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What are the customs and taboos you must know before traveling to Indonesia? 

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10 months ago

Indonesia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. Historically, it has been influenced by various cultures such as India, the Middle East, and Western countries. In addition, the islands are scattered, and the communication between residents is inconvenient, which makes the cultural customs of various places vary greatly and there are many types. 

Ethnicity, language and religion

Ethnic groups: According to figures released by the Indonesian government, there are more than 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia, of which Javanese accounts for 45% of the total population, Sundas account for 14%, Maduras 7.5% and Malays It accounts for 12.5% of the total population and exceeds 10 million people. 

Language: There are more than 200 ethnic languages ​​in Indonesia. The official language is Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia).

Religion: About 87% of Indonesian people believe in Islam, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, most of them are Sunni. 6.1% believe in Protestantism, 3.6% believe in Catholicism, and the rest believe in Hinduism, Buddhism and primitive fetishism.

Custom etiquette

Clothing etiquette Indonesians are generally conservative in their clothes, and people generally dress well in public. Men usually wear uniforms or trousers, white shirts, and ties at work. The long-sleeved batik shirt (locally referred to as the "Badi shirt") is the Indonesian national dress and can be worn on most formal occasions. Women wear skirts and short sleeved jackets in the office and avoid overly bright colors. If visiting temples or mosques, shorts, sleeveless suits, vests or relatively bare clothes are not allowed. When entering any sacred place, be sure to take off your shoes. 

Ritual etiquette In Indonesia, when people sit down, their legs cannot cross. If they have to do so, put one leg's knee on top of the other. In Bali, your legs should lie flat on the floor when you sit down. In Indonesia, yawning should cover your mouth with your right hand, otherwise it is impolite; do n’t laugh at others ’mistakes or imitate anyone ’s actions, otherwise it will hurt their feelings; do n’t eat on the street or while walking, Do not shake hands with others or touch others with your left hand; take off sunglasses when talking with people or entering other people's homes.

Meeting etiquette Indonesians are friendly and accessible. When meeting guests on social occasions, it is customary to use handshake as a gift; when making an official introduction, symmetry means more attention. Most middle class Indonesians have two names, while many lower class people have only one. The rich usually have very long first and last names, usually only one short name and abbreviated name. When addressing people, they can only use their first surname, not the second.

Dining etiquette Indonesians eat rice as their staple food, and their non-staple foods mainly include fish, shrimp, and beef. Muslims do not eat pork. Indonesians are used to eating Western food. In addition to the occasional use of knives and forks on official occasions, it is generally used to grab rice with the right hand. They have the habit of drinking cold water while eating. They also like to drink wine, mineral water, etc. Generally, they do not drink hard liquor.

Business etiquette Indonesians pay special attention to sending business cards. For the first acquaintance, guests should give their business card to the host, and the business card text should be in English. Indonesians like peaceful tones, unpretentious attitudes and good desires to seek consensus. Negotiations with them should be humble and lower their voices. It is best to bring a gift when visiting an Indonesian businessman, and accepting the gift means accepting some kind of responsibility; accept gifts from others, but do not open the package in person.

Main taboo Indonesians are taboo to pass things or food with their left hand; taboo someone touches their child ’s head, it will be considered uncultivated behavior; taboo mice and turtles; talk to Indonesians should avoid politics, religion and other topics .

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