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Basic Bali etiquettes – what to wear in the temples, dos and don’ts

Every time you think about vacationing abroad, Bali is on the cards. Abundant with temples, beaches, and attractions of natural significance, Bali looks like a piece of heaven and is a popular tourist attraction. Even more irresistible is the cheaper prices on offer. Basically, if you plan on going to Bali, there’s nothing to stop you. Everything is just perfect. But, there is one thing you should be very cautious – Bali Culture. The Balinese are very strict when it comes to following etiquettes. Read along to understand about the basic Bali etiquettes to follow, complete with what to wear in the temples, dos and don’ts.

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Dress appropriately

Though Bali is visited by a huge amount of westerners every year, the people here stay rooted to their culture. And dressing appropriately plays a huge part. The locals in Bali sport a conservative attire all the time and so should you. Cover your shoulders and knees regardless of where you are going. If you are at the temple, leave your slippers outside. And before heading inside, wear a sarong and a sash. You can get these for rent at all the temples in Bali and in some cases, it is included as a part of the ticket price. This is applicable to both men and women.

When you are at the beach, stop yourselves from going topless. Dressing modestly in Bali is the right thing to do and the locals will sure appreciate you.

Interesting read: Planning a Bali honeymoon? Reasons why you should avoid it at all costs!

Public display of affection

It’s very common in the west to get intimate in the public and openly show affection. But in Bali, getting cosy in the public is frowned upon. So, try to keep your emotions in check when you are outside.

Holy rules

Leaving out the sarong and sash, there are few other things that you should follow while entering the temple. Firstly, women who are menstruating are not allowed to enter the temple. There are plaques put outside the temples that clearly say this. Some are even etched in stone. Yes, that is how serious of a rule this is. Leave menstruation, people who have running wounds are also not allowed inside the temple, regardless of the gender. It is considered impure.

In addition, pregnant women or those who have given birth within six weeks are not allowed to enter.

When you are praying, do not point your feet towards the altar. It is considered disrespectful. Men are supposed to sit cross-legged whereas women are expected to kneel. Also, ensure your head is not higher than that of the priest.

Use of hands

Whenever you are passing things or receiving, make sure to use your right hand or both of your hands but not your left hand. Asians don’t use toilet paper and instead use their left hand to wash their privates. So, it is considered inappropriate and unhygienic to use your left hand to touch a person or any material for that matter.

If you want to call out someone, do not point your index finger. Rather, use your thumb or cup your fingers and point it out. Using your index finger will be considered rude and inappropriate.

Talking about being inappropriate, you are not supposed to touch people’s head. The Balinese consider head to be very sacred and refer to it as the place where the soul resides. This is applicable even if it’s a child and the heads are totally off the limits.

Balinese culture and their etiquette might sound a little weird and seem scary at times but as you get used to it, you will understand Bali is as enjoyable as any other destination in the world.

Also read: 11 spectacular spots in Bali that will make you an instant Instagram star


Learn more about Bali, here. For all things planning, try Pickyourtrail. Also, glance through some of our top selling Bali itineraries.

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