Bali is an interesting, unusual, enchanting, and exotic place to visit. Unlike many tourist destinations where the true culture has been lost and is now only seen when it is presented theatrically for the benefit of tourists, Bali’s culture is real and alive.
For anyone that visited Bali before it became a popular tourist destination, you were probably told “You should have seen it a decade or two ago.” And if you showed up for the first time today, you will likely hear something very similar from one of the locals. But the difference is that while Bali has changed over time, like any other country, it has managed to hang on to the traditions and culture that is so important. It’s also this culture that makes Bali such a desired place to visit.
However, Bali government officials are concerned that the Balinese culture is under attack, that the modern world will devour Bali like it has so many other places that were once fabulous getaways. For example, it used to be tradition to go to the beaches topless in Bali, but the Republic of Indonesia passed laws against these practices. It was because of tourism that these laws were changed, thereby taking away something that was part of Bali culture forever.
Another change made just for the sake of tourism is the infamous Bali Kecak dance. Tourists are told this is a native Bali dance, but actually, this dance is the result of two separate dances choreographed together by a Hollywood producer to shorten the length for a documentary.
So while Bali balances Balinese Culture with growth and the demands of tourist who continue to invade the county in numbers never seen before, right now we should all celebrate that the Balinese culture is very real and not just for the sake of tourism. That means your experience is going to be nothing like any other.