What to Wear in Bali: Dressing for Tropical Paradise

Bali’s enchanting blend of vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and warm climate makes it a popular destination for travelers seeking both adventure and relaxation. When it comes to what to wear in Bali, comfort, practicality, and cultural sensitivity are key factors to consider. Whether you’re exploring ancient temples, lounging on pristine beaches, or indulging in the island’s lively nightlife, here’s a guide to dressing stylishly and appropriately in the tropical paradise of Bali.

Casual Daytime Attire

During the day, Bali’s climate calls for light and breathable clothing to keep you comfortable under the tropical sun. Consider packing the following items:

  • Lightweight Tops and Dresses: Opt for loose-fitting tops, sundresses, and tunics made from breathable fabrics like cotton or linen to stay cool.
  • Shorts and Skirts: Pack comfortable shorts and skirts that are appropriate for the climate and culture. Knee-length or longer styles are generally more suitable, especially when visiting temples.
  • Swimwear: Bali’s stunning beaches and resort pools make swimwear a must. Whether it’s a bikini, one-piece, or swim trunks, choose a style that suits your comfort.
  • Sun Protection: Don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to shield yourself from the strong tropical sun.

Temple Etiquette

Bali is known for its rich spiritual heritage, and visiting its magnificent temples is a must. When entering temples, it’s important to dress modestly out of respect for the local culture:

  • Sarongs and Scarves: Many temples require visitors to wear sarongs (traditional wrap-around skirts) and scarves as a sign of respect. Some temples provide these items for rent or purchase, but it’s a good idea to carry your own just in case.
  • Covered Shoulders and Knees: Wear tops with sleeves that cover your shoulders and skirts or pants that cover your knees. This demonstrates your reverence for the sacred space.

Evening Attire

Bali’s nightlife offers a variety of experiences, from beachfront lounges to vibrant clubs. Depending on your destination, consider the following options:

  • Resort Chic: Many upscale restaurants and bars have a resort chic dress code. Think elegant sundresses, linen pants, and stylish button-down shirts.
  • Casual Comfort: For a more laid-back evening, opt for comfortable yet presentable attire, such as a flowy maxi dress or a well-fitted shirt and shorts.


Footwear in Bali should be comfortable and suitable for various activities:

  • Sandals and Flip-Flops: Sandals are ideal for beach days and casual outings. Flip-flops are also common, especially for trips to the beach or pool.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you’re planning on exploring Bali’s natural beauty, sturdy walking shoes or sneakers are essential. They’ll keep you comfortable while navigating uneven terrain.

Cultural Sensitivity

While Bali embraces a relaxed atmosphere, it’s important to show cultural sensitivity:

  • Avoid Overly Revealing Clothing: To respect local norms, avoid wearing overly revealing clothing, especially in non-beach areas.
  • Be Mindful of Symbols: Some clothing items may feature sacred symbols. Be aware of their cultural significance and avoid wearing them casually.

Rainy Season Preparation

If you’re visiting during the rainy season (October to March), consider packing a lightweight rain jacket, a compact umbrella, and waterproof footwear.

Packing Essentials

In addition to clothing, remember to pack essential items such as sunscreen, insect repellent, a reusable water bottle, and any necessary medications.

Dressing for Bali’s Beauty

Dressing in Bali is about embracing the island’s natural beauty, cultural richness, and tropical climate. By opting for comfortable, modest, and practical clothing, you’ll be well-prepared to explore all that Bali has to offer while showing respect for its traditions and customs.


  1. What should I wear when visiting temples in Bali?
    • When visiting temples in Bali, it’s important to dress modestly. Wear tops with sleeves that cover your shoulders and skirts or pants that cover your knees. Many temples also require visitors to wear sarongs and scarves, which can often be rented or purchased on-site.
  2. Can I wear swimwear everywhere in Bali?
    • While swimwear is appropriate at the beach, pool, and resort areas, it’s not suitable for wandering around town or entering temples. It’s a good idea to cover up with a sarong or a cover-up when you’re not in designated swim areas.
  3. What is considered appropriate evening attire in Bali?
    • Evening attire in Bali can vary depending on the destination. For upscale restaurants and bars with a resort chic dress code, opt for elegant sundresses, linen pants, and stylish shirts. For more casual experiences, comfortable and presentable clothing, like maxi dresses or well-fitted shirts, works well.
  4. Should I bring my own sarong and scarf, or are they provided at temples?
    • Some temples provide sarongs and scarves for visitors to borrow or rent. However, it’s a good idea to carry your own to ensure you have them readily available, especially during temple visits.
  5. What kind of footwear is best for exploring Bali?
    • Comfortable footwear is essential for exploring Bali. Sandals or flip-flops are great for casual outings and beach days. Sturdy walking shoes or sneakers are recommended if you plan on exploring natural attractions or uneven terrains.
  6. Is it acceptable to wear revealing clothing in Bali?
    • While Bali has a relaxed atmosphere, it’s respectful to avoid overly revealing clothing, especially outside of beach and resort areas. When visiting non-beach locations, opt for modest clothing that covers shoulders, knees, and cleavage.
  7. Can I wear shorts and tank tops in Bali?
    • Yes, you can wear shorts and tank tops in Bali, especially in beach and casual settings. However, when visiting temples and more conservative areas, it’s recommended to opt for clothing that covers shoulders and knees.
  8. What should I wear during Bali’s rainy season?
    • During Bali’s rainy season (October to March), pack a lightweight rain jacket, a compact umbrella, and waterproof footwear. These items will help you stay comfortable and dry when unexpected rain showers occur.
  9. Are there any specific clothing items I should avoid wearing in Bali?
    • It’s a good idea to avoid clothing with offensive slogans, symbols, or imagery, as well as clothing that may have sacred or religious significance in Balinese culture.
  10. Can I wear traditional Balinese clothing?
    • While it’s not necessary, wearing traditional Balinese clothing can be a respectful and immersive way to experience the local culture. You can find sarongs and other traditional clothing items in local markets.
  11. Is there a dress code for Bali’s nightlife?
    • Bali’s nightlife varies, so it’s a good idea to check the dress code of the specific venue you plan to visit. Many places have a casual and relaxed dress code, but upscale establishments may have a resort chic requirement.
  12. What should I wear for outdoor activities and excursions in Bali?
    • For outdoor activities and excursions, wear comfortable and breathable clothing that can withstand physical activity. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics and lightweight options to stay comfortable in the tropical climate.

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