Niluh Djelantik has seen and heard it all regarding misbehaving tourists in Bali. Yet, she always chooses to help.
Who is She?
Her name is Niluh Djelantik, a 48-year-old entrepreneur born and raised in Bali, Indonesia. Although not a lawyer by training, Djelantik has become the go-to person for foreign tourists who find themselves in trouble with Balinese authorities.
With her excellent language skills, local connections, and professional experience working at marketing firms alongside expats, Djelantik has developed a reputation as an unofficial fixer and mediator for misbehaving tourists on the island.
What Does She Do to Help Arrested Tourists in Bali?
She leverages her wide network to set up informal meetings and interactions between the jailed tourists and local officials.
Djelantik also calls lawyers to provide legal aid, arranges transport and accommodations for released detainees, and even helps coordinate public apologies and religious ceremonies for those who committed cultural offenses.
“I listen to both sides and make a call on what I can do to help,” she said to CNN. This unique role she plays made tourists and Balinese alike call her Bali’s “guardian angel” and “the most important person after the governor.”
Why Does She Help Them?
“Bali needs tourists, and this is about getting foreigners to respect our laws, not take our hospitality for granted,” Djelantik explains.
Having witnessed countless disrespectful tourist antics over the years, she aims to strike a balance between visitors and locals. Furthermore, she believes peaceful mediation, by bridging gaps between tourists and authorities, is better than deportation or bans.
How Did Djelantik Help the Russian Tourist?
Last March, Russian influencer Yuri Chilikin sparked anger by posting semi-nude photos atop sacred Mount Agung. The authorities chose deportation, so he reached out to Djelantik for help.
Djelantik arranged a traditional ceremony with Hindu priests so Chilikin could apologize. Though he got eventually deported, his cooperation demonstrated Djelantik’s mediation skills.
“We wanted to show him the side of Bali he needed to see,” she noted. By having him participate in local rituals and customs, Djelantik facilitated cultural learning beyond legal penalties.
Tourists’ Misbehavior and Disrespect in Bali
In recent years, the tourists’ misbehavior has become unbearable. Foreign visitors are increasingly abusing Balinese hospitality.
According to Djelantik, outrageous behavior has included “washing private parts with holy temple water” and posing naked atop spiritual mountains. She says each week brings new reports of tourists “losing count” of bad behavior.
Why Locals Reach Out to Djelantik to Mediate Tourist Troubles?
Instead of contacting authorities as a first response, the locals often turn to Djelantik to mediate tourist troubles. They know her unofficial involvement will smooth tensions and evoke goodwill.
At a time when tourist actions are causing frustration in Bali, Djelantik’s unofficial involvement helps restore harmony. She listens to both foreign visitors and Balinese citizens to aim for fair solutions.
“It’s about respecting the laws of a place you visit,” Djelantik emphasizes. Her interference enables tourists to appreciate the island’s traditions rather than get banned for good.