Dos and dont’s: Bali issues behaviour guide for tourists

Astralians in Bali

Bali may be happy to see tourists returning following the end of COVID-19 border lockdowns, but it’s laying down the law on unruly guests.

The Indonesian holiday hotspot has endured years of bad behaviour from tourists, with a seemingly constant stream of foreign nationals taking nude pictures in holy sites and engaging in alcohol-fuelled disruptiveness.

Although Indonesia’s ban on sex outside of marriage introduced last year doesn’t apply to tourists, Bali’s leadership is keen to let tourists know that it isn’t the place to visit with an ‘anything goes’ mentality.

In a circular reportedly issued across Bali’s government departments, Governor I Wayan Koster signed off on 12 ‘dos’ and eight ‘dont’s’ for international tourists.

This list will be distributed to foreign visitors arriving in Bali from June onwards.

Indonesia’s Canberra-based embassy did not respond to TND‘s request for an English copy of the circular, but a Google translation of Indonesian news outlet provided some details.

Crackdown on rude tourists

“Guests are king, but don’t abuse.”

The same month, a ban on foreigners renting motorbikes and scooters in Bali was proposed after a number of accidents alarmed local authorities.

Tourists aren’t excused from Bali’s road rules. Photo: Getty

According to The Bali Sun, 405 people died from motor vehicle accidents in 2020.

In Denpasar, the island’s capital, about 80 per cent of road accidents involve motorbikes.

“You [should] not roam about the island using motorbikes, without wearing shirts or clothes, no helmet, and even without a licence,” Mr Koster said in March.

“If you are a tourist, then act like a tourist.”

Between January 1 and April 17, Bali deported 93 foreigners, including six Australians, Nine News reported.

Most of those were deported over visa or permit violations, and other legal breaches.

When in Bali, do:

  1. Glorify the sanctity of temples, pratima (Balinese religious symbols) and sacred religious symbols
  2. Respect the customs, traditions, arts and culture, as well as the local wisdom of the Balinese people in the procession of ceremonies and ceremonies that are being carried out
  3. Wear polite, reasonable and appropriate clothing when visiting holy places, tourist attractions, public places and during activities in Bali
  4. Behave politely in sacred areas, tourist areas, restaurants, shopping areas, highways and other public places
  5. When visiting tourist attractions with a tour guide, choose one who has a permit/licence (and understands natural conditions, customs, traditions and local wisdom of the Balinese people)
  6. Perform foreign currency exchange at authorised money changer (KUPVA) organisations, both banks and non-banks marked with a licence number and a QR code logo from Bank Indonesia
  7. Pay using the Indonesian Standard QR Code
  8. Conduct transactions using the Indonesian rupiah
  9. Comply with Indonesia’s laws and regulations when driving, including: Having a valid international or national driving licence; be orderly on the road; dress modestly; wear a helmet; follow traffic signs; don’t load passengers beyond capacity; and don’t drive under the influence of alcoholic beverages and/or illegal drugs
  10. Use official four-wheeled usable transportation equipment or two-wheeled transportation equipment under the auspices of a business entity or two-wheeled transportation rental association
  11. Live/stay in accommodation that has a permit in accordance with the provisions of laws and regulations
  12. Comply with all special provisions/rules that apply in each tourist attraction and tourist activity.

When in Bali, don’t:

  1. Enter Utamaning Mandala and Madyaning Mandala holy places or sacred places such as temples and Pelinggih (a principal shrine of a Balinese temple), except for the purpose of praying; wear Balinese traditional clothes for praying, and do not be menstruating 
  2. Climb sacred trees
  3. Behave in a way that desecrates holy places and sacred places, temples, pratima and religious symbols, such as climbing sacred buildings and taking pictures with immodest clothes/without clothes
  4. Litter and/or pollute lakes, springs, rivers, seas and public places
  5. Use single-use plastics such as plastic bags, polystyrene (styrofoam) and plastic straws
  6. Utter harsh words, behave impolitely, make noise, and act aggressively towards state officials, government, local communities and fellow tourists directly or indirectly through social media, such as spreading hate speech and false information (hoaxes)
  7. Work and/or carry out business activities without having official documents issued by the relevant authority
  8. Engage in illegal activities in relation to flora and fauna, cultural artefacts, sacred objects, and don’t trade in illegal goods, including illegal drugs.
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