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Planning Your Trip To Bali? Here’s What You Must Do As A Tourist

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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.

Tourists in Seminyak Beach in Bali.jpg

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. 

Traffic-Police-in-Bali-Indonesia

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.

Traffic-Officer-Police-Directs-Drivers-on-Denpasar-Bali

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. 

Bamboo-House-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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Mark Hambling

Monday 12th of June 2023

I agree with Wayan Koster on most things he's implemented, I worked there many years ago when Suharto was in power, Bali can't keep going at this pace without turning the place into an environmental disaster, I have just come back from there and had witnessed some bad behaviour by all sorts of nationalities, some of them think their in this land where they can do whatever they want, they wouldn't be doing all this reckless stuff in their own country, try riding a motor bike under the influence with no helmet and a beer in your hand in Australia, you would definitely be arrested in 5 minutes.

Brian

Wednesday 7th of June 2023

I prefer Pulau Weh in Banda Aceh, North Sumatra.

Shorty

Tuesday 6th of June 2023

I've been critical of most of Koster's pronouncements labelling them 'brain farts'. Most seem unworkable, unenforceable, unpopular and directed at a very low percentage of tourists. They don't and won't have inhibiting affect on the majority of tourists. Incoming numbers and future bookings are increasing. The measures have been widely publicised in local and foreign media and social websites. A thought. This worldwide publicity and attention is free. It could, and probably will modify the behaviour of some of the potential ar*eholes. Reducing the need to enact and enforce. Perhaps Koster realises and is using this.

Shorty

Thursday 8th of June 2023

@Steve Jackson, Knee jerk? I've become more convinced he's deliberately capitalising on the minor problem for political gain.

Steve Jackson

Wednesday 7th of June 2023

@Shorty, Just a thought what with pilkada only a year away maybe Pak Made has his eye on that. Also which KUHP forbids certain clothing on the streets etc. Aceh excepted. Seems like a knee-jerk reaction to a minor problem.

Wayan Bo

Tuesday 6th of June 2023

Just obtain the latest Apple Vision’s and don’t need to come.

Anil

Tuesday 6th of June 2023

Well... If Bali has these rules, then we must respect it? But when Saudi has certain rules (and it's not even a tourist place), then people get so worked up from the outside... Double standards... And how can the tourist make sure that the moped rental is a legal operations and the hotel is also legal? If they showed me some paper and said it was the permit, who am I to question them? This rules seem to be really shallow, juvenile and written by a 5 grader.....