How culturally different are Indonesians and Malaysians

Cultural differences Indonesia

Indonesia - many islands, many cultures

As in every other holiday destination, there are a number of cultural differences between Germany and Indonesia - but unfortunately it is not so easy to keep track of things here, as very different religions and peoples are united. Most of Indonesia is Muslim, but Bali is Hindu and Flores is Christian. With such a variety of cultures, religions and traditions, it can sometimes get confusing even for locals - so here is some small but helpful information.

What to pay attention to?

Queuing, for example, is not one of the Indonesians' strengths. The rule here is: Whoever hangs up is your own fault.

However, if you are annoyed about "pretending" or other things, you should not cause this annoyance by loud scolding or similar air. This is considered very rude here. Always give the other person the chance to save face, even in the event of a quarrel.

Even the firm handshake when greeting, as we know it from Germany, is considered rather impolite. You greet each other with a gentle handshake (called salam) and then bring your hand to your heart.

Should you ever be invited to an Indonesian family, you will quickly notice that one does not eat with fork and knife here. Here the right hand, and only the right hand, is taken - the left hand is considered unclean and should be kept away from eating.

If you are served tea or coffee afterwards, it should, in accordance with Indonesian custom, only be touched if you have been expressly requested by the host. You can also wait for the 2nd prompt and then drink with the host - this is considered particularly polite. Incidentally, this also applies to food.

Especially in Muslim areas, women should wear long trousers or skirts that reach at least below the knees. Shirts should at least cover the shoulders. Here, too, you can orient yourself to the locals and roughly imitate them. In tourist areas, more revealing clothing is ok - in more remote areas or when visiting a temple, church or mosque, however, this would be quite inappropriate - even as a man!

The many great landscapes and traditions should of course be captured in a photo. However, if you want to photograph a local in the rice field, in the temple, or simply on the street, be respectful and ask permission first. Indonesians are very friendly and are usually happy to be photographed.


We would be happy to create an individual trip through diverse Indonesia for you.