Living in Indonesia, A Site for Expatriates

Check out What's New on the Expat Web Site
Information for foreigners moving to Indonesia

Home » Practical Information »

Bits of Advice for Expats

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

Translate this Page

Bookmark and Share
Links to hundreds of articles giving practical information for expats moving to Indonesia
Post your questions or communicate with other expats in Indonesia on the Expat Forum
Looking for a place to stay in Indonesia - check out the Housing Forum
Looking for a weekend or holiday getaway ... visit some of Indonesia's Great Escapes
Advice and resources for conducting business in Indonesia
Info on expatriate community organizations in Indonesia
Shops, Products and Services
Links to other useful Indonesian or expat-related web sites
Expat Humor - spread the joys of Living in Indonesia through e-postcards
Site Map
Return to the Home Page
expatriate information for Indonesia

These miscellaneous "Bits of Advice" have been submitted by previous residents for those intending to live in Indonesia:

  • One of the foremost attributes of Indonesians, especially Javanese, in social interaction is kesopansantunan, which means politeness and appropriateness. To avoid being the victim of ridicule --either blatant or concealed -- behave appropriately and suitably, by Indonesian standards, not yours. If you do not wish to offend or be ridiculed, you must adapt to local cultural norms, while still maintaining your own identity.
  • To the man who inquired about drinking -- AWAS (be careful)! If you must drink, don't do it in Muslim homes, at official functions, or anywhere important. NEVER drink to excess, no matter what those around you (other expats!) are doing. You will offend your hosts and will ultimately harm your effectiveness in your official duties.
  • An excellent source of information on customs and norms is Culture Shock Indonesia by C. Draine & B. Hall, Graphic Arts Center Publishing, Portland. Learn the rules and follow them. Remember: if you offend by inappropriate behavior, you may never know what hit you. Indonesians will rarely tell you what you did wrong.
  • Visit Minangkabau country in West Sumatra, especially Padang Panjang. A quiet weekend at Danau (Lake) Maninjau is a sure cure for Jakarta stress.
  • Always carry a packet of tissues (Kleenex) for use when there isn't any toilet paper in public toilets.
  • Taxi and bus drivers often tell you they don't have change. To avoid problems, always carry plenty of uang kecil (coins and Rp 100 & 500 notes) for taxi and bus fares. If the taxi driver won't use the meter, take another taxi.
  • Snack bars at the airports are notorious for trying to keep the change from transactions with foreigners.
  • Don't do anything with your left hand! It is offensive to Indonesians to receive something given with the left hand.
  • Do NOT engage in conversations about politics with Indonesians! The atmosphere can be volatile nowadays. Remember, it is illegal to criticize the government or the President. If you try to engage Indonesians in political discussions, they will not only be very uncomfortable but you may put yourself in danger.

These words of advice were submitted by Catherine M. Muir.

Mini Glossary:

Kesopansantunan: The Indonesian concept of polite and appropriate behavior.
Awas: Be careful, watch out.
Uang kecil: Literally, small money. Refers to small change, coins and bills in small denominations.

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

Practical Information |  Expat Forum |  Site Map  |  Search |  Home Page |  Contact


Return to top

Copyright © 1997-2017, Expat Web Site Association Jakarta, Indonesia http://www.expat.or.id All rights reserved. The information on Living in Indonesia, A Site for Expatriates may not be retransmitted or reproduced in any form without permission. This information has been compiled from sources which we, the Expat Web Site Association and volunteers related to this site, believe to be reliable. While reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the facts are accurate and up-to-date, opinions and commentary are fair and reasonable, we accept no responsibility for them. The information contained does not make any recommendation upon which you can rely without further personal consideration and is not an offer or a solicitation to buy any products or services from us. Opinions and statements constitute the judgment of the contributors to this web site at the time the information was written and may change without notice.