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Indonesia | What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Indonesia? | Expat Exchange
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Balangan Beach in Bali, Indonesia

What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Indonesia?

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William Russell
William Russell
William Russell
William Russell

We asked people in Indonesia if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!...

"I do not require my household help to cook much during Ramadan since they are fasting. Near the end of Ramadan this month, I had made a new recipe and my helper was in the kitchen drying dishes. She was asking questions about the recipe, when I evidently had brain-fade and said, "Here, taste it and let me know what you think." She just laughed and said, "Mem, it Ramadan!"," commented one expat who made the move to Duri/Simpang Padong, Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia.

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"It is important to be mindful of cultural etiquette when visiting a foreign country such as Indonesia. It is important to be respectful of the local customs and remain open-minded to their traditions. It is best to avoid any public displays of affection, such as kissing, hugging, or hand-holding. Refrain from making negative remarks about the country or its culture, as this can be perceived as rude and insulting. Refrain from wearing revealing clothing, as it can be seen as disrespectful. It is also important to remove one’s shoes when entering religious sites like mosques or temples and to avoid eating with one's left hand. Lastly, it is also important to be mindful of the fact that Indonesians tend to use last names to indicate respect," remarked another expat in Indonesia.

Other Questions:

What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Indonesia?

If you live in Indonesia, newcomers to Indonesia would love to hear your answer to this question.

If your answer relates to a specific city or town in Indonesia, please include the name of the city/town below:


About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Balangan Beach in Bali, Indonesia

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William Russell
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