6 Tips on Bali Etiquette 2013.07.27

Bali has hundreds of traditions and customs - part of what makes it such a fascinating place to visit. It's easy as a tourist to unknowingly come across as being rude or impolite, so we've put together an insider's guide to respecting the local culture.

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Entering a temple

It may be appropriate on the beaches of Bali to wear little next to nothing, however visiting a temple is a different story. Shoulders and knees should be covered as a sign of respect, and many temples in Bali provide sashes and sarongs for a small donation if you don't have your own. Women are also asked not to enter temples if they're menstruating.

Use your right hand

When passing something, use your right hand or even both hands. Using your left hand will be seen as impolite.

Mind the head

Don't touch anyone on the head, that goes for children too. In Bali, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body.

Take off your shoes

When entering someone's home, leave your shoes at the door. This also applies to some temples and always at a mosque. If you're unsure, a good way of knowing is if there are rows of sandals and shoes left outside a building. If there are, do the same.

Keep your top on

For many Western women, going topless on the beach is quite the norm and no big deal at all. This however is considered as offensive in Bali (and even more so in Lombok), so rather leave the topless bathing for when you get back home.


Haggling in the market or with local vendors is part of the Bali experience and shouldn't ever be taken too seriously. Don't bargain if you have no intention of buying however, as this is considered as very rude.


Remember you're not at home and are in a deeply religious country. If in doubt, look to the local people to see how they are behaving/dressing and do the same.

Kura-Kura Bus Bali


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