In a week full of huge announcements about tourism in Bali, there has been a lot to take in. Bali’s Governor Koster released a circular letter that outlined twelve things that tourists on the island must not do if they want to stay on the right side of the law and have an enjoyable stay on the island.
In his Circular Letter Number 4 of 2023, Governor Koster revealed a list of twelve obligations for tourists to adhere to during their visit to the island and eight prohibited behaviors.
This announcement comes as part of the provincial government’s mission to accelerate the implementation of a tourism governance policy following a rise in unruly behavior by foreign visitors on the island.
Many of the twelve obligations of tourists to Bali are straightforward and, as the vast majority of tourists will already appreciate, come as part and parcel of being a guest in another country.
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These include respecting holy and sacred temples, landscapes, and objects in Bali, as well as respecting the Balinese culture, customs, traditions, art, and local wisdom.
Moving forward, tourists must also dress modestly and respectfully in all holy places, tourist attractions, and public spaces. All visitors to temples are expected to adhere to the dress code by wearing a sarong and a modest shirt, t-shirt, or a traditional kabaya.
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Modesty in terms of clothing must also be exercised in all public spaces, including cafes, restaurants, shops, and the streets.
While beachwear is acceptable at the beach, in beach and night clubs, and in the privacy of resorts, hotels, and villas, it is not appropriate to wear revealing clothing (or lack there) anywhere else in Bali.
Bali has long been tolerant of tourists disrespecting local cultural norms by wearing beachwear in public spaces that is not the beach.
However, moving forward communities and authorities in Bali will be working to educate tourists who are found to be disrespecting cultural norms; this could even result in fines.
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Two of the more nuanced obligations for tourists visiting Bali involve hiring vehicles and accommodation.
For the longest time, it has been relatively simple for a tourist in Bali to hire a moped to use to drive around the island and explore independently.
Authorites in Bali are now enforcing the traffic law more strictly than ever before.
Although there have been proposed plans to completely ban tourists from driving in Bali, it remains the case (for now) that tourists can hire vehicles provided they fulfill the complete set of criteria.
If tourists want to hire a moped in Bali, they must adhere to the laws as outlined by Governor Koster in his Circular Letter 4 of 2023. The rules are as follows;
Tourists may only drive in an orderly manner and in compliance with the traffic laws and regulations of Indonesia.
Tourists must have valid international or local driving licenses that cover driving a motorcycle.
Tourists must wear a helmet, adequate protective clothing, and shoes.
Tourists must not load passengers exceeding the capacity of the vehicle.
Tourists must not be influenced by alcohol and or illegal drugs.
Most significantly, tourists may only hire and drive four-wheeled vehicles or two-wheeled vehicles that are registered to a legal business entity or the two-wheeled transportation leasing association.
It is both the responsibility of the rental owner to be operating legally and of the renter to check they are hiring a vehicle from a legal entity.
In terms of tourists’ obligations regarding accommodation, they must only stay at accommodation businesses that have valid business permits.
The accommodation, whether a hotel, guesthouse, villa, or B&B, must be a legally registered entity and have their business permits clearly on display for tourists to know they are supporting legal enterprises in Bali.
The new do’s and don’t for tourists in Bali will be printed on an info-card that will be slipped inside the passports of travelers as they are stamped into Bali at Immigration.
The move comes as part of the provincial government’s mission to promote high-quality and sustainable tourism on the island.
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