Bali Temple Etiquettes and rules

  • Feb 18, 2024
  • Admin

A spiritual journey to Bali, the island renowned for its serene beauty and rich cultural tapestry, requires more than just a keen sense of adventure. It demands a deep respect for and understanding of the local customs, particularly when visiting the island's sacred temples. Bali, often referred to as the Island of the Gods, is dotted with majestic temples that serve not only as tourist attractions but as active centres of worship and spiritual practice for the Balinese people. To ensure that your visit is both enriching and respectful, it's crucial to familiarise yourself with the Bali temple etiquette and rules. From adhering to the specific dress code involving sarongs and sashes to understanding the significance of offerings and the importance of conduct during religious ceremonies, every detail matters. This guide aims to provide visitors with comprehensive insights into navigating the sacred sites of Bali with grace and reverence, ensuring a visit that is in harmony with the island's spiritual ethos. Whether it's respecting the prohibition on entry during menstruation, observing the photography rules, or contributing to the temple entrance fees, each aspect of temple etiquette underscores the importance of cultural respect in these hallowed spaces. Join us as we delve into the heart of Bali's religious traditions, offering tips and guidelines to help you embrace the island's rich spiritual heritage with mindfulness and respect.

At Relax Getaways, we pride ourselves on being the premier company for guiding visitors through the intricate Bali temple etiquette and rules. Understanding the deep-rooted spiritual heritage of Bali is at the heart of what we do, ensuring that every traveller experiences the serene beauty and sacred traditions of the Island of the Gods with the utmost respect and sensitivity. Our expertly curated tours are designed not just to explore the majestic temples and breathtaking landscapes of Bali but to immerse our guests in the cultural and spiritual practices that define this paradise. We equip our travelers with essential knowledge of the Bali temple dress code, guide them through the temple etiquette in Bali, and educate them on the significance of Balinese temple visit rules. From ensuring adherence to cultural respect in Bali temples to navigating the nuances of Bali temple offerings, etiquette, and Bali religious ceremony conduct, Relax Getaways stands unparalleled. Our commitment to promoting respectful tourism is evident through our detailed briefings on prohibited actions in Bali temples, menstruation, and Bali temple visits, and photography rules in Bali temples, alongside managing logistics like Bali temple entrance fees and understanding the sarong and sash requirements for Bali temples. With Relax Getaways, travellers not only visit; they connect deeply with the spiritual essence of Bali, ensuring their journey is as enriching as it is respectful. Choose to Relax Getaways for an experience that honours the heart and soul of Bali, making your visit truly unforgettable.

Table of Contents

Dress Code

The dress code for visiting temples in Bali is a crucial aspect of respecting the island's cultural and spiritual traditions. Bali's temples, as sacred sites, require visitors to dress modestly and appropriately to honor the sanctity of these places. Here’s a detailed overview of the dress code:

  • Modest Attire: Both men and women should wear clothes that cover their shoulders and knees. This modesty in dress is a sign of respect towards the temple's spiritual significance and the local worshippers.

  • Sarongs and Sashes: It is mandatory for all visitors, regardless of gender, to wear a sarong (a traditional fabric wrap) around their waist. Additionally, a sash is often required to be tied around the waist over the sarong. These garments symbolize respect and are essential for entering the temple's sacred spaces.

  • Availability: For those who do not have their own, sarongs and sashes are usually available for rent or purchase at the entrances of most temples. This service ensures that all visitors can comply with the dress code, even if they were not aware of it beforehand.

  • Footwear: It is customary to remove shoes before entering certain parts of the temple, especially the inner sanctum or any area designated for prayer. This practice is in keeping with the purity laws that govern sacred spaces.

  • Head Coverings: While not universally required, head coverings are sometimes necessary for specific ceremonies or temples. Always observe and follow the local customs or instructions provided at the temple site.

Adhering to the dress code is not only a matter of following rules but is also a gesture of respect towards the Balinese culture, the spiritual significance of the temples, and the local community. By dressing appropriately, visitors demonstrate their willingness to honor and engage with the island's traditions thoughtfully and respectfully.

