What to do when Nyepi is Happening in Bali? Well, once a year the island of Bali completely shuts down. Every shop is closed, there’s no car or motorbike to be seen on the street. And at night the island descends into an inky blackness with no lights or fires to be seen. The entire airport also shuts down on this day and there’s no flights landing or taking off for 24 hours.
Nyepi marks as the first day of the New year according to the Saka Balinese calendar. Nyepi is an important Hindu celebration, the day is reserved for prayer, meditation, and fasting for the Balinese. But for tourist they free to do as they wish on this day but they must stay indoors and make sure that any lights cannot be seen from the outside. And if there’s any curious individuals attempting to explore the empty street will be swiftly sent back to their homes or hotels by the “Pecalang” or traditional village security men.
Nyepi means all people will stay inside and all shops are closed. Emergency servies are actively working, however, all movement is kept to a minimum. Local police will be patrolling the streets to ensure this is adhered to.
Nyepi also means :
- No working. All shops and business are required to close for 24 hours, with an exception for local police and emergency personal. Everyone is required to stay home or in their accommodation.
- No lighting fores ( or lights of any kind). For a local this would mean, no electricity or lighting of fires. As a tourist, it also expected out of respect that light is kept to a minimun after dusk. But don’t worry your accomodations will have e;lectricity for you to charge your devise and keep cool in the air conditioning. You can only use light when it necessary.
- No Entertainment or Pleasure. Nyepi means, you will find that local TV stations will be switched off and mobile data services may be slow or limited. But this situations wont effect the wifi in your accommodation. You also still can enjoying all the activities inside your villa including swimming in your pool, playing board games, or even reading a book.
- No travelling. You will find that no planes will arrive or depart for 24 hours and thus trickles down to no movement of cars, motorbike as well as people on foot. You are required to stay inside your villa.
Remember it’s only 24 hours so it wont be too much of a disruption.
Nyepi Rituals and The Ogoh-ogoh Parade
The days leading up to Nyepi are extremely busy period for the Balinese. There’s a number of ceremonies that must be performed for purification and to ensure good luck and fortune for the year ahead.
Melasti is the first major ceremony. It held three or four days before Nyepi. The ceremony always held on a beach and entire villages. In Melasti, everyone wearing traditional adat clothing in white.
The night before Nyepi is possibly the most exciting and spectacular time to be on the island and each village will hold its own Ngrupuk parade with Ogoh-ogoh in order to draw out and banish malevolent spirits.
What is Ogoh-ogoh? The Ogoh-ogoh are large statues made from bamboo and paper, mostly representing monsters from Hindu mythology. Ogoh-ogoh made by the young men in each village for months beforehand and paraded down the main street of each village as night falls, often headed up by the young women of the village carrying flaming torches.
The Ogoh-ogoh parade is always accompanied by traditional high energy music provided by the Baleganjur gamelan or a marching band of drums and gongs that also can be heard at ceremony processions. The Ogoh-ogoh processions will start around sunset.
Back in the village, each household will also make as much noise as possible. It’s believed this chases out any lingering spirits before a cleansing ceremony is performed in each home on Nyepi eve.
Where to Stay and What to Do Over Nyepi
If you visiting Bali over Nyepi, hotels and resorts operate as usual and you’ll be able to explore the grounds and use the swimming pool.
So what you can do over Nyepi in Bali?
- Stay inside your villa or hotel for 24 hours.
- Visit your local ATM or money exchange because these will shut down from about 12pm the day before Nyepi and in some cases. Will not re-open until late in the day late post Nyepi.
- Talk to your hotel or villa manager to arrange your meals in Nyepi Day
- You can go to grocery store one day before Nyepi to stock up in case you feel like a bite to eat or something to drink early.
Nyepi has been a day where you wake up in the morning to silence. You wont hear the rumbling of a motorbike, or tooting of car horn. Nyepi it’s a day where the island paradise of Bali stops as one and observes this sacred ritual of stillness.
If you don’t want to be confined to the limits of a villa compound or hotel grounds, then you can consider hopping to a nearby island where Nyepi isn’t observed. Labuan Bajo seems to be among the most popular choices and it also only took an hour and half flight from Bali.
If you wondering what to do in Labuan Bajo, there are plenty of things to do in Labuan Bajo. you can experiencing local culture at Melo Village or Wae Rebo Village, visiting Komodo National Park (this is the only place in the world where you can see dragons or people also called it the last dinosaur). You can also chilling at the Pink Beach, cruising through Kalong Island, and enjoying sailing experience.
We love helping our client finding new places to go, things to do and experiences to be had, so if you feel like immersing yourself into the beautifull Labuan Bajo. Let us know if you are planning your next trip to Labuan Bajo.