Grim reality of ‘ghost town’ island paradise
It's the island paradise that once attracted around one million Australian tourists each year.
Despite opening up to domestic tourism, expats still living on the island believe the once bustling paradise is reaching a point of disrepair with business, restaurant and hotel life being sapped out of the once popular destination.
"It's a far cry from this paradise that we all know and love," Australian Jack Ahearn, who moved to the island four years ago, told A Current Affair.
"When there's no maintenance and no one in there, places just deteriorate," he said.
"It's sad. Bali has given me, many Australians and my family so much happiness.
"The people of the island are such wonderful human beings."
Mr Ahearn said some resorts have been abandoned, and the sound of scooters zipping around the streets of Kuta has gone.
Karlie Cummins, who also spoke to the Channel 9 program, has lived in Bali for the last four years with her family. She said despite the lack of tourism, she holds on to hope for the island.
"It's kind of a double-edged sword being here at the moment - you feel sad for some of the businesses that aren't doing so well and the locals out of work but for those of us who are here at the moment we feel incredibly lucky," Ms Cummins said, adding that there will be places "that don't survive this".
"If you're lucky enough to still have an income in Bali, it's paradise at the moment, because there's deals everywhere - every resort, every restaurant."
Earlier this year, a local photographer captured the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the popular party town.
Jon Gwyther's photos revealed eerily empty streets and shut-up shop fronts, months after Indonesia closed to international visitors and Australians.
In a social media post in August, Mr Gwyther compared the haunting scenes to the "world of emptiness" he experienced in the Ukraine after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
"Like many, I've had numerous experiences on and around these colourful streets; that allows the good, bad and indifferent to flourish," he wrote.
"But sadly, nothing could prepare me for what lay ahead.
"A world of cold emptiness surrounded me, an unexpected every day seemingly decimated by an unseen enemy, leaving a silent trail of collateral damage - the very people that made this tiny part of the world so colourful.
"The only thing that seems to remain now are the echoes of the past, a distant memory few believe will be found again."
With Australia expecting to have its borders closed to overseas travel until well into 2021,
deputy chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) in Bali I Gusti Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya said our tourism prediction was a big problem for Bali.
"Of course (this latest Australian travel update) is a great concern. This potentially poses a threat to tourism in Bali," he said.
"We're really hoping that (borders) will open for foreign tourists. But at this time a number of countries are still closed."
Bali is unlikely to be able to reopen to foreign tourists in the near future, with the island still experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and a significant spike in the island's death rate.
Indonesia currently has 444,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and has recorded 14,761 deaths.
Originally published as Grim reality of 'ghost town' island paradise