Cultural Respect

Cultural respect in Bali, especially when visiting temples, is paramount for fostering a meaningful and enriching experience both for visitors and the local community. Bali's rich cultural heritage and spiritual traditions are deeply integrated into daily life, and as guests on the island, it's essential to approach these traditions with sensitivity and awareness. Here are key aspects to consider for showing cultural respect:

Understanding and Observance

  • Learn Before You Go: Take time to understand Balinese culture and Hinduism's basics before your visit. Awareness of the island's religious practices, festivals, and daily rituals enhances mutual respect and appreciation.

  • Follow Local Customs: Observing local customs, such as participating in ceremonies when invited, wearing appropriate attire in sacred places, and using the traditional greeting (slightly bowing with hands together), shows your respect for Balinese culture.

Temple Visits

  • Adhere to Dress Codes: Dress modestly and follow the specific dress requirements, like wearing a sarong and sash, to show respect for the temple's sacredness.

  • Mind Your Behaviour: Speak softly, move slowly, and avoid inappropriate gestures. Demonstrating mindfulness and serenity within temple grounds reflects your respect for the spiritual environment.

  • Participate with Sincerity: If participating in temple ceremonies or offerings, do so with sincerity. Engaging genuinely in local practices shows respect for the spiritual significance of these rituals.

Social Interactions

  • Politeness Goes a Long Way: Balinese people are known for their kindness and hospitality. Returning these gestures with politeness and a smile contributes to a respectful and positive interaction.

  • Ask Permission for Photos: Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially during religious ceremonies. This gesture acknowledges their privacy and dignity.

  • Respect Sacred Sites and Symbols: Avoid touching religious artefacts, statues, or offerings. These items hold spiritual significance and should be treated with reverence.

Environmental Respect

  • Leave No Trace: Bali's temples and natural sites are treasures to be preserved. Always dispose of trash properly and minimise your environmental impact while exploring these sacred spaces.

Contribution to the Community

  • Support Local Economy: Purchasing local handicrafts, eating at local warungs (small family-owned businesses), and using local guides not only enrich your experience but also contribute to the community's well-being.

Cultural respect in Bali is about embracing the island's traditions with an open heart and mind. By showing reverence for local customs, visitors can fully experience the spiritual and cultural richness of Bali, creating lasting memories and fostering a deeper understanding of this unique cultural landscape.

Entrance Fees

Entrance fees to temples in Bali are a common practice, serving as a way to contribute to the maintenance and preservation of these sacred sites. The fees are a small but essential part of respecting and supporting the local cultural heritage. Here’s what visitors should know about entrance fees when planning their temple visits:

Purpose of Entrance Fees

  • Maintenance and Conservation: The collected fees are used for the upkeep of the temple complexes, gardens, and surrounding areas. This ensures that the temples remain in good condition and accessible for both worshippers and visitors.

  • Supporting Local Communities: These fees often go towards the local communities that take care of the temples, providing them with a source of income that supports their livelihood and enables them to continue their traditional practices.

What to Expect

  • Variability: Entrance fees can vary from one temple to another, depending on the temple's significance, size, and the facilities provided. Some of the more famous temples may have higher fees compared to less visited, smaller temples.

  • Additional Contributions: In addition to the entrance fee, visitors might encounter donation boxes within the temple premises. Contributing to these donations is optional but is a good way to show further support to the temple and its community.

  • Included Services: Some temples offer services included in the entrance fee, such as sarong rental for those who are not appropriately dressed, guided tours, or even access to cultural performances during special occasions.

How to Prepare

  • Carry Small Change: It's a good practice to carry small denominations of Indonesian Rupiah to pay for entrance fees, as making change for large bills can sometimes be challenging, especially in more remote temple locations.

  • Check in Advance: If visiting a particularly famous temple or one that is part of a larger touristic site, it might be helpful to check the entrance fee in advance. This can help you plan your visit and budget accordingly.

Respecting the Practice

Paying entrance fees is a tangible way to respect and contribute to the preservation of Bali's spiritual heritage. Visitors are encouraged to understand these fees as part of the broader practice of cultural respect and sustainability, ensuring that future generations can continue to experience the beauty and tranquilly of Bali's temples. By contributing to the maintenance and conservation of these sacred sites, tourists play a direct role in the stewardship of Bali's cultural and religious landmarks.

