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Bali Gyms Fight To Put Island On The Map As Leading Sports Destination

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As a destination, Bali proudly boasts something for everyone. While the resort island has become famous for beachside holidays, spiritual self-development, and natural beauty, there is an untapped tourism market that locals are keen to bring to the fore.

Sports Tourist Punches Boxing Bag In Gym In South East Asia While Training For MMA Or Muay Thai

Sport tourism in Bali is emerging as a growing market on the island. Sports tourism is hotting up in areas along the southern coast, especially around Seminyak and Canggu. With gyms, sports bars, boxing centers, and other recreational facilities popping up left, right, and center, the area is becoming a destination for sporty travelers. 

One such sports niche catching the attention of local entrepreneurs and sporty travelers is the world of mixed martial arts, Muay Thai, and kickboxing. Canggu, in particular, has burst onto the scene as a leading destination for budding martial artists to hone their craft. The area was steadily building a name for itself before the pandemic, but now that borders are reopened, business is booming.

Now gyms like Soma Fight Club in Canggu are on a mission to make the industry keeps growing. Areas like Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak offer plenty of sports bars for travelers to enjoy. Now there is a shift to get travelers to participate themselves. 

Speaking to local reporters, the manager of Soma Fight Club and Gym, Walianto Teo, explains how he wants to see kickboxing, karate, boxing, and MMA continue to grow in Bali. He said, ‘This self-defense is only for entertainment or fun. But in the future, it can also develop towards forming outstanding martial arts athletes’.

Teo has big aspirations. He wants to see Bali become as established for sports tourism as other counties in South East Asia, namely Thailand. He said, ‘I want to develop a tradition of regular matches, like what happened in Thailand. In that country, people routinely every month and even every day appear in the ring doing self-exercise after participating in sports in fitness centers’ Having trained in Thailand himself, Teo feels he has a good understanding of the potential that Canggu has as a destination for the sport. 


The General Chair of Bali’s Sports Agency KONI, I Made Nariana, said that she is actively working to promote sports tourism in Bali, especially in Badung Regency. She wants to see sports tourism develop on the island for the good of international relations and to help promote sports for local people. MMA, karate, boxing, and Muay Thai are increasingly popular among local people, especially young men in Bali. 

For travelers, both the visa on arrival and the B211a socio-cultural ‘digital nomad’ visa allows foreigners to participate in recreational sporting events and training in Indonesia. This is excellent news for amateur athletes who want to come to the island to train and even compete in ‘friendly’ competitions.


Sports tourism has also been highlighted by Tourism Minister Sanidaga Uno as a market that needs more attention, not just in Bali but across Indonesia. Although he is keenly promoting Bali as a destination for ‘serenity, spirituality, and sustainability’, he has also committed to promoting the province as a destination for international conferences, media events and establishing more sports tourism opportunities. 

Bali recently won the bid to host the World Beach Games in 2023, which is hoped will be a great opportunity to promote even more sports across the island. Of course, Bali has long been home to some of the most significant surf events in the world. While the island will not want to see these disappear, they have laid the foundation for more sports tourism opportunities to be developed in the future.


It is hoped that sports development can continue to grow from the grassroots upwards. Bali has dozens of recreational sporting facilities, from running clubs to boxing gyms, from CrossFit centers to yoga studios, surfing, skating and swimming. Sports tourism is set to boom in Bali in the next few years.

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Harry b

Friday 23rd of September 2022

Shame everywhere you go people are blowing cigarette smoke in your face , not excactly a healthy environment for the fit sports person


Wednesday 21st of September 2022

The increased numbers of gyms and other sporting facilities is probably reflecting similar interest and participation in other countries. If you want to develop sport tourism you need to have meaningful and attractive events and specialist training places with highly regarded coaches.


Wednesday 21st of September 2022

And good hospitals.

Karen North

Wednesday 21st of September 2022

Yes, new age young. Lose yourself in a fantasy game played inside 4 walls. Play this and don't come to Bali. We are hitting the old records of tourist numbers and it is far too high for such a small island. Let real people enjoy and support real Bali and keep crime and fighting levels low.


Tuesday 20th of September 2022

We already have russian street brawls on a regular basis in Kuta, so why not commercialize these fight nights into a business.

Say goodbye to Bali spiritual holiday and welcome fight nights, street fights, broken bones and more thuggery.

Kuta & Canggu are quickly turning into no-go zones!

Karen North

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

In one article you report that tourists beat up a local on the street. Then you report that Bali is promoting gyms that teach fighting as a tourist draw. Pre COVID we would drink at a family sports bar. Pool, tv, kids welcome. Returning after covid we find it is predominantly now a place for watching kick fighting on the tv. Who are our friends? Why do they embrace violence? Bali does not need violence brought to its shores. And as a tourist drawcard?


Tuesday 20th of September 2022

No tourists beating up local. It was a group of Russians beating up another Russki accused of scam. Ref. Local news.