Tourists can no longer enjoy the white sandy beach of Kuta while they walk along the road or sit in the nearby cafés after a two-meter concrete fence was built along the road.
Some complained about the “great wall”, made of white sandstone, which was constructed to protect the Kuta and Legian area from sand storms during the rainy season.
Patty and Bill Mellor from Perth, Australia, who have frequently visited Bali, most often Kuta Beach, said they were disappointed when they returned here and saw the wall.
“We don’t like it. It hides the beautiful blue ocean, white sands and great swells of Kuta,” Bill said.
“The wall doesn’t look good at all. It is too high. They should have built half of it,” Patty said.
She also complained about poor maintenance. “The wall gets dirtier and they never clean it, so it looks even worse.”
As frequent visitors, they once experienced the sand storms that occur during the rainy season, saying they understood the reason why the local administration constructed the wall.
“We know that it is to block the sand from blowing across, but the problem is that they built it too high. I have seen the sand storm after a strong wind. There were sand drifts along the road and across the hotels and they used a bulldozer to clean it,” Bill said.
Besides stopping the sand storms, the local administration said that the wall was built with Balinese architecture, thus showing Bali’s character and providing a photographic backdrop for tourists. They seemed oblivious to the fact that tourists who took pictures in Kuta would prefer the beach as their backdrop instead of a wall.
They also argued that before constructing the wall, there were discussions with all stakeholders in Kuta, including hotel owners, community leaders and related parties, and there were no objections to the Rp 4 billion (US$471,588) project.
Anthony from England also disagreed with the wall, saying it was disappointing that people could not enjoy the beach view while they drive down the main road.
“This is a public space that should not be limited by a wall,” said Anthony, who works in Ubud.
“They [the local administration] might have a good reason to build the wall, but unfortunately, it ruins the beach view,” Henrietta from Norway added.
The wall includes a gate built near the Hard Rock Hotel, in homage to the Bentar Temple in a style reserved for royal palaces, large temples and important buildings. The construction of the gate cost Rp 500 million.
Not all tourists, however, are opposed to the wall. Rafael and Emma from France, said they liked it because the wall’s design reflected Bali’s character.
“Besides, it separates the beach from the congested traffic on that road, so it makes the beach more quiet,” Rafael said.
Emma added that people could still see the beach from a space between the gate and could come closer if they wanted to enjoy the entire view.