We’ve just returned from a week in Bali, a place I never expected to visit.


I love Indonesia. I’ve been there three times, trekking in the jungle searching for orangutans and dodging traffic in Jakarta.


But all I used to think of when I thought of Bali was drunk Australians, package holidays and honeymooners, and Australians thinking they’d “travelled” because they’d been to Bali.


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Unfortunately, Bali lived up to those stereotypes. Walking down the street we heard calls of “G’day maaaaate” from Balinese shopkeepers and taxi drivers, and we saw drunk Australians walking around the streets without shirts on, their tough stickers on display.


It was incredibly disappointing. Don’t get me wrong – I love Balinese people, I think they’re some of the friendliest people in the world, but this small island has been corrupted by tourism and it’s a real shame to see. I also understand how important tourism – especially Australian tourists – is to Bali. Without Australian visitors, the economy would suffer enormously.


I do understand all this – it’s just that now I’ve been, I know that Bali’s not the place for me.


So we decided to simply have a holiday here. It was vastly different to the way we usually travel. We read books, we lay in the sun, we enjoyed our amazing villa with private pool (which we got for a bargain 60% off the usual rate), we had massages, we shunned local restaurants in favour of highly recommended fine dining. I’m not proud of this, but sometimes you just need a holiday.


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Perhaps karma caught up with me, because on day three I was struck down with a severe case of Bali Belly that left me deflated and unable to do much but lie in bed. Matt fell victim to it on day five.


We visited Ubud and Kuta to see other parts of the island. A lot of people rave about Ubud, but again I was disappointed. Kuta was undisputedly one of the worst places I have ever visited, with shops selling all sorts of lewd stickers.


I’m glad we went and we saw Bali for ourselves, but when I next return to Indonesia, I won’t be going here.


Have you been to Bali? What do you think of the island?