Back in 1975 and 1977 when Chris White travelled there, Bali, Indonesia was virtually unknown. It certainly was not a ‘hot’ tourist destination. It was so unknown that the locals had never seen westerners before. The landscape was pristine and the beaches spotlessly clean.
Things have changed in time, and not for the best, it seems. Bali is now a magnet for backpackers and party goers, and the beautiful white beaches are now littered with rubbish. Congestion and mounting piles of trash is a huge problem.
Rewind the clock to the 1970’s and you will see the collection of photos that White took when he was first there. Untouched areas, white beaches, quiet dirt track roads, with no westerners to be seen was what you could expect if you visited the island.
The collection of images showcases a rural existence and a peaceful way of life. This is a complete change from now, with the island being invaded by some 4 million tourists a year!
Thinking back on his first visits, White said that he and his friends were the first Australians to ever visit Bali. The island is now littered with tall hotels and resorts. It is a surfer’s dream come true.
Reminiscing about his early travels, White, from Sydney, said:
“Back then we were some of the first Australians to visit Bali. “It was totally unspoiled. The island has developed a lot since then and Kuta beach now has hotels and resorts the length of it.”
“It was every surfer’s dream and and the locals were the friendliest people you could ever meet,” he said.
The main airport carries 11.1 million people there every year, with the majority of holiday- makers being backpackers, couples and surfers. White says that it is very scary at just how busy the island has become. The green lands that he saw before have all been filled with beach resorts and the airport construction.
The iconic collection of pictures takes us back to times when life was a far slower pace, families were important, and there was far less hustle and bustle.
White recently shared the pictures of his early Balinese trips on social media and one of the boys in the shots recognised himself and got in touch.
“One of the children in the pictures is now in his 40s,” he said.
“He recognised the shots from when he was younger and got in touch. That was pretty incredible.”
Bali, in South East Asia, is one of the world’s most popular tropical holiday spots.
In the 80’s and 90’s it was known as a ‘tropical paradise’ but recently it is better known as ‘the Mexico of Australia’ with flights taking around six hours.
In 2000, the island’s main airport carried 4.4 million passengers and by 2011, this number had skyrocketed to 11.1 million