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This New Legislation Is Helping Protect Bali’s Natural Beauty For Tourists  

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Bali is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in the world. The verdant rice terraces, dense tropical jungle, and azure blue waters that surround the island have long been the picture postcard of a paradise getaway for millions of tourists.

What makes Bali quite so special is that ancient cultural practices and values are still deeply engrained into society today, and these structures are helping keep the island’s charm alive. 

Bamboo Villa Hotel Resort Bali.jpg

Unlike many big tourist destinations around the world, Bali is not home to any skyscrapers. This is because traditional customs dictate that no building may be taller than a coconut tree or 15m tall.

This cultural rule has been written into legislation since 2009 and is not due for review until 2029.

The Bali Province Regional Regulation (Perda) No. 16 of 2009 concerning the Bali Province Regional Spatial Planning Plan for 2009-2029 dictates on a local level how buildings for tourism and other purposes may be constructed. ✍️Behind the name: 📍Ulaman Eco Retreat, Ulaman is named after the nearby river🏞, and the resort was built by an Italian Canadian who has been visiting Bali for over 22 years. As an environment protector, the rooms is builed using sustainable materials such as 🎋bamboo, 🪵wood, and 🪨stone. 🥗Spa&food: During your stay, be sure to visit the unique snail-shaped building next to the pool, where you can indulge in a relaxing 🧖‍♀️spa treatment. Guests can also pre-order breakfast to be served either in their room or at the main restaurant. The resort's picturesque surroundings make it an ideal location for taking memorable photos.📸 ✨Things to do around Take a leisurely stroll through the nearby 🍃rice fields to breathe in the fresh air, or drive just 10 minutes to reach the nearby mall, Pandak Gede, where you will find 💰ATM machines and various shops. Cr:@Oni Hoironi @Skygoesplaces @sunny_rung #bali #indonesia #hotel #staycation #hotelrecommendation #getaway #fyp #bucketlisthotel ♬ original sound –

The legislation outlines that “in 95 paragraph 2 (b) it is explained that the height of buildings that utilize the air space above the earth is limited to a maximum of 15 (fifteen) meters.”

“Except for public buildings and special buildings that require a height requirement of more than 15 (fifteen) meters, such as towers transmitters, high voltage electricity poles, lighthouses, towers of religious buildings, buildings for aviation safety, defense and security buildings.”

“other special buildings for public safety and security purposes based on an assessment taking into account security, comfort and harmony with the surrounding environment, and coordinated with related agencies.”

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This is why many of the resorts and large hotels in Bali are built in such a way that honors the natural environment.

It is not only this law that dictates the height of the buildings in Bali. The legislation was influenced by the ancient guiding principles of Balinese Hinduism.

Bali’s traditional governing system is conducted in alignment with the Tri Hatha Karana concept.

This guiding principle emphasizes that all action must be conducted with harmony between humans, nature, and the spiritual world in mind.

Everything must be done in the vision of creating balance and equanimity. 

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Many buildings in Bali, especially those in the tourism sector, are built with Tri Hatha Karana in mind. So, how does this connect to the height of buildings?

To implement Tri Hatha Karana in architecture and tourism development means to keep buildings, where possible, integrated within the natural environment.

The Tri Hatha Karana would state that buildings should not dominate the landscape and architectural design must promote and support the natural aesthetic of the area, whether that be beach, jungle, or rice terrace. 


While it has been written into legislation since 2009, there are a number of hotels and resorts that are taller than the 15m limit.

However, new buildings in Bali must not surpass the 15m height restriction unless given specific permission from the relevant authorities.

For many Bali lovers, this legislation is one of the few policies at manage to protect the island from tourism development that would completely visually devastate the natural landscape.

As Bali enters its New Era, according to Governor Koster and other political leaders, more emphasis must be put on preserving and promoting the Balinese cultural and natural landscapes. 


As tourism demand for Bali grows and as the government wants to see more international investment in the country, there will be more resorts, hotels, and tourism developments being constructed around the island for many years to come.

While many people see this as a positive thing, an increasing number of Bali lovers are making their voices heard with their concerns about the impact such developments will have on the natural and cultural landscape of the island. 


Last week, in the emerging tourist destination of Seseh, close to Canggu, the community came together to petition against a huge resort development that was set to be built on the beachfront.

The petition garnered huge online support and plenty of attention on social media, which quickly resulted in the international investment group issuing statements suggesting that the project has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. 

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Tuesday 26th of September 2023

I've seen a lot of buildings taller than a coconut tree and even more under construction...thus either the news is wrong or no one respects the rules


Sunday 24th of September 2023

It's the locals that trash and destroy the island... Wake up!


Sunday 24th of September 2023


For sure. Confiscate all the chainsaws.

Garth Fleming

Wednesday 20th of September 2023

This article gives one the impression that construction of new hotels in Bali is following a traditional or aesthetic design. Many of the very high end hotels may be doing this but certainly not the majority that are being built in the southern part of the island. One horrible example of this are the Juta Townhouses in the Kuta area. As boxlike and ugly as they come as well as obliterating a whole stretch of a vibrant street with an offensive corrugated fence bordering right up to the roadway. This is just an example of many of the 3 story buildings going up which are in total disregard of any traditional or Balinese sense of culture and design.


Thursday 21st of September 2023

@Garth Fleming,

These people won't be happy until this place looks like some pseudo sci fi montage of Chinese, Balinese and Communist Russian deco art concrete and glass and steel.


Thursday 21st of September 2023

@Garth Fleming, Yepp. Design is one thing another issue is safety. The cheaply made hotels are a major concern in a earthquake prone area: During the large 2018 earthquake in Sulawesi the eight storey cheaply constructed roa-roa hotel simply toppled over sideways resulting in multiple deaths.


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

"The verdant rice terraces, dense tropical jungle, and azure blue waters that surround the island"

Come on. It's plastic waste, burning trash, air pollution, filthy waters, pesticides everywhere and brown dirty oceans filled with diapers.


Tuesday 19th of September 2023

There are myriad constructions over 15m - multitudes of them are definitely not good for nature or spirituality. Sadly, that age-old law holds a noble purpose which just keeps on getting lucratively sidelined. Let's hope, yet yet yet again, that it will one day come back into force - for real.