30 Things to Avoid in Indonesia!


Visiting Indonesia is a pleasant experience that you will never regret going through it. However, there are things you should avoid in Indonesia, Whether it is your first time, or you used to go there, planning where and when you are going to go and do, or not; you should know what to avoid in Indonesia.

Avoiding wearing revealing clothes, bringing drugs, showing money in public, swimming in where you shouldn’t, forgetting any of the 2020 Indonesia travel checklist (find more about this checklist from here), forgetting your password, and more other things you should avoid in Indonesia in this article. Keep reading!

‘Things to avoid in Indonesia’ is not just made to inform you on what you should not be doing in Indonesia, it is made to keep you safe, and help you make your trip memorable. We are going to make three different lists to make it more memorable; So, keep that list in your mind and be safe, be smart, and have fun.

Things to avoid in Indonesia.
Be safe!

1- Wearing revealing clothes.

When you are Indonesia or any other country, you need to understand and respect its culture. Indonesia is a Muslim country, Islam is the most adhered to religion in it, therefore, you need to understand that wearing revealing clothes won’t just grab attention to you, but it also will make them feel uncomfortable, which will make you feel uncomfortable, too.

Also, respecting other people’s culture and avoiding what makes them uncomfortable, makes it easy for you and them to deal with each other, which helps you feel welcomed.

2- Hiking when/where you are not supposed to go.

Hiking in Indonesia is one of every hiking lover’s dream, because of its most beautiful views, moody volcanoes, and charming mountains. However, you need to pay attention to when you are going hiking and where. Also, you need to ask when it is the best timing for the best hiking experience, what you should wear, and how you should act in different situations.

Moreover, if you need to be ready for a magnificent hiking experience, here’s the essential checklist for overnight hiking (read more about hiking here) You will know what exactly do you need, and where you can get it with the best prices.

3- Disrespecting the Indonesian Cultural Etiquette.

According to the Indonesian culture, don’t you ever touch a person’s head! A person’s head is where the spirit resides, which make it a very sacred place for Indonesian.

Also, you need to physical contact is not very welcome when you are a complete stranger for them, so don’t approach intimate physical contact before developing a good relationship with the person you are talking to. (and by that I mean if a man is talking to a man or a woman is talking to a woman; because a man is not allowed to touch a woman, except for handshaking, if allowed).

Moreover, you need to keep both feet on the floor while sitting, or if you are not comfortable that way and you need to cross legs, don’t put your ankle over your knees, and don’t make your feet in front of the other person’s face; this is a sign of disrespect.

Hence, you need to eat, drink, and handshake with your right hand, don’t stare, don’t backslap, and never point to someone or something with your index finger, only point with your thumb.

4- Showing money in public.

People who will try to take advantage of you, steal your money or take any of your things (money, power banks, mobile, or even your wallet) are everywhere not just in Indonesia. Therefore, when you are in a foreign country, usually, you need to take extra care of your things, don’t show it in public, and make sure you have a secured backpack with you wherever you go, to hold your small and easy to lose things.

If you don’t have a backpack, yet. We offered here the best 11 affordable carry-on luggage, that you will not just find your backpack in, you will also have plenty of choices of different carry on luggage for everything, including hiking. Don’t miss! (All you will need is in this list)

5- Littering on the beach.

Don’t litter when you are around any of the Indonesia beaches. Remember that you are not just making the Indonesian people upset, not respecting the Indonesian culture, and disposing of your garbage at inappropriate places. You are also harming the environment, other creatures, and disturbing wildlife.

Therefore, you need to not participate in making the world worse and help clean up beaches not littering on it.

6- Travel during the peak holiday season.

Generally, tourists prefer visiting Indonesia during the peak season, which is summer months (June, July, and August), but unfortunately, it is the time when the traffic is the worst.

Therefore, many travelers decided to visit Indonesia during the low season to score better deals on hotels, and also visiting popular hotspots in Indonesia can be easier and more fun during the low season; because fewer tourists mean less traffic, and better opportunity to enjoy a lot of things freely.

However, visiting during the low season has its dark side, too. Because, humidity is much higher, mosquitos are way worse, seas are rougher and rains are heavier.

7- Drinking water from taps.

Well, you need to avoid drinking from taps, because it is undrinkable, and also because your body might not accept it well. Therefore, you need to be safe, keep yourself hydrated and get yourself bottled water from any supermarket or store in Indonesia.

Remember, not clean water can carry a lot of bacteria and viruses that can cause real harm to your body, and you don’t want this to happen while you are in Indonesia.

8- Forgetting toilet tissues.

Toilet tissues and all of your toiletries (you can find really good recommendations, here), are very important for you to bring it everywhere while you are in Indonesia because not every bathroom has them, and also some bathrooms are not as clean as you think it should.

