The Bali Phenomenon! Should you visit Bali?

Tourism and Bali are two words that definitely belong in the same sentence. Not just because of developments in recent years but as a result of decades of care and attention. But how does a tiny island with only a five million population, where the majority of people practice a minority religion and in a country like Indonesia, become one of the tourism capitals of the world?

 

Related: “Ultimate Travel Guide to Vietnam”

History of Tourism in Bali

When discussing holidays in Bali, it’s important to look back briefly to the history of tourism there. This can be traced back to the colonial era when Indonesia was still under Dutch occupation. The Dutch government at the time realised the island’s potential to draw income and decided to put the island on their travel ads. The 1920s and 1930s saw an influx of foreign tourists coming to Bali, which included the famous visit of Charlie Chaplin in 1932. When World War II broke out and Indonesian independence resulted in 1945, Bali was somehow neglected as a destination.

 

It wasn’t until the 1970s that foreigners then began flocking to Bali as a surfing destination. If you surf the internet, you can find how different Kuta was in the 1970s and now. As the country grew economically, Bali became a hot destination again in the 1980s and 1990s.  

 

In 2002, however, a bomb detonated in Kuta, resulting in more than 200 casualties. It affected tourism badly and, for the first time, the resort hit rock bottom. Then, while still recovering, another bomb hit Bali in 2005 and, for the second time, people were reluctant to visit Indonesia. Some countries even issued a travel warning. 

 

It wasn’t until the 2010s that various publications, especially travel magazines, included Bali as one of the best destinations in the world. Then the pandemic hit in 2020. The question at that time was whether Bali would ever regain its status as one of the top destinations in Asia. 

 

The answer was clear: with over five million foreign tourists visiting in 2023, Bali reclaimed its throne.

Why Does Bali Attract People From All Over the World?

 The popularity of Bali as a tourism destination results from endless campaigns by the Indonesian government. Before social media was as big as today, Bali received a massive boost to its reputation via Julia Roberts’ role as Elizabeth Gilbert in the romantic film Eat, Pray, Love in 2010. The film amplified the image of Bali as an exotic and magical land. After its release, people came to Bali wanting to experience something similar and cited the film as an inspiration for finding themselves. 

 

When considering your Bali Itinerary, Instagram became a huge factor and source of inspiration. The platform and its creators took over social media. Once again, Bali became a celebrated hashtag and people flock to the island, for amazing social media content. 

 

The question remains: why? And the answer is simple and also… cliche. 

 

The majority of Balinese practice Hinduism and, in a country with the biggest Muslim population in the world, this is an enigma. Nevertheless, the religion translates and seeps into every aspect of Balinese culture and life. Tri Hita Karana ‒ the harmony with God, the harmony among humans, and the harmony with nature ‒ is the philosophy that every Balinese lives and breathes by. 

 

Additionally, Bali has its remarkable nature, being blessed with mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and beaches, and all on a tiny island. Visitors can hike Mount Batur to see the sunrise in the early morning, visit Kanto Lampo waterfall afterwards, and close the day by sitting on the beach with a Bintang beer while waiting for the sunset. And the crazy thing is that everything is possible in one day.

 

Most people come to Bali for two good reasons. In today’s digitalised world and a post-pandemic working culture that allows people to work remotely, Bali has become an ideal choice for finding positive work-life balance. The affordable living costs, the sun shining all year (even in the rainy season), the proximity to beaches and nature, and the growing infrastructure are enough to lure more and more people to Bali. The foreign visitor statistics are concrete proof that Bali’s growing popularity is not due stop anytime soon.

Should You Visit Bali If You Haven’t Been?

 

Now that all the facts are laid out, the question remains: is Bali still worth visiting? The answer would be a big yes and, indeed, without a single doubt. The number of visitors may concern some but, rest assured, Bali’s natural beauty still hasn’t changed significantly. 

 

Being a first-timer has never been comfortable or easy. Even more so if you’re travelling in a foreign country but don’t feel overwhelmed! https://onbali.com/ has covered the most important questions you may have about restaurants, hotels, and even beach clubs if you need a break from nature and want to hit the dancefloor.  

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