Bali: what not to do

2013-01-24 14:59

Earlier this week, a 56-year-old British woman was sentenced to death in Bali for drug trafficking. 

Lindsey Sandiford argued that she was forced into transporting the 4.79kg of cocaine, worth $2.4million, in order to protect her children whose safety was at stake, and the prosecution had recommended a lenient sentence.

But the court ruled that she had not admitted her crime and had damaged Indonesia's hard-line stance on drugs as well as Bali's reputation as a tourism destination.

The death sentence verdict was a devastating shock to the Sandiford family, as a prison term of 15 years had been the prosecutors initial recommendation.

In the light of the sentencing, Wanderlust put together a list of rather surprising 'Dos and Don'ts' for anyone heading to the Indonesian beach paradise. We share them below:    



Gambling is illegal in Indonesia. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office adds: "There have been cases where tourists have fallen victim to organised gambling gangs." Simple - don't do it.

Smoke in public

Smoking is not allowed in most public areas. Those caught smoking in banned places could face a hefty fine or up to six months in prison.

Take or buy illegal substances

Bali's drugs laws are very strict. The island is known for its zero-tolerance. Harsh penalties are enforced for travellers caught with drugs or caught having used drugs (officials can ask for blood or urine tests), including life imprisonment and the death penalty.


Dress modestly
Although it's not a criminal offence, Western visitors are advised to keep their clothes on and cover up. Locals frown upon travellers baring all so keep your legs and arms covered up until you hit the beach. Also, when visiting temples and Buddhist sites, it is mandatory for both men and women to cover up before entering.

Keep your hands to yourself
Public displays of affection are frowned upon in the region - so keep those personal moments to when you have some privacy.

Carry identification
Travellers are required to carry identification with them while in Bali, in case it is requested by the police or another authority. Take photocopies with you to avoid losing the real thing!


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