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Is Bali Worth Visiting in 2024? (Honest Pros & Cons of Bali)

An ornate and traditional Balinese temple and gate in Ubud, surrounded by greenery

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You’re not alone if you’re wondering whether Bali is worth visiting. This beautiful island is one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia. SO many people love Bali and can’t wait to visit again and again. 

But, as a destination that’s massively overtouristed, others think Bali is overhyped, inauthentic and simply not worth it anymore. 

I’ve travelled to Bali and there were things I loved… and others that I didn’t. So if you’re wondering if it’s worth keeping Bali on your bucket list, I’m here to help you out!

I’ve put together the key pros and cons of visiting Bali as well as my opinions and my experience in Bali, so you can decide if it’s the right destination for you. So, is Bali worth visiting in 2024? Keep reading to find out what Bali is like now!

Is Bali still a good place to visit in 2024?

A woman (me!) standing on a platform overlooking dense jungle in Bali

👎 Cons of visiting Bali

Let’s start with the bad things about Bali and the reasons not to go to Bali. Obviously, with any destination there will be downsides and some of these things apply to lots of places – not just Bali. 

However, these were things I noticed or didn’t like about Bali and hopefully it will give you realistic expectations!

1 Bali is overtouristed

I want to start with the obvious – Bali is overtouristed. There are no two ways about this. This small Indonesian island sees millions of foreign tourists visiting every year and with that comes problems.

Tourism is one of those things that’s tricky to balance. Places like Bali need tourism to thrive (just look at what happened during the pandemic when borders were forced to close!). 

But too much tourism has the opposite effect and can impact locals, damage the environment, reduce water supplies and take away a destination’s authenticity.

One of the biggest problems is that overtourism causes price rises that displace and shut locals out.

READ MORE: 6 Best Alternative Destinations to Visit in 2024

A private pool and sun loungers at a villa in Bali

With so much growth in the tourism sector in Bali, a lot of land has been destroyed to create new hotels, villas and buildings in favour of tourists and digital nomads. 

Not only is this damaging the environment, but it’s also leading to economic inequality where locals are being outbid for housing by wealthy foreigners.

2 Bali has lost some of its authenticity

Because there are so many tourists, digital nomads and influencers visiting or living in Bali, the island has lost a lot of its charm. 

Many of the main attractions (like the waterfalls, beautiful rice terraces and monkey forest) are crowded with tourists so it’s no longer a place that’s “off-the-beaten-track”, unique or peaceful. 

This means that some of the traveller experience is lost and can detract from the magic of the destination.

You also won’t get so many hidden gems. And, if you stick to the main tourist sites, it will be difficult to find the slice of heaven that you might initially be imagining of Bali!

Overtourism is also causing a loss of cultural heritage in Bali. This is really sad for locals and for people who want to experience Bali’s real traditions and authenticity.

3 Bali has dangerous roads + traffic

Bali’s roads are shockingly bad. In tourist places like Canggu and Kuta especially, the traffic is chaotic and massively congested. 

Some of this is due to increased tourist numbers. But roads aren’t well maintained or developed in Bali either.

There’s a reason why you hear of tourists getting into road accidents in Bali. If you’re not a confident driver or happy on a scooter, it’s best to give it a miss in Bali. It’s not hard to see how dangerous it can be.

4 Bali has limited public transport

There are no trains in Bali and the buses can be slow and not always worth the effort. Most people in Bali rent scooters, get taxis (or Grab) or hire a driver to travel around. 

This isn’t always a bad thing, but it can increase your costs. And if you’re uncomfortable with the thought of riding a scooter, you could also be at a disadvantage in Bali since this is usually the preferred way to travel.

5 Bali is polluted

Trash and pollution in the sea around Bali

When we visited Bali, I was shocked by the pollution. I’d expected pristine beaches like I’d seen in Thailand or Fiji, but this just wasn’t the case. 

Across the beaches in Bali there was a lot of plastic pollution and trash that had washed up on the shores. It really took away from the idyllic island vibes I’d been imagining.

