Bali Pros + Cons
Everyone I talk to seems to absolutely love Bali. I spent three weeks there and found some things I loved just as much as everyone else, and a few things that I wasn’t quite so fond of. In hopes of helping you decide whether Bali’s right for you, and in addition to my Guide to Navigating Travel Recommendations, below are my pro and con views of Bali.
Let’s start with all the great and exciting things:
This was my first time anywhere in Asia and I found it incredibly exciting to discover all the new tastes, smells, and exotic flavours that Bali (and later Thailand and Vietnam) had to offer. Trying fruit and flavours I never even knew existed and that I fell in love with straight away (e.g. pandan), or tastes that I was already familiar with but came to appreciate even more (e.g. coconut).
Talking about food, I also got so many new ideas on how to include turmeric in my diet in delicious ways (e.g. mixed with ginger, lemongrass, lime, tamarind, honey, coconut water, ...).
The Balinese sure know the art of creative towel folding. They’re also masters at “healthy” interior design, knowing how to make a space more beautiful and liveable - by adding lots of plants and keeping it green.
I loved the small offerings everywhere on and along the streets. Such beautiful, sweet little details.
Many restaurants and cafes use reusable bamboo straws instead of disposable plastic ones! Waste is such a big issue in Bali (and all around the world of course), so it was nice seeing an effort being made to reduce it. Some restaurants also use fabric napkins instead of paper tissues (e.g. The Elephant, Dumbo, Nusantara).
I understand why hotel and restaurant services are called the ‘hospitality industry’ now - Balinese hospitality is amazing! No matter where you go, you’re treated like a queen or king, with the most welcoming, kind and warm service.
It’s common to take your shoes off when you enter a room, very thoughtful and considerate.
There are beautiful, artistic tiles everywhere.
I loved that the Balinese always say ‘sama sama’ (you’re welcome), and ‘terima kasih’ (thank you). Showing appreciation by saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ always means a lot to me.
Now on to the things I didn’t like so much:
Ubud traffic. And Canggu traffic. Balinese traffic and city life in general. I really, passionately, disliked Ubud’s town centre. It was way too loud, noisy and busy, the traffic is terrible and was driving me CRAZY! It felt hot and overcrowded, hectic, overwhelming. All the taxi/scooter drivers and people trying to sell me stuff started to really get to me, and I probably would have felt safer on the road riding a scooter (even though that would have been a ticket straight to hospital) than as a pedestrian, which is saying something.
(This is one of the reasons I enjoyed retreating and staying at hotels even more - to escape the hot Balinese city craziness).
While I didn’t feel unsafe on my own, I often got the feeling of being hit on and didn’t feel 100% comfortable walking past Balinese guys, especially if I wasn’t walking down the main roads.
Let’s not even talk about all the rubbish (especially in the beautiful countryside)...