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Indonesia Local Customs and Practices

Posted by on Apr 15th, 2009
Filed Under: Uncategorized


Direct contact between individuals of the opposite sex is inappropriate in public. You are advised to avoid displays of affection. Same sex physical contact is perfectly normal. Handshakes are acceptable for women and men. However, you should wait for a woman to initiate the handshake.

It is polite to call prior to visiting a local family. You will be offered drinks but toasting is uncommon. Remember that the good Muslim abstains from drinking alcohol.

The left hand is considered unclean. Use your right hand when eating, passing, receiving gifts, handing cash, and touching people. Avoid touching a person`s head. Indonesians consider it the centre of the soul.

Remove shoes at the entrance halls of mosques and temples. Some places require scarves and robes for their female visitors.

It is advisable to ask for permission if you plan to take photographs at places of worship.

At first, some customs may take you off guard. Indonesians are straightforward communicators. Don`t get perplexed by their attention. In most cases, people simply display their good intentions. Locals are extremely polite and will never criticize you openly. They would rather answer your question than appear uninformed. So, beware if you really need accurate information.

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