What Should and Should Not to Do in Bali – Enjoying Your Stay in the Island

Making the Right Decision

When you are traveling to Bali, it would be handy if you have the knowledge of what should and should not to do in Bali.

If you often travel, you’d know that different areas have their own different regulations, policies, cultural values, and habits. Each place has their own belief and religious rules too.

When you are about to travel to a new area or place, always search for the information about the local belief, wisdom, and rules. It will avoid you from getting into trouble – and the possibility of offending the locals.

Remember, no matter what, you are the guest in their place so it would be wise if you can stay courteous and polite – and always be respectful.

Be Respectful, Everywhere

Bali is the island where Hinduism is strong. Its influence is visible.

Not to mention that the majority of the Balinese is Hindu. When you are traveling to a temple, make sure to ask the guide (or whomever to take you there) about the regulations.

It is common that most visitors are asked to dress properly when they are about to enter a temple – it means that they need to cover their legs and shoulders.

If you are wearing sleeveless, it would be a good idea to bring a big and wide scarf to cover your shoulders. You can also wear an outer like a cardigan or a jacket.

Wearing shorts is a no-no. You can bring a sarong and tie it around your waist so your legs would be covered.

Dressing properly and modestly isn’t the only regulation in the temples. Different temples have their own different regulations and policies.

However, in most temples, women on period may not be allowed to enter a temple. They may be around the premise, but they aren’t allowed to the main area  of the temple.

There is usually a spot or a boundary that they can’t cross. If you don’t obey it, have it your way but be ready with the consequences. Most stubborn female tourists experience ‘possession’ or other mystical things on the island. If you don’t want this to happen to you, it’s better that you obey the rules.

What else in what should and should not to do in Bali that you must know? In some temples, visitors are allowed to wear their shoes on. But in others, they must take the shoes off.

In some temples, visitors must wear a yellow piece of cloth around their waist and then return it after they are done. In short, every temple has its own rules so make sure that you know what you can and can’t do while in the premise. And while you are at it, it’s okay to leave a donation at the temple.

It isn’t obligatory, but it gives you good karma. Plus, you will feel good about yourself.

Don’t Violate the Law

You may see Bali as your gateway spot for fun.

A lot of tourists are having enjoyable time there, but it doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. Follow the rules, obey the law, and you should be fine. It’s related to respect and being honorable.

For a starter, NEVER ever think about transporting or carrying drugs to the island. If you are wondering of what should I avoid in Bali, the answer is: Drugs. It’s not a joke – Indonesia has a death penalty for drug traffickers and smugglers.

If you want to visit the island for fun, go ahead. Leave your drugs at home. Don’t take it while on the island either.

If you are approached by someone (or some people) and they offer you drugs, don’t take it. Simply say ‘No, thanks’. After all, you can’t be sure that it is the real deal or not. Whatever you do, just have fun – without the drugs. It’s not worth it.

Moreover, never touch the head (of a Balinese person), even toddlers. Balinese consider the head as the sacred part (of their body). Touching the head would be considered impolite. Unless they ask you to do it or give you a permission, NEVER do it.

It is also wise to know that left hand is considered impolite forgiving or receiving something for Balinese. It is based on Indonesian’s courtesy value.

Always use your right hand. Although more and more Balinese are beginning to understand how the Westerns are behaving (because they have been exposed to Western habits), it would be better if you can avoid it.

And don’t ever point with the index finger. Again, it’s a matter of cultural gesture. Most Balinese may be okay with it, but try to avoid it if you can.

You will see a lot of offerings on the street while in Bali. Simply pass them and NEVER walk on them. Balinese always have this offering for their gods. If you walk on the offerings, it is insulting. Don’t step on them either – it is disrespectful.

Balinese are religious people with higher sense of spirituality. Never mock their belief or their religious processing. In fact, you should enjoy it. There are a lot of religious ceremonies in Bali that are interesting and unique.

Food Issues

When it comes to drink and food, what should and should not to do in Bali?

Don’t limit yourself to Western dishes only. Bali is home to many interesting, new, and tasty foods. You should try them – provided that they are available in clean and reputable establishment.

The exotic fruits are heavenly. The seafood is absolutely marvelous – don’t skip it!


Never drink the tap water. Stick to your filtering water bottle from reputable brand. The island doesn’t have a good water purification system so always have your water bottle ready.

When you buy the bottles, make sure to do it in a reputable spot – don’t buy water bottle without any brand. And certainly don’t buy from street vendors.

If you have your medicine, be sure to take it with you. It is always a good idea to take your own medicine anywhere you go. If you have prescribed meds, don’t forget to bring the prescription too.

Don’t forget to take part in cooking school. They usually offer traditional menus. This is especially great if you love Balinese dishes.

If you want to try the local dishes, do to the traditional warung. But choose the one with good reputation and clean setting. You should be able to find plenty of them in Bali.

And tipping is considered okay although it isn’t obligatory because it’s already included in the service charge. But if you feel like being generous, and you have extra money, it doesn’t hurt to give tips.


Shopping Norms

Haggling is okay, but don’t overdo it – don’t go too low.

After all, they need to make a living. And do it with a friendly manner and be respectful. Expect to see a lot of street vendors and they may approach you.

If you don’t want to buy anything, just politely refuse them and walk away. Even if they follow, keep on walking – they won’t follow you long. And make sure that you know where to buy what.

There are art markets for those who are into art. There are souvenir shops for the general tourists. There are jewelry markets for those who love the items. Make sure that you go to the right place to get the best bargain – and items.

Going to Bali can be fun, refreshing, and exhilarating. If you know what should and should not to do in Bali, you can enjoy your stay while trying to stay respectful to the local custom and belief.

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