March 27, 2023

A few cultural do’s and don’ts for travelers to Indonesia

In Indonesia, it is considered rude to point your index finger at people or things – use your thumb instead to be more polite.

Travelers to foreign countries should always learn a bit about the customs and etiquette of the cultures they will be interacting with. To that effect, here are a few good tips for travelers in Indonesia to note and practice.

  • It is acceptable to shake hands upon meeting someone, but keep in mind that some Muslim women might prefer to introduce themselves without physical contact, nodding, smiling and clasping their hands instead.
  • Tradition greetings use both hands when shaking, without grasping.
  • Be sure to take your shoes off before entering any house of worship, such as a mosque.
  • When eating, giving or receiving something, you should always use your right hand.
  • It is also considered rude to use your index finger to point at things or people. Use your thumb instead, and fold the remaining fingers. 
  • Drinks will often be offered to guests, and it is considered polite to accept.
  • Women should note that skimpy clothing in public areas (aside from beaches and pools) may attract unwanted attention. 

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