By Yasmin Ririhena.
Bali is famous as a holiday destination for those looking to relax, refresh and recharge, and now it seems, for getting your photo taken as well. From UNESCO protected rice fields to exotic locations, incredible nightlife, beach clubs, restaurants and spas, Bali has it all. As the Instagram generation casts its lustful eyes on photo worthy locations, spectacular swings are now popping up in every corner of the island. Don a flowing dress and channel your inner child while taking in sweeping jungle or rice field views that stretch as far as the eye can see, and you too can put yourself in the picture.
This trend started with the Bali Swing, which opened their doors in late 2017 in Ubud. Arriving at the location, you immediately sense that the Bali Swing is a large, well-organised attraction. Drivers fill the parking area and security with walkie-talkies keep everything flowing. The set-up reveals the popularity of the place and gives you a glimpse of how busy the seemingly isolated swings will be.
At the entrance, you are offered a choice of packages. Those wanting to go on a swing have to choose one, yes only one, package. IDR 500.000 (equivalent to US $35) gives you access to the swings, an Indonesian buffet lunch with soft drinks. For an extra IDR 150.000 (equivalent to US $10) you can sign up for professional pictures shot by the park’s team of photographers.
Although the name might suggest otherwise, the Bali Swing is set up as an amusement park with a total of 18 swings, 9 nests and 8 other photo opportunities. Depending on the time of day, you might be waiting in line anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour per swing.
The park is filled with hordes of tourists trying to snap the perfect Instagram picture, complete with elaborate, impractical dresses and Instagram husbands. Many Bali Swing visitors pack multiple outfits, carried by accompanying boyfriends, some even bring a team of make up people, stylists and their own photographers. It’s called ‘doing it for the ‘gram’, and rather than enjoying the incredible views of the valley with its lush greenery, flowing river and picturesque waterfall, they spend their time shooting the perfect Instagram picture to show the people back home. Yes, the Bali Swing is built entirely to respond to the growing influence that social media has on tourism. Staff are trained to get the picture-perfect shot: they will help you to style the way your dress falls from the back, tell you what the best composition is for the shot and know how to handle different types of cameras and phones.
Unfortunately for the amount of money you pay, your time on the swing is limited, especially when the queue behind you is getting longer and longer. It is hard to channel your inner child, when you only get a few swings to get that one perfect shot. The trend started with the Bali Swing, but there are now alternatives popping up all around the island. We’ve got your back here with a list of alternatives to the iconic Bali Swing. They may not have the same view as the Bali Swing, but they are also catching on due to their incredible backdrops and the chase to avoid the crowds and cash in one a unique pic. On a majestic island like Bali, it is almost impossible to find a location that does not result in a jaw dropping shot, you just have to find your perfect spot.
The Wanagiri Hidden Hills Swing is another favourite on Instagram. Wanagiri Hidden Hills is located at the twin lakes; Lake Tamblingan and Lake Buyan, each with an incredible view. Unlike the Bali Swing, you can pay for all these different spots individually. Choose how many pictures you would like and only pay for the facilities you are actually using.
One of the most-visited rice terraces in Bali, Tegalalang near Ubud, also has multiple swings available for you to enjoy. Prices can differ per swing but bargaining for the best price is very common here. As there are no long lines, you will be able to swing as long as you’d like.
Alas Harum Agro Tourism is also located near Ubud and has multiple activities for you to enjoy. Next to the different swings (for which you can pay per swing!), there are several other unique photo locations and the possibility to participate in coffee tasting. This sounds a lot like the grand theme park set-up that the Bali Swing has, but the prices are more reasonable in comparison.
These are just three alternatives, but actually swings have been popping up everywhere. Chances are you will find a swing near a popular tourist attraction, a beach, or just randomly while you are driving around the island. Make use of the opportunity to find a lesser known swing and swing to your heart’s content! Whether you do it for the ‘gram or simply for fun, is entirely up to you.