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Bali’s all-round beauty—gorgeous beaches, fascinating culture, vibrant nightlife, and daring nature—draws all kinds of people to visit, with different checklists, budgets, and itineraries. From old-schoolers to expats, partygoers to zen-seekers, the type of people you’ll meet visiting Bali are as diverse as the island’s charms.
You’ll see them in one of Bali’s many hip co-working spaces or cafes, working on their laptops and refilling coffee. Priding themselves in pocketing the coveted workplace freedom and flexibility, these people make a point in sporting flip-flops to the workspace and carrying their laptops around with a surfboard in another arm. Thanks to Bali’s affordable living cost, overall lovely atmosphere, and lively digital nomad scene, you can expect digital nomads to stay here a while before venturing on.
These people live for the summer, having undergone months of intense working out for the purpose of rocking a certain bikini on Bali’s most exotic beaches. Also having googled ‘best Bali beaches’ on the internet, you can catch them in between beach-hopping at beach clubs, swimming or hanging by the beach, sunbathing, and proudly taking selfies of their sun-kissed skin.
No matter where they come from and how they get to Bali, it’s safe to say that the waves brought them here. A surfboard in hand or attached to the rented motorbike, they’re arguably one of the hottest groups around, with golden skin, athletic build, and messy beach hair. They move around Bali’s surf beaches, typically the ones in Uluwatu and Canggu, catching waves one beach at a time.
Let’s face it, these people ruin it for travellers flying all the way to see clean stretching beaches and a lively but tasteful nightlife scene. You’ll find this wasted bunch wandering the streets of Kuta late at night with bad breath and embarrassing manners, leaving empty bottles on the street or worse, by the beach.
For decades, Bali has welcomed so many people from different walks of art, from respectable painters with art degrees to talented street artists doing graffiti on random walls in Canggu, and everything in between. The lovely nature and fascinating culture prove to be endless sources of inspiration, while the reverberating artistic vibe helps boost anyone’s creativity and chance of making it big as an acknowledged professional artist.
You’ll see them floating on a flyboard in Nusa Dua, canyoning rushing waterfalls, cliff-jumping head first into the ocean, or rock climbing in the most awkward spots. Apparently they pack all nine lives to Bali and know exactly how to make the most of them.
After starting from a 30-day visa that kept getting renewed, one thing led to another, and suddenly these people got a home in the countryside, married a local, and started peculiar businesses that fuse their own heritage with the faraway island they’re living in—French-Balinese restaurant, European-Balinese villas, and the like. These expats are usually very assimilated with the culture they fell in love with, you can hear them speak perfect Indonesian or wearing a traditional headpiece wherever.
These people naturally go to Ubud, where everything from hotels to restaurants come with a calm-inducing view and laidback ambiance. You can find them in wellness retreats, yoga classes, or anywhere else with a lush garden, healthy raw food, or wherever is conducive enough to recite their mantras and meditate.
Teenagers and young adults make up a significant portion of tourists in Bali, either for summer break, schoolies, gap year to college, or every other reason they can think of. You’ll see them travelling in groups, glowing with new-found freedom while entering free nightclubs and playing beer games in Kuta, blowing off steam by drinking and dancing after a whole semester of more drinking and dancing.
They don’t look local and certainly don’t live on the island, but they seem to really know their way around. They know the best local spots, the hidden gems, and can even effortlessly say some tongue-twisting local phrases. These are the frequent flyers on their 100th summer spent on the island, because Bali is just that captivating. And as soon as that business takes off or retirement years come, they’ll surely settle down here for good.
These are the people who make Bali the paradise that it is. They are the drivers, shopkeepers, tour guides, artists, managers, and business owners who are passionate about their beautiful hometown and happy to help others enjoy it as much as they do. You’ll recognise them from their big smile and friendly manners towards anyone they’re sharing this exotic island with.