It seems that everyone is on the same page about paying to visit Bali’s most popular attractions.
Whether it be an entry ticket to a temple, a day pass for a beach club, or even a parking fee at the beach, there is a general level of acceptance from both residents and tourists that paying for an experience in Bali is just the done thing.
Yet how much that payment should be is a whole other conversation.
This weekend one tourist driver posted a photo online of his parking fee at the ever-popular Berawa Beach in Canggu. The driver had parked his vehicle for 8 hours and 45 minutes at the main parking area at Berawa Beach and was charged IDR 140,000 for the privilege.
The driver, Wayan Sembung, wrote in his post (only half-jokingly) that this is surely “the most expensive parking fee in the history of driving.”
His post has quickly gone viral across local social media news accounts with mixed feedback. Coincidently, this is a conversation that has also been playing out on social media accounts run by ex-pats and long-stay visitors in the Canggu area.
A very similar conversation was mediated by the Canggu Community Instagram account a few weeks ago. How much is a fair fee for parking a vehicle in a public car parking space? How much should foreigners tip a car park security guard, if at all? And should foreigners pay a bigger fee than local people?
The conversation in both instances triggered debate online; some say it’s fair, and others say that, in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not.
The parking fee at Berawa Beach has been in place for more than two years, and according to the Head of the Berawa Customary Village, Ketut Riana, it has never been complained about to such a degree before.
Riana confirmed to reporters that the parking fees are clearly on display at the entrance to the parking area.
He said, “The tariff has been valid for more than two years. It hasn’t even been increased since then. Not including the taxes and so on that we charge.”
Riana stated that the basic parking rates are charged on a 3-hour basis.
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For example, the charge to park a motorcycle is IDR 2,000 per 3 hours. After 3 hours is up, an additional IDR 2,000 is charged until the 6-hour mark, when a further IDR 2,000 charge is applied.
Similarly, cars are charged IDR 5,000 per 3-hour period, and minivans, people carriers, and buses are charged IDR 20,000 per 3-hour period.
Riana confirmed that Sembung was charged correctly. He explained, “So for the first 3 hours, the vehicle is charged Rp. 20,000. Then for the next 6 hours, you will be charged another Rp. 20,000 per hour.”
“Thus, the total additional tariff charged is IDR 120,000. For that, the total parking fee that must be paid for 9 hours is IDR 140,000.”
He added, “So far, we have never received complaints from special parking users from local residents. Tourists are the ones who mostly complain (even though parking is less than 3 hours).”
The viral post has caught the attention of the Tourism Office and the Regional Revenue Agency. Riana said that he had spoken with the authorities and explained the situation.
Badung Regency Government collected 30% of the revenue generated by the parking facilities at Berawa Beach.
According to Riana, the parking rates at Berawa Beach are cheaper than in other areas of Canggu.
He said that parking at beach clubs in the area is more expensive, which is part of why tour guides choose to drop their guests off at neighboring beach clubs and then park at the community-managed parking spaces to save money.
Tourist parking is becoming a talking point across Bali’s leading destinations. Whether due to the cost of parking or the amount of available space, it is clear that leaders need to tackle the issue fast.
Just last week, traffic jams were piling up at the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. Local leaders cited quickly opening up more available parking spaces to help tourists gain access to the world heritage site.
Speaking to reporters, the Regent of Tabanan, Dr. Komang Gede Sajaya, said that the issue of tourist parking needs to be addressed across Bali and that the cost of not taking action is high.
Dr. Sajaya said, “Ideally, the ratio of one tourism object is ten parking lots, while in Jatiluwih, it is the other way around, ten [points of interest] while parking is only one.”
“So those who want to enjoy beautiful [destinations] are often constrained by parking difficulties. This is then passed down by word of mouth so they are less visited.”