Travelling to Bali alone is one of the best decisions you can make in your life because it will transform you in ways you can’t even imagine. However, Bali, just like other locations, has gone through a lot of changes because of tourism and foreign investments. In this blog post, I will tell you exactly why it’s important to give back and what can you do to support the local community in Bali.
Why it’s important to give back in Bali
As I already mentioned in my intro, Bali has changed a lot. If you were to visit the island every 6 months you would be shocked. Every time you go you will find more cafes, restaurants and villas. But the changes are not only regarding physical, there are less evident points to consider:
- They are adapting to us. They know what we want to eat, and what we like doing or seeing. This is because they enjoy having tourists around and improving their business. They’ve learned how to speak English and how to satisfy our holiday needs.
- I’m going to talk about Lombok here but it might be similar in Bali. There are some local people (especially in the surfing scene) that are attracted to tourists. But they don’t feel like they are “enough” for them and so they take drugs or assume certain behaviours to be liked more.
- I’m not saying it’s our fault if there are issues with plastic management but they’ve probably increased their intake because of us. I’m not only talking about water bottles and straws. There are some surf destinations which didn’t even have surfboards before tourists. Local people were surfing on wooden tables without finns. Now, there are beaches we don’t go to because “they don’t look nice” which are not only full of plastic but also surfboards (which cannot be recycled).
- Building more on the island means there is less room for wildlife and less land for farmers in Bali.
Giving back to local communities should just be natural behaviour but I personally observed all the above and I think they would be extra reasons why we should all help and support each other no matter where we are from.
Now let’s talk about tangible ways to give back to the local community in Bali. These are things you can do any time you go, no matter how long or what your plans are.
What can you do to Give Back to the local community in Bali?
Bali offers various channels through which travellers can support the local community without disrupting their daily rhythm. Let’s explore the avenues through which you, as a solo female traveller, can become an integral part of Bali’s progress.
The classic: Volunteering
Immersive volunteering experiences can be found in organic farms, educational institutions, and environmental initiatives across Bali. Your time and skills, whether it’s teaching English or participating in beach cleanups, can make a tangible difference.
Supporting Skills and Traditions
Bali’s artisans are the heartbeat of the island’s economy, yet many are struggling to compete in a world of mass production. By investing in local art and crafts, female travellers can empower these artisans to sustain their livelihoods and preserve their legacies.
The Path of Sustainable Tourism: Treading Lightly for Longevity
Sustainable tourism in Bali is not a choice; it’s a necessity. By choosing eco-friendly accommodations, partaking in responsible wildlife encounters, and supporting community-based tourism, you’re helping maintain the island’s ecological balance and socioeconomic health.
The Power of Listening and Asking Questions
Let me share a little story with you. One night, after wrapping up work at a coworking place around midnight, I booked a grab scooter to take me home. My driver, a local, started sharing his dissatisfaction with his job and dreamt of doing something more fulfilling. So, I simply lent an ear. We stopped, and as the moonlight fell, we talked about his passion for showing people around his beloved Bali and sharing insider tips. Seeing his enthusiasm, I helped him set up an Airbnb Experience right on his phone for him to start offering guided tours. This was a job he wanted, but he felt the hotels made it hard for individuals like him. I just listened, and that was all he needed to kickstart his business.
Discovering the Unseen and Supporting Local Initiatives
When in Bali, don’t just stick to the typical touristy spots. Venture into the less-travelled paths, the ones that may not ‘look nice’ at first glance. Trust me, there’s beauty and authenticity hidden there. Consider taking part in local programs or even making donations to support the community. It’s a way to give back that feels much more personal and impactful.
Conscious Choices: Think About Your Impact
And remember, every time you spend money, you’re making a choice. You’re choosing who to support. Is it a big multinational company? Or is it a local business? As a traveller, consider who you’re funding during your trip. Supporting local businesses means that your travel dollars stay within the community, helping it flourish. So, next time you’re in Bali or anywhere else, remember to listen, ask questions, and make conscious choices. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it can make!
As you prepare to venture into the rich tapestry of Bali as a female solo traveller, embrace the ethos of giving back. Let your footprints tell not just the story of your passage, but the narrative of shared humanity and support.
When you engage with the local community, be an active listener to their needs, ask questions that open dialogue, seek out opportunities to take part in local programs, and consider the impact of your presence. Remember, it’s not about how much you give, but the mindful intent with which you do so.
Listen. Engage. Give Back. Your adventure in Bali awaits you not just as a traveller but as a contributor to something greater than your journey alone. As we endeavour to empower and embrace the local community, we build bridges that connect us, not just as visitors, but as kin to the heart of Bali’s spirit.
Ciao for now,