Do's and Don'ts
Indonesia has several traditions and customs and it is best if you know them beforehand. Some of them are:
- Even though hand shaking is deemed appropriate between men and women, bear in mind that a number of Muslim women prefer to introduce themselves to men by nodding their head, smiling, and clasping their hands without any physical contact.
- Traditionally, when you greet someone, both hands are used when shaking, without grasping.
- It is considered polite to make a phone call first before visiting.
- Shoes must be taken off before entering a house or place of worship like mosques.
- Usually drinks are offered to guests. It is polite to accept.
- When eating, receiving or giving something, always use your right hand. Right index finger should not be used to point a place, items or people. Use the right hand thumb and fold the remaining fingers to be more polite.
- Taking photographs of houses of worships is allowed, however permission should be asked first whenever possible, especially if you want to take pictures of the interior.
- Most Indonesian Muslims do not consume alcoholic drinks and pork.
- Hence, the tradition of proposing a toast to honor someone is not generally known.
- Plan your budget and choose your destination carefully. Indonesia is vast—each region has its own quirks and possibilities. For instance, if you plan to have some adventure in rugged terrains, it’s advisable to come on dry season for rains might make your paths muddy.
- Make sure you find as many information as possible concerning Indonesia, especially about the visa.
- Have sufficient cash ready, usually US$ is preferred. It can easily be exchanged in airports, hotels, banks or reputable money changers. Customs might ask you to show how much money you bring.
- Dress sufficiently. If you are female, make sure you dress accordingly. Skimpy clothings in public area, save from beaches and pools, might warrant unwanted attention.