Canggu has become the focal point of major noise complaints in recent weeks. Once a quiet coastal and farming community that welcomed surfers and the more intrepid backpacker, Canggu has rapidly transformed into one of Asia’s biggest party destinations. With rumors that the area will compete with Amsterdam, Ibiza, and Rio de Janeiro in the coming years, residents have spoken up about their feelings regarding the area’s new public image.
Responding to a petition from local residents and business owners, officials in Bali put in place a new set of rules for late-night partying in Canggu. As of Friday, 16th September, all venues in Canggu were required to keep noise levels below 70 decibels and to close by 1 am. The investigation run by DetikTravel found that not only are venues in the Batu Bolong area failing to adhere to the news rules but that residents are conflicted about what should happen now.
While many residents in Canggu were relieved that the new rules had been implemented, others were unsure that it was the best approach. As Bali continues its steady economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic, many local business owners are concerned that the new restrictions could be bad for business. It is a tricky line to tread. The petition cited that the noise disturbances and disrespectful behavior of late-night partygoers were causing environmental damage to the area.
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Investigators from the online newspaper conducted noise meter tests in the Canggu area from Wednesday, 22nd September, through to the weekend. They found that outside bars in the Batu Bolong area, noise levels reached 75-76 decibels. Yet one resident of Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, Nyoman, told investigators that he is conflicted about the new rules.
While rules need to be in place to maintain the peace, he believes these new rules should not inhibit business development. He said, ‘We’ve just started having guests. Before the pandemic, it could be [noisy] here until 4 am. If we are strict like that [closed at 1 am], they will move from here. It’s already famous here. What’s important is that there’s no commotion’.
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Nyoman continued to explain there has been late-night noise in Canggu since the beginning of significant tourism development in the area. He suggested that people are more aware of the issue now since there was such a long period of quietness during the pandemic. He said the complaints are largely from guesthouse and villa owners. ‘Most of those who protest are homestay owners. Those are rich men from Jakarta. If the Canggu people are used to it, there have been no problems’.
Residents in Tibubeneng Village, Putri, and Meity, say that they are pleased that the new rules are in place and hope it will make a difference to local residents. They said, ‘Actually, there are already rules for the operation. It’s just that some people may violate it. Maybe that’s the problem. But our guests never complain there is noise’.
Yasa, another Canggu local, told investigators that he is unsure that the new nightlife rules will benefit tourism in the long run. He noted that the noise complaints are centered in Batu Bolong, but that other areas like Berawa weren’t struggling with noise issues since residential buildings are a little further away from nightlife venues. He suggests a one size fits all approach may not be the most effective.
He feared that the new rules might end up discouraging people from coming to the area at all, raising the point that if people could not party until the early hours, they would choose to go elsewhere where they could.
He said, ‘On the one hand, we want to advance tourism if we don’t want to bear the after-effects [of closing venues early], it’s a hassle. How can we progress? That’s a consequence of tourism…if you want to get rid of [party tourism] completely, and if you don’t have guests later, it will be more difficult. I thought long, it would be better if it was arranged until what time, adjusted to [each] situation…Because if we insist on asking [all venues] be closed, we will be troubled ourselves’.
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