Therefore, you need to be more hygiene and pay extra attention while you are in Indonesia, or in any place actually, you need to take care of yourself.

9- Consuming drugs.

If you are from a country where it is legal to use drugs Whenever you want and wherever you want, you need to be aware that Indonesia drugs are not permitted, so don’t you ever think of bringing any drugs to Indonesia. You can get in real trouble with a very small amount of drugs in your pocket.

Also, if any Indonesian offered you drugs while you are in Indonesia, don’t take it from him. It doesn’t mean that it is legal, it just means that the one gets caught with will be punished, too!

10- Visiting other people’s homes without permission.

While you are trying to know more about Indonesia and learn more about the Indonesian culture: how they act, what are their beliefs, what they wear and why they wear it; you need to understand that the Indonesian culture respects privacy and you need to respect that, too.

Therefore, if you are not invited to their homes, know that you are not welcome until they do. Don’t except that you are going to be welcomed if you tried to enter their homes without their permission because you will not be welcomed, and you will not be treated well.

Things to avoid in Indonesia.
Be Smart!

11- Kissing in public areas.

Never kiss in public areas while you are in Indonesia, or any other country that Islam is the majority religion in, because they have regulation to not kiss other people without marriage, and also you cannot share a room with each other if you are not married.

If you caught kissing your partner freely in public area, most probably, you will get punishment from the judgment and people will not leave you alone.

12- Saying rude comments to Indonesian people.

Well, being rude is not acceptable, whether you are in Indonesia or in any other country, you just can’t be rude to people and expect that people will welcome you in their country, and won’t be rude to you back!

Also, another reason rudeness is something you need to avoid in Indonesia is that Indonesian people come from a wide diverse range of ethnicities, cultures, and beliefs, too. So they come from different backgrounds and very complicated history, no one will ever accept an inappropriate remark and stand still without defending him/herself.

13- Touching girls.

Indonesian girls are very sensitive about being touched; because, most of them, come from an Islamic background. And in Islam, it is not acceptable to be touched b foreign men( and by foreign I mean those who are not relatives).

So, you need to pay attention for touching Indonesian women, and if you are willing to offer a handshake you need to wait till she offers her hand first, or you can just shake your head politely with a smile, and that will help her understand that you are saying ‘Hi’.

14- Smoking in some areas.

In some areas in Indonesia, it is very taboo to smoke and restricted, especially for women. So before you lighten up this cigarette you need to ask if it is okay to smoke in this area, or you need to go somewhere else.

For women, it is not normal in Indonesia to smoke, it is an unusual act. Therefore, you need to find certain areas that will allow you to smoke freely.

15- Sleeping in public areas.

In Indonesia, there is police everywhere to make sure everything is fine and safe. Therefore, you need to respect their rules, and one of these rules is that you can’t sleep in public areas.

Therefore, you need to respect their rules so you don’t get yourself in troubles and make sure that you booked a room in a fine hotel before you go there, so you have a decent place to sleep in the night.

16- Arguing about ethics or religion.

Another to avoid in Indonesia is arguing about ethics and religion. Actually, to be honest, you also will feel uncomfortable if someone decided to argue with you about your beliefs, or try to force you to believe his beliefs.

Also, Indonesian people come from different backgrounds, and each background is really solid, so arguing about their beliefs i not acceptable by any means.

17- Underestimating how spicy their food is.

Indonesian culture is blessed by ALL types of spices, so the level of spiciness is really unexpected; you will never know how hard it will hit you until it does.

Spicy food is a part of the Indonesian culture, and in fact, they are so used to spicy food that they really don’t admit how spicy there food is, like if it is the normal taste of the food. So, yeah, take care of what you are going to order in their restaurants.

18- Eating in unknown places.

Trying new foods is always exciting and tempting for tourists, because it represents culture, and it is a part of the adventure; trying new food, and going through the whole Indonesian experience.

Happy National Noodles day!
Credit: Giphy

However, you don’t want to feel sick and spend the whole vacation in bed! Therefore, you need to make sure how clean the food you are going to put in your stomach is, and how clean and well-know the restaurant you are going to eat from is.

19- Not saying ‘Thank you!’.

It is very important to avoid in Indonesia being rude, impolite, and uncivilized. Because, people there welcome tourists very much, and all they want back is thank you and a nice smile.

Also, you need to understand that is where is they live, and you are exploring their country and culture, so being nice, friendly and polite will be very appreciated.

20- Walking in places where you are not supposed to.

Yes, Indonesia is a safe place to visit and have fun. But, evil is everywhere. right? So, you need to be careful, don’t walk when you are not supposed to and don’t go to places where you are not supposed to go. It is a simple safety rule.

I understand how tempting it is to be risky and not follow the rules, but it not following the rules that will affect your life, I don’t think it is a very good idea.

