Australians have revealed why they keep returning to Bali, sparking a debate about why life here can’t be as relaxed as it seems on the beloved holiday island.
Hundreds in the Bali Bogans Facebook group discussed what they like most about Bali – with the low prices, the friendliness of the Balinese and their ‘back to basics commonsense’ at the top of the list.
Beautiful beaches, cheap food and accommodation are also a big part of its appeal.
Australians have revealed why they keep returning to Bali, sparking a debate over why life here can’t be as relaxed as it seems on the beloved holiday island
Hundreds of members of the Bali Bogans Facebook group discussed what they like most about Bali, with the low prices, the friendliness of the Balinese and their ‘back to basics commonsense’ at the top of the list
Australians complained that the cost of living here prevents us from looking more like Bali, plus we have far too many rules to follow.
But some members pointed to Australian beach towns they say have a “Bali vibe,” including Cairns and Port Douglas.
Brisbane man Ricardo Samuele started the debate when he noted that Aussies in Bali like many of the same things, including beach bars, beach massages, beach clubs, scooter rentals and street food.
“My question is, why don’t we have the same things here in Australia?” asked Mr. Samuele.
Bali is the second most popular tourist destination for Australians, just behind New Zealand but well ahead of the United States in third place
Undoubtedly Bali is more loved as a holiday destination than NZ – for its ultra affordable lifestyle, cheap flights and accommodation and its beaches
“We all love Bali for these things and yet we don’t have anything comparable here in Australia. Where we have the same weather and the same beaches to some extent, these things seem to be possible here, but they don’t seem to exist.’
Bali is the second most popular tourist destination for Australians, just behind New Zealand but well ahead of the United States in third place.
But Bali is probably more popular for its ultra-affordable lifestyle, cheap flights and accommodation and its beaches: things that NZ holidays don’t have in their favor.
Bali is a magical holiday destination for literally millions of Australians
Many people online lamented that Australian beach communities have too many bureaucratic restrictions, such as advice through laws and licensing issues to be so relaxed in Bali (Pictured, police patrol Sydney’s beaches during Covid)
Between 1.2 million and 1.4 million Australians visited Bali in 2019 and Balinese authorities are optimistic that this number can be matched in 2022 as the island fully reopens after Covid.
How Aussies can now live and work in Bali
The Indonesian government has announced a new ‘digital nomad’ visa that will soon allow Australians to live and work in Bali completely tax-free.
The new B211A visa allows people to work tax-free in Bali for six months.
A similar five-year visa is also under discussion.
The ‘digital nomad visa’ was proposed by Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno in June and adopted this week.
Mr. Uno hopes the plan will bring more than three million overseas travelers to the archipelago in the coming year, combined with a greater focus on spiritual retreats and ecotourism.
Several members of the Bali Bogan group agreed with Mr Samuele that Australia has the potential for Bali-like communities with so much coastline and good weather, especially the further north you go.
“Look at the thousands of miles of beaches in Australia’s northern half, and the opportunities are overwhelming, but out of reach due to the sheer amount of red tape that goes into everything in Australia,” said one woman.
Many people online lamented that Australian beach communities have too many bureaucratic restrictions such as council decisions and licensing issues to be as relaxed as Bali.
‘There is a lot of bureaucracy in Australia, that’s why I love Bali, back to basics and common sense,’ a man agrees.
“Licensing, payroll, changeable weather, cheaper to fly there for a fortnight than to spend a long weekend here, insurance, motorcycle restriction laws (50cc scooter or extra class maximum)… my head,” said another man.
“Maybe if Australia legalizes marijuana things won’t be so tense,” joked one man, who didn’t understand the irony of Bali’s much tougher drug penalties.
Possession and use of marijuana in Bali is punishable by up to 10 years in prison in Bali, while in Australia a conviction is unlikely, at least for a first offense.
People caught dealing cannabis in Bali can even face the death penalty.
Many also felt Australian hospitality and the cost of living is generally too expensive to put so much casual dining here and so many bars on the beach.
Red tape and rules are some of the biggest differences Aussies see between Bali and Australia (Pictured, police patrol Sydney’s beaches during Covid)
One woman said, ‘the culture there’ is very different.
‘We only have the experience we have thanks to the Balinese. It just wouldn’t be the same here.’
‘In addition, the cost of living is vastly different. No one here would want to give massages for five dollars.’
“We’ve allowed our tourism industry to target only high-spenders,” one man said.
‘If we all push for a revolution in the tourism sector, eventually there will be change.’
Others agreed that the Balinese locals would always be the missing ingredient in any attempt to change the Australian beaches in Bali.
“Nothing can replace Balinese smile, service or culture,” said one woman.
‘It’s the Balinese who make it special’, agrees another.
Mr Samuele added that he believes our coasts are too well protected by environmental laws.
“We have so many available coastal areas that a minority continues to play the environmental card where we should have parks, bars, cafes and skate parks,” he said.
A man claimed Port Douglas is becoming known as ‘the Bali of the North’ to locals (Pictured, Port Douglas)
‘What a waste.’
Some members have argued that some Australian cities are trying to create a ‘Bali vibe’, especially with eateries and beachfront bars.
‘We do [have Bali-like places] – it’s called Port Douglas, Queensland,’ said one man.
‘Many people call it the ‘Bali of the North’.
“Cairns is starting to get the Bali vibe,” another woman claimed.
“I recently stayed at the Crystalbrook Riley. They have a beach/pool bar and summer music. Lots of beach/street market restaurants with cheap massages, manicure and pedicure.’