I still remember my first time experiencing Balinese seclusion day, also known as Nyepi, 2 years ago. It taught me some lessons to not only spend the whole day at home without the lights and fire, but also to also love the island and the people by taking part in the Balinese culture and religion event even thought it is a small part by doing like the locals, refraining the worldly business for one day.
Balinese Hindus will have to follow the four abstinence rules known as Catur Brata Penyepian. They consist of Amati Geni (abstaining from creating fire or light), Amati Karya (abstaining from work), Amati Lelungan (abstaining from traveling outside their homes), and Amati Lelanguan (abstaining from enjoyable activities)
The aim of said abstinence is to guide Balinese people on entering a state of self-contemplation, meditation and evaluation of their deeds during the previous year, as well as praying for the best in the coming year.
Some holiday makers avoid to visit Bali during Nyepi day as there are no activities outside the house in almost every corner of the island. But to me personally, it is a special day when I can really enjoy the view around the beaches, from the Legian beach to Kuta beach in Kuta area, from Sanur beach to Padang Galak in Sanur area, even further around the beaches in Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, and Uluwatu.
I love how people do the Melasti procession and the some Ogoh-ogoh parades around the public roads during the chains of Nyepi . I can feel the excitement of preparing the big days for the local Balinese as well as the visitors. It makes me want to experience Nyepi over and over again after my very first one, two years ago.
This year’s Nyepi will fall on March 28th. As it is the biggest Balinese Hindu ceremony, I suggest to those who plan on having some Nyepi experience to make proper plans, such as the schedule, activities and food supply. And here are some tips for you:
1. Schedule your visit wisely
The first thing people who want to be in Bali during Nyepi should know is that every access to and from the island will be closed for 24 hours during the day. It applies to the access via the airport and harbours to avoid lights from coming in.
To enjoy Bali on Nyepi day, you have to arrive in Bali one day prior to Nyepi. If you want to observe the rituals of Nyepi celebration, such as Melasti and Pengerepukan, you better arrive in Bali two or three days in advance.
Aside from the arrival schedule, you have to prepare the departure time as well. Remember that you are not allowed to leave the island until a day after Nyepi.
2. Enjoy the preceding celebrations
Nyepi day is a chain of unique rituals. You will see some parades along the week before Nyepi day.
Melasti procession is a parade of a group of people walking from their residences to the nearest beach. This is a Balinese Hindu ceremony and ritual of purification, which aim to clean the world and the contents at the nearest water sources from their residences.
In Melasti, you will see people carry varied ornaments from their temples and shrines to wash them with the water from the sea or the river.
You will also see various Ogoh-ogoh (paper-made statue) around. Ogoh-ogoh symbolises the bad spirit or the demons. People will parade Ogoh-Ogoh along the public roads the night before Nyepi, and burn them after the parade as the symbol of purification too. This ceremony is known as Pengerupukan ceremony.
Both Melasti and Pengerupukan are very special events that you don’t want to miss while you’re in Bali. Get your camera ready for some pretty cultural shots!
3. Prepare food supplies and the entertainment
As we are not able to leave the house and do any sort of activities during Nyepi, some Bali visitors and residents choose to stay in hotels or villas with family or a bunch of friends with the Nyepi Packages.
Preparing some entertainment during your stay at the hotel is as wise and important as preparing food supply at home. You should consider the time of food shopping before Nyepi, because most supermarkets will be packed closer to Nyepi.
You are still allowed to use the electricity inside your room at the hotel, watching movies or playing video games as long as you keep it down a little. Generally, the resort facilities are still open during Nyepi day as you are not allowed to walk out, even to the beach when the hotel has a direct access.
4. Prior preparation for cash and emergency contacts
One simple thing that we often forget is to withdraw money for one night and during Nyepi day.
Every ATM machine on the island usually shuts at 5 p.m on a day before Nyepi until morning the following day. Make sure you get cash out before then, just in case you need some.
Last but not least, do prepare emergency contacts such as hospital. Yes, the hospitals will always be open regardless of Nyepi.
5. Enjoy the fresher air and the brighter sky
Another privilege of visiting Bali during Nyepi day is you can see and feel the fresher air and the brighter sky. As there are no vehicles along the day, there is also no pollution in the sky.
Nyepi day will be a good opportunity for the astronomy enthusiasts. The clearer sky at night offers the best moment to explore the sky and the constellations with the naked eyes. To me, this is one of the best things about Nyepi.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Edna is a Jakarta-based travel writer. She began her professional carrier as a journalist. She lived in Bali for a year, then moved back to Jakarta to chase another dream.
She writes anything related to traveling, culinary, lifestyle, nature, culture and other tourism attractions especially in Indonesia.
Read more stories fom her at edededan.com