Thu, 10 Mar 2005

Banks, offices close for 3 days

State and private banks in Bali will be closed from March 9 to March 11 for the Hindu religious holidays of Galungan and Nyepi (the Day of Silence), but most ATMs will continue to operate.

However, bank BCA announced its ATMs in Bali would not operate on March 10 and March 11. The bank said the ATMs would come back online on March 12 at 9 a.m.

Bank branches will reopen for business on March 14.

"This policy is only for Bali because the Balinese will observe the two important religious holidays, Galungan and Nyepi. In other parts of Indonesia, all bank activities will continue as normal," said Alan Hudaya, the spokesman for Bank Indonesia's Bali office.

During Galungan, which takes place every 210 days on the Balinese calendar, all government and private offices will be closed. The day before Galungan, Balinese employees will be allowed to leave their offices early to take part in religious ceremonies.

Most schools on the island will be closed for two weeks.

Since this year's Galungan falls right next to Nyepi, many institutions have extended their holiday period.

Ngurah Rai International Airport in Kuta will also close at midnight on March 10 for Nyepi. The airport will reopen on March 12 at 6 a.m.

Hospitals will remain open for emergency cases. Patients who have to be treated at the hospital will be escorted by pecalang, traditional security guards.

Similarly, Gilimanuk harbor in Jembrana and Padang Bai harbor in Karangasem will be closed for Nyepi. -- JP