If you haven’t been to Bali yet, it’s definitely worth a trip. Sprawling sandy beaches, dense jungles, centuries-old temples, and bustling cities are all within a short distance from each other – and the culture is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
But before you hop on that plane for the vacation of a lifetime, it’s important to know what to pack. In this guide, you’ll learn about the island’s street fashion, their ‘traditional’ form of dress, and a few other tips to have a fun and worry-free trip to Bali, Indonesia!
The Bali Clothing Guide 2020
What To Wear In Bali
There are a few things to keep in mind when packing for Bali. While Indonesia is a deeply religious country (mostly Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism), the island of Bali caters mostly to tourists. So you don’t have to worry about rocking activewear, shorts, or sleeveless tops, especially if you’re in the more popular beach areas like Seminyak or Kuta.
However, there is an exception to the rule. ‘Street fashion’ isn’t always appropriate when you’re visiting one of Bali’s renowned temples. They usually have a strict dress code that involves conservative and modest clothing. Bring pants, a maxi dress, or a skirt that covers your knees. You may also be required to wear a sarong, which is a large piece of cloth that you can wrap around your waist.
Another thing to think about is the weather. Bali has two seasons, dry (April to September) and rainy (October to March). If you’re going during the rainy season, make sure to pack rain-ready outfits like ponchos, raincoats, jackets, long pants, and the like.
If you’re going in the dry season, stick to light fabrics, loose clothing, and more summery styles. And don’t forget to pack sunglasses, a hat, and some sunscreen!
Lastly, no matter what the temperature is, Bali is a tropical country with a humid climate. Our #1 Bali fashion tip? Layer, layer, layer. This way, you’ll be ready no matter where or when you’re travelling!
What NOT To Wear In Bali
Now you know what to pack, here’s what you should leave at home. Technically, there aren’t a lot of clothes that are ‘off-limits’ in Bali, but there are things you may want to avoid wearing for a hassle-free trip.
Don’t walk around in flashy jewellery because this could make you a target for scammers or thieves. Plus, Bali’s vibe is a lot more laidback, and you might stick out like a sore thumb with sparkly diamonds and priceless jewels.
Bikinis and bathing suits are appropriate for the beach, but if you’re having lunch in a (non-beachfront) restaurant or going around the nearby marketplaces, it’s not appropriate to wear only a swimsuit. Bring a coverup or something to layer over your swimming attire.
What Do People Wear In Bali? Indonesian Clothing Suggestions
Pants are a must-have clothing item when you go to Bali. Denim is okay, but loose cotton pants are much more versatile. Wear them to the beach, on a trek, or at a temple!
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a good dress. Bring a variety of styles, from short and summery daywear to maxi dresses for nights out on the town.
Bali is an island with dozens of beaches for surfing and swimming. Bring a few swimsuits or even a rash guard if you plan on doing water activities.
You can use a sarong for pretty much anything – as a swimsuit cover-up, as a skirt, or even as a dress. They’re a required clothing item for temples, so we recommend that you bring your own or buy one if you’re doing a temple tour. Otherwise, you can usually rent them out for a small fee at each temple.
Comfortable footwear is the most important thing to bring to Bali! You’ll probably be doing a lot of walking, so pack a sturdy pair of sandals for the beach/streets and maybe a pair of sneakers for going around the city.
Other Cultural Norms You Should Follow
- Do not bring, buy, or take any drugs! Indonesia has very strict anti-drug laws, and tourists have been arrested and even executed for it. Even if someone offers it to you on the street (which is popular in touristy areas like Kuta), say no.
- According to popular Indonesian beliefs, the soul is in a person’s head. Don’t touch anyone’s head without their permission.
- Locals leave ‘tributes’ to their gods on the street every day. Be mindful when walking around so that you don’t accidentally step on them.
- Pointing your fingers is considered rude, so avoid doing it as much as possible.
- Your left hand is considered the ‘dirty’ hand, so pass things over with your right hand only.
- Do not disrupt any religious ceremonies! You may respectfully observe from a distance, but avoid flash photography or walking in front of someone who is praying.
- Try the local cuisine. Eat at small restaurants tucked away in the side streets, drink Bintang beer, and enjoy all the flavours Bali has to offer!
Indonesia is a beautiful country with a rich culture, and Bali is just one of its best islands for tourists. To make the most out of your experience, make sure you pack the appropriate clothes, and respect the locals’ traditions while you’re at it!