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Is Bali Overrated? An Honest 2023 Review


Bali, the enchanting “Island of the Gods,” has captured the hearts of travelers from all corners of the globe with its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and magnetic charm. With its lush rice terraces, turquoise waters, and vibrant culture, Bali has become a dream destination for many seeking a perfect tropical escape. Yet, amidst the glowing reviews and social media highlights, a pressing question emerges – Is Bali overrated?

In this blog post, we will uncover the truth behind the hype and explore the authentic essence of Bali beyond its well-manicured façade. 

As we delve into the nooks and crannies of this beloved island, we’ll decipher whether Bali truly lives up to its reputation or if there’s more to the story. 

I visited Bali a few years ago for my mum’s 50th birthday. On this trip, I found parts that absolutely lived up to the hype, and other parts that made me question – is Bali overrated?

So, fasten your seatbelts and join us on this introspective journey, where we’ll debunk myths, separate facts from fiction, and unveil the real Bali that awaits eager travelers seeking an unforgettable experience. 


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✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours

is bali overrated? find out in this blog post as we unpack the pros and con of Bali

Is Bali Overrated?

Ah, the million-dollar question: Is Bali overrated? Bali has definitely been hyped up as a dreamy paradise with stunning landscapes, cultural richness, and all-around good vibes. And let’s be real, it’s got a lot to offer!

But, like any popular destination, Bali does have its downsides. During peak seasons, touristy spots can get crazily crowded, and traffic jams might just test your patience. Plus, the whole influencer craze has flooded social media with those picture-perfect shots, making some places feel less authentic.

And Bali is hot! So prepare to sweat! Personally, I found it a bit too hot so going away but the pool or the beach is quite a mission! It does make the cheap beer taste better at the end of the day though!

And it seems the number of travelers to Bali that fall victim to Bali’s belly is on the rise, talk about a spoilt holiday! On my trip, my family and I were pretty lucky to avoid getting sick, although when we got back home we all felt a bit off in the stomach.

Nothing some antibiotics and probiotics can’t cure though.

But hold on a second! Don’t write it off just yet. The lush scenery, beautiful temples, and friendly locals make it a unique and captivating destination. And you know what? It’s totally possible to escape the crowds and find hidden gems off the beaten path.

So, is Bali overrated? Well, that depends on how you look at it. If you’re prepared to embrace both the enchanting and sometimes chaotic sides of the island, you’ll likely have a blast.

Just make sure to pack your sense of adventure.

Let’s now dive deeper into the pros and cons of Bali.

Is Bali Overrated? The Pros

If you’re wondering whether Bali is worth the hype, let’s explore some of the pros I found that make this island an absolute dream destination.

Stunning Waterfalls

Bali is a treasure trove of breathtaking waterfalls tucked away amidst lush jungles and rice terraces. The sight of cascading water against the backdrop of natural beauty is perfect for nature enthusiasts.

The waterfalls truly make you appreciate the great outdoors.

Incredible sunset at a beachside restaurant in Bali

Beautiful Natural Landscape

From golden sandy beaches to terraced rice fields and volcanic mountains, Bali’s diverse natural landscape offers postcard-perfect scenery at every turn.

Plus you can take some pretty epic Instagram pics!

Gorgeous Accommodation

Bali caters to all types of travelers, offering a wide range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to charming boutique villas and budget-friendly guesthouses. There’s something to suit every taste and budget.

Plus the private villas are incredibly affordable in comparison to other destinations.

Unique Balinese Culture

Bali’s rich cultural heritage is woven into everyday life. The island’s temples, traditional dance performances, and colorful ceremonies offer an immersive cultural experience.

Amazing Diving Opportunities

For underwater enthusiasts, Bali’s waters are teeming with vibrant marine life and beautiful coral reefs, making it a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers.

➡️ Click here to book a Bali Snorkeling Tour at Blue Lagoon Beach: Private Transfer All-Inclusive

Friendly Locals

The warmth and hospitality of the Balinese people create an instant connection with visitors, making you feel welcome throughout your stay.

I found they were always willing to help so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Affordable Destination

Despite its popularity, Bali remains very affordable for travelers. From accommodations to food and activities, you can experience a fantastic holiday without breaking the bank.

Not to mention you can have a taste of luxury for a very reasonable price

Day trip to Mt Basur on a private bike tour

Perfect For Taking Day Trips

Bali is the perfect home base for taking day trips! It’s in a strategic spot that lets you easily explore nearby gems like Nusa Penida or even hop over to Java to check out its majestic volcanoes and ancient temples.

So much to see and do! 

Plenty of Health and Wellness Facilities

Bali’s wellness scene offers an abundance of options, from yoga retreats and meditation centers to spa resorts, allowing travelers to unwind and rejuvenate.

