All Is Not What It Seems In These Bali Tourist Instagram Snaps

Behold the lengths tourists are going to make landmarks more Instagram friendly.
Waitforlight via Getty Images

When you go on holiday what do you want your travel photographs to capture? Beautiful places you crossed the globe to see in person? Memories made that you never want to forget? Or simply the perfect Instagram aesthetic – all the better to brag to your friends back home?

Lots of people seem less concerned about a truthful record of their travels and experiences than getting that picture-perfect snap (and the likes to go with it).

Journalist Polina Marinova has revealed the lengths tourists in Bali are going to to make landmarks more Instagram friendly.

The Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple known colloquially as the ‘gates of heaven’ is a Hindu temple in Karangasem – photos of the gate on Instagram (currently there are more than 15,000 tagged #GatesofHeaven) show the stone gateway reflected in the pool in front of it.

But in reality, the crystal clear pool of water does not exist.

It’s all being faked for instagram – the reflection is created with the help of a mirror, cleverly positioned just beneath the lens when people take their snap.

The resulting photo looks more like this.

Marinova wasn’t the only one disappointed to find the images were the result of trickery rather than reality.

The realisation has led many disgruntled tourists to leave one- or- two-star reviews on TripAdvisor, where they lamented the “fake” site.

Visitors also criticised the long queues (with a one or two hour wait to get to the front) now forming at the site as a result of people wanting to get the perfect shot without any other visitors in the frame.

The site is one of the latest destinations in Asia to face huge levels of tourism as a result of people wanting the perfect Instagram snaps.

Several beaches – including Maya Beach, the location used in Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach – have been shut in order to give the ecosystem time to recover after being flooded with tourists inspired to visit by social media.

And when it come to selfies, no tourist spot is safe from our narcissism either –as this brief, cautionary list of what not to snap on your travels shows.

Make like this Instagram pro instead and fake your Bali retreat photos... in a paddling pool in your back garden.