Representatives of the Bali Government are calling on police and immigration to take action against a travel influencer who shared a photo of himself sitting on a temple in Bali. The influencer in question is from Russia and goes by Dream Chaser Traveler online. Despite issuing an apology, the blogger is under increasing pressure from the authorities to take greater action to atone for his disrespectful behavior.
The Regional Secretary for Bali, Dewa Made Indra, has called on the police and immigration to track down Dream Chaser Traveler and call him in for questioning. Indra told reporters on Monday 3rd October, ‘They will be searched, and after meeting the tourists who committed the violation, it will be investigated who the travel agent is, who is the tour leader. They are being sought now…The tourists can be deported. If the travel agent is here, yes, the sanctions will be given. Later [the sanctions will be given] after we know the level of the violation’.
He continued to say, ‘We coordinated with the travel agent who handled it and immediately communicated with the Regional Office of Law and Human Rights so that it could be returned to its country of origin. So that is the strictest sanction’.
Despite Indra’s request for action against the travel agent too, it seems that Dream Chaser Traveler is exploring Bali alone. Unlike many travel influencers, his content appears to genuinely try to educate fellow travelers about Bali and Balinese culture. He apologized for his actions, removed the post in question, and explained why he did what he did. However, he did sit at the top of a temple structure (pelinggih), at Pura Teratai Bang in Bedugul. An action that is profoundly disrespectful and brings bad energy to the temple. What’s more, he is not wearing a sarong and is wearing shoes.
It is believed that Dream Chaser Traveler entered the temple through a back gate since the main entrance to the sacred area was closed off. According to local Made Mudita, one of the groundskeepers of the temple, it appears as though the lock to the gate was broken open. Police and the temple management team have since scouted the perimeter of the temple to ensure that such incidences cannot happen again.
The post quickly went viral on social media. It caught the attention of prominent public figures in Bali, who called out Dream Chaser Travelers’ actions. Leading the charge was Niluh Djelantik, a prominent Balinese businesswoman and social justice advocate. Djelantik posted screen grabs of her conversations with Dream Chaser Traveler, demanding that a ‘story on Instagram is not enough. She instructed him to make an apology video and take responsibility for funding a cleansing ceremony for the temple.
Although Dream Chaser Traveler deleted the post and agreed to support a cleansing ceremony, his replies to Djelantik have added insult to injury. He wrote, ‘I did not desecrate the place by some bad action. I just took a photo in a forbidden place that I did not know’.
Despite deactivating his account for a few days, Dream Chaser Traveler is back online and posting again. This is why Bali police and immigration are keen to bring him in for questioning, to ensure that the cleansing ceremony can go ahead, and to start legal action and possibly deportation.
In his apology post, which has been saved as a story on his Instagram account, he wrote, ‘I fully admit my mistake, I’m not trying to justify my actions. My travel in Bali was during the Covid-19 period when many places were empty of people and I went to places on my own. I understand how important religion is for the people of Bali’.
‘I am delighted with the Balinese temples and that unique architecture/ I regret that I did not manage to understand the meaning of all the buildings located in these temples. All my publications about Bali are aimed at illustrating and praising this wonderful place. The bulk of tourists come to Bali to study the culture and knowledge of such a beautiful nature of the island of Bali. Just like in any study and knowledge, mistakes are inevitable…’
Plan Your Next Bali Vacation:
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
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance That Covers Medical Expenses In Bali
For the latest Bali News & Debate Join our Facebook Community
SUBSCRIBE TO NEW POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to The Bali Sun’s latest breaking news, straight to your inbox.
Wednesday 5th of October 2022
Sounds like a mistake by a tourist making otherwise informative Instagram content. Unfortunately it appears there is no tolerance in Bali for his mistake.
On the other hand it appears perfectly acceptable making temple areas into money printing machines for the Instagram crowd. Good example is Pura Penetaran Agung Lempuyang (Heavens Gate). Just read google reviews to get the picture: 1. Pay for parking, 2k 2. Pay for shuttle transport, 45k 3. Pay for temple entrance, 55k 4. Wait typically 1-4hours to have 3 photos taken by locals using a mirror to create fake reflection! 5. Finish
Is this the way to educate tourists about how sacred temples are in Bali??
So this is the issue here. Temples are sacred and needs to be respected but at the same time many tourists are confused when they see how many temples are just used as a way to make money out of tourists. Respect is a two way street.
Wednesday 5th of October 2022
When the touristes will understand that there are strict rules in Bali concerning the temples. They cannot say everytime : I didn't know.. What are they thinking? That the Balinais people are stupide and they are more clever?! How many story's about disrespectful bahavior in Bali on temples or volcanos, or against the locale habitantsof Bali we have to show before the touristes understand that they are not at theire home. That they are visitors and that they have to respect the people in Bali. '