Prohibited Actions

When visiting temples in Bali, understanding and adhering to local customs and rules is crucial for a respectful experience. Bali's temples are not just tourist attractions; they are sacred places of worship, deeply rooted in the island's cultural and spiritual life. As such, there are specific actions that are considered disrespectful and are strictly prohibited within these sacred spaces. Here’s a rundown of prohibited actions to keep in mind during your visit:

  • Touching Sacred Objects: Refrain from Touching: Sacred objects, including statues, offerings, and temple decorations, should not be touched. These items hold spiritual significance and are meant to be observed respectfully from a distance.

  • Disrespectful Behavior: Maintain Composure: Loud noises, disruptive behaviour, and inappropriate gestures are considered disrespectful. Temples are places of worship and reflection, and maintaining a serene and respectful demeanour is expected.

  • Inappropriate Dress: Dress Modestly: Failing to adhere to the dress code, which includes wearing a sarong and sash, is not permitted. Proper attire respects the temple's sanctity and those who come to worship.

  • Consuming Food and Drinks: No Eating or Drinking: Consuming food or drinks within the temple premises is generally not allowed, as it can detract from the sacred atmosphere and contribute to littering.

  • Smoking: No Smoking: Smoking within temple grounds is strictly prohibited, as it violates the purity of the sacred space.

  • Intimate Behaviour: Avoid Public Displays of Affection: Showing excessive affection, such as hugging or kissing, is considered inappropriate in the solemn context of a temple.

  • Photography Restrictions: Respect photography rules: While taking photos is often allowed, it should be done discreetly and with respect for worshippers and ceremonial activities. Flash photography and photographing certain rituals or areas may be restricted.

  • Entering Restricted Areas: Observe Boundaries: Some areas within temples are restricted to worshippers or certain religious statuses. It's important to respect these boundaries and not enter or photograph these areas without permission.

  • Menstruation: Adherence to Cultural Beliefs: Women who are menstruating are respectfully asked to abstain from entering sacred parts of temples, in line with local beliefs regarding purity.

By observing these prohibitions, visitors demonstrate their respect for Bali's religious traditions and contribute to the preservation of the island's spiritual ambiance. Adherence to these rules ensures a harmonious experience for both tourists and the local Balinese community, fostering mutual respect and understanding.

Menstruation Considerations

In Bali, as in many cultures with deep-rooted spiritual traditions, there are specific considerations related to menstruation that impact temple visits. These considerations are based on traditional beliefs regarding purity and spiritual cleanliness, which are central to Balinese Hinduism. Understanding and respecting these considerations is essential for female visitors to ensure a respectful interaction with the island's sacred spaces.

  • Cultural Beliefs: Purity and Cleansing: In Balinese culture, menstruation is considered a natural process but also one that entails a state of impurity. Because temples are viewed as the dwelling places of the gods and are thus sacred, it is believed that entering these spaces should be done in a state of physical and spiritual cleanliness.

  • Restrictions: Temple Entry: Women who are menstruating are respectfully asked to abstain from entering the temple premises. This restriction is not intended to be discriminatory but is rooted in long-standing cultural and religious beliefs about purity.

  • Compliance and Respect: Observing Local Customs: Visitors are encouraged to respect these cultural norms by adhering to the guidelines regarding menstruation. Even if these beliefs may differ from one's own cultural or personal views, observing them is a sign of respect for the host culture and its spiritual practices.

  • Communication: Discreetness and Sensitivity: The topic of menstruation is approached with sensitivity in Balinese culture. If there are restrictions or guidelines to follow, they are usually communicated discreetly at temple entrances or by tour guides. Visitors are expected to comply without the need for explicit verification or enforcement.

  • Alternative Participation: Engaging from a Distance: For those who wish to experience the temple's atmosphere and observe ceremonies without entering, many temples offer areas where visitors can watch and reflect from a respectful distance. This allows for participation in the cultural and spiritual life of the island without violating local customs.

  • Educational Opportunity: Learning and Understanding: Encountering different cultural practices regarding menstruation offers an opportunity to learn about and appreciate the diversity of beliefs and traditions around the world. Engaging with these practices with an open mind can enrich the travel experience and foster greater cross-cultural understanding.

