In a surprising announcement at the end of last month, the governor of Bali, Wayan Koster announced what appears to be a total ban on mountain climbing and hiking on the island. Speaking at a news conference, Koster said, “These mountains are sacred and revered. If their sanctity is damaged, it is the same as degrading the sacredness of Bali.” He stated that activities such as mountain climbing and hiking in Bali would no longer be allowed for tourists and locals alike.
“This ban is in effect forever and is not only for foreign tourists but also domestic tourists and local residents… (with the exception of) religious ceremonies or the handling of natural disasters,” Koster went on.
The reasoning for this apparent ban appears to come down to the island’s incredible popularity as a destination for tourists and digital nomads. This has led to several incidents where tourists were caught filming inappropriate videos on peaks such as Mount Agnung, which are considered sacred to the Balinese people.
Are Mountain Climbing and Hiking Actually Banned in Bali?
For now, that seems to be unclear. Despite the announcement from the governor, no official law has been enacted. It is reported that it would first have to pass Indonesian parliament.
“The issue of banning people from climbing mountains is still being discussed with several regional unit heads in the Bali regional government,” said tourism minister Sandiaga Uno on June 12. “When it’s finalized, it will be (announced) by the governor of Bali.”
Reactions to the proposed bans are mixed. Though many want to protect the sanctity of Bali’s mountains and sacred sites, a ban could seriously impact tourism. Trekking companies and guides could see their businesses damaged if tourists are no longer legally allowed to hike and climb in Bali.
This puts tourists in a precarious position. As of now, it appears that hiking and climbing does remain legal in Bali per the Indonesian government, but tourists should use caution when planning an excursion. Should local authorities deem the activity illegal, they could face fines and possible deportation.
Bali Travel Insurance
While we may not be able to predict the future of climbing and trekking in Bali, the same can be said for many things on an international vacation. We simply don’t know what might happen, and how it may impact us.
However, this doesn’t mean you should stay at home by any means. Instead, stay prepared for whatever you may face with the right travel insurance.
It’s a smart idea for all international tourists heading to Bali or any other part of Indonesia to purchase travel medical insurance. An unexpected injury or illness can strike wherever you are in the world, but your domestic health insurance won’t be able to help you pay for it while you’re abroad. This is compounded by the fact that not all hospitals in Indonesia will be able to treat every condition, and expensive emergency medical evacuation to another location may be required. Travel medical insurance can help cover all of these costs and allow you to get the best treatment available at an affordable price.
Those concerned with trip cancellation coverage in addition to emergency medical coverage should look into Bali travel insurance. It can reimburse you for your prepaid, nonrefundable expenses if you have to cancel, delay, or interrupt your trip for a covered reason. This can prevent you from being forced to pay for a vacation you can no longer take.