Authorities in Tabanan have reprimanded an Australian man for climbing a sacred tree in the latest episode of Foreigners Do the Darndest Things in Bali.
According to the police, on Saturday, a foreigner from down under who goes by the initials SL filmed himself climbing a banyan tree on the grounds of a Hindu temple in Kediri district. Near the tree is a pelinggih shrine, signifying that the area has been blessed and is sacred.
SL’s ascent outraged locals, to the point that police were eventually involved.
“He claimed he climbed the tree to make personal content, in line with his hobby,” Tabanan Police Chief Ranefli Dian Candra said.
To the police, SL said he wasn’t aware of the tree’s spiritual properties. Police facilitated a meeting between the Aussie and local elders, after which he agreed to pay the temple IDR500K (US$34.10) for a ritual asking forgiveness from angry spirits.
SL only had IDR150K (US$10.23) on him at the time, and has promised to bring the rest this week.
Several foreigners have gone viral in recent weeks for behaving inappropriately in Bali. Among the most controversial cases were that of a Russian yoga influencer who posed naked by an ancient tree, and a Canadian man who performed a naked haka-style dance on the top of sacred Mt. Batur. Both have been deported.