Before it's too late: Ubud tourism

Ubud Main Street traffic

In recent years, Ubud, the cultural hub of Bali has been flooded with foreigners looking to find themselves or perhaps just visiting for the day. Ubud used to be known as the place of art, scenery, and culture. Today, it is more known to be a place for yoga, vegans and Instagram bucket-list hotspots. Thanks to the popularity of the Hollywood movie Eat, Pray, Love and social media. Somehow it has been flooded with young travelers staying in hostels and walking around with their Bintang beers. Monkey Forest road and Pengosekan resemble streets of Kuta, having bars, cafes, and shops with brightly lit neon signs. 

But that is not the problem, the town was not prepared to receive the number of visitors that it is receiving today. The big changes that are happening so rapidly are threatening its identity, culture, and environment. Ubud has changed so much, so quickly. Without proper rules and regulations, it has become chaotic especially in the high season. 

When you look at the bright side, the economy seems to progress with a decrease of 4.49 thousand poor citizens from September 2018 to March 2019 and the number of visitors has increased 0.96% in June 2019 from the previous year. But the fact is that these problems will slowly wear out the beauty of not just Ubud, but Bali, which will be a huge setback for the tourism-based economy. The prosperity simply won't last. 

Pedestrians have nowhere to walk, cars and motorbikes are parked on the streets due to the lack of parking space, traffic jams caused by rushing traffic, the lack of public transportation, rising air pollution, plastic pollution, water crisis and more; these are all problems that need to be addressed.  

It has been a couple of years that the problem has persisted and yet there are still little changes. We need the government to act more committed to create sustainable solutions. Locals also need to be educated and encouraged to walk or use more sustainable transportation like bicycles especially when going short distances. 

Ubud is no longer the place that I grew up in where I walked home to and from school every day, played in the rice-fields and clean water channels, and simply just being in a safe and healthy environment without so much traffic and pollution. There is still hope for change to happen, the government efforts of banning single-use plastic and issuing regulations for electric vehicles are to be applauded and continued. As a young citizen, we need to discuss matters that can affect our future and make our voices heard.