Nyepi is a Balinese Day of Silence celebrated by the Hindus which usually falls in March. This year Nyepi falls on the 28th of March. Nyepi is a day of silence, fasting and meditation observed between 6 a.m till 6 a.m the next day.
All activities in Bali will ceased during this period. All shops, entertainment or any forms of travelling is prohibited during this time. Even the International Airport is closed to observe this event. The only people that can be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men mainly dressed in black who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are to be followed.
While this may sound boring to some travellers, in 2009, I had one of the best experiences in my life in Bali during Nyepi Day. And I did it all alone without Ann as she was away in Australia for her studies.
Here are my personal experiences on Nyepi, the Day of Silence.
Flights to Bali from Indonesian based carriers are dirt cheap
I booked my tickets via Lion Air and I was amazed I only paid $7 for a return ticket (excluding airport tax) to Bali. I was informed that the airlines would prefer to “park” their planes back in Indonesia airports instead of incurring high fees at other International airports. Thus the dirt cheap fares! If you are planning to head to Bali for Nyepi in 2018, the date will fall on 17th March.
There is a culmination of events prior to the Day of Silence
Nyepi is not a one off event. There are rituals 3-4 days before Nyepi followed by another 3 days of rituals after. If you are in Bali earlier, you can immerse yourself in all the cultural activities that is happening throughout the island. You can read more on the various rituals HERE!
There is also a “Kissing Ceremony” called the Omed Omedan the day after Nyepi where youths between the ages of 17 – 30 take part in a kissing game where the male participants will try to kiss the female participants while other villagers pour buckets of water over them. Lucky for Ann, I did not manage to catch this. 😛
Ogoh Ogoh Parade
On the eve of Nyepi Day, there will be a parade of statues of mythological beings and demons on the island where these statues are being brought around the city where they will end up at the beach to be burnt. This ritual is to cleanse the city of any spiritual pollutants.
Although the Ogoh Ogoh parade is a new addition to Nyepi which started in the 1980s, (probably made for the tourists) I had a great time in the parade snapping photos and joining in the festive atmosphere with the locals.
Stock up on necessities such as food, snacks and comforts
As all shops are closed and setting a fire for cooking is also prohibited, it it best to stock up on food such as instant cup noodles and snacks for the 24 hour event. I also bought chocolates, sodas and other comfort foods to prepare myself on the eve of Nyepi.
Time for your own self reflection
While tourists are advised to lower their volume and minimise activities, I pushed myself further by switching off my phone to immerse myself in the Day of Silence. I took the time for self reflection on the past years as well as catch up on sleep. Lots of sleep.
All in all it was one of the best experiences I had while travelling Bali solo. It puts your life into perspective as well as appreciating the simple pleasures of life and the people we have. Will I ever do it again? Of course. Probably with Ann this time. 🙂
Have anyone of you experience Nyepi Day before? Share us your stories.