Streets deserted, airport closes for Bali's Day of Silence


Ngurah Rai global airport will be closed for 24 hours starting from 6am local time Saturday, affecting about 480 flights, including almost 240 worldwide flights.

On Hari Nyepi, which marks the new year for the Hindus of the island, Bali comes to a standstill as no lights are turned on and one is allowed outdoors.

Balinese have been spending a day largely without television, radio and mobile internet on Saturday as the predominantly Hindu Indonesian island marks New Year with a traditional "Day of Silence", or "Nyepi".

Balinese children perform the Kecak dance before a parade ahead of the "Day of Silence" in Denpasar on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on March 16, 2018.

Every year the Hindu-dominated province dims the lights and closes its airports for a day as pecalang, or religious police, comb the streets looking for anyone who has defied the ban and strayed outdoors. The Bali head of Indonesia's Ministry of Communications, Nyoman Sujaya, confirmed that data will be off for 24 hours following an agreement with telecommunications companies, according to AP.

They also requested people power off their phones for 24 hours. "I hope during Nyepi they can be introspective".

He urged tourists taking photos in public not to do so for their own safety as it could cause clashes with local people sensitive to having their traditions trampled on.

"Many tourists actually came specifically to experience the quietness and the serenity of Nyepi", said airport spokesman Yanus Suprayogi.

Voice calling and SMS services will still work and if you are staying in a hotel, you may still have access to WiFi but for Bali's 132 million internet users, this will be a day of digital detox.