When in Bali, do as the Balinese do. Or at least, know and follow the customs of the locals.

The Island of the Gods has an incredibly strong culture, that filters through into day to day life. 

The Balinese people are incredibly friendly, but you still have to be respectful of what you can and can’t do – especially relating to their culture. 

Many Balinese are very protective of their culture and religion.

Are you staying in Bali temporarily, staying forever or just vacationing? Make sure you know these little tips and tricks. 


  • Dress Modestly

Pura (temples) are a sacred place for Balinese people. 

Dressing modestly is the number one rule for entering a temple. You must be polite, neat, clean, and not highlight the any alluring parts of your body. 

A general rule of thumb is to make sure shoulders and legs are covered.

  • Respect the Ceremonies

Ceremonies are one of the biggest parts of Balinese Hinduism. They have a ceremony for just about everything!

The celebration of Nyepi is probably the biggest ceremony in Bali, and will have the biggest impact on you.

There are three things that are prohibited during Nyepi; leaving the house/hotel, making excessive noise and turning on the lights.

Local security will be around the streets checking to make sure everyone abides by the rules. If there is an emergency, there are exceptions.

  • Use Your Right Hand

Regarded as respectable manners, be sure to point, ask or receive something with your right hand.

The left hand is considered dirty and used for dirty tasks (toilet wiping).

Whenever you touch someone or hand something over, be sure to use your right hand!

  • Ask Before Taking Photos

Bali is unlike anywhere else in the world. With magnificent landscapes, beautiful scenery and unbelievable sights. 

One of the amazing things about Bali is the unique culture and welcoming, warm hearted people.

If you come across a ceremony or person working in the rice fields you would like to take a picture of, do so with their permission.

It may be a tourist island, but the locals aren’t one of the sights to see.

  • Dress in Traditional Clothes

For those who are lucky enough to be invited to a traditional ceremony, why not go all out and dress like the locals!

The colorful kabayas and sarongs will help you blend in with the crowds while showing that you respect the culture.

Plus, its fun!

  • Learn the Lingo

One of the best ways to show your respect for culture is to learn some lingo.

Although Balinese is the local language, Indonesian is widely used and easier to learn.

Make sure you pick up a few words and phrases before your visit to show the locals how you respect them.


  • Respect the Rules of the Temples

On the whole, the temples of Bali all follow the same rules. Be appropriately dressed and respectful. 

Women are not allowed to enter temples if they are menstruating, as blood is not allowed to be spilled in a temple.

They won’t exactly check, however keep your conscience clear and the Gods happy by staying away.

  • Swear During a Ceremony

Occasionally, the ceremonies of Bali may affect your travel. They often close the roads for processions and parades – traditional Ngaben ceremony being one of them.

If you are stuck in traffic behind a ceremony, DO NOT swear, curse or honk.

Be respectful, find another way around, or sit back and enjoy the view.

  • Touch a Balinese Head

The Balinese believe that the head is the most sacred part of the body.

Be sure not to touch a child, babies or even adult’s head. 

Affection is much better shown with kind words, a smile or hand hold.

  • Pee Any Old Place

In Bali, sacred and worshiped places or objects will be tied with poleng, black and white checkered cloth.

You will find it around trees, tedung (umbrellas), pelinggih (monuments), statues, also kulkul (religious bales). 

Common decency states that you shouldn’t be peeing in public anyway, but if the need strikes, avoid a religious spot, or privately owned space.

Final Thoughts

A tourist haven, there are so many places is Bali where the traditional rules don’t apply.

That being said, if you are looking for a more authentic and immersive experience, you will want to know the ins and outs of the culture.

Stick by these few small rules and you will show the Balinese just how much you appreciate their culture.