Bali is the one of the most popular destinations for Australians with roughly 91,000 travellers visiting the island in January this year alone.
And while most Aussies tend to be on their best behaviour, an increasing number are causing chaos and breaking local rules – and the Balinese have had enough.
What many may forget is Bali is a conservative island in a deeply religious country, but to tourists, Bali is a carefree paradise where anything goes.
But those tourists – and not just Aussies – looking to misbehave and dress inappropriately should think twice.
Bali Tourism Board chairman Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana is on the brink of launching a public campaign that will see billboards installed where customs are flouted the most – such as the more popular locations of Kuta, Seminyak, Legian, Canggu, Ubud, Sanur, Nusa Dua, and Uluwatu.
Mr Adnyana said they’re currently in the “socialisation” phase of a new campaign which will aim to build awareness among visitors and educate tourists on how to behave in cultural settings.
“The point is that tourists respect Balinese cultural customs by dressing well and neatly, following in an orderly manner, carrying out traffic activities and not doing things that are outside the provisions,” he told The Bali Sun.
The proposal has been tabled and officials are now awaiting public feedback.
It will see at least 10 large billboards installed with instructions and advice in foreign languages, including English.
“Indeed, we are welcoming and accept everything. Guests are king – but don’t abuse,” Mr Adnyana said.
The tourism board said it will collaborate with influencers, tourism stakeholders and e-commerce business to help spread the message.
Angus Kidman, travel expert at Finder, said it isn’t a surprising move from the Bali Tourism Board.
“In recent years we’ve seen increasing efforts by Indonesian authorities to clamp down on unruly behaviour,” Mr Kidman told news.com.au.
“The most infamous example is the ‘bonk ban’ on unmarried couples. Authorities say that won’t apply to tourists, but it does reinforce that Indonesia takes this issue seriously.
“Good manners and respect are essential for all tourists in every destination. You’re risking a fine or even deportation if you run wild and ignore local attitudes.”
Aussies have been caught out for their rude behaviour and inappropriate outfits when visiting sacred areas in the past.
In October last year, an Aussie man was shamed online after a video emerged of him doing a burnout on a rented scooter in the middle of a busy road.
It prompted backlash with hundreds of people calling out his behaviour as “disrespectful”.
In 2019, an apprentice builder from Adelaide, made international headlines when he fly-kicked a man off his motorbike after a cocktail-induced binge resulted in allegations of assault and smashed windows.
And a tourist shared a TikTok this year saying she went to a temple and was given clothes to cover-up because, “I’m dressed like a hooker.”
It appears she was wearing just a bikini.
Meanwhile, in 2016 a young woman dressed in a bikini sparked outrage in Bali when she was photographed in a yoga pose in front of a temple.
The crackdown on “dressing well” comes as many may not understand the conservative culture, wearing skimpy clothes, and even going topless, in certain areas such as sacred temples.
The announcement comes just days after the provincial government confirmed that they had launched a dedicated task force to crack down on foreigners working illegally on the island.