A visit to Bali would not be complete without visiting at least one of the thousands of Hindu temples located all over the island. The Balinese are more than happy to welcome you to their temples, however, please remember that they are holy places, and there are some rules you need to be aware of before entering one. Below we share tips from the dress code to etiquette that will ensure that your temple visit is done correctly, respecting the local traditions and not unintentionally offending anybody.
- Wear a sarong
Entering a temple in Bali requires both men and women to cover their legs below the knee by wearing a sarong. If you do not have one, you can usually rent one at the temple entrance.
- Cover your upper body
Singlets, camisoles, tank tops or anything exposing bare shoulders are not considered as appropriate attire for a temple visit. Remember to always cover your shoulders before entering.
- Don’t enter the temple if you’re menstruating/bleeding
Women who are menstruating at the time of their visit are not permitted to enter the temple. Same goes for women who have given birth in the last six weeks. Also, if you have an open wound or injury you should refrain from entering.
- Don’t point your feet towards the shrines
Feet are considered unclean so you should not point your feet to the shrines or holy objects. Sit cross-legged or sit on your heels as Balinese do.
- Don’t stand higher than the priests or “mangku”
It is considered a lack of respect to have your head higher than the head of the priest.
- Respect the local culture and make a donation
Some examples include not sitting or climbing on spiritual monuments like walls or statues, not getting in the way of religious processions, and being courteous when taking photos. In general, admission is not charged to enter a temple, but some sort of a “donation” is expected.