RELATED: Best Ecotourism Destinations in the World 

So if you’ve been wondering is Bali dirty, then unfortunately, yes some (but not all) of it can seem to be. If you’re dreaming of Bali specifically for its beaches, I’d honestly recommend going elsewhere.

There are some nice beaches in Bali, but other places in Southeast Asia have much better options in my opinion!

RELATED: Bali or Thailand: Which is Better?

There’s also a LOT of traffic as well as a ton of building work in Bali causing fumes and noise pollution, too. 

6 Bali comes with a health warning

I can’t give medical advice, but it’s probably a good idea to be up to date with jabs and medicine before going on a long-haul vacation. Obviously, it’s your choice what you do, but I was recommended a lot of vaccinations before heading to Bali.

Rabies and Dengue Fever are both present in Bali. Bali Belly is also a thing that a lot of travellers struggle with!

7 Bali isn’t nearby

This doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you’re travelling from Europe or the US, Bali is a really long journey away!

It might not be a key consideration in whether Bali is worth visiting, because yes, most tropical destinations ARE far away. But, Bali doesn’t currently have direct flights from Europe or the US like some other destinations in Southeast Asia do.

This means airfares can be more expensive and it probably won’t be a fun day of travel with connections and multiple flights to contend with.

A view across green fields and rice paddies in Bali

👍 Reasons to visit Bali (why Bali IS worth visiting)

We’ve covered the cons – so what are the reasons FOR visiting Bali? Despite what I’ve mentioned, Bali is still a gorgeous destination with a ton to offer. So let’s dive into some of the pros, and reasons why you should visit Bali in 2024!

1 Bali has breathtaking scenery

Dense greenery and palm trees surrounding a rice terrace in Bali

There’s no denying just how beautiful the rural scenery is in Bali. Volcanoes, rice fields, waterfalls, jungles  – Bali has a whole load of natural wonders. 

It’s not hard to see why this destination is an Instagram dream when its landscapes are this picture-perfect (especially away from some of the main tourist spots). If you love nature, Bali is an amazing island to explore, photograph and gawk at!

There are also some incredible hotels that make the most of nature. So if you love the idea of being surrounded by lush scenery, there’s probably a lot you’ll like about Bali! 

2 There’s lots to see & do in Bali

For a small destination (and unlike some other tropical destinations), Bali offers visitors so much to see and do. 

Whether you want to go volcano trekking and hiking, visit cultural attractions, join a wellness retreat or have a chilled-out beach escape, Bali ticks the right boxes. 

It’s also a great option if you want to combine adventure with relaxation and there’s something that most people will love. So if you can’t decide where to go – Bali is a good bet.

3 Bali has great beach activities

I said before that Bali’s beaches aren’t great… But just because Bali isn’t the best beach destination in Asia, it still deserves a good mention. 

Bali’s beaches are cool and laid-back and are a great spot for relaxing and watching the sunset. There are also lots of really great beach clubs in Bali.

You’ll also find amazing surf spots in Bali (it has some of the best surf in Southeast Asia). Plus, if you’re a water lover, you’ll be able to go diving and try lots of water activities around the island.

You’re also within easy reach of some other destinations in Indonesia that have nice beaches – like Nusa Penida, the Gili Islands and Lombok.

4 Bali has friendly locals 

If you’re after great hospitality and friendly locals, you can’t go wrong with Bali. Balinese people are so friendly, kind and welcoming!

The people we met were helpful and positive, and this is something that really plays a part in how good your trip is!

5 You can stay in luxury at a reasonable price

A traditional Balinese villa with a private pool

One of the best things about Bali is its accommodation options. Bali has no shortage of amazing resorts, hotels and villas. Many of the high-end options have honeymooners and couples in mind – they’re super dreamy and totally bucket list worthy.

The best part is – there are plenty of affordable luxury options, too. Lots of mid-range resorts and villas have gorgeous rooms, private pools or stunning scenery to make the most of.

We stayed in a huge villa in Bali with a roof terrace and private pool for about £100 per night. We also had a 4-star hotel in Kuta for one night and that was £30. 

