Bali: Threatened beauty and culture – how to travel the island responsibly
Breathtaking landscapes, endless rice fields and palm forests; sunny weather and the idea of white dream beaches increasingly entice people traveling to Bali. The Indonesian island developed to one of the most popular destinations in recent years. The continuous growing number of visitors causes over tourism threatening the environment, littered beaches are only one of many examples. One might doubt, whether holiday on Bali is good or not. Like so many things, visiting Bali has two sides, since tourism helps locals to make their income. It’s up to you how to how to travel Bali. Find out here how you can visit Bali greener and where to stay eco-friendly while giving something back at the same time.
Reasons against a vacation on Bali
First of all, there are some reasons against a vacation on Bali – starting with the arrival: Reaching an island is complex since boat trips and flights to Bali are harmful to the climate. Bali, in particular, is one of those destinations people repeatedly visit due to cheap flights, and merely for a short stay – even though it is for most of the people a long-distance journey. Moreover, the island is suffering from mass tourism regarding its waste, because the more humans, the more waste occurs. Likewise, the tourists need goods and use up resources, which are scarce on islands anyway. When traveling, one does not always think of the local culture suffering from the demands and desires for experiences many tourists have.
The solution? Plan ahead, inform yourself, and behave responsibly
If you plan things in advance, you can easily implement environmentally friendly actions on your holiday. For example, you can choose excursions organized by local and small ethical organizations. You should inform yourself about traditions and rites and respects them to maintain the authentic Bali and prevent it from being westernized. Avoid overcrowded spots such as trendy bars, but rather go to small, authentic restaurants. That way, you help locals effectively and experience the real Bali. Also, remember another cue for green vacation: slow travel. Take your time for traveling the exotic island and not just go there for a few days. You can find more general tips on how to travel greener (which are Bali-friendly of course) in our blog here and here.
The Sol Beach House Benoa – accommodation with green principles
Of course, choosing the right accommodation contributes to environmental protection and respect for local traditions. The Hotel Sol Beach House Benoa at the southern tip of Bali not only looks breathtaking, but it also helps avoiding negative consequences of mass tourism: there is a sophisticated water management and a clear waste policy in the eco-hotel. You can also experience traditional, organic Balinese food and swim at a private beach (guaranteed garbage-free). Moreover, the Sol Beach House prefers to employ locals thus offering them a perspective. This is reflected in their Tri Hita Karana concept: The traditional Balinese worldview pursues three core values: harmony among the people, created by partnership-based behavior; harmony with the environment, created by environmental protection and sustainability; and harmony between the people and the gods.
Eco-tourism on a dream beach at Puri Dajuma
In the west of Bali, you will find the eco-resort Puri Dajuma with hotel and cottages located directly at a beautiful beach. Besides traditional Balinese massages and spa treatments, you can partake in cooking classes and learn about the traditional cuisine. Authentic experiences like these help to better understand and appreciate the region by gaining insights into its properties, and thus, better understand the traditions and people. Of course, the food prepared is organic. Besides many other things to do in Bali, you can also book eco-tours to Pekutatan in the eco-tourism area Pulukan. There, you explore plantations with rubber trees, coconuts, and bananas and also discover how cloves and vanilla are grown. Your packed lunch will be at 300 meters altitude with a view of rice fields and the ocean.
You see by preparing your journey properly, you can always find responsible alternatives to avoid mass tourism.
Cover image: © Puri Dajuma Cottages and Spa