Bali’s temples and holy sites are without a doubt one of the biggest pulls to the island. However, it must be remembered that these are still places of worship. So, whilst by all means you should go and appreciate the beautiful places around the island we thought we’d share the rules of Balinese temples, a few basic dos and don’ts :
1. Menstruating women, and women who have just given birth are not allowed to enter certain ‘areas’ of a temple, usually middle areas of the temple.
2. This is one of the most common rules of Balinese temples : proper attire is a must, and both men and women must cover their knees. Wear a sarong. Many places have them on loan, but usually if they are more ‘main stream’, if you are going off the beaten path bring a sarong with you and use it whenever you pass through the gates of any temple. Balinese temples are not places to model sexy clothing or attire, please respect these holy sites.
3. Tickets are issued at some of the sites. Where tickets are not available, a donation is generally ask of you which you can decide to pay or not but a small fee (of at least Rp.5000) would at least be a good gesture. Donations are also usually asked for when using toilets or changing rooms (Rp.2,000)
4. The temples are worshipping sites, always remember that! It’s important to pay respect to both the praying pilgrims and the sites especially when taking photos – people may not enjoy getting their photo taken whilst praying.
5. There are parts of some sites that are closed off from visitors, do not break in and enter. Generally this will be the “tengah” section of the temple, only for Balinese Hindus or priests.
6. There’s a chance that you will encounter locals going about their daily chores or farmers. Do not hesitate to greet them, respect one another, and be friendly. Respect private places that you pass, ask for permission if necessary.
7. Please do not climb up on walls, structures and statues as this may cause damage to these heritage sites.
8. Also refrain from posing disrespectfully or inappropriately ; tourists have gotten into trouble for posing doing handstands or with partial nudity or even rude hand gestures.
9. Refrain from using soap and/or shampoo when bathing at springs and rivers, especially within a holy compound.
10. Internet reception may be bad in some of these areas, so better bring a map and familiarise yourself with a number of towns you’re going to pass along the way.