Bali may be an island of unprecedented beauty- think crystal clear waters, remote jungle waterfalls and stunning remote landscapes, but as it gains in popularity as a travel destination, it is everyone’s responsibility- both locals and tourists, to look after it by being as sustainable as possible. So what ways can you practice sustainable travel in Bali? We round up some of our top tips below:
Bali sustainable travel tip 1: Choose eco-friendly accommodation
With so many amazing accommodation options in Bali, it can be tempting to choose your accommodation by star rating, guest reviews or freebie opportunities. Whilst everyone enjoys comfort away from home, why not look into the sustainability policies of your chosen accommodation option? What is their waste management policy or energy-saving rates for example? You can also implement mindful sustainable techniques yourself, such as reducing your water usage. Studies show the average tourist consumes more than 350 litres of water per night alone! So now is the time to start taking shorter showers, only ask for a daily room cleaning if you really need it, and reuse your towels more than once to remain eco-friendly.
Another sustainable travel top tip is to look at staying in shared spaces- these are a much better use of resources and energy usage than staying in a private hotel.
Some of our top Eco accommodation options:
Bali Eco Stay in Tabanan sources 75% of food from their permaculture gardens, fund programs to educate local communities about waste management and provide unlimited filtered spring water for your stay reducing plastic bottle usage: https://www.baliecostay.com/
Swasti Eco Cottage in Ubud uses recycled wood for their houses, give back to local communities by sharing their profits and have their own organic farm to grow fresh vegetables: https://www.baliswasti.com/
Bali sustainable travel tip 2: Choose sustainable souvenirs
With so many fantastic shopping opportunities in Bali from boutique shops to weekly markets, you are going to want to splash the cash! But have you ever thought about the impact of your spending? In Bali, it is more than possible to take home memories from your travel in a sustainable way, rather than buying handmade-label souvenirs you will never use! Opt for consumables- things like spices, artisan soap bars or essential oils like coconut. These are all things Bali supply in abundance that don’t have a negative impact on the community. If you are after sustainable travel gifts, look for local jewellery pieces or craft shops that supply products made by local craftsmen.
Here are a couple of our top shopping choices in Bali:
Ananda Soul: A boho-style jewelry brand in Ubud which focuses on ethical production, fair pay, employing underprivileged women and going vegan in its products and packaging: https://anandasoul.com
Utama Spice: A Balinese beauty and skincare brand which prides itself on using completely natural ingredients (think handmade body butters, lip balms, scrubs etc.) and offers employment to the local women of Ubud: https://utamaspicebali.com
Bali sustainable travel tip 3: Act like a local
As well as providing a more authentic travel experience, doing as the locals do in Bali will help reduce your environmental footprint and promote substantially. But what is the best way to achieve this? Eat local- go to the places where locals are sipping traditional drinks, discover amazing Indonesian street food or observe where the locals queue to get the best Nasi Goreng- it’s cheaper, more rewarding and taster too! Support local markets- buy your fresh produce here rather than from the big supermarket chains and if you are planning to book any tours or experiences make sure you go with local guides rather than big tour companies.
Here are some of our favourite markets in Bali:
Samadi Market: https://www.samadibali.com/organic-sunday-market/
Ubud Organic Market: http://www.ubudorganicmarket.com
Air Bnb Experiences offer great ‘local experiences’ which give you a great insight into Balinese culture and help give back to the local community: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/s/Bali–Indonezja/experiences?_set_bev_on_new_domain=1584658259_MhD%2FvAv9oJWwPcBB
After all, we all have a responsibility to help achieve cultural and social sustainability as well as sustainability that positively affects the economy!
Bali sustainable travel tip 4: Be an eco-conscious volunteer
If you are looking for a further rewarding experience during your stay in Bali, it is possible to do more than stay in a green hotel and shop locally- why not skip the tourist route and join one of the many volunteer programs instead? Volunteering and connecting with the local community is a vital contribution to the social and economic development of the area, and also helps protect Bali’s precious environment. You can travel and volunteer as part of an organisation or look to do so yourselves using companies like Workaway. As well as providing a rewarding experience, programs offer a once in a lifetime experience- from wildlife conservation, education and community aid, to contributing to sustainable development.
Here are our top eco-conscious volunteer opportunities in Bali:
Bali Sea Turtle Rescue- join a fully dedicated team to help care for injured sea turtles until they are ready to be released back into the sea: https://www.goeco.org/area/volunteer-in-asia/indonesia/bali-sea-turtle-rescue
Bali Education program- make a difference by teaching English to underdeveloped villages and inspire community members to strive towards a brighter and more sustainable future: https://www.goeco.org/area/volunteer-in-asia/indonesia/bali-education-and-community
Construction and Renovation- help rebuild and develop a community in Bali by partaking in construction activities like renovating buildings to make a positive difference in the lives of the community members: https://www.goeco.org/area/volunteer-in-asia/bali/construction-and-renovation
What do all these volunteer schemes have in common? As well as helping the local community, you will most likely be staying in shared housing (much more eco-friendly) whilst you work directly towards the sustainable development of your chosen area. Good for you, good for the planet… it’s a win-win!
Bali sustainable travel tip 5: Pack wisely
What you need to pack will vary depending on the time of year you choose to visit Bali, but these are some standard eco-friendly packing travel tips you can follow to help promote both zero waste and sustainability.
- Switch to biodegradable bar soaps, shampoo bars and DIY mists- handy for dealing with the Bali humidity!
- Invest in well-made items: Take a multi-purpose jumpsuit or bikini coverup that can serve several occasions rather than packing multiple items- remember quality, not quantity
- Reduce the number of electronic devices you bring and only pack the basics- if you can, leave your laptop at home to give yourself time to switch off. Think of it as a mini digital detox!
- Rather than invest in an expensive camera, or be constantly glued to your phone, why not bring along an analogue film camera to capture those unique moments? You can also start a travel journal, try sketching events or start a scrapbook to provide a really authentic account of your experience.
- Make sure your packing list includes items like a sustainable bamboo toothbrush, a keep cup (for all the awesome coffee shops you are going to want to try in Canggu!) a reusable water bottle and reusable shopping bags for your groceries.
- Look to support eco-conscious fashion labels who use materials that are fast-drying, breathable, and odour-resistant- this will mean you need to bring less and helps reduce your fashion footprint.
- Bring reusable cutlery and Tupperware to reduce plastic waste when hitting those awesome food markets!
Packing in a more considerate, sustainable way before you arrive in Bali has SO many advantages though: smaller luggage not only means fewer problems going plastic-free but also reminds you of how little you actually need.
Plus, that means more room to buy all those fab sustainable gifts we mentioned earlier!
What are your top tips for being a sustainable traveler in Bali? We would love to hear your thoughts!