Etiquette for Balinese Temples

Balinese Temple

One of the most frequent questions Bali’s Tourism Board gets asked is about the proper dress code when visiting a temple in Bali.  The second most asked question is about the rules that visitors need to be aware of before going into a temple on the island.

The Balinese are glad to let you visit their temples.  Remember though, that temples are holy places and as such there are some rules to be followed.

Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist based in Argentina.  Covering social issues globally, you can see his work on his website,

Wear a scarf or sarong.

Don’t have a sarong?  No problem.  One is usually included in the price of the ticket.  If it’s not, there are actually vendors that will rent you one during your visit.

Cover your upper torso

Wearing modest clothing and a top which covers your shoulders will keep you in the good graces of the Balinese.

Remove your shoes before going inside
Make sure to leave your flip-flops and shoes with the others.  You’ll find a collection near the doorway of any temple on the island.

Don’t point your feet toward the shrine
Feet are considered unclean  so doin’t point them towards any holy relics or objects.  When praying, males sit with their legs crossed while women kneel.

Don’t go into a temple if you are pregnant
Women who are pregnant, or having given birth within 6 weeks, should not enter the temple.

Never stand higher than the priest
It is disrespectful to have your head higher than the head of the priest

Use common sense
Remember, you are in a holy place.  Don’t get in the way of ceremonies and always be considerate when taking photographs.

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