Great Beach Clubs

Bali is renowned for its beach clubs that offer a mix of relaxation, entertainment, and stunning sunset views, making them perfect spots to unwind and socialize.

You’ve got to head to the infamous potato head!

Perfect For Digital Nomads

With its growing digital nomad community and co-working spaces, Bali has become a hotspot for remote workers seeking a blend of work and play in a vibrant setting.

Impeccable Service

Balinese hospitality is second to none. The level of service and attention to detail at hotels and restaurants will have you feeling like a celebrity, trust me!

The cons of Bali that make Bali overrated

Is Bali Worth Visiting? The Cons

Just like any travel destination, Bali is not without its drawbacks.

For us to unpack is Bali overrated we need to go through the cons.

Before you pack your bags and embark on your Balinese adventure, it’s essential to consider some of the cons that might impact your experience. Let’s delve into the aspects that may challenge your trip to this highly-hyped destination.

Traffic Is Bad

Bali’s roads, especially in busy tourist areas, can be notorious for heavy traffic and congestion. Navigating through crowded streets may result in longer travel times and a bit of frustration.

And not to mention the amount of people traveling on mopeds makes it feel ten times more chaotic. And they don’t really stick to the road rules..


Like many tourist hotspots, Bali has its share of scams and touts looking to take advantage of unsuspecting travelers. Be cautious when dealing with street vendors or arranging tours with unknown operators.

Too Touristy

Bali’s immense popularity has led to issues of over-tourism in certain regions, particularly during peak seasons. This can lead to crowded beaches, congested attractions, and a loss of the island’s serene charm.

Bali draws loads of influencers from around the world for it's picture worthy spots

Too Many Influencers

The rise of social media influencers has put Bali in the spotlight, attracting hordes of travelers seeking picture-perfect shots for their feeds.

Some areas might feel less authentic due to the influx of influencers and staged photoshoots.

It’s Very Hot and Humid

Bali’s tropical climate means hot and humid weather year-round, which can make for an uncomfortably sweaty trip.

Pollution and Noise

Rapid development and a growing population have contributed to issues of pollution and noise, particularly in heavily urbanized areas.

Bali also isn’t the cleanest place. It can be dirty and grotty.

You Can Get Bali Belly

Bali belly, the dreaded traveler’s diarrhea, should be a concern for all travelers. It’s essential to be cautious with food and water choices to avoid stomach issues.

This can make eating and drinking out in Bali more challenging as you need to watch where you eat and what you eat.

You Can’t Drink The Water

Bali’s tap water is not drinkable, so you need to stick to bottled or filtered water. This can be a big inconvenience for those used to drinking tap water.

Serene Villas in Seminyak Bali is one of my favourite places to stay

Where to Stay In Bali

Is Bali overrated? I’ll tell you right now Bali accommodation and villas is certainly not overhyped!

Bali is renowned for its luxurious and picturesque accommodations. The island offers many hotels and resorts that cater to various budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a lavish five-star experience or a cozy boutique hotel, Bali has it all. 

Upscale beachfront resorts in areas like Nusa Dua and Seminyak offer world-class amenities, stunning ocean views, and exceptional service. These resorts often feature luxurious spas, infinity pools, and multiple dining options for a completely indulgent experience.

For those seeking a more private and intimate stay, Bali’s villas are a popular choice. Villas offers spacious and well-appointed accommodations with amenities like private pools, gardens, and fully equipped kitchens. 

They provide a sense of seclusion and exclusivity, making them ideal for couples, families, or groups of friends. Villas are often nestled amidst lush tropical surroundings, creating a serene and tranquil ambiance.

Where to stay in Bali

My Favourite Villa in Seminyak: Serene Villas – Luxury private villas perfect for couples or groups. Includes spa treatment, breakfast, and a BBQ dinner, my personal favourite!

➡️ Best Budget Hotel in Ubud: Pulu Sari Suite Ubud – This is a great option for a small price in Ubud! Here you’ll get clean spacious rooms in a well-located spot.

✔️ Best Value Villa in Canggu  The Retreat at Kharista by Ekosistem – This resort offers exceptional value for the price! ⭐ 9.7/10

Check out my 17 best Canggu Hotels for every budget

Wondering where to stay in Ubud? Here are my top recommended stays in Ubud!

Bike tour in Bali through the villages to explore the temples and rice fields

Alternatives to Bali

Not 100% convinced about traveling to Bali.

Why not check out my favourite places that are similar to Bali?

These are my top 12 best places like Bali.

Is bali overrated? the incredible sunsets certaintly aren't

Is Bali Overrated FAQs

Moving onto the commonly asked questions about Bali’s hype!

