6 taboos that tourists should avoid when coming to Bali

Known as one of the tourist paradises in Asia, featuring thousands of wonderful islands, Indonesia is an ideal destination for those who are big fans of swimming and adventure water sports. In order to avoid unpredictable obstacles while traveling to Indonesia, especially Bali, it is necessary to learn about its customs, unique cultural features, and local rules. There are some common taboos in Bali that you absolutely cannot violate as an international visitor.

Photo: Budget Direct

In Bali, customs and beliefs are always an indispensable part of residents’ daily lives. Even though 90% of Indonesia’s population is Muslim, people living in Bali are mostly Hindu. It is why customs and beliefs in Bali will be a bit different from those in Indonesia. In fact, Balinese people always venerate and are proud of their culture, traditions, and customs. Therefore, if you are a newbie to Bali and have no experience, it is essential to be aware of these 6 typical taboos when coming here.

Pat someone on the head

You might think this action is a sign of love, right? It’s true in other countries except Indonesia. The use of a hand to pat someone else’s head is supposed to be a bad attitude. The locals believe that the head is the most sacred and noble part of the human body; therefore, rubbing a child’s head or anyone else is taboo in Indonesia, which you should avoid. Patting the head means disrespecting others, which not only annoys your opponent but also gets you into big trouble.

Wear skimpy clothes

Due to Islam’s strict regulations on dressing, tourists must pay attention to what they are wearing when traveling to Bali, Indonesia. You should opt for discreet and polite clothing, especially when going to restaurants and religious temples. Wearing revealing clothes is taboo for both women and men. Outfits such as tank tops, strapless tops, shorts, short skirts, etc. are strictly prohibited for women. For men, it is important not to wear shorts or tank tops when going to public places or sacred temples. In addition, it is possible to choose swimsuits such as bikinis, shorts, etc. when swimming at beaches.

Photo: Sher She Goes

Give presents with sharp ends

Gifts are considered valuable objects that Indonesians value very much. If you go to anyone’s house in Indonesia, you must definitely bring a gift as an acknowledgement showing respect for the homeowner. However, one thing to keep in mind when traveling to Indonesia is that you should never give gifts with sharp ends, such as knives, scissors, sharp skewers, etc. According to their spiritual beliefs, they believe that these gifts can break good relationships. Remember not to give presents that are sharp objects; it can separate the relationship between the two people and be taboo.

Gambling of any kind

Gambling of any form is strictly forbidden in Indonesia; therefore, remember to avoid gathering locations such as this red-black game. If you are caught, the least severe penalty is a fine and flat export from Indonesia, while the heavier penalty is imprisonment. Indonesians believe that only those who are unemployed and no longer comfortable go out to play the red secondary game. It’s difficult to stop playing once you start. Gambling games are strongly disliked by the Indonesian people. Furthermore, if you come into contact with extreme Muslims, you may be at even greater risk. This is something that everyone who is planning to travel to Indonesia must remember.

Photo: Gambling Sites

Eat with your left hand

The Indonesian concept is that the right hand is sacred, the left hand is dirty. As a result, the right hand is frequently used for critical tasks. On the contrary, the left hand is employed to perform “lower” functions. In the custom of eating with their hands, Indonesians always eat with their right hand; eating with their left hand is one of the country’s major taboos. Furthermore, when presenting items to others, shaking hands, or delivering gifts… to locals, use your right hand, not your left.

Show affection in public

Actions that show affection, such as hugging, kissing, holding hands, resting your head on your shoulder, etc., are so insane in Indonesia. Muslims often do not show affection to others, especially strangers. That’s why tourists feel they are quite cold and unfriendly because of their religious habits. You will not be arrested or fined for hugging or kissing others in Indonesia, but it will cause a loss of sympathy with the locals. They will look at you unpleasantly and even refuse to serve or warn you. At that time, you are in big trouble; the trip is no longer fun.

Photo: Verywell Mind

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