The Culture Guide: How to be Respectful in Bali – Bali is a tourist spot but also a very holy land. Bali is famously known as the island of a thousand temples (Pulau Seribu Pura) and gods island (Pulau Dewata). Temples are sacred places of Hinduism in Bali. The Balinese are a Hindu-Buddhist mix which can be a more conservative approach to lifestyle versus Western customs.
How do you respect local customs while maintaining your own integrity? and here are tips for you on how to be Respectful in Bali.
Public displays of affection are not always accepted by Balinese society. Too much kissing or being too intimate is not acceptable to the locals who consider it disrespectful. Holding hands is acceptable, but anything beyond that should be left behind closed doors.
Although the temperature is hot and there are beaches everywhere, nudity is not allowed. Topless is not even allowed in Bali. When it comes to swimming or sunbathing, women must wear bikini tops.
Although Balinese rarely complain, it is also recommended to wear a t-shirt or cover-up before going to a restaurant or beach bar. Although it seems excessive, the Balinese habit is to cover up as much as possible.
Modesty at temples
When visiting temples, there is a stricter dress code. Women must wear a sarong or something to cover their legs past the knee. You are free to buy and adorn traditional clothing to the temple, which is encouraged.
Another strange rule for temples is that menstruating women are not allowed to enter. This may seem foreign or a little rude, but it is an ancient custom.
Using a helmet
Borrowing and riding a scooter in Bali is part of the fun and tourist experience. It’s easy to get around, cheap to rent, and takes you to places with ease. But it is important that you take care of safety just like you would at home. Although not closely monitored, it is very important to wear a helmet. Balinese can take offense at tourists’ trust and their disregard for road safety.
Balinese people are not very physical. It is important not to touch them. Especially on their heads. The traditional Balinese belief is that our soul lives in one’s head and it is a very bad custom to touch one’s head.