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What Not to Do in Bali: 15 Things Every Traveler Should Know

Bali is such a peaceful place that’s perfect for nature trips and beach getaways. If you want to make the most out of your tropical vacation in the island, learn what not to do in Bali.

Here’s a quick guide to help you know the dont’s when visiting this Indonesian jewel.


1. Don’t make too much noise during Nyepi

Family Pray During Nyepi

Nyepi usually happens in March. It is a public holiday also known as the “Day of Silence.” During this day, locals don’t go out of their house.

Staying quiet is the best you can do to respect their culture and traditions.

2. Don’t point with your index finger

In Bali, this is considered rude and offensive. Use your entire hand or the thumb of your right hand if you want to point a particular direction. Pointing with your feet is highly discouraged as well.

3. Don’t do drugs

This is pretty given. However, in the Indonesian island, using drugs is extremely strict – the place has little tolerance for drugs. In fact, locals and tourists who were seen using drugs may face execution.

4. Don’t haggle too much

Haggling in Bali
Sony Herdiana /

In every corner of the island, there is a shopping stall where you can buy local treats and pasalubong. Haggling too much offends the seller. If you want to get the item for a lower price, ask for a 5% discount, at most.

5. Don’t empty your plate

When eating, make sure to leave food on your plate. Bali has strong religious beliefs – the locals treat your leftovers as offerings to the gods.

6. Don’t take your shirt off in public

The hot and humid weather in Bali is understandable, but it should not permit you to take your shirt off in a public place.

Bali has a modest culture. The locals might get shocked when they see a half-naked man walking in the street.

7. Don’t eat Western food

Western Bali Food

Some locals get offended when they see tourists eating Western food. You’re in Bali to explore the island, and you have a hundred reasons to do so, from its breathtaking sites and welcoming people to its yummy and delectable food!

8. Don’t spend your time in one place

Bali has a lot to offer. Every section of the island has different vibes, giving tourists more reasons to explore the place. Kuta, for example, is popular in Bali. You may spend a day there and allot the remaining days to other island destinations.

9. Don’t get cranky when drivers honk at you

Honking indicates that someone is overtaking someone. However, drivers should also avoid excessive honking.

10. Don’t leave a temple without a donation

Balinese Women Carrying Donations
Image Credit: Sun_Shine /

Giving donations is common courtesy in the island. It is believed that when you leave a temple with a donation, good karma will be upon you.

Speaking of temples, tourists who are menstruating are highly encouraged not to enter one, too.

11. Don’t touch the head of the locals

In Bali, the head is considered as one of the most sacred parts of the human body. Be reminded not to touch a local’s head, even that of a child or a baby.

12. Don’t talk about sensitive issues

Politics, religion, and terrorism are some of the topics you should avoid talking about while in the island. When locals try to ask you about anything that’s related to these topics, be prudent enough to veer away from the discussion.

13. Don’t drink tap water

Tap Water Bali

You’re in Bali to have fun and enjoy. You don’t want stomach problems to ruin your break, do you? Make sure to consume clean liquids by not drinking tap water. There are various stalls in the island selling clean grub and thirst-quenchers.

14. Don’t use flash when taking photos

You are allowed to take photos of the temples. But when you see individuals and groups praying and you want to take a snap of them, make sure that your camera flash is turned off. This act is considered disrespectful.

15. Don’t rush

It’s difficult to enjoy things when rushed. Take time to enjoy every moment and appreciate what every attraction has to offer. It pays to plan your trip ahead with a recorded schedule.

Now that you know what not to do in Bali, you can ensure a fun and epic getaway you deserve!


Are you excited to experience and explore Bali? Book your flights and hotel with Traveloka today!