The tropical island of Bali is best known for its partying, beaches and endless luxury. Often objectified as a destination to enjoy an active nightlife, tourists tend to ignore local customs and laws that need to be followed. While the people here are very warm and welcoming, they are also very sensitive about things which hamper their local customs or harm their beautiful society. The last thing you would want on your trip here is to land up in trouble and hence here are a few things you should never, ever do in Indonesia.
Joking about religion, ethnicity or race
It is never ok to joke about religion, ethnicity or race in any part of the world for that matter. However, in a country so diverse and with a range of ethnicities and beliefs, something that may seem harmless at first can turn out to be a complicated affair for you. An inappropriate remark towards local culture or religion may be considered as more than just an insult and could land you in major trouble.
Drinking or gambling in public places
There are exceptions to this in certain touristy places across Indonesia. However, in most places, influenced by the principles of Islam, drinking or gambling or even playing cards in the public is strictly prohibited. It’s not exactly forbidden or illegal to do so, however, you will best stay out of trouble by restricting these at the bar.
This isn’t just a general advisory for travellers. But a really serious one for travelling to Indonesia. Recreational drugs are not just illegal in Indonesia, they are a highly serious offence. Possession and distribution of these drugs anywhere in the country can be punishable up to death penalty for everyone including international tourists.
Disrupting the wildlife
Indonesia is home to a wide variety of wildlife, from rare species to a rich marine life. As a responsible tourist, you should not be doing anything to disturb this sprawling archipelago. However, national parks and wildlife camps have strict rules about cleanliness and order to protect their wildlife. In any case, restrain yourself from animal tourism to protect them from being mistreated.
Disrespecting local culture
Indonesians love tradition and respect their customs irrespective of their age and whichever part of the country they come from. It is thus best to observe and learn, how to behave and interact with the local community before visiting it. For example, wearing inappropriate clothing at religious sites or hugging someone to show love or warmth is not okay as per local culture.
Disturbing religious processions
Balinese people take their religious processions or rituals very seriously. Whether it is a family or personal ceremony or a sacred temple, you are expected to attend them with respect and care. Taking pictures, talking loudly or saying inappropriate things during these ceremonies is a strict no-no for all travellers.
Drinking and driving
There is legally no alcohol limit for drinking and driving in Bali. Hence, a lot of tourists try to misuse this by driving recklessly post a night of heavy drinking and partying. But what most don’t realise is that you can still get pulled over by the authorities to be questioned. Also, it is best not to act foolish and put not just yourself but also others in danger. Act responsibly and take a cab instead!
Apart from the points mentioned above, a general rule is to always pay heed to your surroundings and be mindful of the local culture and laws that need to be complied with to have a safe and hassle-free trip!
‘Curated by Neha Bhise’