Bali is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world for tourists looking for a laid-back, carefree paradise.
Australians in particular flock to the island for its incredible scenery, buzzing nightlife, affordable accommodation and cheap food, with roughly 91,000 travellers visiting the holiday hotspot in January, 2023.
However, the tropical destination has also had an increasing number of tourists flouting rules and customs and causing havoc amongst the locals.
Balinese officials announced they would be cracking down on inappropriately dressed and badly behaved travellers, especially setting their sights on Russian and Ukrainian tourists and not the Aussie ‘Bali Bogan’.
Russians have become the second biggest group of visitors to the island – behind Australians – after Bali reopened its borders and received an influx of travellers fleeing the Russia-Ukraine war.
Bali officials are urging the government to not allow Russian and Ukrainian tourists visas on arrival (pictured, stock image of tourists watching the sunset on Batu Belig Beach in North Kuta, Bali)
Russian travellers were initially welcomed in Bali until a spate of desecrations and criminal behaviour, including an influencer posing naked next to a sacred tree and tourists working illegally, were attributed to the nationality.
In a press conference in Denpasar this month, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said Russians and Ukrainians were the two nationalities accounting for the highest number of offenders among foreigners.
Mr Koster urged the central government for the visa on arrival privilege to be stripped from Russian and Ukrainian tourists so they are not allowed into the country.
‘Why these two countries? Because they are at war so they flock here,’ Mr Koster said.
‘Many of them come to Bali, not for leisure, but to find comfort, including for work.’
The Visa on Arrival program allows foreign travellers from more than 80 countries to visit Indonesia for 30 days.
The visa costs about $50 and is strictly for tourism only.
Violating the terms of the visa can lead to fines of $100 per day, detainment, deportation or being banned from entering Indonesia for a period of time.
Roughly 22,500 Russian tourists visited Bali in January, 2023, with almost 60,000 flocking to the island following its post-Covid reopening.
Bali also received an influx of young men since Russia declared a partial mobilisation of military reservists in September, last year.
Bali Governor Wayan Koster said Russians and Ukrainians were the two nationalities accounting for the highest number of violations among foreigners. The move is part of Bali’s crackdown on tourists flouting rules including riding motorbikes without a helmet (pictured)
However, Ukrainians on the island claim they are being unfairly targeted as majority of the crimes involve Russian tourists.
‘Ukrainians respect Balinese law and culture … we don’t represent any risk for people in Bali … It’s very sad that Ukrainians are being put in the same (category) as Russians,’ Ukrainian man named Dmytro told CNN.
‘If you read the news, you’ll see how often it is Russians breaking local laws and disrespecting Balinese culture and tradition. So why do Ukrainians have to suffer when it isn’t us causing problems in Bali?’
Ukraine’s Honorary Consulate in Bali spokesperson Nyoman Astama told CNN of the 8,500 Ukrainians on the island, most are women holding various temporary and permanent visa permits.
‘Ukrainians do not come for holiday to Bali at this current moment as our country is being invaded,’ Ms Astama said.
‘The Ukrainians coming to Bali now are for family unification (reasons) and are mostly female. We reaffirm that Ukrainians in Bali do not want to violate the rules and regulations.
‘It is imperative to enforce the law and implement the consequences for any breach of the law as voiced now by the people in Bali.’
A 28-year-old from Moscow was deported in March after authorities accused him of working as a photographer while on an investment visa. He was paraded in front of local media with a black hood over his head – a practice reserved for suspected drug criminals (pictured)
A police officer in Kuta said foreign nationals believed they were above the law and referred to occurrences of drunk and disorderly behaviour, and criminal offences, committed by Russian tourists.
‘Whenever we get reports about a foreigner behaving badly, it’s almost always Russian,’ the police officer told CNN.
‘Foreigners come to Bali but they behave like they are above the law. This has always been the case and it has to finally stop.’
In February, a Russian tourist was caught riding under the influence of alcohol after he crashed into a local rider, causing the Bali man to be hospitalised.
The holiday destination was also marred by a fatal motorcycle accident in January when a Ukrainian visitor and a Russian tourist both died in a road collision.
A specialised task force comprising of police and officials focusing on finding and prosecuting undocumented workers was established in March.
On March 19, a Russian tourist named Yuri sparked outrage after he shared a picture of himself with his pants around his ankles at the summit of sacred Mount Agung (pictured)
Yuri issued an appology on social media and in person to Bali officials. He also took part in a ceremonial offering to the Gods to show his remorse (pictured) before he was deported
In its first week, the task force arrested six Russian tourists – three sex workers, two motorbike driving instructors and a tennis coach – and issued deportation orders after discovering they were working illegally.
A 28-year-old from Moscow was also deported at the beginning of March after authorities accused him of working as a photographer while on an investment visa.
The officers paraded the Russian national in front of local media with a black hood over his head – a practice reserved for suspected drug criminals.
A Russian tourist named Yuri sparked outrage on March 19 after he shared a picture of himself with his pants around his ankles at the summit of sacred Mount Agung.
Yuri, who goes by the Instagram name Chila Brazila, removed the image and issued a groveling apology to officials in person and on social media.
He took part in a ceremonial offering to the Gods to show his remorse before being deported.
Russia’s Alina Fazleeva and her husband Amdrei Fazleev (left) were deported from Bali and banned from returning to the island for six months last year after taking nude photos next to a 700-year-old sacred tree (right)
It comes after Russian influencer Alina Fazleeva was deported from Bali last year after posing naked next to a 700-year-old sacred banyan tree.
Ms Fazleeva and her husband, who took the photos in 2019, were deported and issued a six-month ban from entering Indonesia.
Officials also announced plans to ban all foreign tourists from riding motorbikes in Bali and launched an official campaign to crack down on tourists behaviour and how they dress.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk