With stunning beaches, lush forests, and scenic rice paddies, Bali attracts nature lovers and adventure seekers. The island’s unique Hindu culture fascinates visitors with colorful ceremonies, traditional music, and intricate dance performances. Locals, known as Balinese, are known for their hospitality and welcoming spirit, making visitors feel at home. However, since the pandemic, there’s been a new crop of unruly tourists and expats slowly corrupting the beauty of Bali with their behavior.

On March 2, a group of tourists visiting Bali filed a complaint about crowing roosters disrupting their sleep.

Instead of mediating the situation between the tourists and the owner of the roosters, top officials in Bali, including the governor and the chief of the tourism agency, urged the tourists to respect local culture and threatened them with deportation.

Beach in Bali with tourists at sunset
Photo Credit: Peggy Anke

Not A Playground for Tourists

A PhD candidate studying Balinese culture suggests that tourists sometimes do not fully understand that Bali is still a home for people and not just a playground.

In response to growing complaints, Balinese authorities are proposing measures to curb misbehavior from tourists. One measure includes the installation of large billboards with messages on how to behave appropriately.

On Sunday, local police caught 171 foreign tourists who violated traffic laws. As a result, the governor is considering banning tourists from renting motorbikes. The issue has even sparked responses from national-level politicians, who have threatened to declare the offenders persona non grata. 

While the Balinese rely heavily on tourism as their main source of income, some locals are angry with tourists. Their grievances are the result of a lack of respect, especially from tourists who break the island’s COVID-19 rules to throw parties. Instances of visitors painting on fake COVID masks, stripping naked at sacred sites, having sex on public beaches, flouting traffic rules, and working without proper visas is also a major concern.

Despite the increasing restrictions, Bali is still planning to welcome almost double the number of tourists it received in 2022.

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