How to win friends and in­flu­ence peo­ple in In­done­sia.

Here are five tips on fit­ting in when vis­it­ing In­done­sia.

The Jakarta Post - Magazine - - Contents -

One dif­fer­ence be­tween tourists and trav­el­ers is how they treat the place they visit. Tourists of­ten dis­tance them­selves from a desti­na­tion as a whole, mak­ing it just another “va­ca­tion” spot, while trav­el­ers usu­ally de­cide to do more with the lo­cal peo­ple, the cul­ture, the re­al­ity and end up get­ting a much richer ex­pe­ri­ence from the trip.

If you pre­fer to be a trav­eler rather than a tourist when vis­it­ing In­done­sia, then min­gling with the lo­cals might be worth a try. We made a list of tips that might make the ef­fort eas­ier.

Learn ba­sic and use­ful terms

Many In­done­sians are im­pressed with tourists who are flu­ent in Ba­hasa In­done­sia, and I be­lieve that the same can be ap­plied in other coun­tries. Small chitchat us­ing In­done­sian could bring pos­i­tive re­ac­tions: big smiles, warm wel­comes or even big dis­counts while bar­gain­ing in the tra­di­tional mar­ket. In­done­sian is not as de­mand­ing as Thai or Chi­nese, par­tic­u­larly be­cause it uses Latin char­ac­ters and does not rely too much on in­to­na­tion. Ex­am­ples of com­mon phrases are: ter­ima kasih (thank you) sam­pai jumpa (good bye) and per­misi (ex­cuse me).

Re­frain from dress­ing like a tourist

We ad­vise you to leave the “Bin­tang” T-shirt at the ho­tel and show it off some­where else where it can ac­tu­ally stand out. Bu­dapest, per­haps? Some places in In­done­sia re­quire visi­tors to re­spect the lo­cal cul­ture by wear­ing suit­able clothes. Thus, cer­tain ways of dress­ing – such as too re­veal­ing or too ca­sual – can pro­voke dis­re­spect or even dan­ger.

More lo­cal ges­tures

Eat with your hands. Bow your body a lit­tle when pass­ing el­ders. Say greet­ings ev­ery time you meet peo­ple. Lo­cal ges­tures are a good start for you to gain re­spect from the lo­cals. Try to smile at every­body while ex­plor­ing the mar­ket. Don’t be afraid to in­ter­act with peo­ple around you. Ex­plain your­self be­fore ask­ing for some­thing. Once you get their pos­i­tive at­ten­tion, noth­ing could be eas­ier.

Land­marks are not ev­ery­thing

Don’t waste the whole day at places you have seen in post­cards. Land­marks are over­rated, of­ten filled with tourist traps and most likely, pre­dictable. You will likely take tem­plate pho­tos with a tem­plate pose, get­ting around for a cou­ple of min­utes and that’s it. Thus, you are un­likely to get the idea of be­ing In­done­sian by re­main­ing at a land­mark. Ex­plore more, visit other less com­mer­cial­ized spots in your area. Try to visit tra­di­tional mar­kets, food hawk­ers and many more. But re­mem­ber to stay safe.

Tol­er­ate more

It is no se­cret that you will meet plenty of ob­sta­cles dur­ing your trip. For in­stance, the in­fa­mous traf­fic con­ges­tion in the cap­i­tal city, the un­ruly queu­ing – if it can be called queu­ing at all – and many oth­ers. It can be in­fu­ri­at­ing at times but try to calm down and view things from another per­spec­tive. Get­ting an­gry at one taxi driver will un­likely im­prove Jakarta’s traf­fic con­di­tions, for in­stance. Since any­thing could hap­pen in In­done­sia, make plan B, C and D and be ex­tra safe with your be­long­ings.

Orig­i­nally pub­lished on jak­post. travel.

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