How to Survive Nyepi
Nyepi is the Balinese “Day of Silence” commemorating the Balinese New Year that falls on the first new moon in March.
Nyepi is a day that the Hindu Balinese dedicate completely to connect more deeply with their God through prayer, fasting and meditation. It is considered a public holiday with strict rules. There is no electricity, no light, no cars, no noise and no leaving the house. Shops are all shut, beaches are prohibited, and security guards patrol the streets to make sure no-one is breaking the rules.
For a traveller, it may sound a bit intimidating, but it’s actually one of the coolest things you can experience when you visit Bali.
The night before Nyepi sees the Ogoh-Ogoh Parade, which are large monster-like ‘evil spirits’ that are paraded down the streets of Bali followed by the playing of drums, hitting of gongs, and people following behind. The parade ends with bonfires that burn the creatures, which symbolises purification of energies, scaring off evil spirits, and the eradication of evil influence. It was reported than in 2015 an Ogoh-Ogoh was bright pink with high-heels and a selfie-stick. Wonder what the message was there?
6.00am on ‘Silent Day’ sees Bali essentially going into hiding to protect itself from the evil spirits, fooling them to believe that Bali is a deserted Island of complete tranquillity and peace.
Spiritually, the holiday has a huge reflection of the Self, to evaluate personal values such as love, truth, patience, kindness, generosity and most importantly, forgiveness.
Foreigners are asked to take part in the celebration by respecting the culture and stay indoors for the day. For some foreigners, they may wish to fully immerse themselves in the silence and self-reflection, for others, they may find it more of a disturbance to their holiday more than anything. Whatever you think of the holiday, we have our top tips for surviving Nyepi.
1. Don’t leave shopping to the last minute
If you walk into a grocery store the day before Nyepi, don’t be alarmed if you find yourself waiting for the cashier for 45+ minutes. Everyone stocks up, majorly, and you don’t want to get stuck in a mini-mart for hours just to buy your bottles of water.
2. Stock up on water
The above point brings us to this point, don’t forget to buy lots of water! As all shops are closed on Nyepi, and drinking tap water is a definitely a no-no, you don’t want to wake up feeling more shrivelled than a raisin.
3. Buy a new book
There are a few good bookshops in Bali, like Periplus Bookshop, that caters for the English-speaking population. Catch up on your reading by getting a nice book and chilling by the pool. Not to mention it’ll top up your tan.
4. Book a spa day
Nothing says self-reflection than having hours to yourself being pampered, right? There are a number of bali hotels, resorts and spas in Seminyak, Kuta, Ubud, Sanur and Jimbaran that exclusively offer Nyepi packages so you can spend the whole day being rubbed down in complete luxury. The Purist Villas, The Griya Villas and Spa, The Anvaya Beach Resort Bali, The Mulia Resort and Villas, and the Maya Sanur Resort and Spa are just some of best hotels in Bali that offer amazing Nyepi Packages that include breakfast, lunch, dinner and spa treatments.
With zero light and emissions pollution for 24hrs means that it is pretty much the only night in Bali where you can see the stars. And it’s something you want to take advantage of! Pick a spot poolside with your copious amounts of snacks and watch the milky way come into full light.