Skip to Content

Another Scandal In Bali As Tourist Photographed Disrespecting Sacred Tree

Share The Article

There is uproar in Bali as yet another foreigner has posted a photograph online of themselves posing inappropriately at a sacred site.

Kayu Putih Sacred Banyan Tree in Bali.jpg

The image, which has gone viral, has triggered the online community to condemn such disrespectful actions. The news comes as tensions in Bali are running high as a special task force has been deployed to crack down on foreigners who disobey the law.

The photo is of a woman known by her initials LK, posted to her personal Instagram account. In the photo, LK can be seen nude and embracing the roots of the sacred Kayu Putih Banyan Tree in Tua Village in Tabanan.

The tree is considered a holy site by Balinese Hindus, and as such, posing nude is deemed as being a deeply disrespectful act. Not to mention that Indonesia has very strict public indecency laws that criminalize public nudity.


It is believed that LK has resided in Bali for some time. In her Instagram profile, she describes herself as a ‘Spiritual Lover + Energy Giver’. LK’s post caught the attention of Balinese entrepreneur and social justice advocate Ni Luh Djelantik, who reshared the image to her own account.

In the caption, Djelantik wrote, “To all foreigners who disrespect our land, Bali is our home, not yours.” Later in the post, she asked, “Do you think you’ll look cool taking naked pictures on our holy trees? Go back to your country if you can’t respect our tradition and culture.”

Top 5 Travel Insurance Plans For 2023 Starting At $10 Per Week

Easily Earn Points For Free Travel

The legal reference Bay County Library, Nolo, says that the first step in claiming unpaid wages is the submission of written demand for payment to the employer owing The legal reference , Nolo, says that the first step in claiming unpaid wages …

The photo has sparked a far-reaching debate online. The citizen journalism account ‘Canggu Community’ shared a poll asking followers whether the image was disrespectful or a form of art. Many of the replies agreed that LK’s actions were disrespectful and that her actions could not be justified in the name of art.

The story continues to unfold. It was confirmed early on Thursday by Denpasar Immigration Head Tedy Riyandi that LK has been ‘apprehended’ by Immigration authorities.

The Directorate General for Immigration Indonesia confirmed on Thursday afternoon that a Russian national with the initials LK would be deported from Indonesia. A statement issued by Tedy Riyandi explained:

“…the WNA will be subjected to the sanction of Immigration Administrative Action in the form of deportation and her name will be included in the denunciation list if it is proven to violate the public order or disrespect the customs of the local people.”

However, it has come to light today that the image may not have been taken recently.

Representatives from the village had told reporters that the photographs must have been taken before they introduced enhanced security and surveillance at the site in 2022. There are now signs in the area, in English and Russian, outlining how visitors should behave.

The legal reference Bay County Library, Nolo, says that the first step in claiming unpaid wages is the submission of written demand for payment to the employer owing The legal reference , Nolo, says that the first step in claiming unpaid wages …

The Head of Kayu Putih Tourism Management, I Made Kurna, explained the images could not have been captured “recently [as] this is not possible, because we have made arrangements since the beginning of 2022 and have tightened security. There are three officers on guard every day.”

He added that the Pemaksan Babakan Temple and the tree itself is now gated, meaning that tourists and photographers must gain permission before entering the area. He said that the site is open from 8 am until 6 pm.


The caretaker of the Kayu Putih Tourism Site, I Wayan Bagia, told reporters, “It could be an old photo because if a new photo is not possible, we will always monitor [the site].” He shared that many tourists visit the sacred tree, around twenty people a day during weekdays and up to fifty people at the weekends.

He added, “Tourists who come here are many foreign tourists such as Russians, Poles, and Dutch. Meanwhile, there are only a few local tourists.”

Speaking on behalf of Tabanan Police Public Relations, Kapolsek Marga AKP I Wayan Suta Arcana, said “We are still investigating to find out the data, including to find out when the photo was taken because it could possibly be an old photo, because since last year’s incident the management and guarding have been tightened at Kayu Putih.”


In May last year, Alina Fazleeva posted images of herself also posing naked in the roots of the sacred Kayu Putih. She was swiftly tracked down and apprehended by authorities. She and her husband took part in a cleaning ritual at the site before they were deported from Bali.

Though the news of deportations and legal action against foreigners may feel like a reason to be put off traveling to Bali, it need not be the case. The authorities are making a concerted effort to stamp out bad behavior in tourists, but well-behaved ‘classy’ tourists are still very much welcome in Bali.


Temple etiquette in Bali is simple; wear a sarong and modest shirt or t-shirt, do not step on temple buildings, only take photographs where you are permitted to do so, and those who are menstruating must not visit temples.

Finally, adhere to any additional rules as stipulated on signage around the temple, sacred site or as given to you by staff, security or your tour guide.

Remove All Ads & Unlock All Articles… Sign up for The Bali Sun Premium

Plan Your Bali Holiday:
Book The Best English Speaking Drivers For Airport Transfers & Tours
Choose From Thousands of Bali Hotels, Resorts, and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties
Book Cheap Flights To Bali
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance That Covers Medical Expenses In Bali

For the latest Bali News & Debate Join our Facebook Community


Enter your email address to subscribe to The Bali Sun’s latest breaking news, straight to your inbox.


Sunday 16th of April 2023

Regardless of when it was taken, she knew it was a sacred tree and thought she was being irreverent. That's why she took the photo and posted it on IG.


Sunday 16th of April 2023

Wow another Russian braking the law and showing the world that just e Putin they lack any sort of class. It is time for them to go back to their countries. We just want nice tourist here. There are many things wrong with Bali that need to be fixed now but I guess they will have to wait till Bali gets a new Govenor.

Wayan Bo

Sunday 16th of April 2023

Just stop WWIII before it’s to late.


Saturday 15th of April 2023

Says a lot for society in general that they need to be told how to behave. Was that not the role of parents. Where is societys moral compass.


Sunday 16th of April 2023

@Wendy, That is the basic issue here. We cannot retrain soviet adults to be polite and fit into the rest of the world.

Wayan Bo

Saturday 15th of April 2023

Don’t see what’s wrong, it’s art photography.


Sunday 16th of April 2023

Yes, it was done tastefully, but unfortunately for her the location is sacred.