Bali's beaches are renowned worldwide for their unparalleled beauty, drawing visitors from every corner of the globe. Yet, it falls upon us, as visitors, to interact with these magnificent landscapes in a sustainable manner—a responsibility often overlooked by many holidaymakers. To counterbalance the adverse impacts of tourism on the island, it is crucial to adopt practices that respect and preserve the natural splendour Bali is known for. In light of this, here are my essential tips for enjoying Bali's beaches in a mindful and respectful way.
Spending time on Bali's beaches will inevitably mean coming across plastic littering the sandy shores. While this might not align with the idyllic image of a tropical paradise you envisioned for your holiday, participating in a beach clean-up is a meaningful way to contribute to the island's battle against plastic pollution, exacerbated in part by over-tourism. Fortunately, Bali offers numerous opportunities for taking part in beach clean-ups; they are a great way to connect with the community as part of your trip. If committing an entire morning doesn't fit your schedule, you can still make a difference on a smaller scale.
A beach essential that's hard to avoid is sunscreen, yet there's a catch: many sunscreens aren't reef safe.
Ironically, while sunscreens protect our skin, the chemicals they contain wreak havoc on delicate reefs systems and marine life. To tackle this issue, it's crucial to opt for sunscreens containing only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. By choosing these sunscreens, not only do you protect your skin, but you also play a part in preserving the delicate balance of our underwater ecosystems.
We're all guilty of splurging on holiday fashion, particularly if you're heading to a tropical paradise renowned for its Instagrammable beaches. While it's obviously more eco-friendly to utilize your existing wardrobe instead of purchasing new, if the temptation to shop is irresistible your choice of swimwear matters. Opting for a bikini or swimsuit made from recycled material is a great way to minimise the environmental impact of your purchase. Bali is home to numerous incredible apparel brands that have sustainability at their very core.
Bali is a sanctuary for breathtaking wildlife, and for nature enthusiasts like myself, witnessing these creatures in their natural habitat is a truly magical experience. The island offers numerous enchanting reefs to explore, snorkel experiences allowing you to marvel at the intricate ecosystems just below the surface. However, the best advice I can offer is simple: look but don't touch. It's important to remember that we are guests in these environments, and even though the animals and corals in them might seem harmless, it's unsafe to assume so.
Merely touching a coral can remove their outer protective layer and expose them to foreign bacteria and oils from your skin potentially causing irreversible damage. Pay careful attention to the tides to avoid getting too close to the reefs, and do not use the reef to propel yourself through the water. This isn't just for the benefit of the coral, Bali's reefs are home to fire coral which on contact induce an intense burning sensation that can last up to 2 weeks - a real holiday ruin.
Additionally, if you spend enough time near the coast, you are likely to encounter Banded Sea Kraits, captivating yet dangerous sea snakes. While they are generally docile, their bite is highly venomous, and there is no anti-venom available on the island. It should go without saying to leave these enigmatic creatures be and avoid any contact with them. By maintaining a respectful distance in observing Bali's reefs, we contribute to their long-term preservation for generations to come.