Nyepi is just around the corner, so here's everything you need to know about this unique Hindu celebration, and why it's our favourite day on the Balinese calendar.
So, you’ve booked your Bali holiday and it happens to fall on Nyepi? Never fear, The Honeycombers are here. Bali’s “Day of Silence” is the most magical and unique date on the Balinese calendar, found nowhere else in the world other than on this enchanting little island. Sure, it might interrupt some of your holiday plans and you won’t be able to hit the beaches, the boutiques, the bars or spas for 24 hours, but before you start looking at flight changes and cancellation costs, you’ll be very pleased to hear that Nyepi is our absolute favourite time of year.
If you’re lucky enough to be experiencing Nyepi in Bali this year, then read on for our little lowdown on what to expect during Bali’s famous Day of Silence. We’ve got tips on what to prepare, where to stay, and even how to spend the day – every answer to your nagging Nyepi FAQs.
Selamat hari raya Nyepi, Honeys!
When is Nyepi?
This year, Nyepi falls on March 7th 2019, beginning at 6am and finishing 24 hours later at 6am on March 8th 2019. The date of Nyepi changes each year according to the Balinese calendar, so you’ll want to check ahead if you’re already planning next year’s Bali blowout.
What is Nyepi?
For the Balinese, Nyepi is a Hindu celebration that marks the start of a New Year – a day to cleanse the island from the previous year’s misdoings and bad omens, establishing a pure and positive year ahead. The whole island shuts down for a full 24 hours, and the streets are off limits to everyone. Even the airport closes for a full day, with international planes being rerouted above so not to disturb the utter silence below. Everyone must remain inside their homes, villas or hotels without any disturbances – this means no travelling, transport, work, sound, or even light. In short, it’s utter bliss.
What happens during Nyepi?
On Nyepi Day, the Balinese will be busy meditating, praying and spending silent time at home with their families, but for non-Hindus, the answer is quite simply, nothing (other than plenty of relaxation). However, prior to Bali’s Day of Silence, the streets come alive with colourful umbrellas and towering penjor (decorative bamboo pillars) and the air is filled with the sweet sounds of traditional gamelan. You’ll also spot villagers excitedly preparing and sculpting enormous papier-mâché monsters (called Ogoh-Ogoh) which, on the night before Nyepi, are paraded through the streets with loud music, bursts of fire, thousands of people in the streets and plenty of community spirit. It’s a spectacular contrast to the silent serenity that follows.
Does everyone have to celebrate Nyepi, even tourists?
Yes, everyone must abide by the rules of Nyepi, namely remaining indoors without any noise or visible light. Don’t fret though, you’re permitted to move around your accommodation as normal, providing that sound and light are kept to an absolute minimum. If you’re staying in a hotel, there’ll often be plenty of activities on offer to keep you occupied, and you won’t be in total darkness either – lights will often be left on but dimmed at nighttime, and you’ll just need to keep your curtains closed.
So what should I do on Nyepi Day?
With nothing else on the itinerary except kicking back and chilling out, there’s no better time to rest, relax and rejuvenate from the comforts of a luxury hotel or resort. Find yourself a good book, meditate, dust off an old board game, treat yourself to an at-home face mask or simply bask in the sunshine with only the sounds of nature all around. To help you plan your Nyepi escape, check out the special Nyepi Stay Packages below to make your Silent Day even more magical.
Nyepi packages: Where to stay on Silent Day
Since no one can leave their accommodation on Nyepi day, many hotels will offer special Nyepi Stay Packages to keep everyone occupied on this “forced” day indoors. Most packages will offer discounted rates, complimentary meals, access to the hotel’s facilities and sometimes vouchers for spa treatments – even the kiddos will be taken care of with games, activities and movie marathons.
Check out these special Nyepi Stay Packages below for ideas on where to stay this Silent Day:
Alila Seminyak – from USD 379 net per room per night
Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort – from IDR 2,880,000 net per room per night.
Double-Six Luxury Hotel Seminyak – from IDR 5,100,000 net for two nights.
Six Senses Uluwatu – from USD 430++ for a two-night stay.
Hotel Tugu Bali – from IDR 3,300,000++ per room per night.
AYANA Resort & Spa Bali – from USD 318++ per room per night.
Movenpick Resort & Spa – from IDR 2,088,000 ++ per room per night.
Handara Golf & Resort – from IDR 2,200,000++ per room per night.
The Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali – from IDR 1,900,000++ per room per night.
Top Nyepi Tips:
- FOOD – If you’re staying in a private villa as opposed to a hotel, check ahead to see whether food and meals are provided. If not, you’ll want to stock up on plenty of sustenance well ahead of Nyepi, as the supermarket shelves are often bare by the time Nyepi swings around. You’ll also want to pre-prepare and cook most of your meals on the day before Nyepi, as you won’t be able to use that noisy blender or light-generating oven.
- TRAVEL – On the day before Nyepi, many roads will close at around 4pm to make way for the Ogoh-Ogoh parades that begin at 6pm, so you’ll want to avoid travelling long distances any time after lunch time. It’s the perfect excuse to head home early and begin winding down ahead of the celebrations.
- BUSINESS – Since Nyepi is the most important public holiday on the Balinese calendar, most businesses will close over Nyepi so that families can reunite and celebrate in their villages. Though the holiday is technically only one day, many businesses will close for an entire week, so keep this in mind if you have any deadlines (e.g visa extensions), or have planned any special occasions.
- OGOH-OGOH – One of the best things about Nyepi is the festivities that take place on the night before Silent Day, namely the Ogoh-Ogoh parades. Every village has their own parade, starting at around sunset time, so be sure to check out your local parade for a spellbinding show of colour, noise and good times. Otherwise, if you want to see the biggest and most staggering displays, then check out the Ogoh-Ogoh parades in Jimbaran (at the main McDonalds intersection), Seseh (at the intersection of Jl Raya Tanah Lot) or in Denpasar on Imam Bonjol. You’ll want to watch the closest parade to wherever you’re staying, ‘cause it’s likely you’ll need to walk home due to the road closures and out-of-office taxi drivers.
Happy Nyepi Honeys!
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