Information before you go
Bali is pictured as a paradise, the place to be for an excellent beach holiday, cultural experience and luxury get-aways. It is exactly that and if you go you will definitely have a holiday to remember.
But if you dig deeper, just inches then you will see that the paradise has been in danger for years, if not decennia's.
Yes, Bali has thrived because of the growing numbers in tourism. Yes, many people have profited from the influence of big investors. And yes, tourism has become an important source of income for many.
But unfortunately, like other tourist destinations in the world, mass tourism has asked too much from Bali. Today the island is coping with immediate problems that are hardly irreversible: coastal erosion, water shortage, lost of agricultural land and ownership, waste, bad employment conditions etc. Not to mention future problems that will arrise such as loss of cultural identity.
In the past traveling was only for a small group of travelers who could afford or had the time to conduct exclusive trips to different continents. Once airline tickets became cheaper and package travel deals started popping up, traveling became accessible for a far larger group.
Muliti international companies such as Hilton, Westin, Accor but also other foreign and national investors took advantage of the demand for big resorts with one or even two pools etc in Bali. And until today travelers would fly all the way to Bali because it is cheaper and/or feels more exclusive then going on a holiday closer by.
Unfortunately a big majority of these travelers don’t care much about the island itself. If the situation at the destination is safe, the resort meets western standards and the food tastes the same as at home then this would be enough to decide to go. To put it more bluntly, it could have been any destination in the world.
But surely you have to agree that this is not the way to travel? You would only be taking all that an island has to offer without giving anything back.
You can of course argue that you are spending all your money during your holiday, so the Balinese are surely profiting from this type of traveling.
You may think so, but in reality most of the money remains in the own country of the traveler (airline ticket, hotels booking, travel agencies) or it goes straight to the foreign investors. Just 10% to 15% actually reach the local people directly, except if you would go for a an all-inclusive package holiday. Then it will be even less.
Additionally it is not only the fact that the local people are missing out on the tourism wealth but they have to struggle with bigger losses such as resource depletion and land displacement.
Did you know that in some cases local people have to search for water because the hotels and villas with their private pools have taken it? Or that villagers were forced to leave their land when hotels and golf courses were built?
Not only does it affect the local people but there are major consequences for the environment too. Water is used up for showers, baths, swimmingpools, fountains and beautiful green lawns. Asphalt roads along the coast where hotels are built prevent the water from returning to the soil. Instead it is all washed away directly to sea, leaving the soil dry and difficult to built crops on.
And let’s not start on the impact of green manicured golfcourses that even need harsh chemicals to maintain it.
Luckily the group of conscious travelers are growing. They realize that mass tourism has a negative affect and therefore choose to travel as responsible as possible by learning and experiencing more at local level.
Sofar this group is just a tiny number compared to the hundred thousands arriving in Bali, but if it continuous to grow then hopefully more and more will understand that change is necessary. Not only among travelers, but also among owners and future investors or developers.
Eco traveling does not only involve environmentally conscious traveling but it includes the whole package of your destination. Not only shouldn't the environment suffer from your visit, but the local people shouldn’t too. Traveling should involve respect for the community, their land and nature without leaving a negative impact on the environment and the hosts of the country.
So what can you do?
First of all visit Bali of course, but do some extra research and effort to fully experience it. Don't go for the big resorts that do not care about their surroundings, yet search for small scale hotels and initiatives such a home stays, eco accommodation, organic farms that have a couple of rooms and provide activities that involve the community while at the same time take measures to help the environement. This includes more then using your towel a second time to save water ;-).
It might not be that easy to really pin point if a company or hotel is truely environmental and community friendly. But companies and accommodation that show that they have taken drastic measures, such as supporting local projects, conducting organic farming and implementing alternative resources for clean water and electricity is already a big step ahead. Once you are aware of these things, you will see the differences soon enough....
During you holiday in Bali try to continue to minimize the impact of your stay. It is fully understandible if you don't go 100% eco since it is your holiday and you don't want to take too much effort. But remember, if you just do a couple of little things, it will truely make a difference.
Home > Eco Travel
Enjoy Balinese nature by heading to the mountains, rice fields, lakes and local villages. Join a tour or visit one of the many eco initiatives that also organize great activities.Read more
Put on some comfortable shoes, don't forget your hat and grab a binocolur. You don't need to bring a bird book as the guide will know and explain it all.Read more
Eventhough the beaches are stunning, the rice fields gorgous and the mountains majestic, Bali wouldn't be as beautiful as it is, if the people were not as they are.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
Hi, I have been travelling for years and I want to say that this website is the best I have EVER come across. It is easy to navigate, it is really descriptive, gives all the info that you could ever want and is accompanied by the best photos and advice. GREAT.