WONDERING when’s the best time to visit Bali?
Many will say it’s during the ‘dry’ season, April through October, but according to Four Seasons Resorts Bali, the best month is March for the unique Balinese-Hindu New Year, known as Nyepi or ‘Silent Day’.
While most of the world marks a New Year with social gatherings and midnight fireworks, in Bali it’s a time to cleanse the spirit and meditate.
This year’s Nyepi falls on March 7, and then March 25 in 2020.
General Manager of Four Seasons Resorts Bali, Uday Rao, declares it’s his favourite holiday.
“Where else will an international airport shut down for 24 hours and an entire island come to a standstill? Nowhere but Bali."
"It’s an ethereal feeling to hear and see nature in its purest state, without the clutter and noise of everyday life.”
During the 24 hours of ‘silence’, Bali’s airport, seaports, roads and all businesses close.
The island is quiet and peaceful. Balinese stay home for a day of introspection and meditation, tricking evil spirits into thinking the island has been deserted so they won’t cause trouble.
Tourists are allowed to move freely within their hotel grounds, while all public areas around Bali are off limits until the next morning.
However most hotel facilities and services remain operational with staff accommodated on-site to serve guests.
According to Uday the term ‘Silent Day’ puts off some travellers but here are some tips to make the most of it.
1. Learn the flavours and rituals of Balinese cuisine at Jimbaran’s Jala Cooking Academy, or at Sokasi by the river at Sayan. After a guided tour of the local markets, learn traditional recipes cooked in homes on Nyepi Eve, since Balinese are not allowed to use fire during the 24-hours of silence. Available daily (except Nyepi Day), 9am-1pm.
2. On Nyepi Eve, watch the local village’s ogoh-ogoh parade. Giant ‘monster dolls’ measuring up to 5 metres high are carried on the shoulders of village men through the streets, accompanied by live kulkul music and dancing. The intention is to wake up evil spirits to join the party, before the island ‘plays dead’ the next day ostensibly to bore the spirits into sleeping themselves.
3. Wake up slowly with morning yoga at Jimbaran’s ocean-front pavilion with views of the sparkling ocean, deserted beach and fishing village. Or soak up the serenity and greenery of Sayan’s Dharma Shanti Bale with a Sacred Nap, gently rocked to sleep like a baby as resident wellness mentor Ibu Fera sings a lullaby and tells a story of Buddha’s life.
4. With lighting minimised on Nyepi night, it’s the perfect opportunity for a candle-light dinner in your villa. The resort’s culinary team will set the scene at your poolside terrace, and personally serve a decadent degustation menu. Choose from Indonesian or International menus, or create your own.
5. See how the stars shine even brighter on Nyepi. You won’t need binoculars or a telescope; the absence of electricity and air travel makes the night sky even darker and clearer, perfect for naked-eye stargazing. Or make the most of Silent Night with the annual Nyepi Meditation Under The Stars, in the stunning treetop setting of Sayan’s roof-top lotus pond.
6. Last but not least, the annual Kissing Festival known as Ngembak Geni is held on the day after Nyepi in Sesetan, Southern Denpasar. This unusual event involves pre-arranged young couples lining up with girls on one side, boys on the other. They are jostled towards their partner for a brief kiss and cuddle, to wild cheers from the audience. Meanwhile, village elders douse the couples with water, adding even mayhem to the mix. It’s certainly one way to shake off Silent Day!
Four Seasons Resort Bali is at Jimbaran Bay.
Overlooking the traditional seaside village of Jimbaran with its three-mile beach, the resort’s ocean-front villas, pools and restaurants provide unrivalled viewing points for guests to witness the fascinating spectacle of Bali seemingly deserted for Silent Night.
For more information, click here.