Four tips for surviving and enjoying Nyepi day

I’ve just completed my 2nd Neypi day in Bali’s Kuta beach area, both times by choice and this second time based on the experience of the first.

The build up to Nyepi is colourful, noisy and chaotic. Nyepi day requires everyone to stay within their home or hotel complex, this forced seclusion, without TV or music and with WiFi slowed to  dial up speeds is also oddly appealing as it gives, albeit forced, permission to ‘stay in’

Before boring anyone with what Nyepi entails, its important to know how to survive it and what parts may be really enjoyable.

What I have learnt from the first time, I’ve applied to the second visit and it has made life more predictable and enjoyable.

  1. Participate – in what is available. This a great opportunity to see traditional celebrations, conducted right in downtown tourist land
    • The Melasti day parades are outrageously colourful and striking – spend at least an hours at the beach front to watch
    • The Ogoh-Ogoh are brought out at around 1300 hours on the day before Nyepi and conveyed to Jala Legian
    • My favourite – Watching electricity cables being lifted so the groups of you men carrying the 5 meter statues can get them underneath
    • See the religious celebrations and cock fighting right at Bemo Corner from around 1530 hrs
    • Stroll along the closed of Jl Legian to see all the Ogoh-Ogoh in the daylight- before the final parade at night
  2. Plan Ahead – all shops and restaurants will all be closed in the mid to late afternoon on the day before Nyepi (no set time) and not open again for over 40 hours
    • Choose a hotel that caters for tourists, to the extent they can
    • Plan ahead and stock up early on the day before Nyepi.
    • Some small hotels may not serve food and with a captive audience, others will charge what they like for a limited range of offerings.
    • Instant noodles, bread and sandwich fillings are popular items, in hot demand in the Supermarkets
    • Alcohol and mixers are also in demand
  3. Be Entertained – you can not leave your hotel complex and there will be no TV or music and outside lights are strongly discouraged from 1800 hrs until 0600 hrs the next morning
    • Take a book you’ve been meaning to read
    • Have a movie collection and HDMI cable to link your portable device to the TV (volume limited)
    • Earphone for listening to music will be needed
    • WiFi speeds can slow as demand increases – have a local sim with data package
    • Enjoy the bird noise and remember what silence is like
  4. Be Patient – the day after Nyepi, nothing opens until around 1200 hrs, except the beach
    • Some restaurants may be closed for 1 or 2 days after Nyepi day
    • The Pasar Majelangu, along the Kuta beach area from Poppies 1 to where the walkway to Discovery Plaza starts, opens early and is colourful with lots of local foods
    • Great opportunity to see ordinary Indonesian families enjoying themselves and reclaiming the beach front from the tourists

The boring stuff about Neypi (courtesy on Wikipedia and the information sheet from Bakung Sari Hotel).
Nyepi is the Balinese Hindu celebration of “Day of Silence” that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar. It falls on a different date each year ( 2016,on March 9th / 2017 on March 28th). It is celebrated all over Bali but is also a public holiday in other parts of Indonesia.

The 4 main days of celebration are:

  1. Melasti day
    Falls 3 days before Nyepi and involves colourful processions of sacred objects, from local temples, to the sea (or other body of water) for cleansing. It is accompanied by Gamealn music and other forms of aural tor
  2. Ngerupuk
    Performed the day before Nyepi and iis performed to vanquish negative elements and create harmony between God, Mankind and Nature.This is when the Ogoh-Ogoh (giant demonic puppets) are brought out from the temple complexes where they have been created and paraded to the main temple, with as much noise and clamour as can be mustered, to scare off evil spirits
  3. Nyepi day
    The Day of Silence, is just that. No noise, lights, travel or entertainment. It is a day of quiet reflection but is also (aparentl) intended to convince the evil spirits that fly over Bali at this time, that there is no one there and hence they can just move on and leave Bali alone.
  4. Ngembak Neypi
    The day after Nyepi is a day for getting together with friends and family, asking for forgiveness for any wrong deeds. In Kuta, the beach from from Jalan Pantai Kuta to Jl Bakung Sari is a large open air market, selling food, clothing, shoes, jewelry and pretty much anything else you can imagine. The Ogoh-Ogoh are on display
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