Bali Blog

Left hand for the toilet, right hand for food!

So, one of the big fears for newcomers before coming to Bali is the dreaded Bali Belly, it can come in mild forms or actually quite severe, if it becomes severe it is important to be tested for other more serious diseases such as Typhoid, Hep A etc.

However, although Bali Belly has a bad reputation of coming from food, it’s actually more common that you will get a bout of the runs from touching items that have faeces on them….and that most likely WILL NOT be your food.

So, Balinese (and Indonesians) actually find it quite rude and dirty that you hand things to them with your left hand. 

What do you normally hand over? MONEY!

Dirty money, not only has been touched by many people, it’s also Inevitably been touched using the ”toilet hand”.  Yes, the left hand is for wiping your bum (without toilet paper) in Bali, as it is in many parts of Asia!

But in Bali they hand over that dirty money with their "clean" right hand. They consider it rude to hand it with your left.  Now, although this is their Custom you really need to find somewhere to wash your hands afterwards if you wish to follow the Customs.

It may all make sense now what the little hose in the bathroom in your hotel is for (for washing the bum) and why housekeeping in smaller establishments forget to give you toilet paper, is simply because they do not use it.

TIPS: So, if you pay for meal at a restaurant don’t forget to wash your hands immediately afterwards.  You will find the locally run, or places frequented by locals have a wash basin in the restaurant for such purpose. 

Locals will wash their hands before and after each meal, actually locals pride themselves on hygiene and will bathe at least 2 times a day *using the water saving mandi described in our Triva Topic on WATER recently.

If you give the kids some spending money in Bali make sure they understand how dirty it is, never let them put their hands in their mouth or wipe dust from their eyes if they have handled money and have not washed their hands.

Carry a hand sanitizer around for when there is no washbasin, but if you see a wash basin use it and wash thoroughly with soap.

So, don’t forget left hand is dirty, right hand is clean!   

So, no offering your left hand out to shake someone’s hand.

No offering food from your left hand and remember when you receive your change try wash your hands as soon as possible.  If you cannot wash your hands just receive it in your left hand and keep that as your dirty hand till you can find a washbasin.

Sorry to all the Lefties out there. 


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