bali nyepi guide

How to Celebrate Nyepi: Bali’s Day of Silence (2023)

Nyepi, or the Day of Silence, is a truly special festival that takes place once a year in Bali, Indonesia.

Nyepi is a day for reflection, peace, and quiet. On this day, the entire island shuts down and observes 24 hours of complete silence. Mobile phone networks shut down, roads are closed, televisions are turned off, and even the airport becomes a no-fly zone.

Nyepi is a peaceful religious tradition the Balinese have observed for centuries, and it’s said to mark the end of the old year. If you’re on the island, you’ll need to be aware of what you can and can’t do on Nyepi (breaking the rules could get you kicked out of Bali!).

In this guide, we’ll break down the best ways to join in the festivities of Nyepi, and what to do if you happen to be in Bali at this time.

bali nyepi guide

How to Celebrate Nyepi

In March 2023, the Balinese will once again be celebrating Nyepi, a day of silence and reflection.

On this day, all activity is prohibited for 24 hours from 6 am until 6 am the following morning. Below, we’ll break down the important things to know about Nyepi.

What Are The Dates for Nyepi in 2023?

The dates for this year’s Nyepi celebrations are:

Wednesday, March 22nd, 5:59 AM – Thursday, March 23rd, 6:00 AM

What Are The Rules for Nyepi?

Nyepi is meant to be a day of silence and reflection. As such, there are certain things that are prohibited in Bali for those 24 hours of Nyepi.

Here are the Nyepi Guidelines:

  • Turning off electricity and lights (including WiFi)
  • Refrain from eating or making any noise outside of your home
  • No working or traveling (even within Bali)
  • No recreational activities like watching TV
  • No lighting fires

You may also even find that your accommodation switches off the electricity and WiFi.

It is also likely that the Balinese authorities will turn off mobile data coverage for the whole island. However, even when this happens, your WiFi will normally still work.

Just in case, it’s best to let people know that you may be away from the internet for 24 hours.

Are There Exemptions?

If you can observe Nyepi as a tourist then you should, as it’s a unique experience that everyone should try once in their lifetime.

However, if you are unable to, there are some exemptions available for those who need them – such as people in hospital and the emergency services.

The observance will last until 6 am, when everyone resumes normal activities.

Understand Nyepi – Bali’s Day of Silence

Nyepi, also known as the Balinese “Day of Silence” is a unique and important ritual in Bali Hinduism.

It takes place annually on the first day of the Balinese year called Caka New Year and marks a time for total self-reflection, fasting, abstaining from activities, and celebrating silence.

Nyepi means to keep silent or stay still, and locals and tourists alike observe the practice.

The purpose behind this day of silence is to cleanse bad energy from people’s lives through meditation, prayer, yogic practices such as pranayama (the art of conscious breathing) and other forms of spiritual purification.

By observing complete quietude on Nyepi Day, Balinese Hindus reflect inwardly on their deeds throughout the last year in order to start anew with a heightened sense of awareness of their inner selves.

bali nyepi

Ideas For Things to do on Nyepi

Here are some ideas of how you can make the most out of Nyepi:

  • 1. Spend time reflecting on your life with meditation or prayer.
  • 2. Get creative by writing poetry or painting pictures inspired by Nyepi’s themes of introspection and peace.
  • 3. Take in the stars without the light pollution that usually fills the sky on any other day of the year.
  • 4. Make traditional Balinese dishes such as sate lilit (minced seafood satay).
  • 5. Take a notepad and create a bucket list of things to do in 2023.

Ideas For How To Surive Nyepi

This section is for people that just can’t imagine anything worse than a day of silence, and would like to make it through Nyepi without the meditation.

We would definitely recommend trying it out, even if just for a few hours. The silence might be a welcome change from your normal routine.

But, just in case, here are a few ideas of how to survive Nyepi:

  • Stock up on snacks and food for your kitchen! Just try to be discreet. Nyepi restrictions don’t apply to tourists when it comes to cooking, as long as you’re not visible from the outside.
  • Entertainment. Video Games are also exempt, so feel free to keep yourself entertained. Use headphones though.
  • Netflix. Though local TV stations will cease broadcasting over Bali’s airwaves over Nyepi, your WiFi and cable TV will normally remain available, along with Netflix etc.
  • Go away for the weekend. If you’re not excited by the idea of Nyepi, you could travel to the neighboring islands of Lombok or Java, which do not observe Nyepi.
  • Stay with friends. As long as you have a place that is not going to be seen or heard from the outside, it is completely fine to have a few friends over to pass the time.
  • Get plenty of rest! Use this time as an opportunity for much-needed rest by going to bed early and getting up late on Nyepi morning if possible.

The most important thing is to have respect.

As long as you try your best to follow the rules of this local religious practice, you will have no issues and may even enjoy your Nyepi time in Bali.

