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Short guide to Bali

These pages contain a number of tips for travelers that are going to bring a visit to the Indonesian island of Bali soon. They are simple tips about the daily life on the island and what to expect when visiting the island. Many things will be just slightly different than at home, but it is important to locals that you at least somewhat adhere to their lifestyle.

Individual versus the group
Tips for first-time travelers to Bali

There's no place for the individual in this society like in the West. Bali is a crowded island, and its people live in very close proximity. As exemplified in the Balinese banjar and subak organizations, it's the individual's duty to obey the will of the group and the group leader. Loyalty to family, banjar, and village are more important than self-advancement.

Emphasis is placed on mutual togetherness, and on physical and emotional closeness to others of the same sex. The Balinese seek the security and support of others. Individuals aren't admired and may eventually be ostracized from the banjar if they don't fulfill their community obligations. Community members feel at one with the group, self-identity deriving from group identity. Balinese consider the man or woman who stands alone as unnatural and a little absurd.

Many Balinese are accustomed to sharing their beds with family members and may feel lonely or frightened when sleeping alone. A family member who brings disgrace to the family, even through no fault of their own, will be cast out in order to maintain family dignity.

Last revised on January 30, 2010
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