Respecting menstruation considerations in Bali is a crucial aspect of culturally sensitive tourism. It reflects a deeper appreciation for the island's traditions and ensures that visits to these sacred sites are conducted with the utmost respect for local beliefs and practices.


Photography in Bali's temples offers a unique opportunity to capture the beauty and spirituality of these sacred sites. However, it's essential to approach temple photography with respect and sensitivity towards the local culture and religious practices. Here are some guidelines to ensure your photography respects both the sanctity of the temples and the privacy of individuals:

Understanding Local Norms

  • Permission: Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially during religious ceremonies. This shows respect for their privacy and dignity.

  • Signage: Pay attention to signs or notices about photography restrictions. Some areas within temples may prohibit photography altogether to maintain the sanctity of the space.

  • Discretion: Use your camera discreetly, especially during ceremonies or prayers. Avoid using flash photography, as it can be disruptive and disrespectful.

Cultural Sensitivity

  • Respectful Distance: Maintain a respectful distance when photographing worshippers or religious ceremonies. Your presence should not interfere with or distract from the spiritual practices taking place.

  • Mindful Composition: Be mindful of how you frame your shots, ensuring they reflect the temple and its ceremonies with reverence. Avoid taking photos that could be considered disrespectful or that misrepresent the culture.

Engagement and Participation

  • Participation Over Documentation: While capturing memories is valuable, prioritise engagement and participation in the cultural and spiritual aspects of your visit. Understanding the context and significance of what you're photographing enriches both your experience and the images you take.

  • Cultural Appreciation: Use photography as a means to appreciate and celebrate Balinese culture and spirituality. Your photos can serve as a personal reminder of your experiences and as a way to share the beauty of Bali's temples with others, provided you do so with respect and sensitivity.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

  • Copyright and Privacy Laws: Be aware of copyright and privacy laws regarding photography in public and sacred spaces. Some images, especially those of people, may have restrictions on their use and distribution.

  • Ethical Sharing: When sharing photos on social media or other platforms, consider the impact of your images. Share photos that promote understanding and respect for Balinese culture and avoid those that could be seen as exploitative or insensitive.

Photography in Bali's temples is not just about capturing the physical beauty of these sites but also about preserving the essence of their spiritual atmosphere. By following these guidelines, photographers can ensure their practice is in harmony with the local culture and respectful of the sacredness of the temples, contributing positively to the preservation of Bali's rich spiritual heritage.

Prayer Manners

Observing prayer manners in Bali's temples is essential for visitors to show respect for the local religious practices and the spiritual ambiance of these sacred sites. Balinese Hinduism, with its rich tapestry of rituals and ceremonies, offers a deeply spiritual experience. Here’s how you can ensure your presence is respectful during prayer times or religious ceremonies:

Understanding Balinese Prayer Practices

  • Sacred Silence: Silence is golden in the context of prayer in Bali's temples. It reflects respect for those engaged in prayer and allows you to soak in the serene atmosphere.

  • Observation from a Distance: If you wish to observe prayers or ceremonies, do so from a respectful distance. This ensures that your presence does not disrupt the devotees' focus and spiritual engagement.

Dress and Conduct

  • Appropriate attire: Adherence to the dress code, including wearing a sarong and sash, is crucial during prayer times. It signifies respect for the temple's sanctity and for the individuals participating in the prayer.

  • Physical Posture: Be mindful of your posture during prayers or ceremonies. Avoid pointing your feet towards the altar or the priests, as feet are considered impure in many Asian cultures.


  • Joining in Prayer: If you are invited to participate in a prayer or ceremony, follow the lead of the locals or your guide. Participation should be approached with sincerity and respect for the rituals being performed.
  • Offerings: Offerings are a significant aspect of Balinese Hindu rituals. If you choose to make an offering, ensure it is done correctly and respectfully. Your guide or temple officials can provide guidance on how to do this.

Photography and Documentation

  • Discreet Photography: While photography may be permitted, it should never disrupt the prayer or ceremony. Avoid flash photography and ask for permission if you're close to the participants.
  • Respecting Prohibitions: In some areas or during specific rituals, photography might be completely prohibited. Adhere to these rules without exception.

