The largest waterfall in Bali, and simultaneously the most expensive to visit, has become the center of a scandal. Police and the head of the tourism service in Buleleng (the district in North Bali where Sekumpul is located), Gede Dodi Sukma Octiva Askara, arrived at one of the main attractions of the island. During inspections, law enforcement closed all posts leading to the waterfall, where local guides actively imposed their services on tourists.
Dodi explained that the official ticket booth, where visitors can purchase entrance tickets to Sekumpul Waterfall, is located in the tourist zone. The cost is 20,000 Indonesian rupiahs for adult visitors and 10,000 for children. However, the tickets offered to tourists along their route consist of service packages, including guide services, sold by local residents. According to him, having posts outside the official area gives visitors the impression that they are being extorted.
For those who have been to Sekumpul at least once, the feeling is not deceptive. Guides start "offering" tickets long before the official ticket booths. If you stop at such a post, it becomes extremely difficult to proceed without paying 250-300k. Threats, pressure, and sometimes even punctured bike tires forced many to comply and pay as much as requested.
Are all these practices now in the past? Authorities claim to be addressing extortion by organizers seriously.
"We will summon officials from local villages to discuss the unhealthy situation. Tourists are literally forced to stop on the road and buy entrance tickets and packages with various services at these posts. This is similar to extortion – they compel both the driver bringing tourists and the tourists themselves to purchase activity packages. We receive many complaints and reports on social media," said the head of the tourism service in Buleleng district.
The scandal escalated with a viral video. Local blogger @dekodennis posted a TikTok clip describing how he was stopped at a post on the way to Sekumpul and asked to pay 300 thousand rupiahs if he wanted to continue his journey.
"They said that entrance tickets became more expensive in 2019. Seriously? In Google reviews, many people complain, realizing that they were also deceived," the blogger wrote under the video. He also mentioned that the entrance ticket cost varies for each tourist.
"Travelers from Indonesia are asked for 150,000 to 300,000 rupiahs. Some foreigners are even forced to pay 600,000 rupiahs."
Heated debates arose in the comments under the video. Some advised avoiding such posts and not stopping at them. Others defended local residents, arguing that the popularity of the waterfall among tourists is their only way to earn a living.
This case reached the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Bali, Sandiaga Uno. "Tourists certainly did not receive complete information about the official entry point. There, at the ticket counter, there are no such exorbitant prices," commented the official on the incident with the blogger.
Sandiaga promised to continue coordinating with responsible authorities and monitor the situation regarding the waterfall's entrance. He will ask local colleagues to provide additional information to tourists along the route, including setting up signs.
"If you deceive a tourist, he may pay and leave, but he won't come back. It's important for us to maintain Bali's reputation," explained Sandiaga Uno. He also asked residents of tourist areas to guide travelers and provide advice when needed.
So, how much will the entrance ticket to Sekumpul now cost? Tourists from Indonesia will apparently be able to access it for 20,000 rupiahs. However, with foreigners, it's not so straightforward.
The waterfall administration, forced to provide comments due to the social media scandal, stated on their account that there are two ways to reach their attraction: through the villages of Sekumpul and Lemukih.
"In this case, the price will be only 150,000, including a guide, and for local tourists with Balinese documents — 20,000." Moreover, the official Instagram account @waterfall_sekumpul published a price list for visiting the waterfall, and the price of 20,000 rupiahs is not mentioned at all.
On the Bali.Live, there is a separate thread where participants share their experiences visiting Sekumpul. Apparently, recently, for 20,000 rupiahs, you could only see the waterfall from the viewing platform. If you plan to visit one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the island soon, we look forward to detailed stories about how the situation with entrance tickets has changed there.