Mama Holiday: Bali, you either love it or hate it

Wow! What a response. We’ve been overwhelmed by your comments, opinions and suggestions about family travel to Bali following my column on April 8, which looked at our ongoing relationship with the Indonesian holiday hotspot.

The verdict? Well, you either love it or hate it.

In the former category is expat Keith Fletcher, from Desa Banjar, Buleleng, who points out the death rate in Bali, when compared as a percentage with the number of tourists, is lower than in Australia.

He says the most common cause of death is a pre-existing condition: “As an expat who has lived in Bali for several years without injury or incident I would like to reassure your writer and your readers that if they take the normal precautions, they will be just as safe in Bali as anywhere else.”

However, “Axis” is not convinced, adding this question to the safety concerns: “Why on earth would I return to the scene of the Ugly Australian, known these days as Camp Bogan?”

Perhaps the problem is not with Bali, but us … ? “Out of Africa” has been there only once, on a two-day layover: “We heard yelling and screaming … and looked to see a group of yobs in singlets and Lycra pushing strollers down the street, beers in hand, drunk as lords.

“If it ever was a paradise it is lost now.”

“Apparently you see them in Gallipoli on Anzac Day as well,””Oracle” from Oberon points out. “But I’m back to Bali with the family later this year for the fifth time. The Balinese know that the majority of us are decent and respectful of their country, but how do you stop the bogans ?” But another “b” word is keeping many Aussies away – bombs.

“Realistic” from Brisbane writes: “I’m not going back until the Indonesian government deals seriously with the threat of terrorism, and addresses its dodgy police and legal system.”

Regular visitors reckon you should avoid Kuta in favour of Sanur, Ubud or Nusa Lembongan.

Nick, of Perth, suggests staying on Lombok or the Gilli Islands, which “offer a version of Bali from 30 years ago development-wise, but still with top-notch accommodation”.

Another thread running through the comments is cost.

“It’s a poor man’s overseas holiday,” Kris says. “I’d prefer to keep visiting Palm Cove, Queensland each year and keep my tourist beach holiday dollars in Australia. At least it’s safe and clean.”

“Alternative” of Melbourne recommends the Philippines: “210,000 of us went there last year, but it doesn’t get quite the publicity of Bali, Fiji or, Thailand, especially.”

And for those of you who thought I’d throw the kids on to the back of a motor scooter, or get funky with them in the nightclubs, well, I’m loose – but not that loose!

As a parent, I’m worried about drunken hoons (crikey, that’s such a “mum” word!) on bikes knocking us over, or fights from clubs spilling out on to the street.

Although, I admit I am a holiday hypocrite – this is the same woman who let her son kiss a monkey on the lips in Marrakesh.

Please, keep the comments coming. We love to hear about your experiences.

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