Nyepi Day (Silence Day) in Bali, Indonesia

By: Elite Voyages

The Balinese celebrate their new year like no other. One of the most well-known Balinese public holidays, celebrations last for six days and include parties, parades, prayers, and a whole Day of Silence, also known as Nyepi Day. Visitors to Bali at this time are encouraged to join in the festivities, especially the memorable Ogoh-Ogoh parade on the second day. However, visitors are required to respect Silence Day, the most unique day of the festivities. 

If you’re traveling to Bali in March, these insights will help you prepare to blend with the locals and truly enjoy the experience.   

The official Nyepi Day in Bali in 2025 is Saturday, March 29, 2025.  

Melasti Day 

Two days before Nyepi, on the first day of the start of a new “Caka” year, Hindus from different villages get together and walk in long colorful processions toward the coastline. It’s a wonderful parade and one of the best opportunities to capture an iconic Balinese tradition on camera. The ritual is meant to purify sacred objects that belong to several temples. At the same time, people acquire sacred water from the sea. 

Melasti Ceremony

Ogoh-ogoh Parade 

The highlights of the day before Nyepi without a doubt are the Ogoh-Ogoh parades. During sunset (between 5 pm and 6 pm) the Balinese parade the streets of their village with gigantic statues that take approximately two months to build. Ogoh-Ogohs are made of bamboo and paper and represent evil creatures. During the parade, a passionate but deafening mixture of the kulkul, claxons, Gamelan (traditional Balinese musical instrument), and drum music is played. The idea is to make as much noise as possible to scare away evil spirits. 

Parades take place all over the island, but the most famous ones can be observed in the streets of Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak. If you’re not one to enjoy a long and loud procession, then check with the reception of your hotel, as many hotels build and parade their own Ogoh-Ogoh as well. In an attempt to put an end to any evil influences in life, the statues are burned after the parade, followed by a great party when the Balinese drink and feast till late. 

Ogoh-Ogoh Parade

Nyepi Day 

The most important and sacred Hindu holiday in Bali, Nyepi Day, is also a general public holiday throughout the rest of Indonesia. Nyepi Day is part of the six days lasting Balinese New Year celebrations. As opposed to most other cultures in the world, where people often flock to the streets to celebrate the arrival of the new year with music, dance, and fireworks, in Bali the streets go empty, and the island turns all dark and quiet. That’s why Nyepi Day is also often referred to as Silence Day. 

This unique celebration happens on the third day of the Balinese New Year and falls the day after the dark moon of the spring equinox. On this day, day and night are of equal duration. The name Nyepi means “to keep silence,” and even Ngurah Rai, the international airport of Bali, closes for 24 hours. 

So, why are the Balinese spending a long day in complete silence? The reason is that they use this day to connect more deeply with God, through prayer, self-reflection, fasting, and meditation. On this day people do not work, eat, or play. Anything that could disturb the connection with God is prohibited. The complete silence is based on the four general rules of Catur Brata: no fire or light, no form of physical working, no movement or traveling, fasting, and no entertainment. 

However, there’s also another story to this unique Day of Silence in Bali: after all the exuberant celebrations of the first two days of the Balinese New Year, the island goes into hiding to protect itself from evil spirits. By observing complete silence and darkness, evil spirits will pass over and either not notice that there’s an island beneath them or believe that it’s a deserted island; either way, they will continue their journey to another place. 

Important remarks if you are on the island on this Silence Day: 

  • Many visitors to the island purposely chose this day to be in Bali to experience this unique Hindu tradition/religion that has been observed for hundreds of years.  
  • No planes will land or take off for just one day (24 hours). All traffic across Bali will be stopped. All shops are closed. No pedestrian traffic is allowed on the beach or the streets. 
  • Tourists are free to do as they wish on this day but must stay indoors and make sure that any lights cannot be seen from the outside. What it means as a guest in a hotel, you’re free to roam the hotel grounds on this day without stepping outside the hotel vicinity.  
  • Some visitors might balk at the idea of spending 24 hours of their vacation subject to restricted activity, but the meditative silence of Nyepi, the most sacred day of the year in Bali, is powerful and worth experiencing. 

About the author: 

                                                 Ricko Tindage, Director of Sales and Marketing at Elite Voyages 

Ricko Tindage is Director of Sales and Marketing at Elite Voyages. His task besides sales and marketing to the travel agent community…is also creating new tour products. 

Originally from Bali, Indonesia, Ricko has called Los Angeles home since 1981. 

His academic background was in hotel management. He has had hotel stints in Jakarta, Indonesia; Brussels, Belgium and Los Angeles. Instead of a career in the hotel industry, the tour and travel industry has shaped the majority of his professional career. 

