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Written by Nadia Crowe
Edited by Beverley Lennon

Bali has become almost synonymous with Instagram pictures, it’s considered the top thing to do there! Because it’s so naturally gorgeous, there are so many spots just begging to be photographed (waterfalls, temples, unique stays, natural attractions and more), unfortunately some of these spots have become a little altered due to popularity and do not necessarily look as unrealistically perfect as what you see on your social media.

Now, while it is true that some honest people cherry-pick only the best images to post on their feed, it seems like many others have been bombarding us with photoshopped images that are far from what it really looks like a.k.a completely FAKE!

Whether it’s faked reflections, long lines, or endless crowds you’ll have to fight through for one single picture, here are some of Bali’s most famous Instagram scams and traps you need to know about!

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1. When a beautiful lake reflection becomes a man with a mirror: Pura Lempuyang

Incredible photos of the ‘Gates of Heaven’ pop up on our feeds everyday. Ultimate peace and tranquility, and gorgeous reflections of the majestic volcano placed perfectly center in between the two gates. Well, turn around and you’ll see the huge line (it often takes hours before you can take the photo!) and the lake? It’s a man holding a mirror!

While we can’t deny that the photos turn out beautifully, don’t go there expecting to see the exact same conditions! First the crowd, them the fake illusion. Now that’s one big Instagram lie!!

Photo Via Lailunurfiana, Zirmak_ould_larbi, Polina_marinova

2. Streams of light, the peaceful sound of gushing water… and queues!: Tukad Cepung Waterfall  and Tegenungan Waterfall

I’m a huge lover of waterfalls, and there are some absolutely stunning ones in Bali. Photographers rave about the artistic light flares the sun can provide, and of course the photos turn out beautifully too.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for up to half an hour with your feet in the cold water before getting to your spot, or worse be bombarded by crowds everywhere! Not to mention, the pressure to take your pictures faster from all the people waiting and watching can get quite intense! Now, how do influencers do it? Well, you’ll either have to come at sunrise or photoshop people out of your long-awaited Bali waterfall picture!

Photo Via Meghna_2727, Balisevent
Photo Via Awahita, Zulfisherazi


3. Magical gates seem to be a running theme in Bali: Handara Gate

This particular entrance to a golf resort somehow became an Instagram sensation overnight. The picture perfect mountains in the background, greenery all around, and gorgeous Balinese architecture seem to make people feel super at peace when looking at the photos.

However, unless you wake up at 5am to capture a bit of alone time with the beauties, you’ll find yourself accompanied by long lines of people, a charge for taking photos, and the ever constant zooming in and out by cars! Talk about a stressful way to take photos! There’s even a dedicated line to queue up in and wait for your turn!

Photo Via Nadia-Crowe, Martina-Ninipot, Rendy-Prananta

4. Where Kings and Queens meet hordes of people: Tirta Gangga Water Palace

A water palace sounds so wonderful, and the photos from Tirta Gangga are usually equally as magical! They always seem to make it look quiet, regal, and absolutely stunning. While the palace is definitely a sight to behold, there aren’t many opportunities to see it without people dotted on every inch of it.

Just don’t get stuck on one of the stones on the pond, there’s no way out except to wait unless you want to fall in!

Photo Via Wemwie, Miimiiels

5. Endless seas of green… and people: Tegalalang Rice Terrace

The infamous Bali swing, the legendary rice terraces, and the magical sun flares we so commonly see in photos of Tegalalang Rice Terrace. Bali is known for its rice fields because they are unlike any other we have seen before or are they ?!

However, its fame also brings about the crowds, and the overpriced experiences, and the many watching eyes. Visiting is definitely worth it to see one of the most prominent landscapes in Bali, and you’ll find more than a few spots to take photos, but do so knowing you’ll be met with a reality that’s not as kind – chances are you’ll be photobombed by some hundreds of other people… just saying ;)!