Things to avoid in Indonesia.
And, Have fun!

21- Disturbing the wildlife.

One of the most important things you need to avoid in Indonesia is disturbing the wildlife. Indonesia’s islands are known for its amazing and incomparable wildlife, and unbelievably unique animals; which they respect and honor. And, they are expecting you to do the same thing, too.

22- Making fun of Indonesian customs.

Indonesia is an open, friendly, and peaceful country with a lot of things to do in and with the Indonesian themselves. Also, they love to party, and they love wearing their traditional customs and celebrate with them.

It is very understandable, even for them, that their customs are unique, and they love it the way it is. Therefore, if you want to be a part of their celebrations, and wear their customs, take pictures, and spend the day with them; you need to not make fun of them.

23- Not getting enough money with you.

The “enough money” sentence is little tricky, because the money that is enough for staying, eating, and drinking will not be enough if you are planning to travel to explore Indonesia more, and, of course, will not be enough if you plan to go shopping.

Therefore, you need to decide what you are going to do exactly in Indonesia, so you can know how much money will be enough for you. However, don’t rely much on ATMs there.

24- Buying everything you put your eyes on.

It is very important to not buy with the first price you hear, because, of course, people will love to make more money!

Therefore, take your time searching, and asking for one of the local’s advice, then decide whether you really want to buy this item or not. You don’t want to lose all of your money for items you will not use, right?

25- Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking is something you really need to avoid in Indonesia because it is not in their culture, so maybe it will not be safe for you.

For those who don’t know what Hitchhiking is: it is when you avoid taking regular transportation and ask one of the locals who have a car or a motorbike to drive you somewhere. It can be for free, or not.

26- Forgetting your carry on luggage.

It is pretty obvious, but it happens. So, as a quick reminder, forgetting you carry on luggage is something you need to avoid in Indonesia because maybe you will have a hard time getting it back.

Also, you need to make sure you have enough luggage if you are going to get some souvenirs to family and friends. If you think you need new carry-on luggage, you can find, here, the best carry on luggage for your trip.

27- Forgetting your power bank.

A power bank is one of the most essential items you need to bring with you to Indonesia because you don’t want to miss taking one of those indescribable views, just because your mobile’s or camera’s battery is dead.

So, make sure you have one of those Top Best 9 Power Banks For 2019’s Travelers, from HERE.

28- Forgetting your hiking pack.

Indonesia is really amazing from above, so, yes, you need to go hiking while you are in Indonesia, if the weather is suitable. And while you are there, you really need to have everything you need pack because you don’t want to get stuck up there, then remember that you forgot an essential item.

Therefore, before you go for overnight hiking, make sure you have everything packed. Maybe you need to check this Essential Checklist for Overnight Hiking, from here, so you can make sure you didn’t forget anything.

29- Missing social events.

One of the nicest and most fun things in Indonesia is their social events which, most probably, starts at night. Therefore, you need to be prepared, expect that they will show up half an hour late, and learn more about the culture and people from the people themselves.

One more thing, if you are in a meeting, or invited in some sort of a social event, expect that the one who invited you will offer to pay the pill. It is a way of welcoming. So, yeah, if he insisted, let him.

30- Worrying much and not having fun.

I believe that, after reading 29 things to avoid in Indonesia, the 30th thing should be to not worry and just enjoy your time there. Indonesia is filled with A LOT of things that you need to experience and try, so do it. Stop worrying, you will know what you should and should not do once you are there. Don’t worry, have fun.

Relevant Questions:

Do Indonesian speak English?

Yes, English is very common there. So, don’t worry about how you are going to communicate there. Just make sure you don’t get involved in business or meetings with people who don’t understand or speak in English. And, of course, don’t sign papers that are not written in a language you understand.

What is Indonesia most known/famous for?

Bali, Spicy food, temples, wildlife, rare animals, amazing customs, wonderful islands, national parks, spectacular swings, and unbelievably amazing nature activities.

Indonesia is a very unique place, where you can enjoy going alone, with friends, with family or with your loved ones, too. If you already visited Indonesia before, why don’t you tell us what you enjoyed the most, there? And, if you didn’t visit Indonesia before, Are you plannig to?

Can’t wait to hear all of your thoughts, feedbacks and stories!

Ghada Harhash

Traveling is where you get the chance to discover more about the current you, the future 'you' you might be, and the 'you' you want to be; It is ALL about YOU. Therefore, I am here to make your experience more fun and exciting, less stressing or exhausting. So, keep calm, pack your pack back, and let's make your trips memorable. Also, if you need to ask about a specific product, or wondering if "somewhere" is as amazing as they say it is, Feel free to contact me at my twitter account @ghaadaah_. I can't wait to read all of your stories and answer all your questions!

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