We love Indonesia; it’s one of the most popular holiday spots for us Aussies, drawing 600 000 of us to its shores between January and September last year! The scenery is beautiful, the drinks are cheap, the surf is top notch, food is incredible – Nasi Goreng amiright?! – and the people are super friendly. What’s not to love?? Unfortunately, we also think of Indonesia, particularly Bali, as a fantasy land where ‘nothing is off limits’, resulting in the horrible statistic that 1 Australian dies in Bali every three days. EVERY THREE DAYS. We also get arrested a lot in Indonesia, mostly slight misdemeanours because we are unaware of local customs and laws that we wouldn’t think twice about back home. So here’s a quick lesson in things to avoid, and some general etiquette to make sure your trip is super fun but also respectful and safe 👌
1. Identification: you are legally required to carry ID with you at all times in Indonesia.
2. Gambling: is ILLEGAL. Don’t gamble. If you’re caught, you will be arrested. Save your money for the food3. Drugs: as we are all aware due to recent situations, Indonesia has a VERY strict anti-drug policy. Don’t take drugs into Indonesia. Don’t buy drugs in Indonesia. Just don’t do drugs.
4. Left = bad: As a lefty, I love my left hand, but in Indonesia, left hands are seen as extremely dirty and rude. Why? Because its the hand you wipe your bum with. Don’t touch anyone or anything with your left hand without expecting horrified looks from locals. (Fun Fact! In the olden days, criminals were often punished by having their right hands chopped off so they would forever live as a foul. left-handed outcast that touched everything with their bum-hands!)
5. Cheap drinks: who doesn’t love a cheap drink?! I personally love a good bargain, and anything less than the usual $16 cocktails I dream about back home in Sydney is super appealing, but Indonesia has become known for its dodgy alcohol which is often brewed at home and contains methanol, which is toxic af and can kill you. For tips on avoiding methanol poisoning check out –>this article<–
6. Religion: Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. Ladies: avoid showing too much skin in Aceh, the home of the Grand Mosque. Everyone: show respect in places of worship
7. Pointing: aaaannd as you should already know from the latest Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts, using your pointer finger is considered a rude gesture, so instead of accidentally telling locals to ‘fuck off’, use your thumb to point at things and #AVOIDWANKERISMS
For more handy etiquette tips, check out this World Nomads article!