Nyepi Guide for Foreigners

11:04 PM


For you who don’t know what Nyepi is, well actually Nyepi is a New Year celebration, precisely Caka New Year. Unlike other New Year celebration which are full of fireworks, noise, and party, Hindu in Bali celebrate their new year in silence. The island will be in total silence. Harbor and Airport are closed for operational, nothing running on the street, no TV broadcast, and no electricity usage. 

Basically, there are 4 things we are not allowed to do during Nyepi: no traveling outside the house, no working, no entertainment, and no lights. A lot of non-Hindu people quickly travel outbound from Bali to avoid this day.


Cool or boring?

Whether you plan to escape this day or you are challenged to experience it yourself, below tips might be useful for foreigners.

If you plan to escape...

Will be wiser if you plan your escape two days before the D-day. Yes, the airport will be still operating one day before Nyepi, but the whole city - no, province - will be having Ogoh-Ogoh Festival. 

If your choice to leave only on Pengrupukan Day (one day before Nyepi), to be safe, make sure you arrive at the airport before 2 pm. Because if you don't, either you will be stuck in a traffic jam or taxi driver will refuse your call because they are afraid they will be stuck in the traffic jam on the way they go home (seriously, happened to my parents once). 

ogoh-ogoh denpasar
One of Ogoh-Ogoh I found while passing by on Nyepi 2015


Then you will be asking, how bad is the traffic jam? 

Well, think about it, ogoh-ogoh pours on the street (one ogoh-ogoh can has width as wide as as the street), lifted by about 20 men, followed by another 20 men playing the baleganjur (traditional music) and add some crews. That's for one desa adat (traditional village). Bali has about 1400s desa adat. I'm not asking you to imagine the all desa adat will be lifting their ogoh-ogoh - just imagine half of them, but there are some villages that made two ogoh-ogoh. People will also pour on the street (or center of the Festival) to watch - now here's the best part - until midnight. 
Now you want to really plan your escape. 

If you choose to stay, well, Nyepi can be an unforgettable experience for you.

D-7 until 2 - Melasti
If you're lucky you can find desa adat who are having Melasti ceremony at any beach in Bali. Usually they will march on the way to the beach bringing offerings and holly instruments they use on ceremonies and do symbolic "clean up", along with the spirit of Nyepi: to start a new day with clean soul for the new year.

melasti in Tabanan
Melasti ceremony that I participated. Yes, I felt like a baked potato, talking about the sun


D-1 - Pengrupukan
Go around the city or town, hunt pictures of every desa adat's ogoh-ogoh. Their creativity will amaze you. At the evening, go to the festival's center point and enjoy the epic festival. Oh, and don't be sad that those ogoh-ogoh will end up burnt because it should be burnt after the festival as the symbol of the demolishing the evil in our selves.

D-day - Nyepi
A total silence, as what "Nyepi" literally means. Usually you are allowed to go around the hotel area, but that's it. Seems like not much you can do, but on the other hand, you can make it unforgettable. Here are things you can do on Nyepi day:

A long nap to recharge
You might not count how many days your body and mind have been pushed to go through your days, even if it's the worst day ever. Time to give it a proper appreciation: one long break.

Get to know your self
You always listen to your boss, parents, or friends, but how many times do you really listen to your self? A quiet moment for self-talk is precious for modern people and use it well. Re-introduce you to your self, listen to what your heart wants, get to know your weakness and strength better, and make friend with your 'unfriendly past'.

Stargazing
Stars spread like sands on the sky. The moon will be the one that light up the sky. You won't believe that unpolluted sky could be so breathtaking.

stargazing on nyepi
My cousin, Kris, took this picture on Nyepi 2015 #nofilter


Quality talk with your beloved one(s)
Some of you might not have enough time to build a quality conversation with your loved ones. On this day, it's the perfect time. Get to know them better and show how they are really important to you.

Yoga
Yes, inner peace, baby! What could be more peaceful than doing yoga in a total silence.

Having more thoughts of what foreigners can do on Nyepi day? Leave a comment below :)

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