Is Bali worth the hype?

Bali has received substantial hype as a sought-after travel destination, captivating the hearts of many travelers with its stunning beauty, vibrant culture, and diverse experiences.

However, whether Bali is worth the hype depends on your, expectations, and what you seek from the travel experience.

For travelers who appreciate beautiful landscapes, Bali’s picturesque rice terraces, pristine beaches, and lush jungles certainly live up to expectations. And there are loads of things to do from beach activities, water sports, to trekking, and more.

Bali’s rich cultural heritage is another highlight that lives up to the hype. The island’s temples, traditional dance performances, and colorful festivals are one of a kind.

Moreover, Bali is renowned as a spiritual and wellness retreat, attracting visitors seeking yoga retreats, meditation, and holistic therapies. The serene spiritual energy the island creates is mesmerizing.

However, as with any popular destination, Bali does face challenges related to over-tourism in certain areas, leading to crowded beaches and congested roads during peak seasons. Additionally, some parts of the island have experienced environmental issues related to waste management and water pollution.

The level of hype around Bali may also create high expectations for some travelers, and their experience might vary depending on factors such as where they stay, the time of visit, and the specific activities they engage in.

Let’s not forget about the awful Bali belly that is oftentimes, pretty tricky to avoid. Who wants to be sick on their holiday, not me? 

In my opinion, Bali is worth visiting at least once. I recommend you dive head first into the spirituality, the culture and explore the natural landmarks. Just make sure not to drink the water!

Why do people like Bali so much?

Let’s dive deeper into why Bali has stolen the hearts of travelers from every corner of the globe.

First off, the moment you set foot on Bali’s soil, you’re instantly embraced by an aura of serenity. The lush green rice terraces seem to whisper ancient secrets, while the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean beckon you for a soul-reviving dip.

It’s like stepping into a real-life postcard, and you can’t help but feel a sense of awe at Mother Nature’s masterpiece.

But Bali is not just about scenic beauty; it’s a cultural treasure trove that lures you in. The ornate temples stand tall, bearing witness to centuries of spiritual devotion. 

But it’s not just the sights, it’s the warmth and kindness of the Balinese people. Their genuine smiles and open hearts create an instant connection, making you feel like part of their extended family.

I cherished the moments spent chatting with locals, immersing myself in their traditions, and gaining a deeper understanding of their way of life.

From yoga retreats that nourish the soul to thrilling adventures that set your heart racing, Bali caters to all your whims and desires. It’s a place where you can chase the waves, seek inner peace, dance under the stars, and simply be yourself without judgment.

So, is Bali overrated? 

I believe it’s a place that everyone should visit at least once. 

Yes, it has its drawbacks including heat, mass tourism, pollution, and the high risk of getting sick. 

But it’s also a place that leaves an indelible mark on your soul, and once you’ve tasted its magic, you’ll be left wanting to search for more. 

Temples in Bali are the perfect place to experience the unique culture

What are the downsides of Bali?

Like any place, Bali has its downsides and challenges that travelers should be aware of. 

Some of the downsides of Bali include the following.


Bali’s immense popularity has led to issues of over-tourism in certain areas, especially during peak seasons. The influx of tourists can result in crowded beaches, congested roads, and an overall loss of the island’s serene charm.

Traffic and Transport

Bali’s roads can be heavily congested, particularly in touristy areas like Kuta and Seminyak. Traffic jams and limited public transportation options can make getting around the island time-consuming and frustrating.

Environmental Concerns

With the increase in tourism, Bali faces environmental challenges, including waste management and pollution. Overdevelopment and inadequate waste disposal can lead to litter and environmental degradation in some areas.

Water Scarcity and Pollution

 During dry seasons, Bali can face water scarcity, leading to water shortages in certain regions. Additionally, pollution from tourism and inadequate waste treatment can contribute to water quality issues, affecting both the environment and the health of residents and visitors.

High Prices in Touristy Areas

In popular tourist hubs, prices for accommodation, food, and services can be higher compared to other parts of Bali. This can make it less budget-friendly for travelers looking to save on expenses.


As with any tourist destination, Bali has its share of scams and touts, especially in heavily visited areas. Travelers should be cautious of overpriced tours, fake goods, and other potential scams.

Limited Authenticity in Touristy Areas

In some of the busiest tourist spots, the authenticity of Balinese culture and traditions may feel diluted due to the commercialization catering to tourist demands.

Is Bali or Thailand better?

I don’t know if I can personally tell you whether Bali or Thailand is better, as it is 100% up to personal experiences and travel preferences!

 Both destinations offer unique charms and cater to different types of travelers. Let’s compare some key aspects of each destination to help you make a decision that’s right for you. 