More Things To Do After Nyepi

bali nyepi

Best Area of Bali to Stay During Nyepi

During the Nyepi Day of Silence, there are certain places in Bali that offer the ultimate atmosphere for enjoying this special holiday.

Here are some of the best areas to stay during Nyepi:

1. Ubud – This peaceful area is perfect for celebrating Nyepi as it offers quiet surroundings, peaceful ricefields, and is the heart of the amazing Balinese culture.

2. Uluwatu – The stunning beaches and lack of light pollution (hello stargazing) will make it a great spot for a relaxing stay during the Nyepi period.

3. North Bali – A great place to disconnect on Nyepi. The northern areas of Bali also have plenty of quiet guesthouses to stay and observe the night sky.

You may also want to consider the best area to stay for the annual Ogoh-Ogoh parade on Nyepi Eve. We cover this in the section below.

Need some inspiration? Check out our Bali Digital Nomad Guide

Experience Ogoh-Ogoh Parade on Nyepi Eve

The Ogoh-Ogoh parade is one of the most iconic and vibrant features of the Hindu New Year celebration in Bali, Nyepi.

On the eve of Nyepi, a large procession takes place as locals carry their homemade giant paper mache statues known as ogoh-ogohs through the streets.

The ogoh-ogoh sculptures are made by local communities from bamboo frames covered with paper mache and paint depicting mythological creatures or demons.

During the parade, these monsters come alive through loud gong music and fireworks accompanying each statue along its route to ward off bad luck for all of Caka Year ahead.

As it’s a Hindu tradition, visitors should observe proper clothing etiquette, including wearing modest clothes that cover their shoulders and knees out of respect for local customs.

Here’s what to expect from the Ogoh Ogoh Parade

When & Where?

The Ogoh-Ogoh parade typically starts around 6 PM on Nyepi Eve and there are a few great places to observe it.

Ogoh-ogoh parades can be found all across Bali, although not all the villages will host one.

If you’re looking to see one of the larger ogoh-ogoh parades, you’ll want to make sure you’re in one of these places:

  • Denpasar: You’ll have your chance to see one on the Puputan field.
  • Jimbaran: On the main road, at the intersection with McDonalds and KFC.
  • Seseh: On the road towards Tanah Lot. At the crossroads of Jl Raya Tanah Lot.

Get there early to grab a spot close up front so you can get an up-close view of all the intricate details on each sculpture as they pass by!

bali nyepi

Tips For a Digital Detox During Nyepi

Nyepi could also be a great opportunity to try out a digital detox!

Here are some tips for participating in a digital detox during Nyepi:

  • 1. Set aside time before Nyepi to clear out your inboxes and catch up on any necessary work-related emails.
  • 2. Turn off all notifications from your email accounts, social media apps and other mobile devices that may distract you while taking part in Nyepi’s festivities.
  • 3. Take advantage of Nyepi’s quiet atmosphere by unplugging completely for at least 24 hours; if possible try extending it to 48 hours or more!
  • 4. Read a book instead of scrolling through endless feeds on your phone/computer during this holiday period.
  • 5. Try to meditate, even if it’s your first time. There are some great apps to get started, like Headspace.
bali nyepi

Summary Of The Rules of Nyepi

Nyepi is a day of complete silence and self-reflection celebrated by the Balinese people.

It is typically observed on the first day of the Balinese Saka Calendar, which falls sometime between March and April each year.

To make the most out of your Nyepi experience, here is a recap of the rules you should follow:

  • 1. Amati Geni – No Fire. i.e. no lighting fires (or lights) after 6pm.
  • 2. Amati Lelungaan – No Travel. i.e. no leaving your home or hotel.
  • 3. Amati LelanguanNo entertainment. i.e. not meant to watch TV, etc.
  • 4. Amati Karya – No activity. i.e. minimal talking throughout the day.

As long as you have respect and do your best to follow these rules, you’ll be sure to have a Nyepi that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Staying longer in Bali? Check out our Bali Digital Nomad Guide

When is Nyepi 2023?

Nyepi 2023 will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 22nd, 5:59 AM – Thursday, March 23rd, 6:00 AM

Do tourists need to be silent on Nyepi?

Tourists should do their best to observe the practices of Nyepi, including minimal noise.

Do tourists need to stay inside on Nyepi?

Yes, this is a rule that everyone in Bali should follow. During Nyepi, you are expected to stay inside your home or hotel and make as little noise as possible.

Are there Nyepi parades?

Yes. On Nyepi Eve there are Ogoh-Ogoh parades across the island. The biggest parades can be found in Denpasar, Seseh, and Jimbaran.

Will WiFi work during Nyepi?

It’s likely that the Balinese authorities will turn off mobile data coverage for the whole island. However, even when this happens, your WiFi will normally still work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *