Bali Is Trying To Regain Control Of Its Tourists By Closing Mountains And Banning ‘Bonking’

Bali is attempting to regain control over its tourists by closing mountains and prohibiting ‘bonking’. Additionally, discussions are taking place regarding the introduction of a ‘tourist tax’.

Asia, Indonesia, Bali, young Asian woman sitting on boat admiring Tamblingan temple – Stone RF/Getty

It seems that hardly a day goes by without reports of another tourist offending local customs on Bali. There are bikini-clad yoginis doing ‘downward dog’ poses in temple gateways and half-naked hooligans arguing with traffic police over their lack of a crash-helmet. While the world asks what’s caused this sudden rush of inappropriate behaviour, travellers who know the island well are wondering why it’s taken so long for Balinese to stand up and say, “enough is enough!”

In 1972 the iconic surf-movie Morning of the Earth showed a naked hippy teaching elderly Balinese fishermen how to smoke cannabis. Four centuries after deserters from a Dutch ship called The Amsterdam became what might be referred to as the island’s first sex-tourist expats, the alleyways around Kuta Beach were a favoured hangout for gangs of drunken louts, prowling for magic mushrooms and young Indonesian prostitutes.

Long-term expats say that it’s amazing that tempers hadn’t already frayed decades ago but the predominantly Hindu population of this island (lying at the heart of the world’s largest Muslim country) are among the most welcoming and easy-going people on the planet. Finally, with patience apparently stretched to a breaking point, rules have been put in place to curb bad behaviour on the Island of the Gods.

Famous Bali gates - Getty Images/iStockphoto
Famous Bali gates – Getty Images/iStockphoto

In May The Jakarta Post reported that 101 foreigners were deported in the first four months of this year – including 27 Russians, eight British and seven Americans – and Bali’s Governor I Wayan Koster issued a list of rules for tourists to abide by. Foremost on the list are reminders to dress and behave modestly at religious sites and traffic rules (especially concerning rented motorcycles and the use of helmets) are to be more strictly enforced.

Discussions are also underway concerning the implementation of a ‘tourist tax’ (perhaps as much as £80), which Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, claims “would help fund a range of measures and prevent Bali from becoming known only as a cheap destination.”

It’s not the first time that laws have been put in place to try to reverse the international perception of Bali as a ‘party island’. In 2015 there was a short-lived prohibition on the sale of alcohol outside of major tourist establishments and in 2018 the banning of bikinis on the tropical island made international headlines for a few days…and was just as quickly forgotten.

More controversial still was what the Australian press called the ‘Bali bonk ban’ – a blanket ban on cohabiting – which was ratified in December last year. A spate of cancelled holidays led to the governor quickly issuing reassurance that the new law would not apply to tourists.

Brahma Kamal, known as the Divine Flower of Uttarakhand Himalayas, holds great significance in the mountain culture of the region. This beautiful flower flourishes in the Himalayan regions.

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One Response

  1. Balinese authorities don’t need full-bore Sharia Law. Simple regulations (e.g., prohibiting public sex, full nudity and drunken behavior) can be enforced by local mullahs, who will be happy to keep immoral behavior down to a dull roar. The “benefits” of the younger crowd are far overrated anyway.

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