Dos and Don’ts in Bali, Indonesia
There are many Dos and Don’ts when travelling to Asian countries and Indonesia is no exception. Once you visit Indonesia, the lovely Bali may be the next destination in your travel list. I have to say that the Balinese are some of the kindest people you’re going to meet but they also have their own beliefs and taboos. I’m sure you don’t want to be impolite and offend anyone. So, “When in Rome, do as the Romans, When in Bali, do as the Balinese”.
Let’s take a look at our Dos and Don’ts in Bali, Indonesia to know what you should do and what you shouldn’t do when travelling to this beautiful country. The more you get to know about Balinese, the more intriguing your Indonesia trip will be.
- Don’t get involved with drugs. Indonesian drug laws are extremely strict so don’t ever think of taking drugs to this country or using it in any ways. Punishment for drug users can be life imprisonment or even death penalty. However, in Bali, drug dealers are still around and sometimes, narcotics officers also pretend to be dealers. So, it’s a good habit to get used to saying “No, thank you” when being offered some.
- Don’t smoke in public areas. Bali government enforced the law to forbid smoking in 2011. This “smoke-free” bylaw went into effect across Bali in most public areas, including restaurants, hotels, temples, and tourist attractions.
- Do keep in mind to wear a sarong, a sash or long clothing when entering a temple. Temple guests are expected to cover shoulders and part of their upper arms. The same for waist and legs. The Balinese are quite serious about their spirituality. So, be respectful and cover up.
- Do take off your shoes before entering a home or a temple. You will know because there will be shoes everywhere outside.
- Do not touch the head of a Balinese, even if that is a kid. The head is considered the most sacred part of the human body.
- Do use both hands to give or receive anything, that’s how you show respect and politeness. Don’t hand over anything using just a left hand, that is considered impolite.
- Don’t touch or point at anyone with your feet. This is really offensive.
- Don’t point with your index finger. Instead, using the whole palm is good.
Foods and drinks
- Do keep away from Eastern food to enjoy tropical fruits and local Balinese cuisine. However, be careful with whatever you eat or Bali Belly (traveler’s diarrhea) will ruin your whole Indonesian trip. Or, just do try a cooking school in Bali. I’m sure you will love it.
- Don’t drink tap water, do drink bottled water to keep you safe from stomach problems.
- Do enjoy the local Bintang beer to refresh your Bali hot days.
- Don’t empty your plate when invited to dinner. Do leave a little food to let the host know that you had enough to eat.
- Do trust only the money changers that are recognized by Bank Indonesia (Pedagang Valuta Asing Berizinor PVA Berizin means “Authorized Money Changer”) because many other changers in Bali can be dishonest. Instead, you can go straight to banks or use ATMs to withdraw some cash. Sometimes, hotel front desks also offer currency exchange with a lower exchange rate compared to banks or money changers.
- Don’t swim if you see the red flags on a beach. That area may have rip tides or undertows, especially from Kuta to Canggu.
- Do learn some Balinese basic phrases, like Selamat pagi, good morning, and Terima kasih – thank you.
- Do haggle when shopping in markets or in street shops. Just a little humor and a little smile can help you a lot. But don’t just haggle for fun and go away.
These are just some basic Dos and Don’ts in Bali. To actually enjoy Bali in the most local-friendly way, I highly recommend you to look at what people do and follow the locals. Although there are quite a lot of things to avoid, my sharing is not meant to be negative. In fact, it’s just a little reminder so that you could be a responsible traveler in Asian countries like Indonesia and Bali in specific. It’s necessary to put all the Dos and Don’ts that you can find in Bali in your essential guide to Indonesia. Little things can make a big difference. So, mind you act and enjoy the trip!
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