Thanks from 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.


Galungan and Kuningan Ceremonies in Bali, 5 to 15 April 2017
Saturday, April 01, 2017

Penjor Bali

Galungan and Kuningan Day will be celebrated in Bali this year on 5 April 2017 and 15 April 2017. This celebration is held roughly twice a year, every 210 days, when it is believed that the spirits of the ancestors visit the earth. In this day, Hindus people also believe that this is a day where Hindus people celebrating the victory of dharma (good) over adharma (evil). It is the best time for you too to come to Bali where you can see the streets are lined with decorative bamboo "penjor" or bamboo pole and see women bring their offerings made from fruits, cake, and flower. Sometime, not only women are holding the offerings but also men.  So, it is really interesting to see!


Preparation before Galungan and Kuningan Ceremonies:

galungan day

  • Two or three days before Galungan Day, Balinese people are almost busy with their activities in preparing the holiest day starting from men finding young coconut leaves, bamboo, and other materials to make penjor while for women make traditional cakes for offering, and preparing various kinds of fruits.
  • A day before Galungan Day refers to "Penampahan Galungan", where all of preparations should be ready before Galungan Day. In this day, Balinese people start cooking their "phenomenal Bali's dishes" such as satay, "lawar" or mixed vegetable with young coconut and herb, Balinese soup, and other dishes that are made from chicken, pork, and vegetables. When all of the Balinese dishes are ready, Balinese men starts decorating penjor at the entrance of family house gate. Penjor is decorated by using young coconut leaves and various other natural items i.e. tubers or roots (cassava), rice or corn, fruit, traditional Balinese cakes. At the end of each penjor decorated with sampian made from coconut leaves and flowers. The curved part of penjor symbolizes Mount Agung, the highest mountain in Bali that is considered as the home of gods. While for women look busy preparing beautiful 'banten' or offering.
  • By the date on 5 April 2017 (Galungan Day) all of Balinese family members praying in their family temples and other village temples. This can be considered as special day for Balinese where they can gather with their family even if their family members working in the other part of Bali, they will try to return to their own home and celebrate Galungan Day together. If you are in Bali in this day, ceremonies are found everywhere from morning till night so don't forget to capture great photos to remind you how unique Bali it is. There is also unique performance that you can see in this day, it is called "Ngelawang Ceremony" that is usually done by youth and then they travel around village in the costume of "Barong Rangda" and "Barong Kedengkling" to restore the balance of good and evil.
  • The day after Galungan Day called “Manis Galungan” where normally Balinese people visit their friend’s house, hanging out with family or friends and so on.

Ten days later, Kuningan Day marks the end of Galungan Day and Balinese people believe in this day all of the gods and ancestors return to their own realm. A unique thing in this day, normally Balinese people make the offering with yellow rice to thank for what have been given.

**During Galungan and Kuningan Day, usually there are no any roads blocked and the activities are done as usual but might be a little bit crowded in the morning and it is a great chance for you to observed the fascinating Bali's culture that shouldn't be missed.

Balinese Names Explained
Monday, March 20, 2017

Balinese Name

Spending couples of weeks on your holiday in Bali, you will meet new friends and plenty of friendly locals. As the first thing, you will probably notice when you meet local is start chatting and sharing to the locals, and it seems everyone share with the same name; Wayan, Made, Nyoman or Ketut (these names you will hear for both men and women). This might be unfamiliar for you at the first time as Balinese culture unlike other cultures that use their family names, and will give you the difficulties to determine one Wayan to another. Even this might be hard at the first, but Bali has a naming system for Balinese to help you place people in their family and society.

Here's how it works:

Every Balinese child is simply named by his or her order of birth. The first born (boy or girl) is Wayan. The second born is Made (pronounced ma day). The third child goes by Nyoman and the fourth is named Ketut. If a family has more than four children, the cycle repeats itself, and the next ‘Wayan’ may be called "Wayan Balik", which loosely translates to ‘another Wayan' in the family.

It looks easy, right? But you might think you hear other names beside from those names i.e. Agung, Ngurah, Tjokorda (pronounced Co Kor Da), Dewa and so on. These names are given by their castle or clan. For example, people from the Wesya (aristocratic) caste might be named Gusti, Dewa or Desak, people from the Ksatria (kings and warriors) caste are often called Ngurah, Anak Agung or Tjokorda, and people from the highest priestly caste, the Brahmana, are often named Ida Bagus for men or Ida Ayu for women. Jero indicates that a person, usually a woman, has married into a higher caste.


However, you might meet with other people with the names that do not fit into any of these categories. This probably because they go by their nickname. The unique thing in giving a nickname to Balinese, it can be given by physical attributes such as Wayan Berag (thin Wayan) or perhaps something aritrary such as Wayan John and so on but most of Balinese give their children a name that has a good and positive meaning based on Hindu religion. Examples "Setiawan" that has meaning for "faithful" or "Dewi" (goddess) and sometimes Balinese people use this name or shortern name to create their nick name, for example Widi might be a shortening of Widiadnyana, Wira might be short for Wirawan.

Still confused? It will be confusing for the first time and it takes some time to understand it but once you do, it is easy to determine where a person stands in her or his family and the caste or clan system. Enjoy your holiday in Bali island to the fullest with