With Bali now cemented as a staple gap year destination, it’s easy to forget about the country’s less touristy but bustling main island, Java.
Bali truly is ‘gap yah’ paradise where your life consists of beaches, booze, and bunk-beds. Don’t get me wrong, this is very fun… but it’s not the true Indonesian experience. Granted, I did not do the full Indonesian experience myself. However, my journey through Java put into perspective just how ‘westernised’ Bali really is.
Obviously, Bali thrives off its tourist economy, but whilst catering to anyone and everyone’s needs, the presence of true Indonesian culture seems to have been stifled.
Bali is a beautiful place that is loved for its impressive volcanoes, white sandy beaches, and unbelievable wildlife. Bali is the ‘go to’ place for any westerner: and unfortunately, seemingly every westerner. There’s hardly a language barrier – almost every tourist/local can speak some level of English. Also, if you’re rice and noodled out there is a wide array of food options varying from burgers, to pizzas, to avocado with poached eggs on toast. You can spend weeks immersing yourself into a life of snorkelling with turtles by day and partying at night. The only problem with this is that everybody has the same idea – there are tourists everywhere! For me, it felt weird to be in such a different country but at the same time be experiencing so much western culture. Obviously, Bali thrives off its tourist economy, but whilst catering to anyone and everyone’s needs, the presence of true Indonesian culture seems to have been stifled.
Bali is fantastic, and it would be nigh on impossible to have a bad time – but if you want a greater sense of adventure and authenticity, add Java to your itinerary!