Looking Back to Bali’s New Tourist Rules 2023: Do’s & Don’ts For Travellers!

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As Bali continues to be a global tourist hotspot, the provincial government, led by Governor Wayan Koster, has implemented a comprehensive set of regulations aimed at shaping a new paradigm for foreign tourists on the Island of the Gods. Through Gubernatorial Circular No. 4 of 2023, effective from May 31, 2023, tourists are now subject to 12 obligations and 8 prohibitions, ushering in a new era of responsible and culturally sensitive tourism.

Looking Back to Bali's New Tourist Rules 2023: Do's & Don'ts For Travellers!

Tourist Obligations (Do’s):

  1. Respect for Sacred Sites: Tourists are required to show reverence for the sanctity of puras (temples), pratimas (religious icons), and other sacred religious symbols.
  2. Adherence to Traditions and Culture: A sincere respect for local customs, traditions, arts, and culture, as well as the wisdom of the Balinese community during ceremonies and rituals, is mandatory.
  3. Appropriate Attire: Tourists must wear modest and appropriate clothing when visiting sacred areas, tourist attractions, public places, and during activities in Bali.
  4. Polite Behavior: Maintaining polite conduct in sacred areas, tourist spots, restaurants, shopping areas, roads, and other public spaces is emphasized.
  5. Guided Tours: Tourists are required to be accompanied by licensed tour guides who possess knowledge of Bali’s natural conditions, customs, traditions, and local wisdom when visiting tourist attractions.
  6. Currency Exchange at Authorized Points: Foreign currency exchange must be conducted at authorized money changers, both banks and non-banks, displaying the necessary permits and QR codes from Bank Indonesia.
  7. QR Code Payments: Payment transactions are to be made using the Standard Indonesian QR Code.
  8. Currency Transactions in Rupiah: All transactions are to be carried out using the Indonesian Rupiah.
  9. Compliance with Traffic Rules: Tourists must adhere to Indonesian traffic regulations, including possessing a valid International or National Driving License, following traffic rules, wearing appropriate attire, using helmets, obeying traffic signs, and not exceeding passenger capacities. Additionally, driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances is strictly prohibited.
  10. Use of Official Transportation: Tourists are encouraged to use officially recognized four-wheeled or two-wheeled transportation services.
  11. Accommodation at Licensed Establishments: Staying in accommodation businesses with valid permits is obligatory.
  12. Adherence to Specific Regulations: Tourists are required to comply with all specific regulations applicable to each tourist attraction and activity.

Prohibitions for Foreign Tourists (Don’ts):

  1. Entry into Sacred Places: Foreign tourists are prohibited from entering utamaning mandala and madyaning mandala, sacred or sanctified places, except for prayer purposes while wearing Balinese traditional attire or for religious ceremonies when not menstruating.
  2. Climbing Sacred Trees: Climbing sacred trees is strictly forbidden.
  3. Disrespectful Behavior in Sacred Places: Any behavior that desecrates sacred places, including climbing sacred structures or taking indecent photos, is not allowed.
  4. Improper Disposal of Waste: Indiscriminate littering and polluting lakes, springs, rivers, seas, and public areas are strictly prohibited.
  5. Use of Single-Use Plastics: Tourists are not allowed to use single-use plastics, including plastic bags, styrofoam, and plastic straws.
  6. Inappropriate Language and Behavior: Use of offensive language, disrespectful behavior, causing disturbances, and acting aggressively towards authorities, the government, local communities, or fellow tourists, either directly or indirectly through social media, is strictly prohibited.
  7. Engaging in Business Activities Without Proper Documentation: Tourists are prohibited from working or engaging in business activities without proper documentation issued by authorized agencies.
  8. Involvement in Illegal Activities: Participation in illegal activities, including the trade of illegal items such as flora and fauna, cultural artifacts, and sacred objects, as well as the sale and purchase of illegal drugs, is strictly forbidden.

Sanctions for Violators:

Governor Koster emphasizes that foreign tourists who violate these regulations will face strict sanctions or legal processes according to Indonesian laws and regulations. The government urges all stakeholders to earnestly understand, implement, and disseminate these regulations to all their personnel and foreign tourists visiting Bali.

Additionally, Governor Koster calls upon tourism service providers and the Balinese community to refrain from facilitating the misconduct of foreign tourists. He emphasizes the collective responsibility to uphold the good name and image of Bali’s tourism, fostering a cultural, quality, and dignified tourism environment.

Looking Back at the New Rules in 2023

As the calendar turned to 2023, Bali witnessed a myriad of behaviors from foreign tourists that raised concerns about rule violations and the sanctity of worship places on the island. In response, the Directorate of Traffic (Ditlantas) of the Bali Regional Police recorded a significant number of traffic violations, with a notable portion attributed to foreign tourists. Notably, around 147 out of 367 traffic violation cases involved tourists, particularly for not wearing helmets and improper vehicle registration.

In addressing these challenges, the Bali government, under Governor Wayan Koster’s leadership, issued Gubernatorial Circular No. 4 of 2023. This circular outlines a framework for the conduct of foreign tourists in Bali, encompassing rules for places of worship, tourist attractions, public spaces, business activities, traffic, and general behavior. To enforce these regulations, the Bali government established a task force called the Acceleration Team for Tourism Governance, comprised of personnel from the Bali Tourism Agency, the Police, Civil Service Police Unit (Satpol PP), Immigration, Prosecutors, and tourism associations.

Circular Regulations:

The circular, effective from late May 2023, introduces obligations and prohibitions to be adhered to by foreign tourists. It covers various aspects, including rules for places of worship, tourist sites, public areas, business, traffic, and behavior.

Retribution Rules from July 2023:

Governor Koster announced plans for a retribution fee for tourists entering Bali, expected to be implemented in 2024. While the exact amount was not finalized at the time of the announcement, it was tentatively set at Rp 150,000 per person. This fee, collected electronically, would be applicable to all entry points for tourists, whether by land, sea, or air. The funds collected would be utilized for the protection of culture, the environment, infrastructure, and tourism facilities in Bali.

Official Implementation in February 2024:

In September 2023, the government officially confirmed that the retribution fee of Rp 150,000 for foreign tourists in Bali would be enforced starting February 14, 2024. This decision was formalized in Regional Regulation No. 6 of 2023, Article 19, concerning Levies for Foreign Tourists for the Protection of Balinese Culture and the Environment. Concurrently, the Bali Provincial Government released guidelines for the payment of this retribution by tourists.


In conclusion, Bali’s proactive approach to address tourist-related challenges signals a commitment to responsible tourism. The success of these regulations will depend on how well they are communicated, enforced, and integrated into the broader vision of Bali as a cultural and environmentally conscious tourist destination. As travelers adapt to these changes, the coming years will reveal the effectiveness of these measures in shaping Bali’s tourism landscape.


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