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Bali has a different culture and different way of living compared to western countries, for example. When travelling, we often stumble across things or do something wrong and offend someone when we really did not mean to. These things are culture differences and every country has their own legal or etiquette rules to follow. Here are the Bali etiquettes to follow when you’re in Bali!
This is important because the Balinese are incredibly proud of their traditions and customs and always follow the codes strictly. Not following these “rules” or Bali etiquettes is one of the worst things you can do because you are offending their traditions and customs along with parts of their culture.
The Balinese locals are way more conservative compared to more western countries. This isn’t the biggest deal while walking around, but when you’re in a temple or when you visit the rural side of Bali – try to cover yourself and that means: cover your knees and shoulders. Most of the temples hand out sarong’s and temple scarfs to cover up your waist if necessary. It’s also possible to bring your own if you have one!
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In the Balinese culture, the left hand is used for hygienic stuff like going to the bathroom and they don’t use this hand to grab things or touch someone. So whenever you’re going to grab something or when you give your hand to someone, the right hand is the way to go. Small exception – you can use your left hand if you grab something or touch something with your right AND left hand. This is even considered as a big compliment.
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The Balinese are known for their happily smiles. They connect by smiling with each other rather than always using words. So when you are in a group of locals and you want to connect with them and you don’t know how – look at the group and smile. It’s highly appreciated and they will accept you easier by doing this!
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If you meet a stranger for the first time – shake their hand and give them a slight nod! When you’re man introducing yourself to a woman: wait for her hand. If she doesn’t give you her hand, then don’t shake her hand. Combine this all with your best genuine smile and you’re good to go.
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I think this rule is pretty common in every country and maybe every culture. Take your shoes off before entering someone’s home. If you’re in doubt – ask or just take them off. It’s better to take them off when it wasn’t necessary, then to leave them on and offending someone. Some temples require you to take off your shoes as well. If you are entering a government building in sandals, there’s a possibility they will deny you the access but that’s not very common to happen.
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As I mentioned before, the Balinese are more conservative. They don’t always approve of people who show affection towards each other in public. It is wise to keep this in mind when you’re exploring the island!
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If you’ve been to Bali before, you’d recognize this. You will find small offerings called canang sari in the middle of the street or more on the side of the street. They offer this to the Creator by the locals in the morning. It looks like a small package with leaves, flowers and herbs. Watch your step when walking on the side walk or stairs and do not step on it!
All in all, Bali got used to the tourists and to those who do not read into their culture. They probably wouldn’t complain if you did something that offends their tradition or culture. As I have said before, I really believe that we, as visitors of the country, need to read into the culture and traditions and respect them as best as we can! These Bali etiquettes are pretty easy and good to follow.