Forbidden Things in Bali

In Indonesia, there is a proverb that says “where the earth is stepped on, the sky is upheld”. The saying contains meanings that every individual should respect custom, manners and also culture that include regulation and prohibition, written or not written.

One of the cities in Indonesia that strongly holds and applies custom rules is Bali. During Nyepi or Seclusion Day, for instance, people in the island are forbidden to leave their houses, put lights on, do activities or make noises. If they were broken, custom sanctions will be imposed. The regulations don’t only apply for Hindus but also for all people that are in Bali. This is one of the tolerance forms that must be maintained in Indonesia.

In addition to the Seclusion Day, there are other rules and prohibitions that must be known and complied with in case you will visit Bali island for vacationing, doing business affairs or handling academic matters. The rules or prohibitions aren’t only for guests or visitors but also for locals. Some of them are:

1. Clothes for going to a temple

Beside as praying sites, a lot of temples in Bali are used as tourism objects. Every visitor coming to various temples in Bali are forbidden wearing disrespectful clothes, such as short pants for men and tank-top for women. Guests who will enter temple area have to wear cloth tied on waist. If not, they are not allowed coming in a temple area.

In addition to clothes, visitors must not speak coarsely, do violence acts, conduct unethical acts, such as climbing sacred buildings, or do disgraceful deeds in holy places.

2. Stepping On or Stepping Over Offerings

For Balinese people who mostly embrace Hindu, offerings are forms of sacrifices for the Creator symbolizing their honour and gratitude. Offerings can often be found along the roads in Bali. Please try not to step on or step over them, and don’t remove them to other spots. If those things are intentionally done, sincere apologies are suggested.

3. Entering Holy Sites During Menstruation

Women who are in menstruation are forbidden to go into holy sites, such as temples, to keep the places consecrated. They are only allowed for seeing the beauty of the sanctified Hindus praying site from outside when i menstruation.

4. Disturbing Religious Procession

Balinese people routinely do custom and religious processions that usually require them closing streets. This must lead to traffic jams. In these conditions, sounding horns and cursing are completely forbidden as will be regarded as disrespectful toward the Balinese people.

Besides, taking pictures of the temples by using flash light and standing in front of the worshipping prayers are prohibited. Those acts will be considered as impolite ones.

5. Touching the Heads of the Balinese People

For Balinese people, head is the holiest body part. As such, touching head, including that of kids, are considered as rude behaviour. If that act is already carried out, apologizing right away is recommended. Plus, avoid showing something with left hand, even for trivial things, as doing this is also regarded as less decent by the Balinese people.

6. Urinating Carelessly

In addition to sites and buildings, there are a lot of others in Bali that are sacred and purified by the locals, such as trees, woods, rocks and animals. That is why it is better not to urinate carelessly or urinate in random spots while in Bali because doing that is considered disrespectful to the creator of the nature.

7. Settling Without Registration

For keeping the convenience in Bali, the Balinese people very strictly maintain their regions. As a consequence, visitors are required to bring identity cards and report their visit to local village officials for obtaining Seasonal Resident Identity Card (KIPEM) should visitors wish to stay for quite long time in Bali. If not, citizens and village officials will impose sanctions, either punishment or eviction, during routine raids.

8. Ignoring Signs in Beach

The signs are not custom rules but complying with them is suggested for the sake of self-convenience. When enjoying beach tourism, visitors are required to pay attention to existing signs, such as, forbidding guests to take a bath or swim in beach because of dangerous and strong water stream.


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