The Balinese are very tolerant of Western approaches to dress, and you can dress as minimally as you like. However it’s considered poor taste for a woman to reveal too much of her body, or for a man to go without a shirt. Only wear your swimming costume near the pool, not in other areas of your hotel. Remove your shoes before entering a private house.
It’s considered offensive to touch someone on the head in Bali; to point at a person or thing (if you must point, use your thumb not a finger); to use the left hand in dealings with people (giving them food or money, or touching them) – always use the right; to stretch your feet out in the direction of a nearby person; and to stand with your hands on your hips (this is interpreted as a sign of aggression). Try to avoid these actions wherever possible.
The Balinese will always treat you as an honoured guest, and we encourage you to return their amazing sense of hospitality with friendliness and courtesy whenever you can. If you try to speak Indonesian, even a handful of words, and no matter how badly, you’ll get an enthusiastic response. As languages go, Bahasa Indonesia is quite easy to pick up. However, you can certainly get by in most places in Ubud with English.
It’s a real no-no to express anger, particularly in public, so don’t raise your voice or get aggressive even if circumstances are frustrating – if the Internet is slow, if a religious procession is blocking the road, or if the petrol station is out of petrol, for example. Keep your sense of humour, and remember that you came here to relax!