If you’re new to Balinese culture, then the elaborate ritual surrounding Balinese New Year, or Nyepi, may surprise and delight you. Falling in early to mid-March, this lunar holiday curtails evil spirits and gives people a chance to recharge after the hectic year. However, tourists should be prepared to survive Nyepi Day. Not that it’s wild and hectic – far from it! For one day, Bali shuts down almost completely. Nobody lights fires, works, travels, uses lights, or enjoys entertainment. Most people don’t even leave their homes.
Nyepi is a sacred religious tradition that’s well worth learning more about. If you happen to be on the island during this time, it’s important that you respect the day of silence. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to pause your vacation, especially if you’re staying at Sahaja Sawah Resort! Here are a few things you can do in Bali on Nyepi Day.
Plan a screen-free day
If you’re anything like the average person, you probably have a love-hate relationship with your electronics. On one hand, you know you spend too much time on your phone. On the other, you’ve got an Instagram profile to update! Although we’re very supportive of your Insta goals, Nyepi is a great moment to turn off your devices and live free of the stress of hectic Internet life. You may not be able to access your phone network anyway, although most hotels, including Sahaja Sawah Resort, will still have Internet access.
Expect restaurants to be closed
When we say that the island will be shut down, we mean it! The only people out of doors on this day will be the policemen stationed in the streets, who will prevent anyone else from walking around. If you’re relying on restaurants to feed you while you’re in Bali, then make sure and book with us. The Sahaja Sawah restaurant will be open on Nyepi Day, ensuring that you’ll be well fed throughout this important time of the year.
Don’t try to fly
You won’t be able to! There’s no travel allowed on Nyepi Day. If you’re planning to stay at Sahaja Sawah in March, be very aware of when Nyepi falls during your trip. For you calendar-savvy folks, it always falls on the day after the Spring equinox. Here are the Nyepi dates for the next few years:
- 2019: March 7
- 2020: March 25
- 2021: March 14
If you want to fly in or out on one of these days, then rearrange your schedule now. Call us for advice on when and how to visit around Nyepi.
Catch up on some reading
Unless you’re actively giving birth, you really can do nothing in Bali on
Nyepi Day. Beaches are closed. Walking through the abandoned streets is strongly discouraged. Even playing music or your TV is frowned upon. While many modern people cringe at the thought of a silent day of inactivity, bibliophiles are already planning their trips. Do as they do and read a book! The island features several booksellers, including Ganesha and Periplus, who sell books in English. Sahaja Sawah Resort also has a shop that includes some reading material in case you finish that bestseller.
Rest up after the previous day’s festivities
Before Nyepi Day comes Nyepi Eve, which features parades, religious ceremonies, and people beating pots and pans with bamboo sticks. The Ngrupuk Parades, in particular, are well worth seeing. These celebrations feature giant lightweight effigies of ogoh-ogoh, the colourful demons of Balinese Hinduism. After the parades, the ogoh-ogoh are burned in the evening dusk, blazing cheerily as the sun goes down. These parades alone make a March stay in Bali worthwhile. They’re a unique event that you’ll be glad you saw! If you want advice on the best Ngrupuk Parades, ask us. We’re happy to tell you when and how to see the best ogoh-ogoh on display.
Prepare for the next day
The day after Nyepi is marked by forgiveness, family, and a charming and joyful kissing ritual held in the village of Sesetan. There’s also a beach market where you can buy both unique local goods and authentic Balinese street food. After a day of silence, contemplation, and a good lounge around our luxurious pool, the vibrancy of Bali will feel more intense than ever. WHy not take out one of Sahaja Sawah’s scooters to enjoy the new year?
Nyepi Day is a golden opportunity to look at the night sky without light pollution. How Dare She advises some research ahead of this stellar activity to make sure that your hotel will allow you out of your room. (Many do, as long as you don’t leave the hotel’s property.) Most people will never see a night sky as clear and dark as the one that appears at the end of Nyepi Day on Bali. Why not spend the day sleeping and sit out on Sahaja Sawah’s rooftop bar all night?
Go to another island
If you really don’t think that you can survive Nyepi Day in Bali, then hop over to the Gili Islands the day before Nyepi and return the day after. If yo’re staying a Sahaja Sawah, we’ll work with you to manage your custom accommodations. Located right off the coast of Lombok, the three Gili Islands are tropical paradises known for turtle hatcheries, gorgeous hiking, and treehouse bars. Snorkeling, cycling, yoga, and shopping are also popular on this underrated tourist getaway.
Ask about in-house hotel activities
Your hotel may still have things for tourists to do. From spa treatments to swimming to kids’ activities, you won’t necessarily be bored. Sahaja Sawah wants you to be comfortable on Nyepi. In fact, we’ve got a full-service spa, extensive kids’ activities, and, of course, fine dining available throughout Nyepi. Our staff will make sure you’re comfortable all day long.
Want to experience Nyepi in Bali? Book with Sahaja Sawah Resort today! Let us give you the holiday of a lifetime with our luxurious rooms and amenities.