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Viral Videos Of Bad Bali Tourists Lead To Calls From Government To Calm Down

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Anyone following social media news accounts based in Bali will have seen how things have been hotting up over the last few weeks.

While it has always been the case (since the arrival of social media, at least) that videos of foreigners behaving badly quickly go viral, in the last month, things have got wild.

Green Bowl Beach in Uluwatu Bali.jpg

So wild, in fact, that both Bali Immigration and influencers are calling on the online community to just take a breath. One popular Australian-Indonesian content creator, Damian Hoo, referred to the rise in viral videos of ‘Bad Bules’ as a form of vigilantism.

Other long-stay foreigners in Bali have noted how the increase in these videos fuels a feeling of hostility between locals and foreigners.

Immigration offices have spoken out to say reiterate that they are always working behind the scenes. They noted that the rise in viral videos has no impact on the way in which they work.

This fact was also quickly pointed out by Bali’s Governor Koster last week when he announced his proposed crackdown policies on bad tourists.

During his speech, Governor Koster explained, “I want to give a note. I act not because there is a viral story. There is no influence from that viral ; this [new policy announcement] we have been creating since before Covid-19. But, to [announce] this…we cannot rush.”

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In fact, deporting badly behaved foreigners from Bali is nothing new. Immigration is famously quick to act against anyone observed to be breaking the law or disrespecting Balinese culture. There were a dozen high-profile deportations in 2022 alone, accompanied by dozens more that didn’t make the headlines.

The majority of deportations of foreigners are due to visa overstays. Speaking to the media, the Head of the Immigration Division of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Barron Ichsan, gave a run down on how his teams work.

Ichsan said, “If it is said that there is an assumption that immigration only works when it goes viral, that answer is not true.”

He revealed that Bali Immigration deported 194 people in 2022 alone. Ichsan noted that of these nearly 200 cases, in most cases, the individual either overstayed their visa or was caught engaging in activities not permitted by their visa, such as work or business.

During the press conference, he reiterated, “So, it’s not because of [viral videos we] just started working. Indeed, we rarely expose the actions we give to foreign nationals.”


He was clear that viral videos have no sway on the actions taken by immigration officials. In fact, the Immigration Official urged the public to stop recording videos of tourists to go viral. Ichsan said it is creating an inaccurate public image of the island.

Ischan explained, “Why do I urge the public not to make it viral? It can be predicted that if this is written up by the international media, it will be branded that Bali is unsafe, and that will reduce tourism in Bali.”

He added, “No one wants to travel to an unsafe place. I urge the public to immediately report any violations they find to immigration offices or the complaint pages we provide.”


It is not only Immigration officials who have called on social media users to take a breath. Australian-Indonesian content creator Damian Hoo posted a video calling on tourists and locals to resist the urge to feed off sensationalism.

In an Instagram reel, Hoo reminds his followers that the ‘bules’ (Caucasian foreigners) bring many good things to Bali. That ‘bules love Bali, and Bali loves Bules.’ He adds that the percentage of foreigners behaving badly is super small.


It remains to be seen if the calls from Immigration and influencers will calm the online storm.

Either way, tourists adhering to the law and respecting Balinese culture have nothing to worry about. Bali is safe. Bali is friendly, and Bali remains one of the leading tourist destinations in the world.

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Friday 24th of March 2023

It's amusing to read the double standard that's been written by a few folks on here. Let's put in a more logical way, would you want foreigners to ignore the laws or commit crimes in your own country???? There are already law breakers and criminals within the borders, why the need of more from the outside to add to more social problems, right...

Indonesia but especially in Bali, they need to start weeding out problematic foreigners and those here that posed a national security concern for the country. But alas, the government may turn the other cheek because keeping a tally of many arrivals in the eyes of the world and money talks further to bring out from the post pandemic is good business. Oh well...

A visa is a privilege and not a right. There are tourists who feel entitled because in their mind, they bring tourism money so the locals should feel grateful even it is meant to break certain local laws and be disrespectful of the local customs. Ignorant and colonial mindset mentality brought down from last generation to this generation. And the mentality of being subservient to the white people still remain among many locals to this day.