Nasi Goreng a traditional Balinese meal


  • Stunning Natural Beauty: Bali’s landscapes are characterized by lush rice terraces, pristine beaches, and volcanic mountains, creating a picturesque setting.

  • Rich Cultural Heritage: Bali’s Hindu culture is deeply ingrained in its daily life, with ornate temples, traditional dance performances, and vibrant festivals.

  • Spiritual Retreats: Bali is renowned for its spiritual ambiance, attracting travelers seeking yoga retreats and meditation experiences.

  • Relatively Smaller Size: Bali’s compact size allows travelers to explore various attractions in a shorter time.

  • Luxurious Resorts and Private Villas: Bali offers a range of upscale accommodations, including private villas with exclusive amenities for an affordable price!

places like bali include the beautiful South East Asian country of Thailand


  • Diverse Destinations: Thailand offers a wide variety of experiences, from the bustling cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai to the serene islands of Phuket and Koh Samui.

  • Historical Sites: Thailand boasts a rich history that you can explore through its ancient temples and historical landmarks.

  • Beaches and Islands: The country’s tropical islands, such as Phi Phi Islands and Koh Tao, offer stunning beaches and opportunities for water activities.

  • World-class street food: Thailand is renowned for its flavorful street food and diverse culinary offerings, including dishes like Pad Thai and Tom Yum.

  • Vastness and Diversity: Thailand’s size and diversity provide travelers with a range of experiences, from vibrant nightlife to tranquil nature retreats.

  • Affordable Travel: Thailand generally offers a more budget-friendly travel experience compared to Bali.

Ultimately, the “better” destination depends on what resonates with your interests and preferences. If you seek a compact island with a rich spiritual ambiance and a blend of relaxation and cultural experiences, Bali might be the ideal choice. 

On the other hand, if you prefer diverse destinations, historical sites, vibrant cities, and budget-friendly travel, Thailand could be a better fit.

Taking a day trip to explore the rest of Bali

Why are things so cheap in Bali?

Bali’s reputation for being a budget-friendly destination is due to a combination of things that contribute to the relatively lower cost of living and travel expenses on the island. Let’s unpack why things are so cheap in Bali! 

Lower Cost of Production

Bali is a part of Indonesia, where the cost of production for goods and services is generally lower compared to many Western countries.

This lower production cost extends to various industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism-related services.

Currency Exchange Rate

The Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is the local currency used in Bali. For travelers with foreign currencies, the favorable exchange rate against the IDR can make things appear cheaper when converted back to their home currency.

Tourism Competition

Bali is a highly popular tourist destination, and the competition among businesses to attract travelers can lead to competitive pricing. Restaurants, accommodations, and tour operators often offer affordable options to appeal to a wide range of travelers.

Local Market Prices

Shopping at local markets and eating at warungs (local eateries) can be significantly cheaper than dining and shopping at upscale establishments. Locally produced goods and traditional dishes are generally more affordable than imported or luxury items.

Lower Taxes and Fees

 Indonesia generally has lower taxes and fees compared to some other countries, which can contribute to the overall lower cost of goods and services.

It’s essential to note that while Bali is known for being a budget-friendly destination, there are also options for luxury and upscale experiences for those seeking a more indulgent vacation. 

Another stunning sunset over a Balinese Coastline

So, Is Bali Overrated, Or Should You Still Visit?

So, is Bali overrated, or should you still visit? 

Well, it’s not a straightforward yes or no answer. Bali has undeniably received heaps of praise and attention, and with good reason – it’s a destination that offers a little something for everyone.

From stunning waterfalls and beautiful natural landscapes to unique cultural experiences and a friendly atmosphere, Bali has captured the hearts of travelers worldwide.

However, like any popular destination, Bali does have its drawbacks, such as crowds, traffic, sickness and the impact of social media hype. But here’s the thing – no travel destination is perfect, and what might be a downside for one person could be an adventure for another.

The key to making the most of your Bali experience lies in managing your expectations and being open to the island’s diverse offerings. Embrace the magical moments, soak in the cultural richness, and venture off the beaten path to discover hidden gems.

 Don’t be afraid to seek out quieter spots and immerse yourself in authentic Bali beyond the tourist hotspots.

If you’re looking for a place that’s picture-perfect in every way, Bali might not be it. But if you’re seeking a genuine adventure full of beauty, culture, and friendly encounters, Bali is well worth exploring, at least once in my opinion! 

So, go ahead and pack your bags! Whether you’re a laid-back beach lover, a cultural enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a combination of all three, Bali has something special waiting for you. 

Keep an open mind, embrace the island’s magic, and let Bali work its charm on you – it just might become a destination that holds a special place in your heart for years to come. 

Happy travels!

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