Life On Bali: The Island Is No Longer A Low-Cost Destination
Bali. A small island in Indonesia where you can really find everything. From beautiful beaches to rice fields and jungles to diverse mountain ranges. What you won't find there, however, is cheap accommodation and cheap food in a restaurant. Why?
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Some go to Bali for perfect waves and surfing. Others are attracted by yoga and hiking. Others want to find peace of mind in the form of meditation on the island. It is not for nothing that they call this island paradise on earth. The locals are nice, there is unspoiled nature all around and stress doesn't seem to exist.
Bali used to be a popular destination among backpackers who took a few things with them, got on a plane and explored the beauty of the island. But also by nomads who settled on the island for a few months, while still doing their work in Europe or the USA from the island. However, the coronavirus pandemic has also affected this paradise on earth, and Bali is no longer a low-cost destination
Radka Vargová went to Bali for the first time four years ago, when she participated in a two-week yoga retreat. It enchanted her so much that she returned there again for several months. Later, when the coronavirus pandemic raged around the world, she was "stuck" in Bali due to the pandemic measures. She has now been living there for two and a half years and currently you would find her in Bukit in the surfing area of Uluwatu.
She managed to find good accommodation and over time built her own business. She designs women's clothing made of 100% linen under her own label NALA and lives a full life in Bali. Although he admits that it is no longer for such cheap money as at the beginning.
"The last time I went home was in the spring of this year. I was there for four months, and when I returned to Bali, I couldn't stop wondering. You will pay comparatively more for accommodation here than in a more expensive European destination. And I'm not talking about luxury apartments," she tells Refresher.
What is more expensive?
Before the pandemic, Radka paid approximately 650 to 700 euros for a return ticket via Qatar or Emirates. Now, the prices of which have doubled.
"The prices are now 1 200 euros, with a little luck. I was thinking that I would buy a one-way ticket and go back to Europe for a few months. However, the ticket costs around 900 euros, which is a lot."
On the island where you used to transport yourself using your favorite motorbikes, you will now also pay extra for fuel. And that's almost twice the original price. However, it is still less than in Slovakia, says Radka.
They also raised the prices of some restaurants, especially those that are popular among tourists. Radka advises you to look for less well-known tourist spots. "It is interesting that before the pandemic you could see promotions everywhere, such as breakfast for five euros and free coffee or juice. That is no longer the case today. You pay eight euros for a similar breakfast, and add five euros for coffee," says Radka. So a simpler breakfast will cost you ten euros, and if you want to splurge, then 15 to 20 euros per person.
The number of tourists has not changed, but the type has
One would say that the more expensive prices will lure people away from vacationing in Bali, but this is not true. Radka says that tourists still come in large numbers, but they are different people than before the pandemic. "I read that over 1,200,000 of them came to Bali from the end of February to the end of October. This is perhaps also because the special conditions for entering the island have finally been cancelled and one does not need a thousand documents," she says.
However, according to Radka, the type of people who come to Bali is changing. It is more vacationers who indulge in luxury, and more families with children. She says that they also usually rent better accommodations.
"Bali is no longer for those who get on a plane and just need a few things to travel. I think that the island is becoming more luxury and backpackers are starting to prefer other destinations. For example, Bangkok in Thailand or Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia are popular and it's noticeably cheaper there than in Bali."
The pandemic has affected the island's tourism industry, and everyone is trying to catch up on two years' worth of losses. "For many, this period was deadly and they are trying to get back on their feet. But I think it's also because people who are willing to pay more have started coming here," says Radka, adding that the island has seen an increase in the number of tourists from Russia.
"There are really a lot of them in Bali at the moment and they are still increasing. But the problem is that they pay more for the resorts, so the owners know that they can raise the prices. It has already happened several times that people wanted to rent an apartment for the price listed on the website, but interested parties from Russia offered more and in the end, they got it. Here, people don't sign contracts, there are no rules, and whoever offers more wins," she adds.
Living in Bali is like living right on Trafalgar Square
Radka does not consider Bali a destination where you can spend your whole life. But the island is still interesting for tourists, now especially those who like to treat themselves. "I am thinking about returning to Slovakia and managing my business from there. I would go back to Bali for vacation, for two months, to see what's new, but that's about it. It also bothers me that there is such a rush of tourists. My friend says it's like living on Trafalgar Square," laughs Radka.
If you are going to Bali, Radka has one good piece of advice for you. Do not google anything or save various Instagram posts before your vacation. She doesn't even recommend a long list of places you would like to visit, and it's not worth underestimating the issue of finances, according to her.
"Those places are on the list of another thousand people and it is possible that they will be completely full. And one more recommendation: expect to spend more than your budget," she adds at the end.
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