Some well-rated accommodation options to check out in Bali are:

$ Kalyssa Beach Bungalows ⭐️ 9.7 / 10
$ Sumberkima Hill ⭐️ 9.0 / 10
$$ Renaissance Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa ⭐️ 9.1 / 10
$$ Theanna Villa and Spa Canggu ⭐️ 9.4 / 10
$$ Sun Suko Boutique Resort & Yoga Retreat ⭐️ 9.5 / 10
$$$ The Royal Purnama ⭐️ 9.2 / 10
$$$$ Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan ⭐️ 9.2 / 10
$$$$ Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve ⭐️ 9.7 / 10
$$$$ COMO Shambhala Estate ⭐️ 9.8 / 10

6 Bali has a rich culture

A traditional temple complex set beside a lake in Bali

Bali has a rich, colourful and unique culture that’s evident everywhere you look on the island. I really loved this aspect of our visit – it was unlike anywhere else I’d been at the time. 

It’s also why it’s so sad that some of it is being lost to mass tourism.

Most of Indonesia is Muslim, but Balinese culture is rooted in Hinduism. Across the streets, you’ll see little handmade offerings to the gods. 

There are also numerous temples, gorgeous cultural sites and ceremonies taking place. It’s a great destination for culture lovers.

7 Bali has brilliant food options

As a foodie, I’m a big fan of trying local dishes when I’m travelling and my trip to Bali was no exception. Traditional Balinese food is delish (especially satay sauce 🤤)

But, Bali also has an amazing food scene away from the traditional. There are SO many great restaurants and cafes in Bali that it’s a food lover’s paradise. Plus, it’s the original home of the floating breakfast!

It’s also one of the best destinations for vegans and veggies with a thriving plant-based scene. You’ll find so many cute, boho cafes and Instagrammable brunch spots so you’ll never go hungry!

8 Bali is a great wellness destination 

A traditional spa bed hut in a peaceful garden in Bali

One of my favourite things about Bali is its wellness scene. As a self-confessed spiritual and wellness junkie, I love all the mindfulness, spirituality and yoga retreats in Bali.

If that’s your vibe, you’ll also find like-minded people in Bali who flock to this destination for that exact reason. It’s a great destination for connecting with similar people.

Because of its link to wellness, many resorts also have an incredible spa and health offering. Plus, you’ll find brilliant day spas and salons that are affordable, so it makes it a dream pampering break.

9 Bali has a cool and laid-back vibe 

Bali doesn’t have the same vibe as Thailand when it comes to beach parties, but it’s still an amazing destination for socialising.

It’s definitely possible to have a big night out and a beach party in Bali, but there are also lots of laid-back vibes. 

For a lot of travellers, the beach clubs (like Potato Head and Finns) are a big draw of Bali. These are perfect places to chill out, enjoy some drinks and relax in a dreamy location.

10 Bali is affordable

A double bed in a Balinese villa looking out over a garden and private pool

Bali is an affordable destination, which is probably one of the reasons why it’s so popular. This makes it an obvious budget-friendly option, but it’s also a great place for experiencing luxury travel.

Even though prices are rising, they’re still generally low. This means you’ll be able to stay in high-end hotels at much more affordable prices than you would in places like Australia, the US or Western Europe.

So if you’re dreaming of an extra special getaway or a luxury Southeast Asia honeymoon – Bali ticks the right boxes! 

Is Bali overrated or overhyped?

There’s a lot of talk about Bali and eye rolls from people who think it’s overrated. But it really depends on what you’re looking for from a vacation to say whether it’s somewhere you’ll love or not!

A rugged cliff beside the sea in Bali

For a lot of people, Bali is a great place for a laid-back tropical escape in the sun. Especially for Australians, it’s an easy getaway. And for some visitors, the draw of Bali isn’t its culture, authenticity and nature.

Some people go to Bali simply because they want great weather, sunny beaches and time off work to chill out.

I love a resort-style, relaxed vacation, but I also love getting a glimpse into local life when I travel. I like the adventure, the different culture and seeing how things are different from back home.

