Skip to content
Home » All » The Dark Side of Bali: Challenges Faced by Travelers

The Dark Side of Bali: Challenges Faced by Travelers

  • by
Two volunteers cleaning up trash on the beach in Bali.


Bali, known as the Island of the Gods, has long been a popular tourist destination. Renowned for its pristine beaches, lush green landscapes, and vibrant culture, the island attracts millions of visitors each year. However, as with any popular tourist destination, Bali has its fair share of problems. Today, we’ll explore some of the challenges faced by travelers in Bali, including overcrowding, scams, and other less-than-pleasant experiences.

Overcrowding: The Price of Popularity

Bali’s popularity has led to an increase in tourist traffic that the island struggles to accommodate. As a result, overcrowding has become a common issue, especially in popular areas like Seminyak, Kuta, and Ubud. This not only detracts from the tranquility that many travelers seek but also puts a strain on Bali’s infrastructure and natural resources. Furthermore, overcrowding has fueled an increase in pollution, making it difficult for visitors to enjoy the pristine environment they expect from a tropical paradise.

Trash everywhere

Compared to many of it’s neighbouring islands, as well as countries, there’s a surprising amount of trash in Bali. Over a six-week period in 2023, Sungai Watch, an NGO, collected over 80,000 pounds (40 tons) of trash. This was only in one area, Jimbaran Bay. Much of this trash is coming over from neighbouring Java, one of the most populous islands in the world. However, it is not uncommon to see locals on motorcycles throwing their empty boba cups in ditches as they scoot along.

Scams and Overpricing

As with many tourist hotspots, Bali has its fair share of scams and overpricing. Visitors should be cautious of common scams, such as fake tour guides, rigged taxi meters, and counterfeit money exchange services. Overpricing is prevalent in popular areas, so it is essential to research typical prices for accommodation, food, and activities before arriving. Additionally, bargaining is customary in Bali, so don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better price on souvenirs and services.

Alleys that Stink of Dog Poop

While Bali has many beautiful areas to explore, some alleys and backstreets can be quite unpleasant. Stray dogs are common on the island, and the lack of proper waste management can lead to a buildup of dog poop. This not only creates an unpleasant smell but can also pose health risks. To avoid these areas, stick to well-traveled routes and ask locals for advice on which areas to avoid. Remember to pack hand sanitizer and wear appropriate footwear to protect yourself from unsanitary conditions.

The Russian Influence

Bali has attracted an increasing number of Russian tourists in recent years, leading to cultural clashes between visitors and locals. While most tourists are respectful, some have been known to disregard local customs, such as dressing inappropriately at sacred sites or causing disturbances with excessive alcohol consumption. Even with the money rich Russians bring in, it seems that the Balinese are fed up. As a traveler, it is essential to be mindful of local customs and respect the host culture, regardless of your nationality.


Despite its many challenges, Bali remains a beautiful destination with much to offer travelers seeking sun, sand, and culture. To make the most of your trip, be aware of the potential issues you may face and take steps to mitigate them. By being a responsible and informed traveler, you can contribute to preserving the beauty and integrity of this unique island paradise.

ALSO READ: Canggu vs Ubud for Digital Nomads