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Bali Temples Rules & Etiquette You Should Keep in Mind During Your Visit

Updated 06 Mar 2024
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Visiting Bali is an experience filled with breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and spiritual enrichment, especially when exploring its ancient and sacred temples. However, to ensure that your visit is respectful and enjoyable, it’s crucial to understand and adhere to the local customs and temple rules. These guidelines are not just about following the law; they’re about showing respect for Balinese culture and religion.

So if you ever have a plan of visiting one of Bali’s temples or sacred sites make sure to note down the information provided in this article, as we’ll take a closer look at the key temple rules every visitor should remember.

Dress Modestly

One of the first things you’ll notice when visiting Balinese temples is the emphasis on modest dress. This is not only a sign of respect but also a requirement for entry.

Wear a Sarong

Both men and women need to cover their legs below the knee with a sarong. This garment is a simple piece of fabric that is wrapped around the waist. Many temples offer sarongs for rent, but you can also bring your own. It’s a beautiful way to participate in the local culture while ensuring you’re dressed appropriately.

Cover Your Shoulders and Back

Revealing tops like tank tops, singlets, bikinis, or crop tops are not suitable for temple visits. Instead, opt for a T-shirt or a top that covers your upper body. This rule helps maintain the sanctity of the temples and shows respect for the local customs.

Be Mindful of Your Feet

The feet considered the lowest and unclean part of the body in Balinese culture, require particular attention in temples.

Remove Your Shoes

Before entering the temple grounds, it’s customary to take off your shoes. You’ll usually find a designated area for leaving them.

Mind Where You Point Your Feet

Avoid pointing your feet at shrines or sacred objects. When sitting, it’s best to sit cross-legged or kneel with your feet tucked behind you. This posture is not only respectful but also aligns with local customs.

Respect the Ceremonies and Rituals

Temples are often active places of worship, with ceremonies and rituals taking place. So as a visitor or guest, it is advised to behave yourself during one of your visits.

Maintain Silence

Keep your voice down and avoid disruptive behavior. If you happen upon a ceremony, watch quietly from a distance. This respect ensures that worshippers can focus on their spiritual practices without interruption.

Don’t Touch or Step on Offerings

You’ll likely see offerings around the temple. These are sacred and should not be disturbed or touched. During your visit make sure to tread carefully within the temple perimeter. Don’t purposely step on offerings and incense that’s littered across the temple as it is considered disrespectful.

Ask Permission for Photos

While taking photos of the temple grounds is usually acceptable, always ask for permission before photographing individuals, especially those engaged in prayer or ceremony. This gesture of respect is appreciated and often welcomed when asked politely.

Other Important Points to Keep in Mind

A few additional rules are worth noting to ensure your visit is respectful and in line with local expectations.

Special Rules for Women

Women who are menstruating are advised not to enter the temples. According to traditional customs, women who are menstruating or have recently given birth are not permitted to enter the temple. While it might seem unusual, it’s not uncommon for locals to inquire directly about your menstrual status, as this is rooted in deep-seated cultural beliefs. Balinese people generally approach this topic with respect for personal privacy, but the practice reflects the importance they place on these traditions.

Keep Belongings to a Minimum

Large bags or backpacks are discouraged inside temple grounds. Remember to pack light if you want to visit temples in Bali. This also makes it easier to move around and shows respect for the sacred spaces.

Respect the Local Culture

Always remember that you are a guest in these sacred sites. Dress modestly, behave respectfully, and be mindful of your actions at all times. Pay your respects as a visitor to have the best experience visiting one of Bali’s temples.

Watch Out for Restricted Areas

Note that some parts of the temples may be off-limits to visitors. This is often for preservation reasons or because the areas are considered particularly sacred and only certain individuals such as priests can enter.

Do Not Climb Sacred Structures

Climbing on walls, structures, trees, and statues is prohibited. These acts can damage historic and sacred sites and are seen as disrespectful. These kinds of acts could lead to various punishments and consequences, ranging from fines to even detainment.

Avoid Disrespectful Poses

Because Balinese temples are essentially a place of worship, always keep in mind your behavior even while taking a photo. When taking photos, refrain from posing in ways that could be considered rude or inappropriate in a sacred site.

By following these simple and straightforward guidelines, your visit to Bali’s temples can be a fulfilling and respectful experience. Bali is not just a tourist destination; it’s a place of deep cultural and spiritual significance. Respecting these rules helps preserve the sanctity of the temples and ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy and learn from these beautiful sites. Remember, your visit to a Balinese temple is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the island’s rich spiritual heritage, so approach it with the respect and sensitivity it deserves.

For more travel insights and temple hopping trips, check out our article on The Best Temple to visit in Bali.

After a day of visiting temples across the island, finish it off with a delicious meal at our beloved Red Gunpowder. We’re known for the Best Indian Food you could find in Pererenan, Bali. We invite you to come and enjoy a meal that will fill both your heart and stomach. Great food, great vibes, you name it, we got it all!

Author:

Rifka
Rifka

Journeying through life with a camera in hand, Rifka Setia Arianti is a passionate explorer of the world's diverse landscapes. Currently settled in Bali as a web designer, her lens captures the essence of her travels, weaving together a tapestry of stories that encapsulate her love for both photography and adventure.

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