Sssshhhh! Nyepi is coming soon to Bali…
Nyepi (a.k.a. Day of Seclusion, Hindu New Year, Saka New Year) is an Indonesian public holiday that occurs every March or April. This year, it falls on Friday 23 March, although some activities begin at sunset on 22 March.
Balinese Hindus commemorate the day with self-introspection, no work, silence and staying indoors; the last two of these is strictly enforced across the island by pecalang, traditional Hindu religious police (see right).
In some parts of Bali, the electricity is also disconnected.
Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport is also closed to all international and domestic flights from sunset on 22 March until sunset on 23 March. Domestic airlines that have not updated their websites to reflect this soon will. It is recommended to fly to Bali before lunchtime on 22 March, otherwise delays and the subsequent closure of Bali’s airport could potentially result in your flight being cancelled.
Similarly, ferries to and from Lombok/Gili Islands and Java do not operate. Buses that usually travel to Bali will terminate at the nearest ferry terminal: Labuhan Lombok for Lombok, Ketapang/Banyuwangi for East Java. Buses from Bali will not operate.
For some tourists, a day like this is cool, inspiring and a nice contrast to the frequently rowdy/party atmosphere of Bali’s tourist areas. For others, it may seem an excrucatingly boring waste of time.
Those in the latter group are encouraged to avoid Bali on 22-23 March, or to stay at a nicer hotel; 5-star hotels and resorts in e.g. Nusa Dua, Jimbaran Bay, Ubud, Seminyak have special activities to keep families and other guests entertained within the hotel grounds.
In 2013, Nyepi is on 12 March.
It is celebrated between 6am on 12 March until 6am on 13 March, and Bali’s airport, harbours and bus terminal will be closed for these 24 hours.