This is a New Year celebration unlike anywhere else on the planet. To celebrate the Saka New Year in March, daily activities in Bali come to a complete standstill. The usually pulsating streets are empty, no music plays, no voices can be heard and nobody steps outside their home for a whole day. It’s a bizarre and blissful return to tranquillity.
Although the festival is known as the Day of Silence, there’s plenty going on either side of the day itself that will turn up the volume on your adventures.
There is a storm before the calm, with streets packed and bustling for colourful processions known as the Melasti pilgrimages during the three days before Nyepi itself. It is one of the best times to capture iconic Balinese processions on camera, as parasols, banners and small effigies offer an amazing cultural spectacle that’s found nowhere else on earth.
Most Balinese regard Nyepi as a sacred and much-anticipated special occasion. Travellers will be expected to observe the silence too. Some expats and visitors prefer to avoid Bali at this time, as the restrictions around transport, accommodation and even basic activities can be incompatible with holiday plans.
Despite this, Nyepi is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime; festivities either side of the festival are spectacular, plus the day itself offers an eerily wonderful insight into the culture of Balinese celebrations and worship.
If you missed this year celebration, mark your calendar for next year’s Saka New Year 1940, on March 17, 2018.
Stay tuned for the following years’ Nyepi dates:
March 7, 2019
March 24, 2020
March 14, 2021
March 3, 2022
March 22, 2023
March 11, 2024
March 29, 2025