Even though Bali attracts more than millions of international tourist every year and Bali present itself as a modern and ‘western’ travel destination, the culture and etiquette of the Balinese people is still rich and strong.
To be familiar with these etiquette while vacationing in Bali is a good idea if you do not want to offend anybody while traveling. Follow these very simple and useful recommendations to stay on good terms with the Balinese locals and you will have a good holiday without breaking their customs or insulting anybody.
If the plan is to visit any temples while being in Bali then these facts is worth remembering.
If you wish to enter a Balinese temple then you need to cover yourself up with long clothing. It is expected to wear a shirt that covers your shoulders, so bear that in mind before you leave in the morning.
You also have to wear a sarong, most temples rent them out at the entrance or you can bring your own.
Another custom for women is not to enter any temple whilst menstruating. The same goes for any open wound for both men and women, as it is considered impure and goes against their spirituality.
Give & receive
Another custom in Bali is to never give or receive with your left hand. It is considered bad mannered to do so. The exception is to use both hands when giving or receiving something as this gesture is seen as a high compliment.
Honking while driving
When driving or walking around in Bali you will with no doubt hear more people honking in the traffic than you would at home. This is not an act of aggressive driving. In Bali a brief honk is a common way to let other people know you are overtaking and passing.
Shoes or no shoes?
This advice might not shock you if you have been traveling to Asian countries before. When entering a home or a temple it is customs to take off your shoes. The same goes for some of the shops – you will see which shops by the row of shoes and flip-flops outside and this should give you a hint if you should take off your shoes before entering.
According to the Balinese the head is considered as the most sacred part of the human body as the soul is supposed to exist in one’s head. No need to tell you that this is very essential belief and you should never under any circumstances touch their head. Not even the Balinese children.
If you have ever been to Bali before then no need for an explanation what a canang sari is as you see them around anywhere. If you have never visit before then canang sari is a packages of woven palm leaf, flower and herbs the locals put out in the morning as an offering. You will find them everywhere on the sidewalks and it is therefore a good idea – especially in the morning – to watch where you are going, so you are not stepping on any of them. It is seem very offensive to any Balinese.