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12 Do’s and Don’ts for Bali – Easy Etiquette Guide

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We’ve all done it. Committed a faux pas while abroad, simply because we didn’t know any better! Here are some tips to help you develop your Bali Etiquette and learn what to do, and what NOT to do on the island.

Bali Etiquette Guide

12 Do’s and Don’ts for Bali


Dress modestly and conservatively inside temples. You should cover up your shoulders and knees with a sarong. Remove your shoes when necessary. Remember that these temples and shrines are sacred and not just a photo op for your Instagram.

do dress respectfully at temples in Bali


Hand money, business cards and other things with your LEFT hand. In their culture, it’s very rude to hand people things with your left hand, although they are aware that many tourists don’t know this. Always hand things to others with your right hand.


Find a way to give back during your stay. People swoon over Bali, proclaiming it’s taken a piece of their heart forever. For all it’s given you, try and give back something as well. Pick up some trash on the beach, tip friendly locals for great service, find a charity to donate to, support local vendors, etc. The Bali you fell in love with needs your help.


Be afraid to eat at local Warungs. Most people are terrified of food poisoning if they eat at a cheaper local place, but that’s not always the truth. Look around: if there are a ton of locals eating there, it’s usually just fine.  They can be ridiculously cheap (up to 90% lower than luxury hotels) and tasted amazing! The cooks and staff will be very interested in seeing you choose a local warung instead of staying at the hotel.

dont be afraid to eat at local bali warungs


Take some time to learn about the local culture. It would be a shame to come all that way to just stay in an American-ized hotel the entire time. The Balinese people are very warm, welcoming and full of wonder.


Touch people on the head. The head is considered a holy part of the body and should never be touched by strangers. This including patting super cute kids on the head, which is considered okay throughout most of the world.


Drink bottled (or purified) water, not tap water. It’s very cheap and widely available. Drinking the tap water in Bali will make you awfully sick, so just stick to the bottles. MOST restaurants and hotels will be using bagged ice, but it you unsure, just ask them where they get their ice. Don’t feel like you have to avoid ice at all costs.

dont drink tap water bali


Attempt to buy street drugs. Indonesia has one of the strictest policies on drugs in the world. Possession of marijuana can land you 4 to 20 years in jail, with the death penalty being imposed on traffickers. Just don’t. Be high on life, bro.


Take screen shots of addresses you need on the go, like your hotel. Many cab drivers won’t know how to get to each villa and hotel, because there are thousands of them on the island. Take a few screen shots of the address and directions so you have them for when you aren’t in a Wi-Fi zone. Bonus points for knowing a popular landmark near your destination for making it easier.


Step on the Sacrificial Offerings you will see all over the sidewalk. The Balinese people put these offerings out for the Gods each day and respect should be shown. During a busy day, it’s not the easiest task, but it’s the right thing to do.

dont step on sacrificial offerings on street in Bali


Take advantage of Pool Access Rooms! Every travel hotspot always has its own common ’themes’ at hotels. In Myrtle Beach it’s the lazy river, in Vegas it’s casinos, and in Bali it’s pool access rooms! Compared to other vacation hotspots, the pool access rooms in Bali are very affordable and are super luxurious! Pair that with the heat and the tropical vibes and you will be so happy you can swim right out of your room.


Get a massage under 70,000 IDR ($5 USD). We’re not saying that anywhere under 70k is unscrupulous but going too cheap will be a sub-par experience. The sheets may not be changed between clients, the therapists won’t be trained as well, and it won’t be the ‘spa-like’ experience you were hoping for. 

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