Photo Via Alessiapizzulli, Luv_more_luv

6. Sleeping with the stars above you and the constant noise of an air pump to soothe you to sleep: Bubble Hotel Bali

Sleeping underneath the stars of the night sky sounds like a pretty romantic way to spend an evening, and that’s why bubble hotels are becoming so popular. The ultimate peace and quiet of being surrounded by almost no one is appealing to nearly every working person in the world.

Bali has one of their very own, but recent reviews have noted how rundown it actually is, how unsafe they feel while staying there thanks to it actually being on a public beach (only a small sign to deter trespassers!), and how not peaceful it turned out to be (read; the constant sound of an air pump, and the acrid smell of plastic you breathe in throughout the night)!

Photo Via Inwinter83, Juheba, Tine-B

In fact, these bubble hotels may not be as private as they seem, we read one review where they saw one too many naked butts around the campsite! Just bear in mind there are a couple of sacrifices to be made when choosing to stay here.

7. A soul cleansing experience for those patient enough to wait in line: Pura Tirta Empul

Having your soul purified sounds like exactly the type of thing you need after a life full of rebelling, stressing, and working. Pura Tirta Empul is exactly the place you need to go for such rituals, if you’re willing to stand patiently behind a bunch of other people while they do it first!

Regardless of the people though, this is a magnificent part of Bali’s culture to witness and partake in, just make sure you prepare yourself for it as it seems like there’s another thousand people in need of getting their soul purified when in Bali!

Photo Via Ry_agathe, Renataonodyova

8. A darker side to the most beautiful photo: Elephant and other animal encounters

There’s nothing like seeing an elephant up close and personal. I’ve been privileged enough to do so, but unfortunately, I’ve done it at the expense of the majestic creatures. There are a whole host of issues with elephant tourism, and while it can be done ethically, it’s not done so in Bali.

Whenever you choose to have an elephant encounter in Bali, regardless of where you saw it or who recommended it, you’re participating in animal cruelty, there are no ethical elephant sanctuaries currently in Bali. Even if you don’t want to ride them you’ll be supporting an institution that provides the opportunity for others who do.

Did you know that in order to ‘domesticate’ an elephant, it’s brutally beaten, restrained, denied of food/water, and made to feel absolutely worthless?! Elephants are incredibly smart creatures so you can best bet they feel just as much as we do. Riding on an elephant repeatedly can cause damage to its spine, especially using heavy saddles and plonking on 2 – 3 heavy people on top of it. Not to mention, the lack of freedom can slowly drive an elephant insane, watch out for swaying trunks, and excessive ear flapping. You don’t want to contribute to this industry, trust me.

Photo Via Sofoep, Glamtravelgram

9. A peaceful walk along a crowded ridge: Campuhan Ridge Walk

How wonderful would it be to be able to walk in solitude along the ridge of a hill, surrounded by endless greenery on either side of you? It exists in Bali and you can definitely visit it with ease, the only problem is that everyone else wants to as well!

The Campuhan Ridge Walk is a great place to go and get some early morning exercise, just be prepared to share the walkways with a bunch of other people.

Photo Via Ncktravel, Vinovi88

10. A selfie with the monkeys? Not really! : Ubud Monkey Forest

Considering we are relatives with monkeys, it’s not surprising that they’re intelligent creatures. But… some people may be overestimating the intelligence of the monkeys in Ubud Monkey Forest. Selfies have been popping up all over Instagram lately where it appears like the monkey has either photobombed the picture or is taking the selfie itself! It was even on the news!

Now don’t get excited as this isn’t real (and probably a good thing too, they could run off with your phone!). What really happens is that you’ll have to pay the caretakers to take a photo of you and they will position the monkey in front of the camera, enticing it with food so it will reach up its hand and appear like it’s taking a photo. Don’t be fooled!

Photo Via Elene_ad, Bali-tribun-news

Travelling to Bali should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list, maybe spend a little more time doing things that are more unique than conforming to the masses or you’ll find yourself completely shocked! 

Share this with your friends who are travelling to Bali soon so they know what to expect too!

PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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