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What to Wear to Temples in Bali (Dress Code + Tips)

What to Wear to Temples in Bali (Dress Code + Tips)

Are you wondering what to wear to temples in Bali? Have questions about the Bali temple dress code? In this guide we aim to answer all the questions you may have to help you be respectful in these holy places alongside some Bali temple outfit inspiration. 

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Is there a Bali Temple Dress Code?

What to Wear to Temples in Bali
What to Wear to Temples in Bali

Although Bali is a very liberal island in terms of outfits given its huge reliance on tourism there are very few places where there is a formal dress code especially in consideration to other places in Indonesia.

However the one place where there certainly is a dress code and the place where you could cause offence with the wrong outfit is in the temples in Bali. 

Fun fact, Bali is known as “island of the gods” and as such most visitors to the island will want to visit one of the over 20,000 temples and shrines that the island has on offer. However you will need to dress appropriately there.

You may find that at the entrance too many of the popular Bali temples that are frequented by tourists have signs in regards to appropriate dress code. 

As such the Bali Temple Dress code consists of:

  • keeping your shoulder and upper arms covered.
  • keeping your legs covered.

It is worth noting too that the Bali temple dress code applies to both men and women. Whenever we put together these dress code posts we find that many people have assumptions that modest dress codes only applies to women, especially at religious sites (I,e, Italian churchesVatican City, Thai temples and Mosques in Middle East and the Blue Mosque in Turkey for instance). However this is not the case. The dress code is equally applicable to men as well as women.

What not to wear in temples in Bali? 

Now you know what the dress code is I wanted to draw your attention to what not to wear in temples in Bali.

The following is not deemed appropriate clothing at most temples in Thailand:

  • hort shorts that don’t cover the knee
  • Short Skirts or Mini Skirts that don’t cover the knee
  • Long Skirts or maxi skirts with large slits that reveal the knee
  • Ripped jeans 
  • See Through Clothing 
  • Vest tops and Strappy tops

What to Wear to Temples in Bali

What to Wear to Temples in Bali
What to Wear to Temples in Bali

When you are looking at what to wear to temples in Bali, the rules and ideas for outfits apply equally to men and women.

For tops it is recommended that you wear loose and cool clothing that will help you in the heat but also that have longer length sleeves that cover both your shoulders and the top of your arms.

Also both men and women need to cover their legs. We recommend wearing long maxi dresses and maxi skirts for women – providing there is no slit that reveals your leg or long length linen trousers.

For men we also recommend linen or cotton trousers that are cool in the Bali heat but also keep the full leg covered.

However if you prefer to wear shorts this is allowed providing that you have something to cover your legs in the temple grounds. For instance many men and women wear shorts to Bali temples but then cover up using a sarong or a temple scarf.

IN fact even if you are wearing trousers I would still have a sarong with you as some temples will require you to add a sarong to your outfit even if you are fully covered.

You can also used pashmina and sarongs to cover your shoulders if you are in a short sleeve top however I personally find it easier to just wear a long loose blouse for temples in Bali.

Some of the larger tourist attraction temples in Bali will have places you can rent sarongs but this is never guaranteed. Therefore we recommend either buying one and putting on your Bali Packing list or buying one locally before you head to the temple of your choosing to ensure you comply with the Bali temple dress code.

Best Shoes for Temples in Bali

One of the things that surprised me most when I first visited a Balinese temple was that it isn’t a requirement to remove your shoes in the temple like it is in Thai temples.

You will find most people in Bali wear sandals or flip flips as opposed to sneakers due to the heat. If you decide to do this we recommend selecting sandals over flip flops as these are better for your feet.

We also recommend that you look for a pair that have some arch support and will be comfortable for walking around temples and uneven surfaces.

Many of the temples in Bali have steps to reach the temples and much of the ground is uneven therefore it is important to have a shoe with a good sole and support.

However having said that it is important to remember that culturally what you do with your feet is important in Bali. It is worth knowing that feet in Balinese culture are considered unclean. Therefore you need to be careful of how you sit and where you point your feet. Do not point your feet at the shrine, alter, priest or people praying.

And if you sit down you should consider kneeling and crossing legs as locals do to prevent causing offence.

Be sure to check the floor as you are walking for Canang sari offerings. It would be very disrespectful and rude to accidentally step on one of these.

Specific Bali Temple Dress Code Requirements

temples in bali dress code
temples in bali dress code

These rules apply no matter what temple you visit in Bali.

Some of the most famous temples include:

  • Pura Besakih – this temple has a lot of steps so good sandals or shoes is a definite must
  • Pura Tirta Empul – one the most important temples and truly stunning. As you enter the temple you can cleanse your bodies by bathing in the natural spring flowing through the temple.Therefore it is important to bring a towel and remember that you may get wet at this temple. To bath here you will need a different type of sarong which is green in color and is available for purchase at the temple.
  • Pura Luhur Lempuyang temple – there is lots of walking involved in a visit to this temple so bring good shoes.

What Else to bring to temples in Bali

On top of the above we recommend bringing the following to temples in Bali

  • a spare sarong
  • a sun hat – there isn’t much shade in temple grounds
  • sunglasses – for same reason as above.

Are there any other Bali temple rules?

On top of the dress code there are a few other rules that you need to take into consideration when visiting a temple in Bali.

For instance you can not go into a Balinese temple if you have an open wound or if you are menstruating.

I know this is counter to our believes as Western women, however it is important to respect local culture when you are traveling so please do not enter a temple in Bali when you are on your period.

You also can’t enter the temple buildings if you have just given birth or if you are heavily pregnant.

Have you been to a temple in Bali? What did you wear? We would love to hear in the comments? And if you have any questions about the dress code in Balinese temples that we haven’t answered here please leave us a comment below and we will do our best to answer as soon as possible.