kleding vakantie indonesieWhat to pack?

When you pack your suitcase for a holiday in Indonesia, it seems logical to collect all your shirts, tank tops and shorts. However, it is wise to keep the following in mind:

Are you planning to climb mountains? To visit the Bromo volcano, for example? It can be very cold in the mountains. Therefore, take warm clothes with you. A thermal shirt is not heavy and does not take up much space. In addition, pack a fleece sweater or cardigan and a windbreaker or good raincoat. This way you also stay warm and dry in the mountains.
Furthermore, in some shopping centers or, for example, the cinema, the air conditioning can be so cool that you get cold without a vest.

Protect yourself well against the sun and heat. Thin, loose clothing that covers your body protects better than short, tight clothing.

Take into account local customs

In Indonesia people like to dress neatly. Your clothing indicates your position in society. You send a message with how you dress yourself. Not only only how neatly you are dressed, but even litterally: different batik patterns have different meanings and are worn on different occasions.

It is appreciated if you wear clothes that cover your shoulders and thighs (for both men and women). In certain places (temples, churches and mosques) this is even mandatory.
Remember: if you adapt a little to local customs, you will get more out of your holiday.

Packing list

Do you want to know what to take with you to Indonesia? And what do you need to arrange before departure? We have created a handy checklist and packing list for you. Packing list and checklist >>>

Enjoy your meal! ✅

Aan tafel Indonesie

Do not be surprised if in a restaurant not all food is served at the same time. When the kitchen has a dish ready, it will be brought. For example, it may happen that one half of your travel group has already received the order, while the other half is still waiting. Just start eating so the food doesn’t get cold.

Are you invited to have dinner at someones home? Your hostess and host won’t leave your plate empty. They like it when you eat well.
Just say it when you’ve had enough. They will insist for a while, but don’t overeat
When all the food is gone and there is nothing left, the hostess will be ashamed: she has not prepared enough.
So make sure you have some food left over.

sambalFood ✅

Indonesians love spicy food. Often a dish is made less spicy for Europeans. Therefore, if you like spicy food let the waiter know in advance, so the cook can take this into account.

Do you like cooking and good food? Then come and cook (and eat) at a local home during a workshop:
Cooking workshop at our home >>>

Shoes ✅

When you enter a house you always take off your shoes. You can keep your socks on.

Take your shoes off

Water ✅

refill my bottle

You cannot drink water that comes from the tap, unless it is thoroughly boiled for 3 minutes.
When you arrive in your hotel  almost all the time you will find a bottle of water waiting for you in hotels. Use this water when brushing your teeth. Make sure you always have enough drinking water with you. In a warm climate it is wise to drink 2 liters of water per day.

To avoid plastic waste, you can buy a 19 liter tank that can be refilled at any time, or download the Refill My Bottle app and find all the places where you can refill your bottle for free or for a small fee.
This can be a shop, café or, for example, a museum. RefillMyBottle strives to get travelers and local businesses to work together against the waste problem.

Learn a few words of the Indonesian language

Indonesia has more than 700 languages. More than 600 of these languages are known to less than a 100,000 inhabitants.
To understand each other throughout the country there is the national language “Bahasa Indonesia” (Indonesian). Only 8% of the population has this language as their mother tongue. The remaining 92% speak Bahasa Indonesia as a second language.

You will certainly hear the following words during your holiday:

terima kasih = thank you

sama sama = you’re welcome

selamat siang = good afternoon

selamat makan = bon appetit

selamat datang = welcome

Do you want to make a good impression? Learn a few words Bahasa Indonesia.


Names ✅


namen op Java en BaliMost people in Java do not have a surname or family name. Children are given a unique name (or names) by their parents at birth.
Many people have a nickname or use a name other than their birth name.

You will meet many people whose name starts with “Su-“. This prefix means “good”.


