Everything You Shouldn’t Do in Bali

When in Bali, do try these amazing restaurants, find yourself an ideal beach, visit the top spas and find out why everyone just loves the island. But don’t do this:

Read also: The ultimate guide to Bali

#1 Don’t Enter a Temple If…

Pura Lempuyang

You’re menstruating or have an open wound. And naturally, places of worship have a dress code: Nothing that shows too much skin, and all visitors absolutely must wear a sarong — provided at the entrance — or wear one of their own and look smug for knowing. Remember not to enter a holy place (or someone’s home) without first taking off your shoes. Standard stuff, but it’s easy to forget.

#2 Don’t Get a Tattoo (Unless…)

Better to be safe than sorry, right?

Tempted to get a tattoo after mulling it over a couple of Bintang beers? We’d suggest against it in Bali, as some “tattoo artists” use textile dyes that don’t allow the skin to heal properly. You’ll be left with a permanently raised, 3D-looking tattoo. There are a couple of reputable places, like Artfulink Bali in Canggu. And they do an amazing world-standard job.

#3 Don’t Drink Water From a Tap

Bottled or filtered water only

Nope. Don’t do it.

#4 Don’t Forget to Pack Mosquito Repellent

Serious stuff

Your villa will have mosquito coils around, but we recommend throwing a mini mozzie repellent spray into your bag.

#5 Don’t Leave Your Plate Empty

Think you can go for a second round?

Leaving a little bit of your food is making an offering to the Gods. Hmm, still hungry? Balinese people (bless them) are great hosts and always offer second helpings. It’s rude to say no, so eat away.

#6 Don’t Get Tricked at Money Changers (This is How:)

Speaking of good deals in Bali

There are two different types of money changers on the island: commissioned ones, and no-commission ones. You’ll want to avoid the first kind, which you’ll find in back alleys and laneways. To spot a reputable money changer, look for a simple “No Commission” sign.

#7 Don’t Be a Leftie 

It takes two

It’s impolite to Balinese people to have something handed over from someone’s left hand. When giving or receiving anything, use both your hands.

#8 Don’t Call Someone Over The Wrong Way

How monkeys get a hold (literally) of each other in the Ubud Monkey Forest

Trying to flag a friend over? Never with your fingers facing upwards, or pointing at someone / something with your index finger. Always use your whole hand, waving your palm facing downwards with your fingers moving towards yourself.

#9 Don’t Buy or Do Drugs

Guys weekend? Here’s a great guide for that

It definitely isn’t worth it, regardless of the situation. Bali has very strict rules when it comes to drugs. Drugs are commonly sold in Kuta where you’ll hear local boys marketing it softly but not very subtly. Just say no.

#10 Don’t Be a Cheapskate

Lots of pretty things in Bali

See a batik sarong you really like? Don’t be rude and condescending (albeit unintentionally) when trying to bargain. 500 Rupiah is equivalant to just USD 0.04. So go for it!

To Bali and beyond

Photo credits: Main, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Diandra Soliano

Our resident Wander Woman with a passion for languages, big cities and bronzer. When she's not listening to The Smiths a little too loudly at the office (after hours!), she can be found singing along to the soundtrack of Les Miserables with her two cats for an audience.

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