Faith and cultural differences

Faith and cultural differences

Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. The majority of the population is Muslim (except in Bali, where Hindu is the greatest religion). Although Indonesia and its inhabitants are also very modern and open, friendly, helpful people, there are a few things that you can take into account.

Mosque If you are a restless sleeper, we advise you: bring earplugs. Every kampung or village has at least 1 mosque (usually even more than 1). These call for prayer 5 times a day (the letters of ISLAM represent the times of these calls). The first call is very early in the morning (around 4.30 a.m.) if this wakes you up every morning, your time on some Indonesian islands is tough. The earplugs can help you have a pleasant night's sleep. If you are not used to earplugs, it is best to practice sleeping at home with earplugs.

Ramadan During Ramadan, consider extra activity from the mosque. People often pray together and for the widest possible reach, the mosque's call system is used. Bear in mind that if you travel during Ramadhan, your driver can participate (in part) as well. That choice is up to him. The fact that your driver does Ramadan does not, of course, mean that you also have to participate and therefore skip lunches or coffee stops.

Sugar festival The Sugar festival for a Muslim is the most important festival of the year. A party that you celebrate with your family. A party where you dress nicely (often in newly purchased clothing) and where people eat lavishly, especially sweet goods. If you travel during this period, it is thoughtful to bring something nice for your driver for this day (after all, he is away from home). For example a pack of stroopwafels from the Netherlands (Indonesians also give each other huge boxes of sweets on / around this day) or some extra money. IDR 100,000 or 200,000 is sufficient. Of course this is entirely without obligation and you don't have to feel obliged to do anything.

Clothing People appreciate if you dress (a bit) "covered". Blouses or t-shirts that cover your shoulders and pants or skirts down to the knee. Undershirts, bare bellies and very short pants or skirts are becoming more common, but are usually worn only by tourists or in modern Jakarta. However, nobody will address you or attack you on the clothes that you wear.

PAY ATTENTION!!! Topless and nude swimming or sunbathing is in the eyes of Indonesians inappropriate and very rude. In Bali topless tanning is usually tolerated on the beach of your hotel.

PAY ATTENTION!!! At some places of interest (eg Kraton in Yogyakarta, Solo and Cirebon or temples in Bali) you are not allowed if you are dressed too lightly Covered shoulders and legs are mandatory here. Sarongs can often be rented on site. If you want to visit a mosque, take off your shoes before you enter the mosque. Women must provide head cover. But usually you get a burka-like robe on loan.

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