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Tourism Board Explains The Do’s And Don’ts For Travelers Visiting Bali

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Think you know the do’s and don’ts of how to behave in Bali?

Over the last few weeks, there has been increasing public dialogue around the topic of ‘bad bules’ (naughty foreigners) on the Island of the Gods.

So, officials have created social media content to make it abundantly clear for everyone.

Gateway in Bali

Officials in Bali and across Indonesia have committed to ensuring that tourists to Bali have all the resources they need to understand what is expected of their behavior during their time on the island.

This week it was confirmed that the provincial government in Bali is working on a good tourist guidebook that will be published soon.

In the meantime, the Indonesian Tourism Board, Wonderful Indonesia, has released a series of social media graphics to outline the do’s and don’ts for tourists in Bali.

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Starting with the do’s, for the vast majority of visitors to Bali, all the expectations and rules are perfectly reasonable, easy to adhere to, and in fact, will enhance the experience of the Indonesian island.

The first ‘do’ is to respect local culture, and the second is ‘dress appropriately’.

Wonderful Indonesia says that ‘taking off your shoes when entering a home and wearing an appropriate dress is a sign of respect for Balinese culture’. Easy right?

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It should be noted that appropriate dress is not only expected of tourists who are visiting temples and sacred sites.

Appropriate dress extends to cafes, restaurants, tourist attractions, and walking down the street. It is not appropriate to wear revealing attire in shops, markets, coffee shops, and other tourist attractions.

Wearing bikinis and boardies without a cover-up should be reserved for the beach, the poolside, and around your resort or private villa.

Just a heads up, if you are going to Immigration Offices to renew your visa, you must wear appropriate clothing. You don’t have to dress up in a three-piece suit, but you must dress modestly (long-sleeve shirt, long pants) and wear closed-toe shoes.

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Other ways to respect local culture is to patiently wait or maneuver quietly past any ceremonies and rituals you may come across during your explorations of the island.

Respecting local culture also extends to your interactions with local people.

Never point or pass anything to someone (including money) with your left hand, always use your right hand. Additionally, never touch someone on the head, or show the soles of your feet.

Onwards to more ‘do’s’! Wonderful Indonesia is calling on tourists to ‘respect locals and other tourists’, simply be a good human – and ‘drive legally’ (this is a BIG one!).

Couple Ride Moped In Rural Bali.jpg

The Tourism Board is calling on tourists to use official money changers; this instruction comes as officials on the island continue to crack down on fraudulent exchange counters in busy tourism areas.

The final four do’s are actually really lovely.

Visit cultural landmarks, try local cuisine, learn the basic Indonesian language, and experience Balinese ceremonies.


It may seem obvious, but sadly so many visitors to the island miss out on being introduced to the beauty of Balinese culture because they either never venture away from their resort or only visit attractions, cafes, and restaurants that are catered to the Western comfort zone.

No shade if that is you; simply take this as a moment of gentle encouragement to engage with the wonders of Bali. It will bring a new level of depth to your vacation experience.

Aaaand onto the don’ts. Just as important as the dos, the Tourism Board is pretty clear about what not to do in Bali.


Don’t work without a work permit (else the specialist task force will find you!). Do not engage in illegal activities, do not use illegal drugs, do not drive without a driver’s license, and don’t violate the traffic law.

The next one is a big one; do not take or post disrespectful photos at sacred sites, and do not litter. Number eight on the list is one that newcomers to Bali genuinely may not know about; do not walk on canang sari.

These are the daily offerings made by Balinese Hindus, often placed in doorways, at house temples, and at road junctions.

Finally, don’t haggle too aggressively; make it playful, and remember that the aim is to meet in the middle. Simple!

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Thursday 27th of April 2023

Well you can walk on offerings placed on entrances to shops, houses etc as long as the incense has gone out.


