Tourism in Bali is a relatively young industry, only taking off in the 1970s with the first global surfing boom. Bali began as a perfect getaway for Australian travelers and soon became a unique destination for well-off visitors from Japan, North America and Europe. Things only grew from there – and though Australians may dominate some touristic areas of the island, Europeans love Bali.
Compare Bali’s mix of cosmopolitanism and authentic rustic Southeast Asian culture and you’ll see why so many Europeans love Bali. Take British pentathlete Samantha Murray, who won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. In case you don’t know, the pentathlon is a curious mix of five sports: fencing, swimming and show jumping plus a final event which combines running and pistol shooting. It’s the perfect training for an international secret agent.
Murray contrasts her final day in Taipei and her subsequent time in Bali for a piece in the Lancashire Evening Post:
A closer inspection revealed there were snakes – alive and dead – in boxes and cages all around us. It really was time to leave this island. Bali, by contrast, was a heaven-sent paradise. I recommend everyone to visit Bali – beautiful coastlines, friendly people and a culture to explore, I had a great time here.
We went rafting, tried all the popular dishes, and I had a few surf lessons.
I don’t know about you, but I’d call that gushing.
Another reason why Europeans love Bali is that it offers something they don’t have – tropical surf beaches. Sure, you’ve got great beaches in southern Europe, but the surf spots of Spain, France and Portugal have cold Atlantic waters while the warm Mediterranean Sea isn’t the best for surf. Combine that with lower prices and year-round heat and Bali can’t be beat.
The Jakarta Post’s Bali Daily section quotes Jonas, a “fanatic surfer” from Germany, a land not terribly famous for its surfable waves:
Surfing in Bali is something special. Tropical temperatures, beautiful beaches and extremely good waves throughout the year are what you find here. There are also so many surf spots and good waves can always be found here.
If the wind comes from the west, you surf on the east side of the island; if the wind comes from the east, you surf in the west; so it’s always offshore!
See? I told you Europeans love Bali!