General Etiquette

  • Entering and Exiting: When entering or leaving the prayer area, do so quietly to minimise disruption. If you must pass in front of worshippers, do it as discretely and distantly as possible.
  • Avoid Interruptions: Do not walk through a group of worshippers or interrupt the prayer in any way. Always walk around the perimeter if you need to move.

Cultural Sensitivity

  • Respect for Traditions: Even if certain practices are unfamiliar, approaching them with openness and respect is vital. Understanding that you are a guest in these sacred spaces will help ensure that your actions reflect cultural sensitivity.

By following these prayer manners, visitors can ensure their visit to Bali's temples is respectful and enriching. Engaging with the local spiritual practices with reverence allows for a deeper appreciation of Balinese culture and contributes to a harmonious atmosphere within these sacred spaces.

Offerings Etiquette

Offerings play a central role in Balinese Hinduism, reflecting devotion and gratitude towards the divine. These offerings, known locally as "canang sari," are meticulously crafted from palm leaves and adorned with flowers, incense, and sometimes food or money. Observing the proper etiquette regarding offerings is crucial for visitors to Bali's temples, ensuring respect for the island's spiritual practices and beliefs. Here's what you need to know about offering etiquette:

Understanding the Significance

  • Spiritual Meaning: Each element of the canang sari has a specific significance, representing the essential elements of the universe and the dedication of the offeror to the gods. Understanding this deep spiritual meaning helps appreciate the importance of respecting offerings.

Respecting Offerings

  • Do Not Touch: Offerings are sacred and should not be touched, moved, or stepped over. If you accidentally come into contact with an offering, apologise silently or, if appropriate, verbally to those nearby.

  • Photography: While offerings can be visually captivating and photograph-worthy, always take photos respectfully and without disturbing the offering's placement or the surrounding area.

Participating in Offering Rituals

  • Making Offerings: If you are invited to participate in making or presenting offerings, do so with respect and sincerity. Follow the guidance of locals or your guide to ensure your participation is appropriate.

  • Learning to Make Canang Sari: Participating in a workshop or session on making canang sari is a respectful way to engage with this aspect of Balinese culture, offering insight into the spiritual and artistic dedication involved.

Offering Placement

  • Avoiding Offerings: Be mindful of where you walk, especially on temple grounds or on streets in the early morning, to avoid stepping on offerings placed on the ground.

  • Understanding Placement: Offerings are placed in specific locations for a reason, often at the entrance of homes, temples, or businesses, to bless the space and ward off evil spirits. Recognising this helps in appreciating the careful consideration given to the placement of offerings.

Appreciation and Gratitude

  • Expressing Gratitude: If you're staying at a homestay or guesthouse where offerings are made daily, expressing gratitude to your hosts for their efforts in maintaining these spiritual practices can be a meaningful gesture of cultural appreciation.

Environmental Consideration

  • Sustainability: While participating in or observing offering rituals, consider the environmental impact. Many communities are moving towards more sustainable practices by using biodegradable materials, reflecting an evolving awareness within the tradition.

By adhering to these guidelines on offering etiquette, visitors demonstrate respect for Bali's religious and cultural practices. Engaging with offerings thoughtfully and respectfully not only enriches your understanding of Balinese Hinduism but also contributes to a positive and harmonious experience for both visitors and locals.

Guided Tours

Opting for guided tours in Bali, especially when visiting temples and sacred sites, can significantly enhance your understanding and appreciation of the island's rich cultural and spiritual heritage. Here’s why choosing a guided tour with a reputable company like Relax Getaways can make your visit more insightful and respectful:

Expert Insight

  • Local Knowledge: Guides possess deep knowledge of Bali's history, culture, and religious practices, offering explanations that you might not find in guidebooks. This insight can enrich your experience, providing context for the temples and ceremonies you witness.

  • Cultural Sensitivity: A knowledgeable guide can advise on cultural norms and temple etiquette, ensuring that your visit is respectful and adheres to local customs. This includes guidance on the Bali temple dress code, temple etiquette in Bali, and offering etiquette.

Access and Convenience

  • Hassle-Free Visits: Guided tours can streamline your temple visits, handling logistics like transportation, entrance fees, and scheduling to maximise your time and experience. This convenience allows you to focus on the experience rather than the details of planning.

