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Tourists Claim Famous Bali Destinations Are Overrated 

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Tourists planning their first visit to Bali often have the same few questions: Is it safe? What should I do if I get sick? And is ‘X’ attraction or destination worth the visit?

It only takes a quick look on social media at #ExpectationVsRealityBali to see that some places don’t quite look like the picture postcard version of themselves 100% of the time.

Woman At Rice Terraces in Bali.jpg

A tourist and travel writer, Jonathan Levin, has revealed the places he thinks are ‘not worth the hype’ in Bali.

After ‘living in Bali for 2 months’, the writer said that there was much that he loved about the Island of the Gods but that several of the island’s leading attractions didn’t live up to expectations

@pubityearth The harsh reality🇮🇩😬 #bali #indonesia #travel #instavsreality #travel #photography (credit: @JASTRZAB ♬ original sound – Pubity Earth

Levin, who recently left his corporate job to travel for 12 months solo around Southeast Asia, visited Bali for 2 months, ticking off a major destination on his bucket list.

Well-seasoned Bali lovers may already be able to guess the list of top attractions they found to be overrated, and first-time Bali travelers may wish to revisit their itinerary or dig a little deeper to see what these attractions look like when open to the public.

@burdenkooo the truth no one is telling you💀 #paradise#bali#nusapenida#expectationvsreality#canggu#fypage ♬ original sound – Matthew Rincon

Despite being prepared for queues, Levin found the world-famous Gates of Heaven Temple to be way too crowded for his liking.

This has been noted by many travelers before him. We hate to break the illusion, but the reflection on the ‘water’ that everyone is looking for when standing between the gates is a simple camera trick achieved by holding a mirror up to the bottom of the lens.

In peak season, tourists can wait up to 4 hours to have their photo taken, and they generally get less than 2 minutes standing between the gates; literally, just seconds to get the photo and not even take a moment to take in the view.

@itsjustinesy I wish I knew so we didn’t have to wait for 4 hours! 😅 #tiktokph #tiktoktravel #bali #lempuyangtemple #gatesofheaven #traveltips #travelph #justinetravels ♬ Comedy, Pleasure, Excitement | Piano BGM – STAR DUST BGM

Levin described many of the beaches he visited as “mostly a letdown” – something that, again, many regular Bali lovers may be adjusted to, but first-time tourists planning their perfect vacation may need to manage their expectations.

While ionic beaches like Canggu, Seminyak, and Kuta give tourists mixed feelings based on the amount of trash and debris on the shoreline and the number of people, there are no doubt hundreds of stunning, untouched beaches in Bali.

He noted that tourists cannot swim at many of Nusa Penida’s most iconic beaches and there is good reason for it too.

Over the years, dozens of tourists have been swept out to sea and even lost their lives after simply stepping foot in the shallows of Kelkinging Beach and Diamond Beach. It’s just not worth the risk. 


Other famous spots that didn’t live up to Levin’s expectations were the center of Ubud, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, the Campuhan Ridge Walk, and Canggu.

He observed the center of Ubud to be way too busy; he even noted that he had “never experienced the level of constant solicitation that I did in Ubud.” The Campuhan Ridge Walk may well be another victim of the clever camera trickery.


While drone photos make the Campuhan Ridge Walk appear to offer incredible views, the reality is that most of the narrow pathway is sided with bushes and tall grasses, and nowadays, there are more and more hotels being built on the ridges that neighbor the famous walkway at Campuhan.

Nevertheless, taking the Campuhan Ridge Walk is all about the time of day; though the views aren’t breathtaking, going for a stroll past Pura Gunung Lebah in the early hours of the morning, through a gentle living mist up onto the walkway, when there is no one else around, it’s certainly worth the early alarm call. 


Can tourists still find the magic in Bali? Are there alternatives to these iconic destinations that give tourists those all-important crowd-free photos, a sense of cultural wonder, and the chance to make genuine travel memories?

Absolutely! Whether you’re a first-time Bali tourist or a returning Bali lover, there is and always will be something incredible to discover on the Island of the Gods; you’ll just have to swap your itinerary!

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Na Kolohe

Monday 22nd of April 2024

And yet they still keep coming. Paradise lost.

J schneider

Wednesday 17th of April 2024

Indeed many nice places here. Crowds ruin everything. Your selling your island and it is small. I came first time 2 months before airport closed march 20. And returned when bali opened back up. I was lucky not many people. It was probably pretty nice.i do not like traffic lots of people and the trash. .come to Oregon in the U.S. we have 200 lakes . Many rivers .with crystal clear waters that come from our mountains covered with snow.everything clean there. . No tourists like in bali. Lombok i loked alot.


Monday 15th of April 2024

Bali has been ruined by over tourism. Was good back in the day, now not worth it. Plenty of better Asian destinations out there.


Monday 15th of April 2024

Most of the comments and criticism ignore some pertinent things.

Much of the negative comment comes from repeat tourists or expats who tend to dwell in the past. Because Bali is a tourist destination many hold the belief they're concerns are more important than that of the locals.

Of course Bali like many places, particularly tourist, has changed and evolved and not the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago.

That change is driven by today's tourists and their expectations and wants.

International tourism is growing.

If us old buggers or newbies want to see and experience the 'old Bali' it still exists. The 'tourist' areas occupy less than half the island.


Sunday 14th of April 2024

Bali have grown into a money minded Island instead throughout the years. One of the recently implementations was the 150K IDR per head from international tourists. Reason for this they need cash for their rubbish cleaning project and cultural activities. Yet 20/30 years ago till now situations still the same. Rubbish still over the place, flooding, cables still hanging on the street! Malfunctioning traffics lights, rogue local taxis still exist! By the way can’t see how does that 150K IDR relates to international tourisms. Anyway it’s true that Bali is overwhelmingly overrated due to social media! We all know where most of the all that money will go! Bali will always be Bali with its unique chaos. An Island where most locals do not respect the traffic rules, no patrolling from the police officers 24/7 It’s time the world need to exposed other beautiful part of Indonesia.


Monday 15th of April 2024

@Hombre, exactly, they had plenty of time during covid to clean up their act and wasted the opportunity. Typical Asian mindset, only do things for money..