Indonesia's Island of the Gods has been attracting tourists to its verdant volcanic mountains, terraced rice paddies and surf-ready beaches since a Dutch tourism bureau in Batavia (present-day Jakarta) began promoting Bali in 1914. Australian holidaymakers in their droves became enamoured by its charms in the 1970s.
Although Antipodean adventurers have been outnumbered by their Chinese counterparts in recent years - the island welcomed 1.4 million from the Middle Kingdom against 1.2 million from the Land Down Under in 2018, according to figures from the Bali Government Tourism Office - and both nationalities have their detractors, Destinations Known is electing another group for consideration as the worst type of traveller found on the island: the Instagram crowd.
Quick to cotton on to Bali's photogenic qualities, as well as the deep-seated desire of narcissistic nomads to broadcast their explorations, tour operators have started to offer outings tailored towards getting the "perfect picture" at as many of the island's hotspots as it's possible to document in a day. At online booking platform The Bali Bible, a tour for two costs just A$139 (S$134) and promises "a great way to see Bali with a private driver, away from the crowds on public tours". Over the course of 10 hours, budding influencers will visit five of the island's "most iconic locations" - the Gates of Heaven, the royal water palace, a "secret waterfall", Ubud's rice fields and an "infamous Jungle Swing" - and are teased with the possibility of becoming Insta-famous, should The Bali Bible re-tag images on the company's account, which has more than 925,000 followers. It is the platform's bestselling package.
Online tour booking agency Viator, which happens to be owned by TripAdvisor, undercuts the competition with its nine-hour Bali Instagram Tour, which also calls at the Gates of Heaven, a jungle swing and a waterfall, all for just HK$322 (S$55). Another online operator, ForeverVacation Bali, sells something similar for US$79 (S$107), and over at Bali Private Tours it's HK$578 … you get the picture (pun intended).
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