  • Exclusive Access: Some guided tours offer access to temples or parts of temples not readily available to the general public, providing a unique and intimate glimpse into Balinese spiritual life.

Interactive Experiences

  • Participation in Rituals: With a guide, you might have the opportunity to participate in ceremonies or make offerings, experiences that might not be available or known to independent travellers. Guides ensure these participations are done respectfully and correctly.

  • Language Interpretation: Guides can act as interpreters, facilitating deeper interactions with locals and a more immersive experience in the culture.

Supporting Local Economy

  • Community Benefits: Choosing a guided tour supports the local economy, providing employment and ensuring that the benefits of tourism are shared within the community. It's a way to give back to the places you visit.

Personalised Experience

  • Tailored to Your Interests: Guided tours can be customised to suit your interests, whether you're deeply interested in spiritual practices, Balinese architecture, or the island's natural wonders. This personalisation ensures that your experience is both meaningful and memorable.

Safety and Respect

  • Navigating Cultural Nuances: A guide can help navigate the nuances of Balinese culture, ensuring that your actions are always respectful and appropriate. This is particularly important in sacred spaces, where unintentional disrespect can offend.

  • Safety Considerations: Guides are knowledgeable about local safety considerations, whether it's navigating rural temple sites or understanding seasonal weather conditions that might affect your visit.

Choosing Relax Getaways for your guided tours in Bali ensures not only an unforgettable visit to the island’s sacred temples but also a journey that respects and honours the local culture and spiritual traditions. With expert guides to lead the way, you’re guaranteed an enriching, respectful, and deeply memorable experience on the Island of the Gods.

Respecting Bali's temple etiquette and rules is crucial for a meaningful and respectful visit to these sacred sites. It's about more than just following guidelines; it's a demonstration of respect for the island's cultural and spiritual heritage. Dressing appropriately, maintaining silence, and engaging with ceremonies respectfully are key to connecting deeply with the spiritual essence of Bali. Opting for guided tours, like those provided by Relax Getaways, can enrich your experience, ensuring it is both respectful and enlightening. By embracing these practices, visitors contribute to preserving Bali's rich cultural legacy while enjoying a transformative journey of cultural appreciation and spiritual discovery.

FAQs for Bali Temple Etiquettes and rules

Q. What should I wear to visit temples in Bali?

A. You should wear modest attire that covers your shoulders and knees. It is mandatory for both men and women to wear a sarong and a sash around the waist, which are often available for rent or purchase at temple entrances.

Q. Are there any entrance fees for visiting temples in Bali?

A. Yes, most temples in Bali require an entrance fee or donation, which contributes to the maintenance and preservation of the temple grounds. The amount can vary from one temple to another.

Q. Can women visit Bali temples during menstruation?

A. Out of respect for local beliefs regarding purity, women who are menstruating are asked not to enter the temple premises.

Q. Is photography allowed in Bali temples?

A. Photography is generally allowed, but it is important to be discreet, avoid using flash, and respect any signs or instructions prohibiting photography, especially during religious ceremonies.

Q. How should I behave inside a Bali temple?

A. Maintain a respectful silence, do not touch sacred objects, and avoid pointing your feet towards the altars or religious artifacts. If you wish to sit, do not sit higher than the priest or the offerings.

Q. Can I participate in temple ceremonies?

A. Participation is often allowed if you are invited and dressed appropriately. However, it's essential to follow the lead of the locals or your guide and participate with sincerity and respect.

Q. What actions are prohibited in Bali temples?

A. Smoking, eating, and displaying overt affection are considered disrespectful and are prohibited within temple grounds. Also, making loud noises or disruptive behavior is not allowed.

Q. Do I need to remove my shoes before entering a Bali temple?

A. This can vary between temples. Look for signs indicating this requirement or follow the lead of the locals. If in doubt, ask your guide or a temple official.

Q. What is the significance of offerings in Bali temples?

A. Offerings, or "canang sari," are made daily as a form of gratitude and devotion to the divine. They are considered sacred, so do not touch or step over them.

Q. How can I ensure my visit to Bali temples is respectful?

A. Dress modestly, observe local customs and guidelines, participate respectfully in ceremonies if invited, and consider opting for a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the cultural and spiritual significance of the temples you visit.

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