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Bali has seen a ban on bikini-clad tourists taking pictures in holy places

Bali’s vice-governor said: “the quality of the tourists is different now than in the past.”

(Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images)

Bali is afraid that the quality of the tourists — and it is considering strict new rules to stop aggressive behavior.

Sick of Western tourists climbing on sacred sites or disrespectfully posing for photos in skimpy swimwear, authorities on Bali, which is known as “the island of the 1000 temples,” considering tough new restrictions on the tourists access to the holy places.

And it could mean tourists will be excluded from the visit of hindu temples without the guidance of Bali, vice-governor of Tjokorda Oka Artha Sukawati, known as Cok Ace, said.

“The quality of the tourists is different now than in the past,” he said at a recent regional meeting of the council. “It is because we are too open with tourists, so much.”

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Bali’s annual visitor intake reached five million in 2017. But with them have increased bad behavior, and Cok Ace said in the coming weeks, the regional council would be the reflection of what tourists could and could not do around Bali Hindu temples.

That can no longer allow tourists to visit the temples without a guide.

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“This is the government is trying to maintain the Pura (temples),” Cok Ace said. “The temples are preserved because they are the spirits of Bali cultures and customs.”

His comments appeared to be prompted by a recent viral photo of a Danish tourist sits on the holy Linggih Padmasana shrine on Puhur Luhur Batukaru temple. The tourist can be seen squatting on the throne, which is supposed to be completed for Balinese Hinduism and the main deity.

The photo caused a scandal in Indonesia, where blasphemy is a punishable offence. The authorities are reported to be looking for the tourist office.

Earlier this year, a Spanish vlogger also came under fire after he posted a video of himself climbing a temple. He was forced to issue an apology. And in 2016, a young woman, dressed in a bikini sparked outrage in Bali when she was photographed in a yoga position in front of a temple.

Australian expat and Bali resident Rachel Bergma previously urged tourists to cover up around the holy places. As she told the News.com.au, the wearing of tight clothes, or go completely topless, it was not OK on the holiday island.

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“It is not new to Bali to see girls dressed inappropriately. It is a problem with the Europeans for a while now,” she said.

“What’s new … the latest fashion that young people wear. The shorts that show the actual ass cheek and the crop tops.”

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Exploring one of the most sacred temples of Bali ☺️

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Many sites of importance for religions all over the world require visitors to dress respectfully, but many destinations have struggled with underdressed tourists.

In Thailand, for example, an American couple was charged with indecency last year for dropping their pants for a bare bottom photos on the holy temple of Wat Arun temple.

Earlier this month, Australian expat Matthew Smith, who has lived in Thailand for 10 years, said tourists needed to be reminded of the “little things that can disrupt the local population”, such as dressing inappropriately around the holy places.

He said that he often saw it happen in Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site north of Bangkok.

“A few times in Ayutthaya, during a visit to the historical city ruins area with my wife, we saw tourists do not meet the rules of etiquette,” he told the News.com.au.

“We saw tourists climbing on old walls, not wearing the right clothes even after being told by the ticket sellers or whatnot, is in places to take photos that are not allowed.”

Authorities of Cambodia sacred Angkor Wat site imposed strict dress codes on tourists in 2016, which prohibited exposed knees and shoulders. The repression followed a series of nude photographs of the Buddhist site.

In the same year, India’s minister for tourism told female tourists to stop wearing short dresses, skirts and other “skimpy” clothing to protect their safety.

“The indian culture is different from Western culture,” Mahesh Sharma said.

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This story originally appeared on the News.com.au. Read more from News.com.au here.

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