Why and how did Bali become such a famous tourist destination?

Before Bali became famous, it started with an American guy named Bob Koke. He’s known as the first person to surf in Indonesia. Back in the 1930s, he surfed the waves at a place called Kuta Beach in Bali. This was the start of surfing in this beautiful, tropical place. Ok before this it was the Dutch coming to Bali but that’s a different story.

Now, let’s jump to the late 1960s and early 1970s, a really important time that changed Bali a lot. During these years, a surfing movie called “Morning of the Earth” showed off Bali’s amazing beaches and perfect waves. This movie made people all over the world want to come to Bali to surf. (source: Surfing in Indonesia – Wikipedia)

Bali surfing

Two beaches in Bali, Uluwatu and Kuta, became super popular during this surfing craze. As more people heard about these great surfing spots, surfers from everywhere started coming to Bali. This helped make Bali known as a must-visit place.

But surfing did more than just bring tourists. It also became a part of the local culture and helped the economy. New businesses like surf shops and places to stay popped up to serve the visiting surfers, changing how locals and tourists interacted in Bali.

Surfing also spread to other places in Indonesia, like Nias Island, G-Land in Java, and the Mentawai Islands, making Indonesia famous as a top place for surfing.

Why is Bali Famous now?

It has really nice beaches like Kuta and Seminyak, where people love to sunbathe and surf. The beaches have soft white sand and clear blue water from the Indian Ocean.

But there’s more to see in Bali than just beaches. If you go further inside the island, you’ll find big volcanoes. The most well-known one is Mount Agung, which is a very special and holy place for the people who live in Bali. Another one, Mount Batur, is also really impressive, especially if you see it at sunrise.

Bali also has beautiful green rice terraces, which are fields where rice is grown in a very artistic way on the hillsides. If you go to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace near a place called Ubud, you’ll be really impressed by how beautiful these fields are.

Culture is another big thing in Bali. There are many temples, like Tanah Lot and Uluwatu, which are peaceful places set in beautiful locations. The people in Bali also have colorful traditional dances and ceremonies, like the Kecak Fire Dance, which shows off their rich culture.

kecak dance

Visiting Bali can be pretty cheap. There are lots of places to stay that don’t cost much, like homestays and hostels. You can do lots of fun activities like going to different beaches, visiting temples, and taking surfing lessons without spending too much money.

What really makes Bali special, though, are the local people. They are very friendly and welcoming, and they love sharing their culture and traditions with visitors. This makes a trip to Bali extra special.

Did you know that Bali is home to multiple UNESCO-recognised sites and dances.

What is Bali Known For?

Bali is largely known for its culture and religion. One big part of this is Balinese Hinduism, which mixes Hindu beliefs with local spiritual ideas. This religion is a big part of everyday life in Bali, affecting everything from daily activities to big temple celebrations.

The island is also well-known for its traditional arts and crafts. This includes detailed wood carvings, silver jewelry, colorful fabrics, and paintings. The artists in Bali work hard to keep these old traditions going. If you visit the art markets in places like Ubud or Sukawati, you can see these beautiful artworks for yourself.

Food is another big thing in Bali. You should try local dishes like Nasi Goreng, which is fried rice, and Satay, which are grilled skewers. Eating at local warungs, which are small restaurants run by families, lets you taste real Balinese food. Make sure to try Babi Guling, a roast pig dish, and Bebek Betutu, a slow-cooked duck, as these are two very famous dishes in Bali.

Bali also has famous landmarks that many people visit. The Uluwatu Temple, which is on a cliff by the sea, is loved for its beautiful sunsets and traditional Kecak dance shows. Tanah Lot is another temple by the sea, known for its special location and being one of Bali’s important spiritual places.

So, Bali is famous for its mix of culture, food, and famous places, all surrounded by its beautiful nature.

Why is Bali So Popular nowadays?

bali social media influencers

Bali is a popular place for people to visit from all over the world, and social media and influencers have played a big part in making this happen. Thousands of content creators are trying to get likes and more followers, using the beautiful features a paradise like Bali has to offer. They use platforms like Instagram to show off Bali’s beautiful places, exciting culture, and special attractions. Pictures of places like the green rice fields in Ubud and the temples on the cliffs in Uluwatu have become really popular on Instagram, making more people want to visit.

But Bali isn’t just popular on Instagram. It’s a place that has something for every kind of traveler. Whether you want to relax by the beach, get excited surfing on the waves, or learn about the local culture by visiting ancient temples and markets, Bali has something for you.

Plus, Bali is generally a safe place for tourists and has good facilities for visitors. The local people are friendly, and there are lots of resources, like information centers and guides who speak English, to help travelers. So, it’s easy to see why Bali keeps attracting visitors with its beauty and friendly atmosphere.

How Much Does Bali Make from Tourism?

bali tourists on the beach in seminyak

Tourism is a big deal for Bali’s economy. In 2021, travel and tourism brought in about 413.73 trillion Indonesian rupiah to Indonesia’s overall economy. Even though we don’t have exact numbers for Bali alone, it’s thought that tourism makes up about 60-70% of Bali’s economy. (source: Expat Life Indonesia)

Tourism also creates lots of jobs. In 2022, three million new jobs were made in the tourism sector in Indonesia, and since Bali is a major tourist spot, a lot of these jobs are probably there.

In 2022, Bali aimed to welcome 2.3 million international tourists, and by August 2023, they had already seen 3,418,907 foreign visitors. The record in one month in 2023, Bali’s main airport reported having 810,930 international passengers. (source: Bukit Vista)

For the financial side, while we don’t have exact numbers for Bali, we know that tourism is a big part of its economy. Looking ahead, it’s projected that in 2023, the Travel & Tourism market in Indonesia will bring in US$7,504.00m, and since Bali is a key tourist spot, a good chunk of this will likely come from there. (source Statista: Tour Travel Indonesia)

But having so many tourists can cause problems too. The large numbers can strain Bali’s resources like water, energy, and food. Popular areas can get too crowded, and building new hotels can threaten local farming and the environment.

Sustainability, or making sure resources can last, is becoming more and more important in Bali. There are issues like managing waste and dealing with plastic pollution. Efforts are being made to make tourism more sustainable, but finding a balance between making money and protecting the environment is tricky.


Bali is a beautiful island and lots of people love visiting it for its beaches and culture. Pictures and stories on social media have made even more people want to come. This is good because it brings money and jobs, but it’s also hard because it can hurt the environment and use up resources. It’s really important to find a balance so that Bali stays beautiful and welcoming for everyone in the future.

In short why is Bali so famous?

  • Surfing movie called “Morning of the Earth” made the island famous back in 1970s
  • Nowadays it is known for many things like beaches, landscapes, temples, culture, food, affordability and a tropical getaway
  • the blend of culture & religion with hospitality made it very welcoming.
  • Social Media played a big part in it
  • Tourist find it in general safe and easy to visit Bali

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