Monday 24th of April 2023

Every Country they have they own Rule and own culture if you come for your holiday to Bali should pay respect. Is very simple request! If you don’t like it stay in your own country or go somewhere else. Bali is very friendly people, welcoming people with warm heart. Some of the tourists behaved like idiots is not good sample for Our kids, grand children’s and for the community in Bali. Our community would love our generation to grow up with respect as always. I’m so glad and happy the Bali Governor cleaned up some of tourists with the bed behaviours. So proud of Bali and love always hopely is work well🙏🏻


Thursday 27th of April 2023

@Exp, Well said!


Thursday 27th of April 2023

@Ketut, Don't lay it all on the bules in general. Yes, there are some who are disrespectful, but then again, how many natives are even worse? When was the last time that You or your Neighbor have burned trash to pollute the air or simply have thrown it into a gutter? How about driving without a helmet and 3 on a motorbike? Going through red lights, driving on sidewalks, cheating or robbing bulbs, etc. Like I said, don't lay it all on the bulbs, start leading by example instead of bi*((*#$ about it.


Monday 24th of April 2023

@Ketut, It is not that simple. Bali is sold overseas as "paradise" via glossy campaigns showing photos that hardly reflect reality. A lot of visitors invest a lot of their savings getting here and when they arrive the reality is very different from they "product" sold to them. So they are in their full right to point out the shortcomings including obvious issues like traffic, trash, noise, pollution, taxi scams, derelict buildings and "entry fees" charged everywhere. None of these issues are highlighted in the glossy campaigns?


Monday 24th of April 2023

I went to rural but still densely populated Java for few days. Despite staying near a busy main read the traffic noise was manageable. A similar road in southern Bali is a noise hell with the hundreds of modified motorbikes coming through (without mufflers).

This motorbike noise hell is a sickness that is the responsibility of the Bali police to eliminate as laws are very clear and strict. But for some reason they are unable to get around to eliminate this problem affecting so many people! Shameful.


Saturday 22nd of April 2023

or simpley do not go there


Saturday 22nd of April 2023

Hilarious. Maybe locals should learn how to treat their own island first before they start telling foreigners what to do. I've been here over a year and every day I see locals litter, pollute, drive without a helmet, run red lights, drive with no muffler, steal, and just act like idiots all-around. But remember in Bali bule is ALWAYS wrong. Bali can't get on the same page with the rest of the world nor can Indonesia in general so they have to throw this little existential tantrum in their literal trash heap of a country and blame foreigners for all their woes.

I've follwed all these rules and will continue to. It would be nice to see locals start to follow them as well. But I think it's about time I moved over to Thailand as many others seem to be doing and for good reason. Cheaper, nicer, and not hypocritical.


Monday 24th of April 2023

@Firechef, There is no lack of Indonesian laws and regulations and associated stiff penalties. My local neighbours do lawbreaking daily here (burning trash, throwing trash into drains, driving noisy motorbikes, operating noisy clubs) -- some of these "crimes" can land people in jail for up to 6 months. However, even if reported nothing will really happen. This I know from first hand experience.

Tourists and expats on the other hand better make sure it is not a single type in their paperwork. Otherwise "big problem". Also something I have first hand experience with.

I'm not really blaming the common man and women here. They just adapt to what they experience will be tolerated. Obviously the issue is with the higher ups not leading the way.


Monday 24th of April 2023

@Yuoku, You mean Thick skinned and I totally agree with you.


Monday 24th of April 2023

@C, As I said before, there should be a rule book for the natives first instead of the bules. Natives are abusing the rules more than the bules.


Sunday 23rd of April 2023

@C, I was going to comment but then you took the words from me exactly.

When they crack down on the hundreds of men openly offering carrying and selling what they claim to be cocaine and marijuana along with over the counter drugs and women I'll take it more seriously. It's every where on the streets.

I love Bali and never act disrespectful but Bali needs to lift their own game.


Sunday 23rd of April 2023

@C, they are too thin skinned to hear the truth. All the characters as you wrote above, yet making rules for foreigners. Circus, run by clowns.