View of the rice paddies in central Bali 

More about Bali

Balinese wedding: our friends I Gusti Nyoman Kantun and Ni Gusti Ayu Juliati

As an integral part of the holiday we have gathered what we think are the main attractions of Bali which can easily be incorporated in a diving holiday, making it more than "just" a diving holiday. Because there is so much to explore and see we have divided points of interest into 4 pages: Culture, Nature, Activities and Other things..
Each page contains different categories, each of them represented by a graphic symbol. Some of them will be explained under the map of Bali if you hover over them; others will just give the name of the place.
Depending on your interests, they are certainly worth going to....

Bali has indeed much to offer and there are a lot of special 'festivals-ceremony's' in this island which might have a major influence on your holiday. Just as you plan the special months you want to come for diving, there are cultural holidays to consider when you plan your trip, either to catch or avoid them.
On some special days shops and restaurants are closed and normal island life comes to a halt.

Nyepi or silentday, new year for the Balinese, is one very special day to be aware of, because for 24 hours NOTHING happens on the island. There are no flights, no cars allowed on the road, all the locals stay within their village compounds and even the tourists are confined to their hotel premises - read more about Nyepi further down this page.

When to visit

The weather in Bali follows the normal Indonesian dry- and wet season cycle, with more rainfall on the south side than on the north or east side of the island. Click here for detailed weather graphs.

Special days in Bali

The Balinese use many different calendar systems. They have adopted the Gregorian calendar for business and government purposes.

Balinese boy on his way to a ceremony

But for the endless procession of holy days, temple anniversaries, celebrations, sacred dances,
building houses, wedding ceremonies, death and cremation processes and other activities that define Balinese life, they have two calendar systems.

The first is the Pawukon, from the word Wuku which means week.
The Balinese week, Wuku consists of 30 items starting from Sinta, the first Wuku and end up with the Watugunung the last one.
The Pawukon, a 210-day ritual calendar brought over from Java in the 14th century, is a complex cycle of numerological conjunctions that provides the basic schedule for ritual activities on Bali.


Balinese offering - Canang Sari

The second is called Sasih, which means month, and is a parallel system of Indian origin.
This is a twelve month lunar calendar that starts with the vernal equinox and is equally important in determining when to pay respect to the Gods.
After reading this you will understand that there are numerous ceremonies on Bali.

For your holiday planning the following dates are important:

Including the Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr dates since Indonesia is mostly Moslim.

For 2017:

Day Date Special day
Tuesday 28 March Nyepi (Caka year 1939)
Wednesday 05 April Galungan
Saturday 15 April Kuningan
Saturday 27 May start Ramadan
Monday 26 June end Ramadan - start Eid Al-Fitr
Thursday 17 August National Independence day
Wednesday 01 November Galungan
Saturday 11 November Kuningan

For 2018:

Day Date Special day
Saturday 17 March Nyepi (Caka year 1940)
Wednesday 16 May start Ramadan
Wednesday 30 May Galungan
Saturday 09 Juni Kuningan
Thursday 14 June end Ramadan - start Eid Al-Fitr
Friday 17 August National Independence day
Wednesday 26 December Galungan

For 2019:

Day Date Special day
Saturday 05 January Kuningan
Thursday 07 March Nyepi (Caka year 1941)
Monday 06 May start Ramadan
Tuesday 04 June end Ramadan - start Eid Al-Fitr
Wednesday 22 July Galungan
Saturday 03 August Kuningan
Monday 17 August National Independence day

The Galungan Ceremony

One of Bali's major festivals, Galungang celebrates the return of Balinese gods and deified ancestors to Bali. Balinese families will entertain and welcome them with prayers and offerings, holding with ceremonies to cleanse and balance the inner and outer energy on the island.
Galungan lasts for 10 days and features, among other things, barongs dancing from temple to temple in each village. The festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The origins of Galungan are still a mystery, but essentially this is the beginning of the week in which the gods and ancestors descend to earth and good triumphs over evil.

The Kuningan Ceremony

This festival is held eleven days after the Galungan Festival begins, signifying the closing of the New Year holiday. On this day, special offerings are made of yellow rice and special dishes, while every family compound and temple looks amazing with ornaments.
It is believed to be the ascendant day back to heaven of ancestral holy spirits and Deities.

Hari Raya Nyepi - Nyepi Ceremony

'Ogoh-Ogoh' celebrations; fight good against evil

This is the Hindu New Year, the Hindu Day of Silence, in the Balinese Sasih calendar.
The eve of Nyepi falls on the night of the new moon of the spring equinox, around March/April, and opens a new year of the Saka Hindu era which began in 78 A.D.

The date for Nyepi changes every year, and there is not a constant number of days between each Nyepi as there is for such days as Galungan and Kuningan.
The largest celebrations are held in Bali as well as in Balinese Hindu communities around Indonesia.


girls dressed up for the Ogo Ogo parade

The preparations for this Hindu New Year's eve, called Tawur Kesanga, start months before.
The youth organisations, Seka Teruna, from the local Banjars make carriages with Ogoh-Ogoh's - evil spirits, big puppets, usually depicting the fight between Good and Evil.

During the day the villages are cleaned and food is cooked for 2 days. On New Year's Eve, the Hindus celebrating Ngerupuk, start making noises and light burning torches and set fire to the Ogoh-ogoh in order to get the Bhuta Kala, evil spirits, out of their lives.
On the following day, Hindus do not leave their homes, cook or engage in any activities.

The streets are deserted in hopes of convincing the evil spirits to depart since there is no one left to have fun with. There are usually Pecalangs, traditional Balinese security man dressed in a black uniform, around.
They control and check the streets for security, and also stop any activities that disturb Nyepi.

If you are here during these days you have to respect and follow the guidelines i.e. do not go out on the streets, keep noise level to a minimum as well as the use of lights.