Nyepi Day: How to Survive the Balinese Day of Silence
All you need to know about Nyepi, Bali’s Day of Silence
Are you currently planning your holiday in Bali? Have you heard about Nyepi Day? What is the Day of Silence? How should you plan Nyepi as a tourist?
Nyepi festival is one of the most interesting celebrations in the world. As such, it is often misunderstood and sometimes feared. Today we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Bali’s incredible Day of Silence.
What is Nyepi?
Nyepi Day, also called Day of Silence, is actually a festival of the Balinese new year. It is a Hindu celebration, yet they celebrate it mostly in Bali.
It starts three or four days before the actual Day of Silence with Melasti ritual. On Melasti, people take a Pratima (depiction of a Hindu deity) to the water for purification. It results in huge processions of Balinese heading to lakes or the sea. The water frees people of their suffering from the attachment of the material world. A large praying session follows, facing the sea.
The actual date of Melasti depends on the location of the temple where the procession is heading.
Ngerupuk parade takes place the night before the Day of Silence. This celebration is meant to chase away the evil spirits for the year to come. For months, each neighbourhood builds sculptures of demons from papier-mâché and styrofoam. Then they place these demons on a bamboo structure and carry them in the streets. The procession comes with music played by the youth and dances.
Next day is Day of Silence or Nyepi Day. This is a day of self-reflection, forgiveness and meditation for the upcoming year. Nobody goes out, the streets are silent, and lights must stay low. The origin of Nyepi was to pretend Bali is an uninhabited island, so the negative spirits would stay away. Nyepi starts from 6 am and goes until 6 am the next day.
Bali’s Day of Silence date changes every year since the Balinese calendar is lunar. The date for 2020 is the 25th of March.
What to expect during Bali’s Day of Silence?
A day of silence yes, but how much do they enforce it?
It is quite strict, actually. There are Pecalang (customs police) in the streets making sure everyone respects restrictions, locals and tourists alike.
All shops and restaurants are closed, and even the airport is closed on Bali’s day of silence. Cellular data and wifi are shut down as well. Some places have no electricity at all, so if you happen to be in Bali for Nyepi Day, you must plan ahead.
The day after, everything goes back to normal. Some shops will open the day after, but mostly everyone goes back to their business.
What to do during Nyepi Day?
It is up to you and how you feel about Nyepi Day. Here are your options:
Stay in your hotel room for a full day. Reading, watching series previously downloaded, eating cold snacks, or meditating. There are a few things you can do in your hotel room, so be creative and you’ll be fine! Why not have a screen detox or go full meditating mode? It is a day of silence, after all.
Some hotels offer a Nyepi package. For two nights, you will still be able to get wifi, play in the pool, have a proper meal and practice yoga. A great option if you don’t want to miss the Nyepi celebrations but aren’t thrilled about going silent for a day.
Many visitors decide to head to Gili Islands or Lombok for Nyepi Day of Silence. Nyepi is a wonderful festival but if you have just a seven day holiday, you better not waste a single one in your room! Book a fastboat ticket to the Gilis and enjoy the beautiful beaches while sipping a cocktail. To learn more about how to get to Gili Islands, click here.
Or you can head to Lombok, where the Hindu community will organise parades but the Day of Silence isn’t enforced. If you want to know more about Lombok’s attractions, follow this link!
Tips for Nyepi
Our only tip is: plan ahead. Many visitors only learn about Bali’s Day of Silence the day before and have a difficult experience.
Whatever your plan is, Nyepi is the busiest period of the year in Bali, so do not risk it and plan accordingly.
If you decide to experience it as a local, plan your entertainment, your food and your travels. Some shops close early the day before Nyepi (around 2 pm). This year, banks closed the whole day before as well, so nobody could withdraw money. Try to settle everything a few days before to be sure to have an enjoyable Day of Silence.
Don’t forget to ask your accommodation if electricity and wifi will stay on. Transportation can get difficult at that time, as they close some roads for parades. Keep in mind as well that fewer people will work as they are preparing for the celebrations.
If you’re going for a Nyepi package, book ahead as well. Many visitors will choose this option too so it is important to have a good choice.
Keep an eye on the sky that night. The stars shine usually very bright on Nyepi since all the lights are turned off. It’s the perfect occasion for a stargazing session!
If you’re heading to the Gilis or Lombok, book your hotel and your transportation. Here again, many visitors will move the day before Nyepi. Fastboats and hotels will fill really fast! It is better to not risk it.
Do you feel unsure about which Gili is meant for you?
We remind you that Bali’s Day of Silence is the most important celebration for Balinese Hindus. Please treat local cultures and traditions with great respect.
Thank you very much for reading, and have a quiet and relaxing Day of Silence!
Have you ever experienced Bali’s Day of Silence?
Which option would suit you better?
Are you looking forward to Nyepi?
Let us know!
Written by Virgine Fauquant