Bali bans tourists from climbing holy mountains

By Hoang Phong   June 4, 2023 | 11:53 pm PT
Bali bans tourists from climbing holy mountains
A statue on a bridge is seen as Mount Agung volcano erupts in the background near Kubu, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia, November 28, 2017. Photo by Reuters
Authorities in Indonesia's Bali have banned all tourists from climbing on its 22 sacred mountains with immediate effect, following several acts of disrespect to the predominantly Hindu island's culture.

Bali's Governor Wayan Koster last late week made a landmark policy announcement, saying there would be only very specific circumstances whereby only locals could step foot on the mountains and volcanos.

"No one can access the mountains unless for religious ceremonies or disaster management and special activities, which are not for tourist activities," he said as cited by the Bali Sun newspaper.

The move came after a series of disrespectful acts by foreign tourists on sacred mountains in Bali, a Hindu region in Muslim Indonesia.

Last month, a German woman was detained and sent for mental evaluation and treatment after she stripped naked and gatecrashed the Saraswati Hindu temple in Ubud.

In April, a Russian man was deported for dropping his pants and posing for semi-naked photos on Mount Agung.

Immigration authorities have deported 123 people in the first five months of this year, most of them for overstaying their visa.

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