Bali governor to ban mountain climbing for tourists, citing sanctity of the land

Sunrise at Mount Batur. Photo: flickr/Amit Rawat
Sunrise at Mount Batur. Photo: flickr/Amit Rawat

In a decisive move, Bali Governor Wayan Koster has taken a strong stance by banning both foreign and local tourists from embarking on mountain climbing adventures across the island. 

This new prohibition will soon be enshrined in a Regional Regulation (Perda), marking a significant step in preserving the sanctity of Bali’s majestic peaks.

“The mountains hold a sacred essence, making them revered grounds. Hence, we are prohibiting mountain climbing activities,” stated a rule in the draft Perda, as reported by DetikBali over the weekend. 

Under this comprehensive measure, a total of 22 mountains will be closed indefinitely for climbers, leaving no exceptions for foreign or domestic travelers, including local Balinese communities.

However, Koster made it clear that exceptions would be granted for essential purposes such as religious ceremonies, disaster management, and other specialized activities. These allowances aim to ensure the continuity of sacred rituals and efficient handling of emergencies without compromising the integrity of the mountains.

While the purpose of this ban is to prioritize the preservation and cultural significance of Bali’s mountains over catering solely to tourism interests, the decision has been met with criticism. 

The Bali Regional Council (DPRD) deputy chairman Tjok Gde Asmara Putra Sukawati said that instead of banning mountain climbing altogether, the government should oblige any travelers to hire local guides in order to ensure their safety and any untoward incidents.

“If there’s a mistake on the mountain, then we should coach the guides,” he said, citing the importance of ensuring the livelihoods of local guides.

Gede Darmayasa, a guide for Mt. Agung, told DetikBali that he hopes Koster would give him and his colleagues replacement jobs if he is to go ahead with his decision.

“We also have family and our livelihood is there so we hope there is a solution to make a living everyday,” he said. 

Koster’s move was reportedly triggered by a number of violations conducted by tourists – especially foreigners – who have shot porn and danced naked on sacred mountains such as Mt. Batur.


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on