The conscious traveller’s guide to Bali

The mere mention of Bali evokes an image of paradise. Over the years, this island has become a refuge for travellers from around the world – and a haven for conscious nomads.

Whether it’s a destination for health and healing, or back-to-nature eco-tourism, Bali and its diverse neighbourhoods cater to anyone looking to be a better guardian of the planet. (There are even compost bins available to the public throughout the streets of Ubud.)

Here, a quick guide for the conscious traveller’s low-impact getaway to Bali, Indonesia.

Read also: The Luxe Nomad pledges to go plastic-free in Bali

Reduce waste, dine in

Trade tables piled with takeaway, plastic cutlery, straws and the like for a sustainable dine-in experience. At Ku De Ta (a Bali icon that has called time on single-use plastics and throw-away napkins) low-impact dining becomes an effortless affair; at Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak, Bali’s first waste-free restaurant Ijen takes a completely zero waste approach. They opt for banana leaves, line-caught seafood and wood fires, all while figuring out new ways to process food waste (like creating their own rice-flour crackers, pickles and sambal).

Ijen Potato Head Bali
There’s no reason for zero waste seafood to not be delicious! Photo: Potato Head Beach Club Bali

Read also: How to build the ultimate Zero Waste kit

Shop less, do more

The rule of thumb when travelling light is to first cut the desire to hoard souvenirs. That applies even more so when trying to limit waste while navigating Bali. While mementos might be nice to share with friends back home, they are also usually always packed in plastic and, more often than not, made in a different country. Perhaps take a more scenic route by diving into the local culture and taking home memories and photos of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Bali photo
Nothing captures your holiday better than a picture, and Bali is full of photo ops! Photo: Alexey Marchenko/Unsplash

Rest easy, be zero waste with Alila Hotel

Sustainable hospitality is an emerging trend throughout the global hotel industry, but one name continues to turn heads – Alila. In 2017, each one of Alila’s four resorts in Bali broke new ground by launching a ‘Zero Waste to Landfill Project’. That means every guest can rest at ease knowing any waste created will be transformed into a useful resource via composting and cardboard mulching. They also collect rainfall for irrigation, convert plastic waste into gasoline for hotel lamps and crush glass to be used in building blocks. Together, these hotels aide local communities by reducing both the company’s and the island’s impact on the environment.

Alila Villas Uluwatu
This is what sustainable hospitality looks like. Photo: Alila Villas Uluwatu

Support local, always

No trip to Bali would be complete without a visit to one of its many street markets and locally operated shops and artisans. A trip to the first zero waste store in Bali, Zero Waste Bali in Kerobokan, would be well worth the ride over. They source locally made soaps and shampoo bars (and delicious energy balls) for a perfect, practical set of souvenirs.

Read also: Five ways to be a low impact traveller

Brent Taalur

Our very own Wasteless Wanderer with a passion for all things reusable. When he’s not flipping through one of the 300 books currently on his reading list, he can be found exploring vintage bookstores and his favourite street markets. Once a fashion journalist in New York City and Paris, he now devotes most of his time to writing and advocating for Zero Waste in Kuala Lumpur and across Asia.


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