The trash isn’t the only issue I have with the beaches in Bali either.
The waves are usually so rough that the beaches aren’t the easiest for swimming.
Beaches around Bali are good for surfing, but not the best for relaxation or snorkeling.
The beaches near Canggu seemed OK and there were a few in Uluwatu that were swimmable.
However, a majority are too rough and just better for surfing.
If you want cleaner beaches with calmer waves go to Thailand.

WESTERNERS.

If you go to Asia and want to be surrounded by non-Asians then Ubud is the place for you.
It might be the whitest place in Asia.
When I first arrived in Ubud I’d walk out of my hostel and see 10 white people before I saw one Indonesian.
Bali is overrated because there's so many westerners around.Ubud was mostly blonde French, Dutch, and Germans everywhere.
Occasionally I’d see some tattooed brunettes with dreadlocks.
And they, of course, were vegans from San Francisco.
What A Surprise!

Canggu had a better mix of locals.
And most of the westerners I met were Australians there to surf.
Kuta had an even wider variety of people.
But they all had the same thing in common:
Get drunk, buy drugs, and pick up prostitutes near Sky Garden.

Uluwatu was my favorite and most tolerable place in Bali.
The mix of Westerners and locals was pretty good.
There’s a variety of restaurants, bars, and beaches to visit.
And you could always find a crowd to fit your preference.

If you want to go to Asia and feel like you haven’t left your own Westernized country, Bali is the place for you.

THE FOOD.

When I travel somewhere I want to eat as much of the local food as possible.
Unfortunately Indonesian food isn’t too special.
I think Indonesia had the most boring food in Southeast Asia.
Bali is overrated because local food is boring and western food is expensive.If you like white rice with chicken.
Or white rice with fish.
Or white rice with EVERYTHING, you’ll love it here.
I immediately resorted to western restaurants after becoming so bored of rice.
Don’t get me wrong; the food wasn’t bad.
It was
just boring.

There were some things I’d have at a warung that I thought were good(better if they were warm).
But nothing that blew me away.
Once you get bored with “Nasi this” and “Nasi that” the western restaurants might look more enticing.

TRAFFIC.

Life on an island must be rough.
Life on an island with a massively growing population of locals and expats must be even worse.
That’s Bali.
Bali is overrated because the traffic is horrible.Bali has a population slightly over 4 million people.
The island is only approximately 95 mi(153 km) east to west.
And approximately 69 mi(112 km) north to south.
All those people make Bali’s traffic absolutely horrible.

A 45 minute drive from Canggu to Sanur once took 2 hours and that was on a Wednesday at 11 am.
Besides the population, the lack of public transportation is a huge factor in this also.
Which leads right into my next topic:

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

There’s basically none.
If you want to explore around your area you better learn how to ride a motorbike.
Bali is overrated because there's hardly any public transportation.There’s no buses to take you around to the sites.
The only form of “public transportation” I experienced is when you need to go from one city to another.
You can hire a van to pick you up.

You can also use Grab(similar to Uber) to pick you up.
Grab is much cheaper and more convenient than taxis.
Just don’t let the Taxi drivers know that’s what you’re doing.
There are signs all over Bali that say “Grab and Uber are Illegal”.
THEY’RE NOT.
Taxi drivers post those signs.
Because Grab is taking away from the taxis business of ripping off tourists.

Locals and Grab drivers have even told me that Taxi drivers will attack the car of a Grab driver.
As far as I know this issue is only in Bali too.
 
Lombok doesn’t even have Grab.
Yogyakarta has Grab drivers basically around every corner with no worries about Taxis.
In Malaysia the Taxis and Grabs work together.
But for some reason Bali is still fighting over that.

SIDEWALKS.

This last section might seem a little petty, but it should at least be addressed.
I know a lot of people who have had bad experiences with motorbikes.
Therefore they don’t want to get on one to drive around Bali.
Walking is the safer option for them.
But be aware, because Bali has awful sidewalks.
If you’re lucky to even have a sidewalk to walk on.
Bali is overrated because the sidewalks are dangerous.Kuta had pretty decent sidewalks.
In Canggu you’ll
mostly be walking on the road.
Ubud has plenty of sidewalks, but they’re total death traps.
Or at the very least they’re leg breakers.

Some of the sidewalks are concrete slabs that lay over a water runoff or possibly the sewer(??).
The slabs are sometimes wobbly, which I can handle.
But sometimes the slabs aren’t even there.

More often than not they’re really broken with holes in them.
This makes for a very interesting game if you’re walking on sidewalks at night.
And if you’re
drunkenly stumbling back to your accommodation then I wish you the best of luck.

Being nitpicky about sidewalks might make some of you roll your eyes.
But know that Millions of people visit Bali every year.
And it’s noticeable that a lot of tourism money isn’t going towards infrastructure.
I just want you all to be safe, so you can enjoy the best parts of Bali… like the island of Nusa Penida.

My Conclusion:

In 2017 Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Award named Bali the world’s top destination.
Do I think it’s deserving of that award?
Definitely Not.
But like the saying goes: “Different strokes for different folks.

If you’re a surfing “spiritual” vegan yogi that likes being surrounded by westerners you might be able to look past everything I’ve listed.
If you’re not, then you might wanna find somewhere else to go.

Was I too harsh about Bali?
Do you think Bali is overrated?
Let me know in the comments below.

Jeremiah Cooper

Jeremiah Cooper

Welcome to Live Life Extreme, a travel blog about thrill-seeking, adventurous travel through some of the largest cities to off the beaten path getaways.

My name is Jeremiah and I'm from the desert of Arizona.
I'm always in search of the next adrenaline pumping adventure.
Follow me as I show you What and What Not to do when visiting new places in search of Cheap Travel and Cheap Thrills.
Jeremiah Cooper

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