Bali is great but too damn expensive and touristy. There's a lot of things that I hate about it, but it's so damn pretty at times that you really want to stay for years. On the other hand, the locals are cash fiends and most people want nothing from you except for money, and that obviously leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Bali is best if you're an indulgent, naive person willing to spend at least a hundred dollars US a day. Backpackers it seems, deserted this bitch a long time ago and won't be coming back anytime soon.Out of all the places we've been to in Southeast Asia, Bali is the least friendly to it's tourists, (especially those who aren't desperately and stupidly throwing away money) and that's not a great feeling when you're on vacation and genuinely interested in the culture you've come to explore. Bali is best it seems, for rich old ladies who think "Eat Pray Love" is the greatest story ever told, or people who've never been to asia before and never want to come back after. Sometimes it feels about as hokey and removed from any reality as the World Showcase in Epcot center. At present, I sit somewhere between moderately happy and terribly underwhelmed. And nearly broke."
I'd also like to add: where is this money going? Every single tourist facility in Bali overcharges (and occasionally just cheats tourists) dramatically, but the basic infrastructure here is below that of anywhere in Java, more comparable to Sumatra. My father told me that the Balinese say that beggars on the island are from Java, but that is total nonsense. Outside of tourist zones, the Balinese use poor roads, throw trash literally everywhere, have sidewalks with gaping holes and have large amounts of dogs with mange and disease wandering around. Besides hostility, what lasting effects has tourism actually brought?
More on this later, as I formulate a more fair assessment of the place. On a positive note, the temples, culture, babi guleng (roast pork) and especially music are magnificent.