Before planning your ideal vacation in Bali, it’s essential to understand the island’s social and cultural etiquette. Though the Balinese people are quite gracious with visitors, you will find it easier to explore the place once you know the dos and don’ts in Bali.
To ensure that you do not land in trouble during your first trip to Bali, we have put together a list of 12 things to avoid in Bali:
- Indonesia has strong laws against illegal drugs and a few medications. Don’t ever make the mistake of smuggling drugs illegally into Bali. You should check with your travel agents regarding medications on the ‘what is not allowed in Bali’ list. Though the law gets practiced worldwide, Indonesia orders the death penalty sentence to a criminal if caught smuggling drugs in or out of the country.
- Though Bali has beautiful beaches where lounging in bikinis is allowed, it is considered disrespectful if you walk around scantily dressed on the streets of Bali. It is deemed socially unacceptable to roam around wearing a bikini or without a shirt, and it is one of the things to avoid in Bali. You will be expected to be considerate of the modest lifestyle of Balinese people, who do not appreciate tourists parading around half-naked.
- An essential tip to remember and a common mistake to avoid in Bali is not to consume the local tap water. The water filtration system in Indonesia is still not at par with the developed countries, so tap water will not be suitable for you to drink. Rather than falling sick after drinking it, you should buy bottled water or use a filtered water bottle.
- You will notice that Bali is an island with monkeys, especially at tourist spots like Ubud and Uluwatu forests and temples. While visiting the location as part of Bali’s tour packages, it would be wise not to provoke a monkey, as they can attack. The Macaque monkeys are notoriously cunning and attempt to steal things they can quickly grab. Keep your sunglasses, hats, cameras and food items close to you, or best, hidden from the monkeys so they can’t get their hands on them.
- Driving scooters or cars may seem easy to get around Bali, but it’s best to hire vehicles only if you have insurance. In case of no insurance, any damage to the leased vehicle may become very costly.
- Bali and its people may give you a very laid-back feel of the island and their lifestyle, but gestures like putting your feet up on a chair or table and exposing the bottoms of your feet or shoes are considered very rude. Avoid the action no matter where you are in Bali.
- Like in most places around the world, as a tourist, you should respect the region’s cultural and religious etiquette. Bali has several well-known Hindu temples throughout the land. During your visit to a temple as part of your Bali honeymoon packages itinerary, you will be expected to dress and act modestly. If you are not suitably dressed, you will be asked to cover up with a sarong or scarf before entering the temples. The rule applies to both men and women, and it’s advisable to carry sarongs along because you may not be able to hire them everywhere. Similarly, ensure that you always remove your footwear outside the temple or sacred sites since that is also considered wrong. Other than religious sites, many traditional businesses will require you to leave your shoes outside their shops as a mark of respect towards their work.
- Bali is a spiritual island; you will observe many colourful offerings scattered throughout the island when you travel as part of Bali’s travel packages. The ceremonial offerings are part of their religious beliefs as a mode of gifting to appease the Gods. The beautiful pockets adorned with flowers and incense get placed in front of every house’s main door or entrance, including the pavements. You have to be mindful about not stepping on these ceremonial offerings since it’s considered disrespectful to God.
- Another essential thing to note is that you should avoid touching a Balinese person or a child on their head since it is considered the most sacred part of the body. In Balinese culture, touching people’s heads is not a welcomed practice, even if you want to playfully ruffle a child’s hair, as it is considered highly impolite.
- A custom considered very rude and on the list of what is not allowed in Bali is offering something with your left hand since it’s supposedly an unclean body part. The Balinese believe in using the right hand for significant actions and gestures, like giving and receiving things or pointing and eating. Always use your right hand when passing money, or best use both hands as a mark of respect. The Balinese will notice and appreciate it whenever you follow their customs.
- If you have been invited to someone’s house for a meal, you should avoid leaving your plate empty once done. The leftover food later gets used as an offering for the gods and lets your host know that you had your fill.
- Amongst the things to avoid in Bali is a simple yet essential action. Remember to avoid using a pen with red ink while writing a letter to a Balinese person since red ink is considered the colour of anger.
It is best to be aware of the Balinese social and religious customs to avoid a faux-pas. Ensure that you comply with these dos and don’ts in Bali, and you will have an enjoyable experience. Visit us at GT Holidays, if you are looking for affordable Bali tour packages that match your travel style.