He started in the travel industry in 1990, Ricko has always been in the hospitality industry, even his spouse was a former director of sales at a major U.S. hotel chain. Before working for Elite Voyages he served in several major U.S. tour operators namely UNIWORLD River Cruises and SITA World Tours. In between, he has developed and created small boutique-style tour operators specialized in incentive travels, honeymoons, destination weddings, luxury travels, and leasing private jets. One of these tour companies was Romance Travel Concierge, a luxury boutique outfit based in Pasadena, CA, and he was president of the company. 

                                                                       About Elite Voyages: 

Bespoke journeys are our specialty at Elite Voyages. Founded in 2019 as a luxury entity for Chinatour.com (established in 2002) our parent company, we have been strongly a believer in providing the most authentic and enriching tour experiences for our discerning travelers through the relentless commitment of our earnest and knowledgeable team before, during and after all journeys. Nothing is left to chance when every itinerary is carefully planned – selecting the best accommodation guests can enjoy, exciting connoisseurs with select culinary exploits, and amazing travelers with must-see sights and entertainment – so that every guest can always be assured of top quality and uniqueness in travel experiences. 

A first-person account of the Trans Bhutan Trail: memories of connection and community in one of the world’s most remote destinations  

By: Heidi Durflinger, President of EF Go Ahead Tours 

The beauty of Bhutan struck me before I even set foot in the country. As I flew into the town of Paro, I was awed by views of the Himalayas and fields of rice paddies—it felt like I was in a fairytale. I came to Bhutan in September 2022 as part of a travel delegation attending the inauguration of the Trans Bhutan Trail, but I found that the splendor of the country stretches far beyond the reaches of the 250-mile trail. 

For the past several years, the Bhutanese people have worked together to restore this pilgrimage and transportation route, which has connected villages and regions across the country for centuries. Joining the celebration of the site’s reopening after 60 years was an honor, and it was incredibly peaceful and scenic to walk along the trail, over bridges, across streams, through forests, and past fields. I felt a strong sense of community in every village and home we were welcomed into throughout the journey. After hiking to Lingmukha, villagers invited us to sit down for a cup of traditional butter tea paired with a lunch of red rice, peppers with cheese, and green beans. They were so kind and generous, and they shared how hopeful they are about the jobs the trail can bring to the community.   

A peaceful view of the Bhutanese landscape

The Bhutanese people have a strong belief in the value of community and helping one another, and the trail’s reopening has allowed them to stay connected and continue telling the story of their country. My favorite part of going on our tours is learning the stories behind the places we visit and connecting with the people who call those places home. Our mission at EF Go Ahead Tours is to open the world through education, and our tours aim to bring history to life and highlight how it’s shaped culture today. While travelers will soak up the country’s beauty on our guided tour of Bhutan, it’s the stories, shared meals, and conversations that make the adventure so special and immersive. Shared moments across cultures allow us to not only see a place, but truly experience it. 

Enjoying butter tea in a family home in the village of

Traveling to Bhutan with a group and following a thoughtfully planned itinerary alongside local guides allowed me to gain a deeper connection to the country. The local experts knew the best paths to hike to bring us to remote villages and connect us with the true beauty of the country: the people. As my group and I hiked along the trail on the day of the grand reopening, people in the community handed out butter tea and apples. Everyone was so giving and we ended the day dancing, singing, and celebrating a trail that connects people and brings stories of the past, present, and future to life.  

I felt this sense of community throughout my trip, but it culminated during my visit to Tiger’s Nest, which is a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site and one of the most well-known places in Bhutan. As my group and I climbed the last of the 700 steps leading to Tiger’s Nest, we rounded the corner to the monastery and saw Buddhist monks who had journeyed across the country to come here. They were all singing and chanting prayers in unison. That, paired with the view of the sacred site tucked into the Himalayan mountains, had me in tears. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. 

Seeing the world has taught me to be present and soak in these moments, and trips like this inspire me to reflect on just how much travel gives us. When traveling, it’s the beautiful connections that have stuck with me the most. I look forward to seeing how the reopening of the Trans Bhutan Trail and our new guided tour offers this same opportunity to more travelers across the globe. 

All Photos Courtesy of Heidi Durflinger

About the Author 

Heidi Durflinger, President of EF Go Ahead Tours, has 20 years of experience in the travel industry in both direct-to-consumer and group affinity educational travel. Heidi’s extensive background in the travel sector includes sales strategy and leadership, customer experience, market innovation and development, quality control, and risk management. Her interest in cultural exchange stems from childhood. Her family brought the world to her small hometown in Kansas by hosting international students for 10 years, giving her a truly global extended family. She has lived in Mexico and Spain, and is currently based out of the EF Go Ahead Tours Boston office. Wellness, adventure, food, fitness, and travel are her passions. 

About EF Go Ahead Tours

EF Go Ahead Tours offers more than 200 guided trips across six continents. Every tour is carefully planned with a maximum group size well below the industry average and has the perfect balance of guided sightseeing and free time to explore. EF Go Ahead Tours is a division of EF Education First, the world’s largest international education company, which was founded in 1965. The company’s mission is to open the world through education, and they have over 600 offices and schools in 50 countries.