5 Tourist Tips for Temples

Bali’s tourist attractions are not limited to its white sandy beaches, lush rice paddies, and busy nightclubs. As the island is known for its unique traditional culture, Balinese temples draw tourists from all over the world.

Sudamala Resorts Bali’s architecture and interior design is native-centric, inspired by Balinese buildings and temples. We have put together a list of five dos and don’ts to keep in mind during temple tours.

besakih temple tour

  • Dress and act modestly. Compared to its Western counterparts, Balinese locals tend to live more traditionally; conforming to traditional values and lifestyle. Public displays of affection, for example, are frowned upon. So when you and your significant other are in or near Balinese temples, please keep the lovey-dovey frolics to a minimum.When paying a visit to a Balinese temple, dressing modestly is advised. Men and women are expected to wear clothing that covers most skin, such as shoulders, upper part of the arms, thighs and often the lower legs. You may wrap a sarong around your legs, or wear a temple scarf to conceal skin exposure. These can normally be rented out at the temple entrance. Flip flops are perfectly acceptable.
  • Don’t point your index finger and feet. Feet should not point in the direction of the altar, as feet are considered unclean in Bali. So, make sure you don’t point them toward shrines or holy objects. This is why, when praying, Balinese men sit with their legs crossed while women kneel to avoid pointing their feet forward. As for your index finger, you can instead point with your thumb to be more respectful. If you need to call someone to attention, you may extend your hand and make a downward wave with your palm facing down.
  • Don’t enter a temple if you are bleeding or pregnant. Unfortunately, if it’s that time of the month for you or you have an open sore, it’s considered impure for you to enter a Balinese temple. Pregnant women or those who have given birth in the prior six weeks should also not enter a temple.
  • Control your temper. In the Balinese culture, raising one’s voice is deemed vulgar, while losing your temper is shameful. Balinese locals tend to hide their anger or passion and find the Westerners’ loud expressions somewhat offensive.
  • Be respectful of religious processions and offerings. Remain aware of your footing to avoid stepping on the offerings you can commonly find sitting on the streets or sidewalks. Canang sari are made by locals in the morning and typically look like dainty packages of woven palm leaf, flowers, and herbs. Secondly, you shouldn’t walk in front of praying Balinese. Finally, there is no doubt that you will come across a Balinese religious ritual during your trip to the island. Keep your voice to a minimum when you stumble upon a procession, avoid flash photography in the temples, and just simply be considerate.

We look forward to arranging your cultural tour during your stay with us at Sudamala Resorts Bali. If you book directly through our website, by email, phone or in person, you can enjoy 10% off on tours, including The Purification Tour at Sudamala Temple.