One vacation destination that feels like it’s going to be visited by everyone on the island of Bali. Bali travel etiquette has become very important to acknowledge by a lot of people. Well, with many airlines promos that make airline tickets affordable and the number of cheap hotels, there is no reason for you not to vacation in Bali. At least once, anyway!
However, do you know that there is a series of karmic rules that we must obey when on holiday in Bali? We know very well that Bali highly upholds their culture. Bali has hundreds of unique traditions and habits, which make Bali an interesting place to visit.
From the way you dress at certain places to different kinds of ceremonies you need to respect, there is a lot to know before going to Bali. It is easy for tourists who come unconsciously to do rude and impolite things without even realizing it. So we have gathered the Bali travel etiquette to respect the local culture of Bali below.
It is very suitable to be on the beach in Bali using minimal clothing, but entering the temple area is another story. Bali travel etiquette requires shoulders and knees should be closed as a sign of respect, and many temples in Bali rent rugs and sarongs if you don’t have them yourself.
Generally, if you are in a place of worship of any religion, you must wear polite clothes. The same is true when you visit places of worship such as temples or places that are considered sacred. There’s nothing wrong with carrying a cloth shawl or sarong in your bag.
Indeed, generally in temples or holy places that are commonly visited, there is already a sarong rental place. However, if you visit temples or places of worship that have not been commonly visited by tourists, there is a big chance that that place has no sarong or scarf rental.
Manners in Bali that you also have to obey are the rules of karma or about the Bali travel etiquette of entering temples or holy places. As mentioned above, you must wear polite clothes and also a shawl or sarong. For women who are on period, you may not enter temples or other holy places. You also have to take care of your words and be polite.
Bali is a part of Indonesia, so there is some Indonesian etiquette that also applies to Bali. First, beware of your hands. When taking something, use your right hand and even use both hands. This is because using your left hand is considered rude in Bali travel etiquette.
Also, be careful of the head. Don’t touch anyone on the head, and also children. This is because, in Bali, the head is the holiest part of the human body. Next, the manner in Bali that you also need to obey is not to defecate carelessly.
Maybe you are dying pee while doing nature tours in Bali then you can’t find a toilet. Remember that Balinese people believe that every place has a spirit watching. If you really have to urinate, apologize first. Avoid urinating in trees that are tied with cloth or offerings.
Bargaining with local merchants is part of your experience in Bali and should not be taken seriously. Do not bargain if you do not intend to buy because this condition is considered not good. Knowing this kind of local Bali travel etiquette will save you a lot of trouble.
The karma in Bali that you must obey is not to step on Canang, a kind of ritual offerings. When you are in Bali, you must pay attention to there must be offerings in shops or homes, even in hotels. Canang which is usually in the form of flowers and incense is an offering as a sign of respect for the universe.
If you see Canang located on the road, Bali travel etiquette is to respect it by passing it without stepping over. Simply just walk sideways or avoid it. Don’t step on it and if it is accidentally stepped on, say sorry. Not because you are afraid of being in trouble, but rather to show your respect for the local culture and beliefs.
If you see someone praying, you should not walk in front of the person who is praying. You also may not take pictures using the flash in front of the person who is praying or in front of the leader of a religious ceremony. If you happen to pass the ceremony procession on the street, then be polite by not honking.
Also, if there is a traditional ceremony, usually you cannot enter the temple. For those of you who like photography and want to take photos of ongoing celebrations, remember to maintain Bali travel etiquette. Ask first whether you can enter the temple or not. Use polite clothes. Also, do not disturb the Hindus who are worshiping to take a good photo angle.
Know the Date
Before you choose a date to visit Bali, it’s a good idea to check your Bali calendar first to see if there are celebrations or traditional ceremonies on the dates of your visit. If there is a big celebration in Bali, it is likely that some tourist attractions will close and there’s special Bali travel etiquette you need to follow.
One of the great holidays of Hindus is Nyepi. On Nyepi day, all tourist attractions will be closed and you may not leave the house. You also may not turn on the lights/electricity. There are tourists who deliberately go to Bali during Nyepi to feel the atmosphere of Bali on Nyepi day.
However, some are stuck because they don’t pay too much attention to the date of departure. Whatever your reason for being in Bali during Nyepi, follow the rules. Do not be desperate to turn on lights or electricity or travel to public places because there are the police who oversee this.
For those of you who live in hotels, you might just turn on the lights and watch TV. However, reduce the volume of the TV and close the curtain so that the light does not come out. In fact, it should be enough with a dim light. Those are Bali travel etiquette that you need to know!
You can check Balinese Calendar here: http://www.kalenderbali.org/