Everything You Need To Know About The Culture Of Bali


Bali is a magical place to go on holiday. It is said to have been first inhabited around 2000 BC, and because of that, its cultural roots run very deep. If you’d like to know about them, here’s the most important things to be learned about this incredible island, otherwise known as “The Island of the Gods.”

Hindu Influence

The Indonesian Archipelago was touched by Hindu influences dating right back to the first century. Now, although we can’t know the true answer, there are two theories about the arrival of Hinduism. One says that South Indian sea traders brought Hinduism to the people. While the second belief says that Indonesian royalty were the first people to grasp onto the Indian religion and culture, and because of that, so did everyone else.

Balinese Dance

Bali is very famous for leaving westerners with their mouths wide open by their dramatic dances. There is nothing random or accidental by the moves that they create though, they all tell a story of drama by using the whole body to convey emotion. At times it can be very serious and heavy, filled with pain and history. While other times it can be to put on a show of entertainment. The Balinese learn the dances from a very young age, being taught the moves with their hands before they’re even able to walk.

Pencak Silat (Martial Arts)

This is a type of martial arts that originated in Indonesia, and it was used by the freedom fighters when they were battling through their struggles against the Dutch colonists. While it was extremely popular at the time, when Indonesia gained its independence, the art then got lost, and the youth replaced it with commercial styles like taekwondo and karate.

Pencak silat wasn’t only used as a form of physical defense. It was actually said that it was a way of reaching a higher psychological power. Although weaponry was used alongside it, it was a full body battle which incorporated many different strikes and techniques.

Every single part of the body was allowed to be attacked, and you could also use any part of your body to attack with.

Indonesian Customs

If you plan on traveling to Bali, then it’s essential that you learn some simple rules of etiquette, so you are able to show your respect for the culture.

You want to avoid anger in Indonesia, as they will lose all the respect that they had of you if you are seen losing control of yourself.

It’s also important to remember that while they may speak English, it may not be up to the standard you’re used to, so staff may say ‘yes’ to different things you ask them, while not actually understanding what the question was, as not to lose face. So be patient, take your time, speak slowly, and use light hand gestures to make sure you are understood correctly.

Another thing to take note of is that physical contact isn’t looked at the same way as it is for us. So refrain from touching someone’s arm or shoulder when conversing them.

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