Has Bali lost its grip on tourists?

Has Bali lost its grip on tourists?

“To be fair, I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job of dictating how tourists behave,” said hotelier Lucienne Anhar. “It’s a very positive thing that the government is addressing this issue now because communication is key. I think all of these issues can be avoided in the future with clear communication and regulation. Fines and penalties where necessary.”

Most Balinese residents (whether islanders, expats or tourists) agree that the Isle of the Gods would be a better place if a handful of disrespectful tourists could be deported overnight. Fortunately, those unruly few tend to congregate in relatively small clusters, and they’re easy to avoid if you’re planning a stress-free vacation in what’s still one of the world’s most alluring island getaways.

A French hotelier who has lived on the island for nearly 30 years but asked to remain anonymous described the latest scandal and resulting crackdown as “une tempête dans un verre d’eau”. Another Australian who has worked in the tourism industry in remote parts of the island for 20 years echoes his sentiments: “A storm in a teacup!” he says. “It will pass and Bali will return to the wonderful place it has always been…but hopefully minus some culturally insensitive tourists who, in an ideal world, should never have been allowed in in the first place.”

best of bali

You don’t have to go off the beaten track to find that Bali is far from spoiled and the people are as warm and friendly as ever.

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Intrepid Travel’s 9-day beautiful Bali tour takes you to some of the island’s highlights, including snorkelling on the tranquil north coast, hiking among highland lakes and waterfalls, and visiting the eastern villages of Sidemen and Sibetan.

Book: 9 days from £748

natural beauty

For unexpected natural riches, head to Menjangan in West Bali National Resort, where herds of wild deer still forage on empty beaches and the endangered Bali starling (one of the rarest birds in the world) Flying in the canopy. On nearby Menjangan Island, you can snorkel (or dive) among turtles, barracuda and reef sharks.

Book: Double rooms from £114

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