Ron Moore

Wednesday 22nd of March 2023

I will be spending a month in Bali in June to prepare for a permanent move as an immigrant not an expat. I grew up in the Washington, DC area and saw how transplants slowly took over and destroyed any semblance of a local culture. I am a writer and wish to become a resident of Indonesia. One question that may seem trivial is who is Hoo? From what I can tell he is Malaysian with an Australian accent, but the writer of this article describes him as Indonesian-Australian. Does that mean he is a permanent resident of Indonesia? Identity matters and I like his suggestion about ground rules for foreigners with strict enforcement. So, until I have actually visited, I am a complete outsider with opinions that may prove wrong.


Friday 24th of March 2023

@Firechef, speaking from a person who has written that you will never get one if it meant to go to hell first.

There is a guy from an Eastern country married to an Indonesian who became an Indonesian citizen. He presumably coached soccer here.


Thursday 23rd of March 2023

@Ron Moore, Dear Ron, you will never be an immigrant. You will hopefully get a retirement Kitas for one year. Renewable each year unless it changes.

Wayan Bo

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

@Ron Moore, no wonder, it’s very sad but it seems that USA is not more that what it once was. - Yesterday I saw inflationary prices and modest offers in US supermarkets. - Prices are skyrocketing, vehicles, houses, everything. - Even some very ordinary things are becoming unavailable, such shaver screens & cutters SPF-HF90 for Remington Heritage HF9000 electric shavers. - Not even spear parts for US brand products such Fellowes paper shredders or saddles and cups for Meco metal folding chairs are available in Europe.


Thursday 23rd of March 2023

@Ron Moore, To become an Immigrant to Indonesia may be harder than you can imagine. You'll need a lot of money and I mean A LOT, also it helps to marry an Indonesian native. You better do a lot of research before taking that step.


Tuesday 21st of March 2023

March 21 2023, 🍷 The expulsion of relocants from paradise - Thailand decided to deport citizens evading military service to Russia

🟠 The authorities of the Kingdom of Thailand announced the conclusion of an agreement with Russia on the extradition of persons evading military service. In addition, those Russians who face criminal liability in their homeland will be returned to their homeland.

🟠 Thus, the southeastern country ceases to be a safe haven for unscrupulous Russians who decide to sit out the mobilization away from their native land

🟠 According to Thai government spokesman Rachada Dhnadirek, the adopted document is in line with extradition agreements that Thailand has with other countries.

🟠 The authorities of the kingdom decided to sign an extradition agreement due to the massive influx of Russians - tens of thousands of our fellow citizens, hoping to avoid conscription and the economic consequences of a special operation, came to Thailand over the past year


Thursday 23rd of March 2023

@Wayan Bo, Don't believe that about American troops. The US military doesn't tell everything.


Thursday 23rd of March 2023

@Raymond, And along with them...the Russian Maffia, good for Thailand.

Wayan Bo

Tuesday 21st of March 2023

@Raymond, European newspapers say: Many Borat‘s in Southeast Asia now. - Polish ambassador in France told yesterday that Poland will take part in war if Ukraine can’t resist. This mean direct conflict between NATO and RF and also that at least Poland and some other countries could be nuked. Kadyrow sad longer time ago that he will support the return of Russian tanks to Berlin. - War between USA and P.R.C. could least only seven days because US troops don’t have enough conventional intelligent granates for longer time.

Peter Krause

Tuesday 21st of March 2023

Why do you explicitly only attack tourists on the road? There is rarely anything more undisciplined than the local motorcyclists.


Friday 24th of March 2023

@Peter Krause, so this means the tourists need to do the same instead of giving them locals the right example of discipline. It is not going to finish anytime soon if the tourists are not teaching the locals discipline. First of all there is no such a thing as your own private bubble space in Indonesia. People encroach on your personal space and it shows when driving on the road. No such thing as keeping your distance here!! Sighs.


Thursday 23rd of March 2023

@Peter Krause, AMEN!!!


Tuesday 21st of March 2023

I guess it's just a few incidents that make this "problem". No reason to bother the 99.99% if tourists with any sort of tracking app or such. If someone breaks the law let the police deal with it.

You can find negative viral video stuff about almost any destination. This should be discouraged by handling only the people responsible if they are breaking any law.