In the tropical haven of Bali, Indonesia where sun-kissed beaches and cultural treasures beckon, a clash between unruly behavior and the pursuit of refuge unfolds.

A sought-after destination for travelers worldwide, the island has found itself grappling with a surge of Ukrainians and Russians, having seemingly become a magnet for those seeking solace from the horrors of conflict or from conscription.

As the invasion of Ukraine unfolded, the number of Ukrainians and Russians arriving on the island’s shores skyrocketed. Having reopened post-COVID, Bali welcomed 58,000 Russians in 2022 alone, making them the second-largest group after Australians.

However, paradise has its limits, and the Balinese authorities are now pushing back. Recent reports of misbehavior, overstays, and illegal work have prompted a call to tighten visa requirements, specifically for Ukrainian and Russian citizens.


Governor Wayan Koster expressed concern over the significant violations, citing incidents like a model posing nude at a sacred tree and a drunk driver hitting a pedestrian.

The Balinese government's proposal to end the visa-on-arrival policy for Ukrainians and Russians has stirred controversy. The move, fueled by a desire to curb unlawful activities, faces opposition from Ukrainians who argue they are unfairly implicated in the actions of their Russian counterparts.

Amid this debate, it is crucial to understand the intricacies of Indonesia's visa requirements. For stays of up to 30 days, nationals from some countries can apply for an Indonesian tourist visa upon arrival, while others must apply before departure. The requirements, including a valid passport, passport-size pictures, completed Indonesia Visa Application Form, proof of travel arrangements, proof of accommodation in Indonesia, proof of sufficient financial means, an invitation letter to Indonesia, and travel insurance, are of utmost importance.

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As VisaGuide.World reported, travel insurance is one of the most essential requirements in the event of unforeseen circumstances.


However, the island's reputation as a paradise is marred by reports of tourists violating local laws, disrespecting sacred sites, and engaging in illegal work. Authorities, determined to set an example, are now considering measures such as revoking visas for traffic law violations.

As the debate unfolds, the global community watches and the central Indonesian government deliberates on whether to grant Bali's request.

The island, caught between the serenity of its landscapes and the challenges posed by an influx of tourists seeking escape, stands at a crossroads. Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno emphasized the need for careful review, acknowledging that not all tourists from Ukraine and Russia are problematic.

While the island's economy relies heavily on tourism, the authorities grapple with finding the delicate balance between maintaining Bali's reputation as a paradise and addressing the challenges posed by misbehaving visitors.

In this tale of conflicting interests, the fate of Bali hangs in the balance. Will the island preserve its status as a sanctuary for travelers, or will it tighten its embrace against those who threaten its peace? The story unfolds in the heart of paradise, where the clash between the pursuit of refuge and the responsibility to protect Bali's charm reaches a pivotal moment.


The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

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