The governor of Bali, Indonesia, Wayan Koster, announced an official list of dos and don’ts for tourists visiting the famous island. These new rules aim to manage tourism sustainably while preserving Bali’s unique Hindu culture and heritage sites.
How Is Mass Tourism Affecting Bali?
With over 6 million annual visitors, tourism is the main industry and economic driver in Bali. It accounts for 80% of the economy. However, the huge influx of tourists has damaged cultural sites, harmed the environment, and disrupted local life.
Furthermore, issues like disrespectful behavior at temples, litter and pollution, loud nightlife, dangerous driving, illegal drugs, and more have become commonplace.
As a result, many Balinese feel their traditions and island charm are being lost in the rapid commercialization of tourism.
In response, Governor Wayan Koster issued new official guidelines for visitors that balance tourist activities with protecting the island’s heritage for future generations.
Do’s and Don’ts List for Tourists in Bali
Here are some of the main dos and don’ts for tourists announced by Governor Koster:
Temples and Sacred Areas
- Follow all traditions, like wearing a sarong when visiting temples.
- Ask before photographing rituals, like monks praying inside temples.
- Maintain quietness.
- Don’t enter restricted areas.
- Don’t pose inappropriately or take disrespectful photos, especially those involving sexual poses, near temples or statues.
Interacting With The Locals and Supporting Businesses
- Learn basic Bahasa Indonesian as a sign of respect.
- Buy from local vendors and markets to support small businesses.
- Don’t touch Balinese on the head or point with your foot, as these are highly rude.
- Don’t excessively haggle and pay fair prices.
- Conserve water and electricity to help the island’s limited resources.
- Don’t remove coral, shells, plants or disturb wildlife in natural areas.
- Don’t litter and dispose of trash properly, even if it is biodegradable.
Governor Koster emphasized that these guidelines aim to balance tourism growth with preserving the essence of Balinese Hindu philosophy and way of life. Violating the rules could potentially lead to fines or punishment under local laws.
Local Communities and Leaders’ Reactions
Many Balinese leaders praised the governor’s move to regulate irresponsible tourist behavior.
“This is great for protecting our traditions that visitors come to experience. It reminds them to be respectful,” said village leader Ngurah Kamaya.
Others expressed hope the guidelines will encourage tourists to appreciate Bali as more than a tropical paradise but also a deeply spiritual cultural homeland.
The new dos and don’ts guidelines signify an important step towards sustainable tourism in Bali as the island rebuilds its economy after the pandemic. Moreover, the rules provide a model for respecting local cultures while traveling.
Additionally, Governor Koster plans to promote these guidelines heavily to all future visitors. And many are optimistic the regulations will preserve the island’s unique charm.