It seems that people either love Bali or hate it. So the question “Bali or not Bali?” seems valid.
We were there and we love it. We were there, and we hate it – it depends where you go and what you want to do. And if at the end you will decide to go read what to pack for Bali.
Here is what we hated about Bali – Kuta
Kuta – we stayed in Kuta just for one night before flying out to Australia on the way back from Gili Island. The only reason for staying there was to be on the safe side and manage to get the morning flight without any stress.
So what wrong about Kuta? – it’s full of half-drunk half-naked Australians, and Indonesians trying to sell them another t-shirt. The whole spirit of Bali is lost somewhere between people whose idea of fun is nothing but alcohol and those who are there for the commercial opportunities provided by them. Half a day and one night was enough for me, and I promised myself never again.
How about Ubud?
Ubud, on the other hand, is both good and bad. Staying on the main street is a sad experience.
Everything a tourist wants and everything a traveller wants to avoid in packed into what was once a small beautiful town now overloaded with traffic. There is noise; there is pollution. Ubud is a bit overpacked and un-lovely. But walk a few hundred metres along any side road and then slow down and walk one or two kilometres more and you find yourself in a different Bali. One with a beauty of its own. Juicy green terraced paddies grow rice under a sky rich with heavy clouds. There are coconut palms and papaya trees, a shrine in every field. There are rivers, waterfalls. That’s the rich and calming Bali and Ubud we love.
Another thing we loved was being close to so many interesting sights – like Monkey Forest, Pura Taman Saraswati Temple, Puri Saren Royal Palace. We hired a driver for two days and we went to see Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Tegenungan Waterfall, ‘Elephant Cave’
So if you ask me: “Bali or not Bali?” I will say Bali – but you will find me in some place where not everyone goes
And if you are going for the first time to Bali or to Asia have a look at Ultimate South East Asia packing list.