‘Pay me and I’ll be your guardian’: Tourists at popular Indonesian temple are being ‘targeted by scammers’ who demand money to get closer to the site

  • Mother shared her negative experience after visiting Pura Besakih Temple
  • Said that her family were ‘surrounded by five guys’ who demanded money
  • Since posting on social media, many others have spoke of similar actions



Visitors to one of the biggest Hindu Temples in the world are being warned to be on their guard against tourist scams. One parent visited Pura Besakih Temple in Bali, Indonesia, with her family when she claims that after donating money towards parking and entry, they were harassed by men asking for more cash. Sharing the incident on the Ubud Community Facebook page, the woman, who visited with her husband and baby, claims that a local told her that if she wanted to get closer to the temple, she would have to pay him and then he would be their ‘guardian.’

This negative review of one woman’s visit to the Pura Besakih Temple in Bali has encouraged others to share their experiences of being harassed for money

After one visitor to the Pura Besakih Temple revealed her negative experience, others have come forward to share similar stories

After refusing to hand over more money, the family continued to move closer to the temple, but after a few steps they claim they were ‘surrounded by five guys,’ who allegedly said they could not walk further without a ‘guardian.’

The price for this was said to between 300,000 Indian Rupees ( 15.80) and 500,000 Indian Rupees ( 26.30).

The family refused to pay and made their way to the exit. On their way out, the incident was raised with ticket sellers at the entry as to why more money was asked for inside. The answer allegedly given was that they ‘knew nothing,’ and did not know who the ‘guardian’ was.

Coconuts Bali1 has reported that after the Bali Provincial Tourism Office reported the complaint to the police, an investigation has been launched and an arrest has been made.

Tour guides are available to guide tourists around the sites, however all 6,000 registered guides have certificates of authenticity and will not harass visitors for money. There are 6,000 registered tour guides in Bali who are verified to work around the sites such as Pura Besakih Temple

Since the post was shared on Facebook, other people have shared their own experiences of visiting the temple. Wiwin Thari wrote: ‘Thanks God finally there is some action from the police.

Last year in Bali I went with very similar experience in Besakih Temple.

‘When I took a trip with one of my friends (tourists) and another local friends for praying, we paid the tickets and after been walked a bit the local people stopped us told us to pay a donation and take a local guide.’

And Bradley Griffiths added: ‘We never take guests there they are greedy and bullies stop going and send a message.’

Wut Aprilsnow posted: ‘I was there a few years ago by myself and could walk up to the top without a problem.

‘My tip was, I pretend that I could not speak and understand English (I’m from Thailand), and spoke Thai to them, after a few minutes they were tired of talking to me and left me alone.’

And Angela Annabelle Nanlohy commented: ‘Happened to my sister too. So sorry to say that place is not a good reference.

‘Too bad that such a beautiful place been treated that way by its own people.’

Perched nearly 3,000 feet up the side of Gunung Agung, Pura Besakih Temple is an extensive complex of 23 separate but related temples with the largest and most important being Pura Penataran Agung. The temple, known as the ‘Mother Temple’ is built on six levels, terraced up the slope, and almost 100,000 foreign tourists visit each year.


  1. ^ Coconuts Bali (bali.coconuts.co)

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