About Bali Raw

My book, Bali Raw: An exposé of the underbelly of Bali, Indonesiareveals the dark side of the tropical island of Bali. 

I love Bali, its culture and its people. I would not have spent nearly a decade living there if I didn't. But there are certain aspects of the island that are changing and not all of them are for the better.

Bali is a wonderful holiday destination - its people are world famous for their selfless friendliness. I have experienced this first-hand. Yet throughout Bali Raw I level criticism at Bali, Indonesian people, the Balinese and expats. I do this because I believe Bali is sick and sometimes bitter pills have to be swallowed.

Writing Bali Raw, I wanted to be controversial. I wanted these things noticed. I wanted to help Bali, a place I have grown to love over many years.

Recently I was speaking to my father and he told me that he no longer likes to travel to Bali. These were his exact words. "I loved Bali in the eighties, and nineties. But now it has a nasty feel, it has become very rough and dangerous. Bali never used to be like that."

These things need to written about. If they are ignored the island will never be given a chance to heal. The wonderful place it once was will be lost unless these problems are addressed.

Bali has problems. The infrastructure has to be looked at. Corruption has to be dealt with. Medical checks for working girls have to be put in place. Tourists have to be warned about the more dangerous aspects of Kuta nightlife. The gangs have to be controlled or cleaned out. And most importantly to me, Bali expats have to realise that they are guests, not locals.

If I didn't care for Bali so much, and if didn't want these problems tackled, I would not have bothered to write this book.

I have lived in Indonesia for close to ten years and in that time I have utilised all that Bali and Indonesia has to offer. Living in Bali has supplied me with an income and it has allowed me many great experiences. I have nothing against Indonesia or its people. And I am proud to say I have some wonderful, honest and caring Indonesian friends. But like any country, Indonesia has its problems and, like any tourist hotspot, Bali has its seedy side.

Tourists to Bali must keep in mind that Bali is in Indonesia. It is not the other way around. A lot of the problems Indonesia has stem from poverty, lack of education, and corruption. This would be expected in one of the youngest democracies in the world and a country that has suffered numerous occupations from the Dutch to the English to the Japanese.

If I have thrown the spotlight on a few of these problems by writing Bali Raw then I have done what I set out to do.

Bali Raw is published by Monsoon Books. It is available in paperback and e-book from various retailers. Click here for more details on how and where to buy a copy where you areAb.


  1. hello Malcolm. Thanx for your book & your 'guts' in publishing it. Alot of people (ex pats) talk about it but none actually do it, well done! I would be very interested to get in touch with you is it best to contact monsoon? I hope Thailand is being kinder to you than Bali was... Island of the Gods... still gives me a chuckle...

  2. Hi Anon

    Thanks for your comments and yes Thailand is being kind to me. Bali was also kind to me. Bali Raw details some of the bad stuff but there were good times as well.


  3. Hi Mal, enjoyed the read & possibly knew a few of the folks, who is 'ankle' thats got me beat. is it fact that the book is banned in indonesia? cheers mate

  4. Hi Anon

    Glad you enjoyed the book and thanks for your comments and questions.

    Interesting that you think you know some of the people involved in Bali Raw. You have obviously spent a fair amount of time in Bali. And sorry I can’t give you more information on Ankle other than to say he does exist.

    Thankfully Bali Raw has never been banned and it sells very well in Indonesia.


  5. Hi Mal,

    Loved the book. Smashed it in a couple of nights.

    I know Bali isn't the same anymore, but on the token it's still a great place to visit.


  6. Hi Tony

    Thanks for your comments and glad you liked Bali Raw, hopefully a follow up book will be coming out soon.

    Bali is changing, as do all things but yeah I agree it’s still a great place. I also believe that people deserve to know that there is a less glamorous aspect of Bali as well as the glossy brochure side. And my hope when I wrote Bali Raw was that the book would allow a glimpse into some the dodgier characteristics of Bali.