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Bali’s Much Anticipated List Of Do’s And Don’ts For Tourists Revealed

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Bali’s Governor, Wayan Koster, has formally announced the do’s and don’t for tourists on the island. The announcement comes after weeks of planning and preparation from the provincial government to create a set of new guidelines for visits to the island. 

Woman At Temple in Bali

As outlined in the Governor of Bali Circular Letter Number 4 of 2023, the guidelines of behavior for tourists and international visitors to Bali are now abundantly clear. 

Governor Koster and his provincial government have issued twelve obligations, or ‘do’ behaviors by tourists, and eight prohibitions, ‘don’ts.’

The publishing of the circular letter and press conference held by the Governor comes as part of a crackdown on a a recent rise in unruly behavior by a small minority of tourists on the island.

Governor Koster, tourism stakeholders, and local residents want to see a crackdown not only on illegal behavior by international visitors to the island but also on disgraceful behavior towards Balinese culture.

These are the guidelines as stipulated by Governor Koster in his circular letter, as these announcements continue to unfold The Bali Sun will keep you updated and explain everything you need to know!

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The New Do’s for Tourists in Bali 

  • Tourists must respect the holy, sacred nature of Balinese temples and all other religious symbols on the island. 
  • Tourists must respect Balinese culture, customs, traditions, and art, in addition to the wisdom of the Balinese people. 
  • Tourists must dress modestly and respectfully, especially wearing appropriate clothing when visiting holy places, tourist attractions, and public spaces. 
  • Tourists must behave politely and respectfully in sacred places, tourist attractions, restaurants, on the roads, and in all public places.
  • Tourists must be accompanied by a tour guide who has a tour guide license when visiting tourist attractions. The tour guide must have a solid understanding of natural conditions [Bali’s way of life], customs, traditions, and local wisdom of the Balinese people.
  • Tourists must only exchange foreign currency at authorized money changer (KUPVA) organizers. Such money changers can be either banks or non-banks marked with a permit number and a QR code logo from Bank Indonesia.
  • Tourists make payments using the Indonesian Standard QR Code (QRIS).
  • Tourists must pay for goods, services, and experiences (and all other financial transactions) in Indonesian rupiah. 
  • Tourists may only drive in compliance with the laws and regulations in force in Indonesia. This includes having a valid international or national driving license, driving in an orderly manner on the road, dressing politely, wearing a helmet, following traffic signs, do not load passengers exceeding capacity, and not being under the influence of alcoholic beverages and or illegal drugs.
  • Tourists may only use official four-wheeled vehicles or two-wheeled vehicles that are registered to a legal business entity or two-wheeled transportation leasing association. 
  • Tourists may only stay in an accommodation business place that has a permit in accordance with the provisions of the laws and regulations of Bali and Indonesia. 
  • Tourists must comply with all special provisions/rules that apply to each tourist attraction and tourist activity.

As outlined by Governor Koster in his Circular Letter 4 of 2023, these are the prohibited behaviors for tourists in Bali:

  • Tourists must not enter the holy spaces within temples known as the damaging and madya courtyards or sacred places such as temples and pelinggih, except for the purpose of praying. This must only be conducted while wearing traditional Balinese clothes or praying and only if you are not having your period.
  • Tourists must not touch or climb sacred trees. 
  • The tourist must not engage in any behaviors that desecrate holy places and sanctified places, temples, pratima (sacred objects within temples), and religious symbols. This includes but is not limited to climbing sacred buildings and taking pictures with immodest clothes or without clothes.
  • Tourists must not litter or pollute lakes, springs, rivers, the ocean, and public spaces. 
  • Tourists must not use single-use plastics such as plastic bags, polystyrene (styrofoam), and plastic straws.
  • Tourists must not engage in communication with harsh words, impolite behavior, making noise, and acting aggressively towards state officials, government, local communities, and fellow tourists. This is prohibited both directly or indirectly through social media, such as spreading hate speech and hoaxes.
  • Tourists must not work and or conduct business activities without having official documents issued by the revenant legal authority.
  • Tourists must not engage in illegal activities such as trading flora and fauna, cultural artifacts, or sacred objects or trading in illegal goods, including illegal drugs.

Although there is a lot of information to take in, none of these guidelines outline anything new. This guidance is, for now, a reiteration of existing laws within Indonesia nationally and the province of Bali. 

What has changed in recent weeks is the intensity with which the government is enforcing these laws and cultural regulations via the introduction of the Task Force for the Acceleration of Implementation of Tourism Governance

It is clear that the police, provincial government, and immigration are taking a zero-tolerance approach to unruly behavior on the island, and anyone who is found to be violating the law risks deportation from Indonesia. 

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Trish Diehl

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

I am so glad these regulations are in force. Ive been to Bali many times and I believe in respecting other people's culture. As I've said many times. When you are a guest in somebody else's country you a ibide by their culture and laws. If you can't show respect to the people of Bali and their way of life, DON'T GO!!!

outrageous behaviour from tourists visiting Bali is an embarrassment to the tourists who want to do the right thing Respect and acknowledgement to the lovely Balinese people. Trish Diehl


Wednesday 7th of June 2023

Let's simplify it for people.

Don't do what the locals do, and you'll be fine.

Pan Demi

Sunday 4th of June 2023

just don't come to bali... bali no need tourist, only tourism opportunists need them.

Frustrated too

Sunday 4th of June 2023

These are guidelines but the persons who do the perceived bad behaviour are exactly those who don't bother to read guidelines or just laugh at them. Probably no change then. These bad behaviours have been present for decades. Perhaps we are seeing the effects of over-tourism or is it that people have just become more self centred

J West

Sunday 4th of June 2023

Bottom line Bali….enforce your own laws…period. If you have to visit a Russia villa / illegal rooming house at 3am to catch scofflaws…do it. If Ukrainians are making Happy Water and selling it in a proxy restaurant or club, arrest and deport. All the things the governor states as problematic are already laws on the books. Arrest and Deport….simple. Stop the kvetching and apply the law !!!