Bali trip: New photos show harrowing sight in Kuta
New photographs taken by an Australian traveler show a heartbreaking sight in Bali.
While more and more tourists are returning to Party Island since international travel has resumed and businesses are reopening, things are still not quite the same in the famous tourist hub of Kuta as they were before the Covid-19 pandemic.
But despite this, parts of the resort town remain a ghost town, with some of the pubs, shops and restaurants that were once major tourist draws still closed.
This can be seen in images of the once popular townhouses in and around Kuta, which now appear to be an abandoned site, barricaded and overgrown with weeds.
Traveler Kat Willeme told news.com.au that on a recent visit she went for a morning walk to see the area and was surprised by what she found.
“What an absolute heartbreaking sight to see things in such disrepair and all the surrounding businesses closed,” Kat said.
Broadcast your news live and on demand with Flash. From CNN International, Al Jazeera, Sky News, BBC World, CNBC and more. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends October 31, 2022 >
“The area was once so busy and was the main artery between Poppies Lane 1 and 2. We now understand why they are both struggling to recover.”
However, she said it was crucial that tourists return to support Bali as “they need our help”.
She explained that most of her friends had businesses in the area which were still struggling to recover, unlike other parts of Bali which were thriving. She hopes to raise awareness of what is really going on in Kuta, in hopes of bringing the area back to life.
“It’s not like that everywhere,” she says.
Kat also posted the images to a Facebook travel group and it was inundated with comments, with many reminiscing about the past and devastated to see the state of the building now.
One commenter said: ‘So sad – it was such a great place.
Another said: ‘It’s a crying shame. We are so lucky in this country. Good buildings are wasted, only increased tourism can fix that. Please help by visiting Bali.”
And a third wrote: “Yes it’s so sad! We were there recently and it was a sight to behold. I just want it to go back to how it was.”
Another commenter shared fond memories: “It’s so sad. We have stayed there since they opened and they were like family… Worst to see it all so overgrown.
Others pointed out that with the boards removed and some weeding and general maintenance done, the building would look much better.
Closed for business
Kat also shared other images from the streets of Kuta showing closed businesses. They include places such as the Matahari Mall in Kuta Square and other once-busy stores nearby.
She said there were many shops still closed along the old Poppies Lane 1.
Meanwhile, most shops are open for business along Poppies Lane 2, but due to the closure of some local hotels, Kat said she noticed ‘there is a lack of foot traffic going down there’ .
She also said popular businesses such as Tubes and Bagus Pub were closed, along with the notorious Bounty Hotel which Kat said “is still all boarded up and looks a bit shabby”.
But there is hope that things will slowly improve.
A local told him the Bounty hopes to reopen in September after doing some renovations.
“You can see them working and fixing everywhere you go and more stores and hotels are reopening every day,” Kat said.
Relaunch of tourism
The Covid-19 pandemic has wiped out international travelers from the island nation, leaving 400,000 Balinese unemployed.
In April this year Indonesian Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno called on Australians to return as the nation “misses” us.
“We want you back,” he said 9 News.
“We are seeing demand, very healthy demand from Australia in particular. Bali is now open.