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What's in a Name? -- The Balinese have no common last names. Everyone is given a last name about 3 months after they are born that symbolizes what their parents would like them to be or a trait that they see in their newborn. For example, babies perceived to be smart are often called Samarta or Pradnyana. If the parents are hoping for a peaceful baby they might give the last name Santi.

First names tend to follow castes. First names are all the same for the Sudra caste, about 90% of the population, the average worker. The full name of a Balinese person indicates caste, birth order, and gender. All male names begin with an "I," pronounced "eee" and all the female names begin with a "Ni" pronounced "nee." I or Ni is followed by one of four given names depending on birth order. The first born within a Sudra caste family is Wayan (pronounced Why-on), then Nyoman (pronounced Nyo-m'on) or Nengah (pronounced Neng-aah), then Made (Ma-day), and last would be Ketut (pronounced Ke-toot). If you hit number five you go back to Wayan again.

Some Local Customs to Live By -- When on Bali, don't point with your finger, point with you thumb, which is considered polite. Take off your shoes before entering someone's home. Don't even contemplate going into a temple without the proper dress of a sarong and sash. Being gentle and polite, like the Balinese themselves, will get you a lot farther with whomever or whatever situation you are dealing with.

Etiquette for Visiting Temples & Ceremonies -- You may be allowed to enter certain temples, even at ceremony time, but be sure to respect temple etiquette: Wear a sarong and sash and observe all signs regarding temple rules. Ladies are not allowed to enter if they are menstruating, are pregnant, or have given birth within the past 6 weeks.

You are able to enter some ceremonies but don't just go charging in -- ask one of the pecalang (those dressed in checked black and white sarongs) if you can go in first. Do not stand higher than a priest during a ceremony as this is disrespectful.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.