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The Customs and Traditions of the People of Bali

September 26, 2019
Jimbaran Bay Beach - Spa

The traditions of Indonesia are composed of the nation’s beliefs, customs, and values. Indonesia isn’t just one large island nation, but a vast country comprised of several archipelagos, home to over 300 ethnicities. With over 700 spoken languages and a myriad of different customs, each island is like a country of its own, and Bali is no exception to this.

If ever you travel to Bali, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you’re not offending any Balinese people.

1. Communication
Although most Balinese shake hands like westerners do, the traditional greeting gesture is to salute. It is similar to the Indian Namaste where the palms are joined together and placed on the chest. In this position, and Indonesian would say, “Om Swastiastu” or translated into English, “May peace be with you.”

Smiling is the best way to connect to a local as the Balinese people love to smile openly and to anyone. Some may even go as far as to say that these are the people who smile the most. That said, if you want to be appreciated and accepted by the Balinese people, all you have to do is smile. Also, when it comes to women smiling at you, don’t take it in any other meaning other than a way to be friendly.

In terms of communication, Balinese people will rarely ever display any form of emotion when talking to one another. They love a calm conversation, and so the smile works by keeping things in order.

Finally, Balinese and Indonesians love to talk. They’re incredibly friendly and will start a conversation with any stranger almost immediately. Don’t be surprised to find yourself talking for hours before being invited for dinner.

2. Gestures and Habits
There are a few gestures if you come from a westernized culture that will be normal for you, but extremely rude to the locals. One such example is pointing fingers. This is frowned down by the locals as it is considered offensive to do so. Because of this, when you point at someone, point down and not directly at the person. Even the way you stand can bring you trouble. If you often stand akimbo, it’s time that you find a new stance. A standing akimbo would indicate to the locals that you’re looking for a fight.

As a foreigner, it will annoy you to find out that people here don’t queue up for lines or give pedestrians the right of way. It’s just the way people are, and they don’t see it as anything else other than usual.

When entering a home, remember to take off your shoes, which is a common practice in most if not all of Asia. If you enter a government office without the proper attire (entering the office with sandals), you might not be allowed to enter, though this is rare.

Before you travel to Bali, try your best to follow these tips. Knowing how locals act is vital to avoid offending anyone and is especially crucial if you’re holding a conference or meeting in Bali for any business purpose. Remember, first impressions are everything, so be sure that you take time to learn the way of the locals.

If you’re looking to book a spa resort in Bali, get in touch with us today to book your stay.