The small Indonesian island of Bali is widely known as a global tourist destination. According to glossy tourist brochures the island is nothing less than a paradise. However, the flipside of this paradisiacal image is its social and environmental problems and conflicts, related to growing environmental pressures. Bali is far from unique: many regions all over the world experience similar processes of change, whether tourism-driven or related to other processes. Urbanisation and industrialisation, for instance, may drive conversion of land and transfers of water away from agricultural to other uses. What is unique about Bali then? Bali is of special interest, first, because the island is extremely troubled by the effects of mass tourism such as a building boom, inmigration and problems of wealth distribution. These developments have a huge impact on its people and the environment. Second, the interplay between the recent socio-political changes in Indonesia from centralised authoritarian state control to more freedom and democracy, and a Balinese society characterised by legal and institutional plurality (Warren 1993, 2005) has provided opportunity for new interpretations of and perspectives on tourism and its influence on how spaces are used and landscapes occupied. Thirdly, of special interest to anthropologists is how the distinctive and well-documented agrarian-cosmological order on this island is coping with or being transformed by ongoing commoditisation, changing land use priorities, touristification and urbanisation.