Free Travel Guide for Bali

Customs / Traditions

Offerings lying on the floor.

In order to respect the culture of the Balinese and not to hurt their feelings by lack of knowledge, some rules must be observed, especially if you are seeking contact with the local population.

Regarding your posture and gestures

  • Do not cross your arms (sign of provocation).
  • Do not put your hands on your hips (aggressive posture).
  • Do not show your soles while sitting (insulting posture).
  • Do not point at anyone.
  • Do not touch the head of a Balinese, adult or child (the head is sacred because it’s the core of the soul).
  • Remove your shoes if you enter the natives’ home or when being asked to do so.
  • Do not lose your temper: getting angry means losing the face like in other Asian countries. Always say things with a smile and use sense of humour, even to bargain.
  • Keep a low profile and avoid showing your feelings in public.
Please remove your shoes!

During your visits

  • Be careful with the multiples offerings lying on the floor, in front of the houses and inside the temples. Do not crush them.
  • Wear a sarong (piece of fabric to tie around the hips, which covers the legs) and, when necessary, a sashe (belt tied around the hips) in Bali’s temples and sacred places.
  • Access to temples and other sacred places is prohibited to women while their period, by religious belief.
  • If you attend a ceremony in a temple, make sure to always be positioned lower than the officiating priest. The reverse would be seen as a huge lack of respect.
  • Learn basic Indonesian words. It will deeply please Balinese.
  • Do not comment the Bali political regime with the locals. They could get in trouble for it.

How to behave at the table

  • Avoid using your left hand to eat, the left hand is considered impure.
  • Likewise, do not give back change with your left hand. Give the change, or any other object, using both hands.
  • At the restaurant or at the inhabitant’s, do not cross your legs while seated (sign of mistrust and disrespectful).

Authentic experiences, as Balinese Purification in Tirta Sudamala and Fishing at Sea with Balinese Locals are a great opportunity for you to be immersed into the Balinese’ culture.

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