Because of that, there were places in Bali that I thought were overrated. I didn’t like Kuta for example because it felt too touristy.

That said, Bali isn’t just made up of its famous tourist sites and I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s all overrated or not worth visiting.

Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu and Ubud are the go-to places for most visitors, but there are loads of other places you could explore or stay in instead.

A simple road in rural Bali fringed by palm trees

If you’re wondering: is Bali still worth visiting if it’s all full of crowds? North Bali is (currently) much quieter than many of the places in the south of the island.

So if you want more of a secluded, authentic getaway, this could be completely perfect for you!

Or if you want a wellness break or a Bali honeymoon, there are high-end hotels that are tucked away from the backpacker crowd. 

Ultimately – I think a trip to Bali can be whatever you want to make of it!

Is Bali worth visiting FAQs

A view across lush rural scenery looking towards a volcano in Bali

Is Bali good for tourists?

Bali is very tourist-focused and tourist-friendly. It’s also a relatively safe destination with helpful and welcoming locals.

Because there are so many digital nomads and tourists it can also make Bali feel somewhat familiar and less daunting than an off-the-beaten-track destination.

How many days do you need to enjoy Bali?

I’d recommend at least 7 days in Bali, but preferably 2 weeks or more to see all the best bits.

If you’re travelling from further away (like Europe or the US), you’ll have a lengthy flight to Bali, so in my opinion, it’s worth having a longer trip to make the journey worthwhile!

READ MORE: Best 3 Week Bali Itinerary, Indonesia

What is the best time to visit Bali?

As a tropical destination, Bali has wet and dry seasons. The dry season runs from April to October, so that’s technically the best time to visit. However, I went in March and even though we got some rain in Bali, it didn’t detract from the experience.

A black sand beach in Bali

Should I go to Thailand or Bali?

Bali and Thailand are SO often compared. Even though they share some similarities, there are ways that they are worlds apart. 

Both are great destinations, but you’ll probably prefer one over the other depending on your preferences. You can check out my comparison of the two in my Bali or Thailand: Which is Better? post.

Is Bali really that cheap?

Costs are rising in Bali, but it’s still an affordable destination. Like any vacation – it can still be spendy if you want to go all out. Generally though, Bali travel offers amazing value for money.

In particular, you’ll find the dreamiest luxe accommodations at a fraction of the price than you would in some other destinations.

Several sun loungers beside a pool in a jungle hotel in Bali

Verdict: Is Bali worth it?

So, after all that – is Bali still worth visiting?? 

In my opinion, YES… and no. 

Yes, Bali is worth visiting if you’ve never been before. There’s no denying that Bali is absolutely beautiful and has a lot to offer.

It’s a destination that suits many different travel styles and budgets and has something for everyone to fall in love with. (There’s a reason why people rave about it!)

Bali is also a great place to explore if you’re new to longer-haul travel and want somewhere that’s tourist-friendly.

Plus, the island has some of the most beautiful and romantic resorts so it’s a great option for a honeymoon. As well as an incredible destination for a wellness break!

You might not avoid crowds completely, but there are also ways to escape some of them. From travelling outside the height of the peak season to staying in lesser visited areas.

Even though there’s lots to love, I don’t currently have plans to revisit the island. There are similar places to Bali that I think I would prefer to visit instead.

Bali also might not be for you if you’re eco-conscious or concerned about overtourism. You’ll find that alternative destinations can give you a more authentic and off-the-beaten-track experience, too.

That said, if Bali IS on your bucket list and you’re mindful about how you travel, it’s still a good choice and somewhere that’s worth experiencing for yourself.

After all – your vacation is what YOU make of it and there’s still magic to be found in Bali.

Those are my thoughts – what are yours? Is it worth visiting Bali? Reach out and let me know!

Still unsure about Bali? Here are 14 similar places like Bali that you could visit instead!

READ MORE: Bali or Thailand: Which is Better?
READ MORE: Bali vs Fiji: Which Is the Best Vacation Spot?
READ MORE: Best Honeymoon Destinations in Southeast Asia

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