Bali is Closed For the Day. Right Now.

Thursday, March 7, 2018 is the third day of the six days that the Balinese New Year is celebrated; and the entire island of Bali is now as close to completely silent as possible for Nyepi.

Bali is Closed For the Day. Right Now.

“On the 3rd day the entire Island comes to a standstill, with no scheduled incoming or outgoing flights from Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar (DPS)”, according to this article at Bali.com. “This day is called Nyepi, meaning ‘to keep silent’ and falls on the day after the dark moon of the spring equinox when the day and night are of approximately equal duration.”

FlyerTalk member Friendly Traveling Deathmerchant was caught by surprise upon receiving an alert from a hotel property which specifically instructs that guests must remain within the hotel property. Even checking in or checking out of the hotel property is not possible on this day.

“Has anyone ever been trapped in a hotel on Nyepi Day in Bali that can comment how that works?” To answer that question posed by Friendly Traveling Deathmerchant, this article written by Christine Maguire of The Traveloguer gives an account of what you need to know if you find yourself on this island paradise in Indonesia during this sacred day:

It became apparent that if we were to survive this Nyepi, we would have to blow our already tight budget to stay in another place that was more expensive than we planned so that we could spend our day indoors somewhere that had facilities like a restaurant or a fridge so we could stock up on some drinks. We thought that somewhere with air-con would be good too.

We scrambled on our phones to search for accommodation that wasn’t booked up, and that wasn’t crazy expensive.

Bali is apparently a ghost island during Nyepi. Hotel and resort properties are requested to have all of their windows covered. All shops must be closed for the day — with no exceptions. No light or candle is to be lit in any home in Bali. No cars or other motor vehicles — not even motorized bicycles — are to be driven on the roads. No people are to be out and milling about. “It’s indeed a special experience, not only for the Balinese but also for all the visitors and tourists that are on Bali during Nyepi Day”, according to the aforementioned article from Bali.com, through which you can find out more information pertaining to the overall celebration of six days. “If you are in Bali during Nyepi make sure you do not plan any traveling or outside activities.

Summary

The first thought which immediately came to my mind was how Nyepi reminded me of Yom Kippur — which is the day of atonement in Judaism and is the most sacred day of the year in the Jewish calendar — which comes with many similar restrictions. Whether you want to be in Bali during this time depends on how interested you are in experiencing the rest of the Balinese New Year and immersing yourself into the culture of the Balinese people.

I understand that the island is not only silent during Nyepi, but also so dark at night that you can fly over it and actually not see it.

If you have plans on traveling to Bali during the month of March in the future, know that Nyepi does not occur on the same day every year:

  • Thursday, March 7, 2019
  • Wednesday, March 23, 2020
  • Sunday, March 14, 2021
  • Saturday, March 3, 2022
  • Wednesday, March 22, 2023
  • Monday, March 11, 2024
  • Saturday, March 29, 2025
  • Thursday, March 19, 2026
  • Monday, March 8, 2027
  • Sunday, March 26, 2028
  • Thursday, March 15, 2029
  • Tuesday, March 5, 2030

Imagery ©2019 TerraMetrics. Map data ©2019 courtesy of Google Maps.

3 thoughts on “Bali is Closed For the Day. Right Now.”

  1. Sean says:

    It is not closed yet, Nyepi begins at 6am it’s only 3:37:)

  2. Christopher says:

    I was there on Nyepi two years ago and it was pretty interesting. The quick explanation is that if the island is silent when the evil spirits pass over on New Years then they will continue on thinking the island is inhabited. You couldn’t leave the hotel, even to the beach as the neighborhood police were standing guard. Luckily the pools were still open at the very nice Laguna Nusa Dua.

  3. Paolo says:

    Well, great. Tomorrow it’s business as usual, ie hideously noisy, rudeness everywhere ( mostly the visitors), garbage being strewn from one end of the island to the other, including the plastic filled beaches/oceans. Deafening motorcycles, appalling music blaring from every building, lurching/shrieking drunks abound.
    Bali was never better than the time at the airport waiting for a flight out.

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