How to make yourself welcome in Bali
Respect local ways and be prepared to ‘go with the flow’.
Make efforts to connect with and show respect for local people. If you want to photograph
someone, ask first. Don’t photograph people in private moments (e.g. while they are bathing).
Respect the local environment. Don’t use more water than you need. If you go for a walk
through a forest or garden, don’t damage the plants and try not to scare animals or birds.
Carry your rubbish with you - including cigarette butts - until you reach a disposal point.
Ask your guide if you are not sure.
Dress appropriately. Short skirts (or shorts) and tank tops are impolite in the villages
(except for Nusa Ceningan). Wear t-shirts or short-sleeved shirts and longer pants or skirts.
Visitors to temples must wear a sarong - either bring your own or be prepared to wear
what’s available for sale or loan. Women who are menstruating are asked not to enter temples.
Although these rules may seem strange, they are important to the Balinese. But don’t be afraid
to ask why…
Try learning a few words of Indonesian or Balinese! Failing words, the universal language
of a smile will get you a long way.
What to expect from your visit to the village.
Bali is quite a different place outside the tourist centers. It can be beautiful, it can be dirty, it can be
surprising, unpredictable, uncomfortable and deeply rewarding. By taking a Village Ecotourism Network trip you are accepting Bali on its own terms. Part of joining Balinese people in their villages includes being
prepared for the following:
Accomodation standards will vary. If you choose to stay with a Balinese family in their home,
you’ll be living as they do. This includes having an Indonesian ‘mandi’ (scoops of cool water)
rather than a shower, and in some cases a squat toilet. All this may be very different to what
you’re used to but your hosts will make every effort to ensure you’re happy and comfortable.
The food is Balinese food...although special dietary requirements (such as for vegetarians)
can be accounted for in advance, there’s no a la carte menu! Some of the food may look and
taste unfamiliar, but if you’re prepared to give it a try, you’ll find some very tasty dishes.
The food is prepared by local women trained in food hygiene (and get lots of reminders to go
easy on the chilli). All drinking water is spring water or local water that has been properly boiled.
You might find some interesting new wildlife out in the villages. ‘Tokek’ –colourful and noisy
(but harmless) lizard - may be heard at night. You might find new insects or be visited in your
room by little geckos. Dogs are common and often ‘gong-gong’ (bark), but rarely bite.
There is little that can hurt you, but ask your guide if something worries you.
English is uncommon among local residents. But with a lot of sign language and a bit of help
from your local guide, you’re sure to have some animated conversations with villagers.
Most guiding will be done by one or more locals who can speak a little English and will
meet you upon arrival in the village. Your Wisnu guide will also be available as a backup
for translation and any other help you might need.
The Balinese are not always mindful of timetables and schedules. Though your guide will
endeavour to keep everything on track, you may run into the famous Indonesian concept
of ‘rubber time’. Relax and enjoy the opportunity this brings to experience
the unexpected…this is Bali!
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