What to do during Nyepi.

How I prepared for Nyepi.

Nyepi is the Silent Day in Bali. But what preparations go into a day such as this for visitors and tourists? For one thing, even locals may try and get away from home and check into hotels or decide to hang around with extended family. For another thing, it is dark…

Many locals believe in spirits, ghost and therefore the dark is something many are afraid of. There are supposed to be no lights on of any sort. When I mean dark, it is very dark. All traffic lights are turned off, all streetlights are off and the island appears dead for all intents and purposes. Hotels and resorts do make accommodations and allow light to be on with curtains closed. Though they would still prefer to have no lights on at all. The nice thing about a resort or a hotel is that they do provide food, security, and a little leeway.

No one can be out.

Unless it is a medical emergency or a disaster of sorts, no one is allowed on the streets. This may seem extreme, but such is the case during Nyepi.

I happen to run out of oil, so I used butter. Luckily, I had some at the villa but if I didn’t, I couldn’t run out and get some. No one can order food. We all take the little things for granted, so toothpaste, oil, sugar, coffee and all better be on hand. It is after all only one 24-hour stint. As long as one has gathered enough snacks, junk food, and water, they will be ok.  It is amazing how quickly we all go through water and food when there is nothing to do but chill for a day. 

Much as the Lebaran and Christmas holidays bring hordes of last-minute shoppers out, Nyepi is no exception. Why do we all wait for last-minute shopping? Well, the world is still trying to figure that out. So as usual the lineups were long and even though it was one night and one day, it seemed like the world was going to end.

What do most people do?

Chill is the word of the day. If you are lucky and have a villa or stay at a resort it is business as usual as long as you do not try and leave. One is not allowed on the streets or anywhere outside a resort. It’s like lockdown without the COVID Pandemic. People are patrolling the streets and they have special permission to do so.

It is a time for families to be close, have fun and keep each other company in the dark. In Indonesia, it starts getting dark at about 6:30 and sunrise at about 5. There is a 12-hour timeframe of darkness when not even the airport is open. As can be seen by my photo the one amazing thing is… The light pollution is gone, and we can take some amazing photographs of the night sky even with a phone. The other amazing thing was the silence of it all. No scooters, no cars of any kind could be heard. So, I guess the term Silent Day was truly silent and maybe it should happen more than once a year.


Published by Zsolt Zsemba

Zsolt Zsemba has worn many different hats. He has been an entrepreneur, and businessman for over 30 years. Living abroad has given him many amazing experiences in life and also sparked his imagination for writing. After moving to Canada from Hungary at the age of 10 and working in a family business for a large part of his life. The switch from manufacturing to writing came surprisingly easily for him. His passion for writing began at age 12, mostly writing poetry and short stories. In 1999, the chance came to write scripts. Zsolt took some time off from his family business to write in Jakarta Indonesia for MD Entertainment. Having written dozens of soap operas and made for TV movies, in 2003 Zsolt returned to the family business once more. In 2018, he had the chance to head back to Asia once again. He took on the challenge to be the COO for MD Pictures and get back into the entertainment business. The entertainment business opened up the desire to write once more and the words began to flow onto the pages again. He decided to rewrite a book he began years ago. Organ House was reborn and is a fiction suspense novel while Scars is a young adult drama focused on life’s challenges. After the first two books, his desire to write not only became more challenging but enjoyable as well. After having several books completed he was convinced to publish them for your enjoyment. Zsolt does not tend to stay in one specific genre but tends to lean towards strong female leads and horror. Though he also has a few human interest books, he tends to write about whatever brews in his brain for a while.

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