Bali Law On Unmarried Couples: What You Need To Know

Traveling to Bali with your unmarried partner? You may be wondering about Bali’s laws regarding unmarried couples. With its beautiful beaches and romantic atmosphere, Bali is a popular destination for unmarried couples looking to enjoy a vacation together.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: While unmarried couples are allowed to visit and stay together in Bali, public displays of affection or intimacy between unmarried couples are frowned upon in the local Balinese culture which is predominantly Hindu.

Unmarried couples should book separate rooms and be mindful of local sensitivities.

Background on Bali’s Culture and Laws

Bali, known as the “Island of the Gods,” is not just a popular tourist destination but also a place deeply rooted in rich cultural traditions. Understanding the cultural and legal landscape of Bali is essential, especially for unmarried couples planning to visit or reside on the island.

Predominantly Hindu culture

Bali is home to a predominantly Hindu population, unlike the rest of Indonesia, which has a Muslim majority. The Balinese people have a strong spiritual connection to their religion, which influences their way of life and societal norms.

The Hindu culture in Bali emphasizes harmony, respect for others, and maintaining a balanced relationship with nature.

The influence of Hinduism is evident in the numerous temples, religious ceremonies, and colorful rituals that take place throughout the year. Visitors to Bali will often witness locals dressed in traditional attire, participating in religious processions, or making offerings at temples.

This cultural richness adds to the unique experience of being in Bali.

Conservative social norms

While Bali is known for its vibrant nightlife and laid-back atmosphere, it is essential to understand that the island still adheres to conservative social norms. Despite the influx of tourists, the Balinese people hold steadfast to their traditional values and customs.

Modesty is highly valued in Balinese society, and it is expected that visitors respect local customs and dress appropriately, especially when visiting religious sites or attending traditional ceremonies.

Revealing clothing, public displays of affection, or inappropriate behavior are considered disrespectful and may be frowned upon.

No laws specifically targeting unmarried couples

Bali’s laws do not specifically target unmarried couples, and there are no legal restrictions preventing unmarried couples from visiting or staying together on the island. However, it is important to note that the Indonesian legal system recognizes marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

While there are no specific laws against cohabitation or unmarried couples sharing accommodations, it is advisable for unmarried couples to exercise discretion and be mindful of local customs and societal norms.

It is always a good idea to check with accommodation providers or seek legal advice to ensure compliance with any specific regulations that may apply.

It’s worth noting that laws and regulations can change, so it’s always a good idea to stay informed and keep up-to-date with any potential legal developments that may affect unmarried couples visiting or residing in Bali.

Tips for Unmarried Couples Visiting Bali

Book separate hotel rooms

When planning a trip to Bali as an unmarried couple, it is important to be aware of the local laws and cultural norms. One of the first things to consider is booking separate hotel rooms. In Bali, it is common for hotels to require couples to provide proof of marriage upon check-in.

To avoid any complications or awkward situations, it is best to book separate rooms to ensure a smooth and hassle-free stay.

Avoid public displays of affection

In Bali, public displays of affection, especially for unmarried couples, are not widely accepted. It is important to be mindful of this cultural difference and avoid any excessive displays of affection in public.

Holding hands is generally accepted, but kissing or hugging in public may be seen as inappropriate. By being respectful of local customs, you can ensure a more enjoyable and respectful experience during your visit.

Dress modestly

Balinese culture places a strong emphasis on modesty and respect. To show your respect for the local customs, it is recommended to dress modestly while exploring Bali. This means avoiding revealing clothing such as shorts, tank tops, or skimpy swimwear when outside of the beach or pool areas.

By dressing appropriately, you will not only show respect for the local culture but also feel more comfortable in your surroundings.

Learn basic manners and customs

Before visiting Bali, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with some basic manners and customs of the local culture. Learning a few common phrases in the local language, such as greetings and thank you, can go a long way in showing respect and building rapport with the locals.

Additionally, understanding local customs and traditions, such as removing your shoes before entering someone’s home or temple, will help you navigate the cultural landscape with ease.

What Could Happen If You Break Social Norms

When visiting Bali, it is important to be aware of and respect the local customs and traditions. Bali has a rich cultural heritage, and social norms play a significant role in the daily lives of its residents.

While the majority of tourists have a wonderful and trouble-free experience, it is crucial to understand the potential consequences of breaking these social norms.

1. Verbal warnings from locals

If you are engaging in behavior that is considered inappropriate or disrespectful, locals may approach you and kindly inform you of their concerns. They may offer guidance on how to adjust your behavior to align with the local customs.

It is important to remain open-minded and receptive to their advice, as they are simply trying to help you navigate the cultural landscape.

2. Asked to leave public places or accommodation

In more severe cases where your behavior is deemed highly inappropriate or offensive, you may be asked to leave public places or your accommodation. This can be a significant inconvenience and may result in additional costs as you search for alternate arrangements.

It is advisable to always be mindful of your actions and ensure that they align with the cultural norms of the destination you are visiting.

3. Detainment by local officials (rare)

While rare, in extreme cases where individuals persistently violate social norms or engage in illegal activities, local officials may detain them. This is an uncommon occurrence and usually reserved for severe offenses.

It is crucial to understand and abide by the laws and regulations of the country you are visiting to avoid finding yourself in such a situation.

For more information on the social norms and regulations in Bali, it is recommended to visit the official website of the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy at


While Bali doesn’t have laws specifically prohibiting unmarried couples, it’s important to be mindful of local cultural sensitivities. By avoiding public displays of intimacy and showing respect for Balinese social norms, unmarried couples can fully enjoy the magic of Bali without hassle.

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