Your Ultimate Bali Guide

Things you can only find in Bali

Most countries and even cities or islands have their own uniqueness or a special ‘feature’ that you can only find there. How about Bali? Have you ever considered the things you could find out there? Let’s explore them!

Same Name Wherever You Go

Yup! It sounds weird but it’s real. Balinese people name their children based upon their birth order. Wayan / Putu / Gede for the oldest, Made / Kadek / Nengah for the middle one, Nyoman / Komang for the third one, Ketut for the last one (as it means bonus child). In the past , the Balinese Government suggested people should have only 3 children,and that’s why the fourth one is counted as ‘the bonus’. For a fifth child, it is usual to use Wayan / Putu / Gede, just like the first one and so on. The names are applied for both, men and women. Sometimes they put an “I” (for men) and “Ni” (for women) in front of the name to differentiate the gender: for instance, I Wayan, Ni Ketut, and so on. 

We have an article explaining the origin of balinese names further.

Balinese Hinduism is different than the Indian one

As you may know, Hinduism is a religion originated from India, but the one you’ll meet in Bali is quiet different. It’s came from Southern India, which is a bit different than the majority Hindu in other part of India. It’s also associated with Buddhism and it is oftenly called Hindu Budha and, traditionally connected to theBalinese culture. That’s what makes it a unique part of Bali’s culture and an original symbol of Bali.

Balinese Calendar

Bali people use their own Balinese Saka Calendar, applied simultaneously with the international calendar. It’s based on moon phases , and it is approximately as long as the Gregorian year. The Balinese Hindu festival of Nyepi, The day of silence, marks the start of the Saka year. Tilem Kepitu, the last day of the 7th month, is known as Siva Ratri, and is a night dedicated to the god Shiva. Devotees stay up all night and they meditate. There are additional 24 ceremonial days in the Saka year, usually celebrated at Purnama or Full Moon.

One Day OFF!

What comes to your mind? There’s only one day off in Bali for the entire island, called “Nyepi” or “Balinese Day of Silence”. It is the New Year in Balinese Calendar and it’s a day of silence, fasting, and mediation. It’s not a regular or normal day off or a holiday as you imagine. It’s really an OFF day in many aspects. No light, no sound, no going out from your house, no transportation... Just an absolute silence... Even airports don’t operate at that day. There’s no place in the world that can do that except of Bali. Hotels, hospitals and many emergency places still operate, but in the inside only. If people have emergencies at their house, they have to ask for permission and they would get help from the “pecalang” or traditional local security guards. Before that day, the Balinese celebrate “pengerupukan” where the “Ogoh-Ogoh”, or demonic statues made of bamboo and paper, symbolizing negative elements go out on the streets in the afternoon for a parade.

Head Carrying instead of Hand Carrying

All people could do carrying things using hands, but not everyone can do head carrying. It’s a common thing and a daily activity, likewise for work or dancing in several countries like Africa and India.This can also be found in Bali. Most Balinese women can carry things on their heads, such as baskets, offerings, and all similar things you could imagine. Bali is famous with its religious ceremony: it’s a tradition and it creates an amazing view of women lining with the offerings on their heads and heading to the temples or other ceremony places. Even in villages, there’s a competition on Indonesia’s Independence Day,s where the grandmas carry things on their heads while cycling through twisted road.

So Many Hotels in One Area

Bali is a small island, but the number of hotels and villas keeps growing and growing and reaches insane numbers.. The Government wanted to suppress the growth, but it was too late. The same as in Agoda, Bali has more than 5.000 properties to rent, most of them located at main tourist areas like Kuta, Jimbaran, Uluwatu, etc (South Bali area). It is a lot, compared to other big cities like Jakarta and Bandung, which only have around 500 properties, or other countries like Singapore, which only has 400 properties. This is a crazy amount to be located on a small island like Bali, especially when talking about South Bali only. This has become a problem due to: clean water supplies, which now are really hard to find, the insanely unbalanced living standards, property costs which are constantly increasing -, and traffic jam which is becoming unsupportable. The good thing is you can get the cheapest hotel rate in a reasonably good facility at a fair price. And some of those hotels have truly amazing pools.

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