Bali visitors to be issued do’s and don’ts lists on arrival

Australians heading to Bali will soon receive a list of do’s and don’ts on arrival, under new rules set by the Indonesian government that take aim at unruly tourist behaviour.

Bali governor Wayan Koster, who said the new rules aim to restore “quality and dignity” to the island, issued the circular letter of guidelines to government departments earlier this week, outlining 12 ‘dos’ and eight ‘don’ts’.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Koster cautioned those who violate the rules to brace for “strict action” in the form of cancelled visas, penalties or legal proceedings.

“Everyone should take this circular seriously, implement it, and disseminate it to all their staff and foreign tourists visiting Bali,” said Koster.

Koster previously proposed a tourist tax, foreign visitor caps and a ban on tourists renting and using motorbikes as possible ways to help address disrespectful and dangerous behaviour from foreign visitors, with frustrations mounting from locals and Bali officials.

“If we let this go on, then we will only attract cheap tourists who maybe just eat nasi bungkus (a rice dish wrapped in banana leaves or paper), rent motorbikes and break [traffic laws], and steal from ATMs,” Koster said previously.

A series of incidents involving international visitors misbehaving on the Indonesian island have resulted in more than 100 deportations so far this year. Just one Australian citizen has been deported in the period from January 1 and April 30, for overstaying their visa. Koster has previously singled out Russian tourists as the worst offenders, with the majority of deportees coming from Russia since January.

Among the more high-profile were that of a Russian blogger who posed naked on a sacred tree, a Danish woman exposing herself on a motorbike in now-viral footage, and another Russian tourist who pulled his pants down at a volcano considered a holy site.

Under the new rules, international tourists can’t use offensive language or act aggressively towards police, government workers or local residents; litter in public areas; drive without a valid international or national driver’s licence; drive while intoxicated or without a helmet; engage in behaviour that defiles religious or sacred sites or touch sacred trees.

They’re also required to comply with local traffic laws; dress modestly while visiting sacred areas and tourist attractions; to use a licensed tour guide with an understanding of local customs and traditions when visiting attractions, and to carry out transactions in the local currency (cryptocurrency is not permitted).

The full list of new visitor guidelines is published below.

It’s unclear whether Bali authorities will still push ahead with proposed tourist quotas floated in early May that would see Australian holiday-makers need to join a waiting list up to a year in advance to obtain entry to Bali.

The new rules come after Indonesian authorities expressed concerns that costly airfares are hindering the region’s tourism recovery. Bali was dealt another tourism blow in April, after soccer international governing body FIFA stripped the island as a U-20 World Cup host for May 20 to June 11.

Despite these setbacks, Bali’s official tourism organisation is still optimistic it can achieve its ambitious foreign-visitor target of 4.5 million for 2023.

Australian visitor numbers to Indonesia for the first quarter of 2023 have risen to 94 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, with 90,780 Australians taking trips to the nation in March, making it the second-most visited overseas destination, behind New Zealand with 107,970 trips.


  1. Respect the sanctity of temples, pratimas (sacred statues), and religious symbols;
  2. Wholeheartedly respect the customs, traditions, arts, culture and local wisdom of the Balinese people during ongoing ceremonial processions and rituals;
  3. Dress modestly, appropriately and respectfully when visiting sacred areas, tourist attractions, public places and engaging in activities in Bali;
  4. Behave politely in sacred areas, tourist areas, restaurants, shopping areas, roads and other public places;
  5. Be accompanied by licensed tour guides (who understand the natural conditions, customs, traditions and local wisdom of the Balinese people) when visiting tourist attractions;
  6. Exchange foreign currency at authorised money changers (both banks and non-banks) that are officially licensed and display the authorisation number and QR code logo from Bank Indonesia;
  7. Make payments using the Indonesian Standard QR Code (QRIS);
  8. Conduct transactions using the Indonesian rupiah;
  9. Comply with the applicable traffic laws in Indonesia, including possessing a valid international or national driving license, obey traffic rules, dress modestly, wear a helmet, follow traffic signs, not exceed passenger capacity, and no driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs;
  10. Use four-wheeled transportation that is roadworthy and officially registered or two-wheeled transportation that is operated by a legal business entity or association for two-wheeler rentals;
  11. Stay in accommodations that possess the required permits according to applicable regulations;
  12. Adhere to all specific provisions/rules that apply to each tourist attraction and tourist activity.


  1. Trespass sacred territories: Steer clear of utamaning mandala and madyaning mandala, holy and sanctified spots like puras and pelinggihs — unless you’re there for a Balinese traditional ceremony, during which you must wear the appropriate attire, and you’re not menstruating;
  2. Touch sacred trees;
  3. Engage in behaviour that defiles sacred places, temples, idols, and religious symbols, such as climbing sacred structures and taking indecent or nude photos;
  4. Litter and pollute lakes, springs, rivers, seas, and public areas;
  5. Use single-use plastics like plastic bags, polystyrene (styrofoam) and plastic straws;
  6. Utter offensive words, behave disrespectfully, cause disturbances, and act aggressively towards government authorities, local communities and fellow tourists, both directly and indirectly through social media, including spreading hate speech and hoaxes;
  7. Engage in work or business activities without proper documentation issued by the relevant authorities;
  8. Get involved in illegal activities, such as trading illegal goods, including endangered flora and fauna, cultural artifacts and sacred objects as well as illegal drugs.