Ramadan in Bali – 17 May-15 June 2018

Bali Holiday during the Ramadan Fasting Month

Would Ramadan in Bali have any effect on your holiday on the island? Not much. This ninth month on the Islamic Hijri calendar is considered the holiest month by Muslims, commemorating the first revelation of the Quranic verses to the Prophet Muhammad. In Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, the month of Ramadan is referred to as the ‘fasting month’ or bulan puasa in the local tongue, which culminates with the biggest Muslim holiday in Indonesia: Eid al Fitr or ‘Idul Fitri’.

In main Indonesian cities, local restaurants only open after sunset to accommodate customers at the end of each day’s fasting, while bars and nightlife venues mostly cease to operate completely. All offices and businesses close down for Idul Fitri, which is also locally referred to as lebaran. This big holiday usually spans two days, but the days in its whole week are usually announced by the Indonesian government as joint holidays. It is family time for urban dwellers to go home and visit relatives – high traffic and peak domestic flights throughout major ports across Indonesia becomes commonplace.

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So, How is Ramadan in Bali?

Bali is a predominantly Hindu island, so Ramadan here is not as pronounced as in other major cities, like Jakarta. The only impact felt is that most street vendors and budget and local Muslim-run restaurants cease to operate during the day, so the effect for international visitors is minimal.

Your Bali hotel, resort or favourite restaurant will oftentimes feature special ‘Ramadan packages’ or special menus highlighting favourite ‘halal’ Indonesian cuisine as part of their promotions to tie-in with the daily ‘iftar’ or after-sunset fasting breaks throughout the month. If you favour local cuisine, expect some of your favourite ‘warung’ (local food stalls) to open a little later than usual.

During the Idul Fitri holiday week, you can expect less traffic in Bali, since most of the non-Balinese urban population flees the island (a collective act locally referred to as mudik) to gather with their families at home in other parts of Indonesia. For visitors to Bali, this translates as much faster transfers between points of interests, than usual. Therefore, you can plan your stays or travels, between Kuta and Ubud much, for example, much easier!

Around the end of the Idul Fitri holidays, however, traffic conditions will spike again due to the arus balik or 'return trips' back to Bali. Streets and the major ferry port of Gilimanuk in West Bali will be at is most hectic. Most transportation will also be fully booked for the several days, as life and businesses steadily go back to normal.

The nightlife scene in Bali also goes on largely unaffected. In Jakarta and other major Indonesian cities, you won’t find any alcohol on the menu during Ramadan. Conversely, in Bali, if you're a non-Muslim traveller, your favourite bar, beach club or venue will always be serving their world-class mixologist-designed cocktails and ice-cold Bintangs.

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