When entering a Balinese temple, always remove your shoes and socks. Legs and arms should be covered and at many temples it is mandatory to wear a sarong and temple scarf, which many places of worship will provide for rent. You should not enter a temple if you are bleeding. Menstruating and pregnant women are not allowed in Balinese temples.

 

When in a temple, never walk in front of someone praying, nor stand higher than the priest. Leaving donations at temples are a commonly accepted practise. Also be aware that it is considered rude to show the bottom of your feet toward religious objects or people in general, which can most easily be accomplished by sitting cross-legged. Shoes should also be removed when visiting a Balinese home.

 

Handshaking, accompanied by a slight nod, is fairly commonplace in modern Bali, though generally lighter that the normal ‘business’ handshake, but please bear in mind that the left hand is considered unclean. Men should not shake hands with a woman unless she proffers her hand first.

 

Never point at a person, or touch their heads. In general the people in Bali are not used to being touched by strangers, so tapping, hugging or putting your arm around someone is likely to regarded as a violation and cause unintended offence.

 

If you need to attract attention, motion with the palm of your hand. It is a common gesture in many societies to affectionately ruffle the hair of children, but the head is considered sacred in Balinese society and such gestures will not have the intended effect.

 

In Balinese streets and doorways, you will often find palm leaf wrapped parcels placed as offerings to the Gods. To avoid causing offence, do not step on, or otherwise interfere with, these offerings.

 

Avoid political comment and criticism.

 

Overt public displays of affection between couples is frowned upon, particularly in traditional areas, and shows disrespect to the native culture. Conservative dress, especially at religious sites, is recommended in public areas.

 

Tipping for services in Bali is not necessary, but is nevertheless quite commonplace, but before you do, check your bill, as many restaurants will have already added a surcharge.  

 

When dining in Bali, food is often traditionally eaten by hand using only the right hand. If eating with a fork and spoon, the fork is used for prodding and manipulating food on the plate but eating should be performed with the spoon.

 

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