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What to Do & What Not to Do in Bali

There has been a lot of hand-wringing recently about certain types of tourists who are disrespecting the Balinese culture. So here’s a list of what to do (and what not to do) when you visit this lovely island.


  • Respect the sanctity of temples, pratimas (sacred statues), and religious symbols;
  • Wholeheartedly respect the customs, traditions, arts, culture, and local wisdom of the Balinese people during ongoing ceremonial processions and rituals;
  • Dress modestly, appropriately, and respectfully when visiting sacred areas, tourist attractions, public places, and engaging in activities in Bali;
  • Behave politely in sacred areas, tourist areas, restaurants, shopping areas, roads, and other public places;
  • Be accompanied by licensed tour guides (who understand the natural conditions, customs, traditions, and local wisdom of the Balinese people) when visiting tourist attractions;
  • Exchange foreign currency at authorized money changers (both banks and non-banks) that are officially licensed and display the authorization number and QR code logo from Bank Indonesia;
    Make payments using the Indonesian Standard QR Code (QRIS);
    Conduct transactions using the Indonesian rupiah;
  • Comply with the applicable traffic laws in Indonesia, including possessing a valid international or national driving license, obey traffic rules, dress modestly, wear a helmet, follow traffic signs, not exceed passenger capacity, and no driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs;
  • Use four-wheeled transportation that is roadworthy and officially registered or two-wheeled transportation that is operated by a legal business entity or association for two-wheeler rentals;
  • Stay in accommodations that possess the required permits according to applicable regulations;
  • Adhere to all specific provisions/rules that apply to each tourist attraction and tourist activity.


  • Trespass sacred territories: Steer clear of utamaning mandala and madyaning mandala, holy and sanctified spots like puras and pelinggihs — unless you’re there for a Balinese traditional ceremony, during which you must wear the appropriate attire, and you’re not menstruating;
  • Touch sacred trees;
  • Engage in behavior that defiles sacred places, temples, idols, and religious symbols, such as climbing sacred structures and taking indecent or nude photos;
  • Litter and pollute lakes, springs, rivers, seas, and public areas;
  • Use single-use plastics like plastic bags, polystyrene (styrofoam), and plastic straws;
  • Utter offensive words, behave disrespectfully, cause disturbances, and act aggressively towards government authorities, local communities, and fellow tourists, both directly and indirectly through social media, including spreading hate speech and hoaxes;
  • Engage in work or business activities without proper documentation issued by the relevant authorities;
  • Get involved in illegal activities, such as trading illegal goods, including endangered flora and fauna, cultural artifacts, and sacred objects, as well as illegal drugs.

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