Travel

Bali in a Nutshell | Gap Year Travel

For some frequent readers of my blog, it’s probably quite strange that it’s taken me this long to write a sole post about Bali.

bali-in-a-nutshell

You see, I had a love-hate relationship with Bali and I’ve thought about writing a post before now but I just had other things I wanted to write about more. But I’m now finally ready to think about Bali properly and why I didn’t fall in love with it (as many other travellers who’ve visited here have).

Looking back, I did enjoy Bali but other than Ubud and an incredible meal in Uluwatu, it doesn’t stand out to me when I reflect on my travels as a whole. People would ask me how Bali was and Alice and I would both instantly reply with, “it’s overrated.” I suppose I probably do still take that view but let me summarise our stay there first.

We landed in what we were expecting to be a bright, sunny country on Wednesday 3rd February but were greeted with a torrential downpour. Not a particularly great start, would you agree? We had been used to the humidity in Cairns (I hated it) but after a couple of days in Sydney before arriving in Bali, we weren’t prepared for what hit us. The weather was awful but it still felt incredibly stuffy and sticky.

Kuta was a backpacker’s best friend if the backpacker loved booze-filled evenings and clubbing every night. We didn’t happen to stay right in the centre but there wasn’t a massive amount to do and we didn’t particularly enjoy our time there (except for finding this amazing place that does the best butter chicken for £1.50!)

Ubud was my favourite place as I got to eat more açai bowls, try out yoga at their world-famous yoga studios, climb Mount Batur at 2am in time for the sunrise and experience a lot more things than elsewhere on the island during our stay. Ubud was our little health-retreat after not eating so great whilst in Australia.

Seminyak was actually surprisingly nice and we found some lovely food places there too. We didn’t get round to doing much there but it was a good stop-off betwen Ubud and Uluwatu. We stayed in such a nice, huge room (or should I call it suite?) which was right by the beaches and markets and only a short drive away from the best seafood restaurants on the island. I enjoyed being so close to the beach and relaxing as well as watching the surfers (the waves are really good on this side of the island) and the deal we got on seafood for Alice’s birthday was insane.

So why do I think Bali is overrated?

If you imagine Bali to be full of the luxurious retreats you see on Instagram, with amazing architecture and cool-shaped objects in the bathrooms; with beautifully-arranged breakfast trays and rose petal-filled bathtubs, think again. That is not Bali. That is the expensiveWesternised side of Bali. And yes, you might well want to experience that, but at the same time it’s not what Bali is really like.

When I say Bali is “overrated”, that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the island in its own right, but merely that it is glorified and advertised to be something that it is not. It attracts people to its shores for the wrong reasons which is why we, as we assume many others do, expected a lot different from what we got. We didn’t expect heavy rain almost everyday; we didn’t expect hostels with broken showers and toilets that didn’t flush; we didn’t expect it to be so difficult to go out and do things. I don’t know. I would like to go back and I think I will enjoy visiting again – but only because I know what to expect. I know what the real Bali is like.


  • Have you ever been to Bali before? What are your thoughts?
  • Is there a place you think is overrated? Let me know.

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Peace and love,
Viola xo

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