Travelling in Bali this year is a bit more special. While there are no visa on arrival for international tourists, Bali is looking to welcoming domestic tourists and some international travelers who are staying for longer, now that social visas and business visas are available again. If you are in Bali now or will be in a few weeks, see below for some ideas on what to do and if you are missing Bali from afar, take this opportunity to support a local charity as many of them are struggling these days.
Tumpek Kandang - Animal Worship Festival
All of God’s creatures and especially household animals in Bali will receive extra honor when local Hindus celebrate Tumpek Kandang Day, a ceremony dedicated to Sang Hyang Rare-Angon, master of all cattle and livestock. The day is celebrated by giving these animals extra love and attention, the best food, prayers and offerings. It is not uncommon to see some of the cows bathing or even pigs getting “dressed up” by their owners. Take note that this is not a form of animal worship: the local Balinese see the celebrations as a way to appreciate the gods for the work done by these animals as well as the provision of food resources.
When: December 5th, 2020
Where: Throughout Bali. Ceremonies are held at temples and villages around the island.
Christmas Day / Christmas Eve
There is never a bad time to visit Bali but spending Christmas in Bali can seem magical. For people from the northern hemisphere, it can mean getting away from the ice and snow and spending a few days basking on a warm and exotic tropical beach. For those from the southern hemisphere, it can mean avoiding the relentless heat and celebrating your Christmas enjoying the balmy ocean breezes while sipping a tall, cool tropical drink. For everyone, spending Christmas in Bali is a Christmas gift in itself. But, don’t forget about the family and friends waiting for you back home - bring them a special gift!
Christmas shopping in Bali
The island is the unofficial art and handicraft center of Indonesia. From upscale boutiques and galleries to rustic handicraft stalls and workshops, Bali is literally a shopper’s paradise. You’ll have trouble making your mind up what to bring back for everyone. Shadow Puppets, batik cloth, and handmade furniture are merely the best-known handicrafts of Bali. But once you get there you’ll find that Bali offers much more in the way of gifts. Silver jewelry, natural soaps and aromatic oils, wooden carvings and woven bags and baskets are just some the things you’ll find offered in Bali’s hundreds of stalls and marketplaces. Check out these articles for some ideas:
Join a Christmas Celebration
All beautiful venues are gearing up for the holidays and you can be sure that every one of them has something special lined up for Christmas. Every hotel, restaurant, and bar on the beach will be in full swing celebrating the holidays and many of them will feature special menus and holiday discounts you can enjoy. Make new friends and toast the holidays while you gaze out across the white sand beach and the warm tranquil waters of the Indian Ocean.
Although Bali is a Hindu island in a predominantly Muslim nation, there is an active Christian community and plenty of churches to choose from, whether you're making a one-off visit or looking to join a church in Bali longer term. There is a selection of active English-speaking catholic or protestant churches in the south of Bali where you will receive a warm welcome. Check their websites for exact locations and more details of events and activities happening throughout the holy days.
When: December 24th and 25th, 2020
Where: Throughout Bali. Find celebrations at resorts and restaurants around the island.
NYE and Countdown
The whole island typically turns into a huge party for those who want to stay over New Year’s Eve. While parties might look a little different with covid-compliance guidelines, there will still be many opportunities to be outside and celebrate with others. Or simply enjoy your favorite restaurant or the hotel where you are staying which usually comes up with a special festive menu for that day. Or have a small private party with family and friends in your own rented villa. Fireworks can be seen in locations all over Bali, but remember that the island may not necessarily run on a tight timetable, so don’t be surprised if there are numerous displays all throughout the night.
When : December 31st, 2020
Where : All over Bali
What weather to expect when traveling to Bali in December
December is rainy season in Bali but that fact needn’t put you off. Go expecting some rain, often during nighttime, but it's not constant and everything dries up quite quickly. As well as waiting for the rain to stop in a café or restaurant, it's a good opportunity for a massage or spa treatment, or manicure, or shopping. Nevertheless it's still very warm, and you'll find bright blue skies with some clouds. The average sea temperature these months is 27°C (81°F), which is warm water and enjoyable even for extended periods of time.
Great international festivals that usually draw in crowds are postponed to 2021 or new virtual ones popping up on the radar. If you won't be able to visit Bali this year, consider attending an online event to experience an inspiring and magical Bali for your perfect spiritual holiday from home.