Bali Travel Advice

Bali is just one of the 17,000+ islands that are part of The Republic of Indonesia.The mixture of friendly people, the diverse visual culture infused with spirituality and stunning beaches have made Bali Indonesia’s premier tourist attraction.

This island is a choice destination, and though heavily travelled, it is still easy to find your zen. Unlike any other island in largely Muslim Indonesia, Bali is a pocket of Hindu religion and culture and home to 3 Unesco World Heritage sites.

Here is a list of ‘good to know’ practices for responsible traveling while in Bali.

DO remember to use simple gestures of respect when visiting Bali. Your courtesy will be appreciated by the locals.

DO greet people with “Selamat” (sell-a-mat), which means peace.

DO dress modestly; refrain from wearing tight revealing clothing (unless you are at the beach).

DO cover up when entering temples. Sarongs and a scarf around your waist are acceptable for both men and women. No bare shoulders.

DO step mindfully around offering baskets. They are offered to the Gods daily. You’ll see these woven palm leaf packages everywhere. Stepping on one can be offensive to any Balinese who witnesses your misstep.

DO take off your shoes when entering somebody’s house.

DO bargain while shopping. Unless there is a ‘fixed price’ sign, bargaining at the markets is expected. Ask the price then make an offer for what you will pay. Play fair. Remember, you may be haggling over just a few thousand rupiah which, to a foreign visitor, is a tiny amount.

DO say “Terima Kasih” ( tuh-ree-mah kah-seeh) or Thank You.

DO gesture with palm facing down when asking someone to come, instead of with palm facing up—that’s a call for a fight.

DO bring a refillable water bottle and your own shopping bags to show support for the ‘say no to plastic’ conservation program. Most accommodations will provide fresh drinking water for you.

DO get to know the locals. The Balinese are friendly and curious and will go out of their way to make you comfortable.

DO remember to keep your cool, even if dissatisfied. Balinese people are easily embarrassed and saving face is very important to them. The Balinese in general dislike any confrontation and tend to react indifferently to raised voices. A simple ‘no thank you’ to the many requests for ‘taxi or transport’ is perfect.

DO use mosquito repellent daily as Dengue fever is a problem.

DON’T touch people’s heads. The locals believe that a person’s soul resides in the head which makes it the holiest part of the body. As such, never touch anyone’s head or hair, and don’t even think about ruffling a little child’s hair.

DON’T give or receive something with your left hand. Balinese people believe that the left hand is dirty. They see the left hand as impure because it is the hand Balinese people use for hygienic purposes. Please always use the right hand when paying or when handing an object to someone.

DON’T visit temples when menstruating or with open wounds. It is considered impure.

DON’T get carried away taking photos during ceremonies. These are sacred moments. And under no circumstance should you walk in front of praying Balinese.

DON’T even think about drugs. Drug crimes carry a death penalty.

DON’T drink the notorious local liquor called arak. It will make you sick.

DON’T wear anything dangly (earrings, eyewear, necklaces) where the monkeys hang out. The monkeys love to collect trinkets.

DON’T stress. You come to Bali to experience the essence of the island of the Gods. The island will not disappoint.