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The Image of Bali  

by on Thursday, 22 February 2007No Comment | 2,231 views

Over the last seventy years, writers of travel books, books on Bali and the writers for the internet’s pages have given a great contribution to shape the image of Bali, and until now the process of shaping the image of Bali is still on the way.


During the period of 1920s and 1930s, the image of Bali as a paradise was first created. On that time, the Dutch government began promoting Bali as a tourism destination. The pioneers of tourism in Bali such as Hickman Powell, Collin McPhee, etc, bolstered the image of Bali as a paradise. For Hickman Powell Bali was a vast wonderland, embodied the dream of pastoral poets. For Collin McPhee, each part of the day in Bali had a quality, which revealed a particular aspect of the island. The morning was “a golden freshness” when the island ‘dripped and shone with moisture like a garden in a florist’s window’. In the middle of the day, Bali ‘had become hard and matter-of-fact. In the afternoon and in the evening its qualities shone through, as “it grew unreal, lavish and theatrical like old-fashioned opera scenery.


Since that time the image of Bali is slowly built up with decades of tourist promotion, thousands of academic and travel writing, this great effort makes the image of Bali as the last paradise almost irrefutable. Each new writer has taken something from earlier works and developed it.


Nowadays, Bali could be nothing else but a rich ancient culture, the morning of the world, a forgotten medieval community where sun-bronzed women dress as eve, a land where nobody hurries, and all in peace, a spiritual community of care-free islander…as happy as a mortal can be, where everyone you meet is a dancer or an artist, where every day begins and ends with splendors of the nature: ‘as near an approach this side of heaven to a poet dream’.


As mentioned before, the shaping of Bali’s image is still going on. Bali changes a lot, these changes will eventually affect the already made image and reshape it into the new one.

Will Bali still be the last paradise?

Note : Most of the materials for this writing were take from Adrian Vickers’, Bali: Paradise Created

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