Well, we’re here again. This time, my wife and I have brought along our three children, ages 11, 9 and 4.

I’m always reminded about what I consider the two faces of Bali when boarding our plane from Perth. There’s the usual conversations overheard such as ‘Is Bali a country, or is that Indonesia?’ and the different stories of the travellers eager to arrive in the island of the gods.

There’s the father next to me who is bringing his wife and three teenagers with him. He is looking forward to staying in Kuta, drinking cheap beer, getting a suitcase full of cheap DVD’s and making comments such as ‘They speak funny over there in Bali’.

Then there’s the girl in her early twenties who we consoled on the flight home six months ago, who told us how a week of late night drinking, over-enthusiastic touts pushing their driving services ‘Transport, Boss?’ and eating cheap food from those multinational chains had made her question the ‘hype’ of Bali.

That’s one type of Australian traveller. Then there’s those who, like me, come for the cultural experience, the chance to try local foods and do our best (albiet poorly) to integrate with Balinese life. Okay, so I’m not entirely fluent in Bahasa Indonesian, and I do like the occasional western food, but I try my best to be culturally sensitive and enjoy my holiday in Bali style.

I’m reminded of the two sides of Bali even more so, when watching a conversation on Twitter around a week ago, where someone responded to a tweet about a friend going to Bali with ‘Why bother, it’s all full of Australians?’. The funniest part was this person admitted to having never been; only judging Bali based on the nightly news media in Australia.

And don’t get me started on the target article of a Crikey post from a few months ago, entitled The Age goes to Bali: the worst travel article ever published?.

For those who think Bali is cheap DVD’s, hours of swilling Bintang and eating burgers; try the other side of Bali, you never know, you may just find out you like it.

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