Do you have a problem remembering someone’s name? Then you have a good reason to go to Bali. In Bali you will only hear 8 different names. So it is no coincidence if you are introduced to several Wayan’s or Made’s:

In every family the eldest child is named Wayan, Putu or Gede,
the second child is called Made of Kadek,
the third child is called Nyoman or Komang,
and the fourth child is called Ketut.

If more children come, it starts over again with the first name.
The names are the same for men and women. For men the letter i is put in front of the name, for women “Ni”.

Doesn’t this get terribly confusing? No, don’t worry almost everyone has a nickname.

Blenduk kerk Semarang

Tolerance ✅

Indonesia has many cultures and beliefs that live together peacefully. Tolerance and respect are part of the society. Do not make negative statements about religion and culture, even if it is meant to be funny. A strong opinion is allowed, but does not always have to be expressed.

Oleh Oleh ✅

When you visit people at home, it is common to bring a gift (oleh oleh). Of course you impress when you bring something from your home country, but you can also bring something tasty or a treat, for example. Unlike in many Western countries, it is not customary to open a gift in front of everyone. So don’t be disappointed if your gift is put aside unwrapped.
When you are gone it will certainly be opened with enthusiasm.

Toilet ✅

mandibak hoe gebruik je die?

mandi bak met emmertje

In hotels you will almost always find a western shower and toilet.
If you come to people’s homes or if you go to the toilet at a gas station, for example, you will often find a squat toilet and “mandi” water tank.

A “mandi” water tank is a large container of water. Next to the water tank you will find a bucket with a handle. The water in the mandi tank must remain clean. That’s why you take the water from the mandi tank with this bucket. (The mandibak is therefore not used as a bath; never sit in it). You hold the bucket (gayung) with your right hand and pour the water over the body part you want to clean. You wash with your left hand.

Don’t you dare to do this? Fortunately, there is also toilet paper in tourist places.
You often also use the water from the gayung to flush the toilet.

met je rechterhand eet je

Right hand

Use your right hand when you eat, or when you give or receive something. Your left hand is considered unclean (you use it on the toilet).
So you can eat with your right hand, but don’t worry if you don’t like this: there are always forks, knives and spoons available and then of course you just use both hands.

Contact ✅

Asking all kinds of personal questions is the most normal thing in Indonesia. For example, people like to ask where you are going, whether you are already married and what your name is. People like to chat with you, and to practice their English language skills, so have a nice chat if you feel like it.

Colonial past ✅

Independence Day (August 17) is celebrated every year with, for example, parades and the hoisting of the flag.

cultuur en gewoontes in Indonesie

Pictures ✅

Not only do people like to have a chat, often they also like to take a picture with you. You might feel like a celebrity at first, but chances are you get tired of the pictures after a while. Try politely to indicate that you would rather not have it, but it is probably impossible to avoid it completely.

On the other side: always ask for permission yourself. Usually people like that you want to take a picture. Especially if they are wearing their best clothes, for example at a wedding or ceremony. In some places it is appreciated if you give a tip for the opportunity to take a picture.

Indonesie cultuur

Friendly and patience ✅

Most people in Indonesia are friendly and hospitable. People will not easily say “no” or refuse something.
Try to be kind and patient yourself as well and don’t criticize openly. This is how communication  is the most efficient in the end.


In Indonesia you always see people smiling. No matter how difficult their circumstances are, people remain optimistic and keep smiling. Even when you may feel the need to swear if something bad happens, Indonesians often start laughing. What is more fun during your holiday than being surrounded by people with a smile on their face? Feel free to join and enjoy your holiday with a smile.

Indonesian rules ✅

Are you afraid that you won’t be able to remember all these “rules”? and that you might make a mistake? No worries. There are many rules in Indonesia, and the most important rule (just like in traffic) is that you cannot always follow the rules.

Good intentions and respect is what matters in the end.
So is something going wrong in a social situation? No problem, try again next time (and don’t forget your smile).

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