Restriction on Hiking Mountains in Bali Touted, Tourism Industry Expresses Concerns

A draft regulation of the Bali Spatial Planning Regional Regulation (Perda RTRW) could potentially limit or ban tourists from hiking spots such as Gunung Batur, citing the areas as sacred.

If passed, the regulation will prevent activities on the mountain with exceptions for religious rituals and disaster management. The regional regulation is still under discussion in the Bali Regional House of Representatives (DPRD Bali).

The governor of Bali Wayan Koster said that the change of status of a mountain to become a sacred area is in accordance with historical factors. Koster said the mountains are the places where the ancestors performed religious rituals and practiced yoga and meditation.

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“In ancient times, our ancestors, elders and sacred teachers made the mountain a place to perform religious rituals. All mountains in Bali should be made a sacred area,” Koster said at the plenary session at the Provincial DPRD Office Bali on Monday, 30 .January 2023.

Later the sulingor religious leaders, will confirm the names of mountains designated as sacred areas to the provincial government of Bali.

According to the governor, so far there are no strict rules for activities on the mountains in Bali. He then referred to the many incidents that occurred in the mountain area as a warning from God.

“There were many accidents on Mount Batur. Maybe it was because there were too many activities and it was out of control,” he said.

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However, this draft regulation received a negative response from tourism figures. They consider this disproportionate because spirituality and tourism can collaborate if managed properly.

This was explained by Mangku Juliawan, the president of the Mount Batur Caldera Jeep Adventure Association (KAJA), who considers the discourse on the end of tourism on Mount Batur to be disproportionate because religious activities should be able to coexist with tourism activities. In fact, he claims that it adds more value to tourism activities.

He does not think the regulation is ideal, because many people depend on this sector for their livelihood. For example, there are 300 jeep drivers at the foot of Mount Batur Kintamani. If access to the mountain is restricted, they may lose their jobs.

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Juliawan said he hopes there will be cooperation between tourism and religious activities. His team reiterates the value of Bali tourism is the culture itself – including both religious and spiritual activities.

“If someone wants to find tourist attractions that are more beautiful than Bali, I think there are many places to see. But they are still looking for Bali because of its culture,” he said.



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