Why You Should Visit Bali in March 2020

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Ogah ogah are paraded through the streets of Bali on the eve of Nyepi, the Balinese New Year. Photo Credit: KitHamilton.

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Bali in March, a good time to visit? Because of Balinese Silent Day, it could be either the best or the worst time to visit, depending on your point of view.. The weather is rainy, but it’s off season. So many hotels and guest house will offer discounts.

Weather in Bali in March

Bali is hot all year. And there is little variation in temperature from month to month.  In fact, the average highs and lows vary by just a couple of degrees.

In March, the average high temperature is 30 degrees Celsius, or 86 degrees Fahrenheit. And  the average low is  23 Celsius, or 73 Fahrenheit.

Because it sits in the tropics, Bali has two distinct seasons: wet and dry. And March is one of the four wettest months of the yea. In fact, there is an average of 14 rainy days in March!

But keep in mind, it doesn’t always rain all day. In fact, a heavy downpour can be followed by sunny skies.

As for the humidity, it hovers at around 80%. And this can make it a bit uncomfortable at times.

Regarding hotel rooms, March is relatively quiet. So many hotels will offer discounts on hotel rooms. This is especially true of smaller hotels and guest houses.

Things to Do in Bali in March

Balinese Silent Day – 3 March 2022

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Fearsome (and often whimsical) ogoh ogoh are paraded through the streets in Bali on New Year’s Eve. Photo Credit: Pakec.

The Nyepi Day of Silence, a.k.a. Balinese New Year, is either the best or the worst time to visit Bali. In fact, it depend on the purpose of your visit.

While some visitors think the experience is inspirational, others complain there is nothing to do.

If you want a spiritual experience, exposure to an exotic culture, and a chance to reconnect with your inner self, Nyepi is the best possible time to visit the Island of the Gods.

However, if you were hoping to go sightseeing, surfing, or shopping until you drop, Balinese New Year is the worst possible time to visit.

Lights across Bali are turned off at 6 am on the Balinese Day of Silence,. Subsequently,  the island remains dark for 24 hours.

That includes street lamps, traffic signals, and all exterior lighting. Television and radio stations don’t broadcast. Even the airport shuts down!

The majority of people in Bali are Hindu. According to traditional Hindu beliefs, evil spirits return to earth on the Balinese New Year.

Therefore, everyone is expected to stay indoors. That is to say, They are trying to  mislead the visiting spirits into thinking they have abandoned Bali.  As a result, they will leave the island alone in the coming year.

However, there are a couple of exemptions. For example, hospitals and hotels can continue to operate. But they must extinguish exterior lighting.

In the same vein,  pregnant women, accident victims, and the seriously ill can seek medical treatment. As a result, ambulances are allowed to take them to the hospital.

Day of Reflection
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A monkey prowls the ground of a beach front resort at sunrise. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

For the Balinese, the Nyepi Day of Silence is a day of meditation, reflection, and silence. Not only that, fires cannot be lit. Consequently,  thewre can be no cooking. And some Balinese do, in fact, fast on Silent Day.

But non-Balinese are expected to respect many of the customs, as well. For example, they must remain at home or within the confines of their hotel.

For hotels, this presents a dilemma because many visiting tourists book trips to the island unaware that they will be confined to their hotels during a 24 hour period on the Day of Silence.

The Nyepi Day of Silence falls between 7 and 31 March on the Gregorian Calendar. Often called Silent Day or the Day of Silence in English, Nyepi begins at 6 am on the first day and continues until 6 am the following day. It falls on Wedsday 25 March in 2020.

New Year’s Eve

2 March 2022

Giant ogoh-ogoh are paraded through the streets of Denpasar and Kuta as well as in villages and towns across the island to purify the environment and scare off evil spirits. You won’t want to miss this! It is a spectacle to behold!

New Year’s Day

3 March 2022

Everyone is expected to remain indoors on the Nyepi Day of Silence. Hotels usually organize activities to keep guests occupied.

In addition to attending yoga classes or experiencing guided meditation, guests are usually allowed to wonder about the grounds, lie by the pool, or go swimming, but noise should be kept to a minimum.

Most hotels catering to tourists organize special activities for children.

However, hotel guests are not allowed on the beach or to leave the hotel grounds. Hotel rooms usually have black-out curtains, which should be kept shut after dark.

Ngembak Geni

4 March 2022

Ngembak Geni, which means “relighting the fire” in Balinese, is the day after Nyepi. It represents a return to life as usual.

Expect large crowds at beaches and parks as families and friends gather to seek forgiveness and perform religious rituals.

Omed Omedan – 4 March 2022

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Omed Omedan is one of Bali’s most exciting festivals. Photo Credit: Yohana Africa.

Concurrent with Ngembak Geni is Omed Omedan. On this day, crowds of  unmarried young people gather for a massive kiss-in.

First, the men and women stand opposite each other. Then, the two groups reach out and start embracing and kissing each other. While cheering them on,  onlookers douse them with water.

Foreign tourists are welcome to watch. However, they should refrain from taking part.

Is Balinese New Year a Good Time to Visit?

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Tawur Kesanga takes place on  the eve of Nyepi. The children carry flame torches, that lit bonfires to symbolically burn ogah ogah monster evil spirits. Photo Credit: Arief Rahman Saan (Ezagren)

I once planned a visit to Bali in March, but I only became aware of the Balinese Day of Silence after my arrival.

The general manager of the hotel I was staying at brought the issue up over breakfast, asking when I was returning to Hong Kong.

When I told him I was leaving a couple of days before the festival, he suggested I extend my trip by a few days.

“I really want you to experience it,” he said.

“If you can change your ticket home, I’ll put you up at either this hotel or – if we are fully booked – at one of our sister properties.”

I must say, the Balinese New Year was a very special experience. I was taken into Kuta on New Year’s Eve to view the ogoh-ogoh being carried through the streets.

On  New Year’s Day, I was confined to the hotel premises, where I took a session of guided meditation, watched a movie, which turned out to be a very emotional experience, and enjoyed three meals on the roof.

Dinner was served in total darkness, and the number of stars visible in the skies overhead was spectacular.

I can understand the disappointment someone might have if they had booked a short trip to Bali not knowing of  Balinese Silent Day. However, for me it was a wonderful experience.

I would, in fact, recommend planning your trip around the Day of Silence. Just make sure you book a room at a hotel that offers something for you to do – or bring a good book!

Tumpek Udah – 29 March 2022

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Rice paddies and coconut palms dot the Balinese landscape. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hot on the heals of Siwa Ratri is Tumpek Uduh, which is dedicated to Sanghyang Sangkara, the god of food. It is held 25 days before Calungan, another important festival.

On Tumpek Udah, devotees place offerings at the base of trees in order to honour them.

Most importantly, coconut palms are especially revered because of their importance in Balinese life. For this reason, many people dress them in special clothes such as kilts, scarves, and belts.

In short, Tumpk Uduh is a celebration of the environment. Much like Earth Day in other countries!

Ceremonies are held across the island.

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