Exploring Bali
Before You Go: Bali Etiquette
Friday, April 14, 2017


Besides packing the things, you need during Bali vacation there is a very important thing to consider while you are on your vacation where it is about Bali etiquettes. It's easy as a traveler to unknowingly come across as being rude or impolite, so we've put together an insider's guide to respecting the local culture.


The Balinese are a very correct people. The relaxed way they go about things belies a rigid code of conduct and morals. While they would never comment on the seemingly rude behavior of a visitor, they are quick to judge any diversion from their norm. The best advice that can be given to a visitor to Bali regarding "demeanor" us to tred lightly, don't carry a big stick, and when dealing with officialdom treat them with the utmost respect. Be generous, you will be rewarded.

On clothing, it is generally better to dress more formally than less for more occasions. The Balinese treat visitors as their guests, and they expect visitors to comply with that status. Wear a shirt when not on the beach. Don't walk around town in swimming customs. What may seem like a quaint beachside alley may be the courtyard of a holy temple or a house. Shoes and a collared shirt are essential when visiting government offices. When entering a private house, it is usual to leave one shoes on the steps. It would be impossible to learn all of the strange and wonderful Balinese customs and traditions, but two in particular are helpful, and not only in this part of the world. Try to remember to give and receive with the right hand. It is also strictly "taboo" to pat someone on the head. Armed with that advice you are ready for the "Bali experience".


In Temples and Holy Places


It is compulsory to wear a waist sash when visiting temples. By ancient law, women during menstruation are asked not to enter the temple. This is based on a general sanction against blood on holy soil and not on sexist principles! Use your camera with discretion; don't climb onto temple buildings or walls. If people are praying move to one side and on no account, get between them and the direction to which they are praying. The small contribution made at the gate to most major temple does little to offset the cost of maintenance incurred since the start of "tours". It is a good idea to always carry a temple sash when setting out for a day’s touring.


Shopping and Bargaining


Bargaining is normal. Goods and services are not the same price everywhere. The price is always made in consideration of the persons need on that day, his assessment of potential buyer and the spirit of the bargaining. There is a negligible "newcomer's tax" on most local services; don’t feel "ripped-off". Treat bargaining as an enjoyable means of communication.


The Role of the Tourist

Tourism is a relatively new phenomenon for Bali. Don't be surprised if you attract quite an amount of attention when you are visiting out of the way places. The Balinese have no real concept of privacy. Try to remain courteous and well-mannered despite the attentions of people trying to sell you things practice their English or those that merely stare. If you wish to take photographs of people, it is good manners to ask permission first. Begging is traditionally looked down upon by Balinese and it is better not to encourage this habit. To a rice farmer who has perhaps never ever been to the city it is not surprising that he regards the tourist in return as a sight worth looking at. As well it is not surprising that the Balinese regard all tourists as wealthy how else could they afford to travel so far away from their home.


Tipping in Bali


When traveling abroad, it can sometimes be a little confusing when it comes to tipping for services. This is especially true if you are not used to tipping and simply don't have a clue what an appropriate amount would be. In Bali, it is not expected to leave a tip. It's obviously greatly appreciated if you do, however it won't be considered as rude if you don't. Actually, there is no any particular amount of tip that you can give from services you get. Whether it is 50 K, 100 K or even more or less, it depends on point of view of you. In summary, we can say that giving or not a tip it is up to the travelers.



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