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Rules and etiquette
Shaddow Puppets (Wayang Kulit)

Before learning the language there are a few things you really need to know to avoid offending your hosts-

To avoid causing offence, never touch anyone on the head or point your finger at anyone; when passing food or shaking hands, always remember to use your right hand, since the left is generally used for bodily ablution; never insult a religion or make an offensive comment about the counteies politics and avoid PDA's- public displays of affection, which will undoubtedly reduce most locals to uncontrollable fits of laughter.

Finally always treat people with the respect the deserve.


You may be hassled at some point during your holiday whether its a trader pushing you into a purchase or an angrey policman wanting "baksheesh"- what ever you do don't lose your temper as this will be greatly frowned upon. If an official wants a bribe, smile and fain ignorance. If someone follows you round in the hope of becoming your tour guide, thank them but make it clear that you would prefer to go without.


Visitors wanting to converse with all the inhabitants of Indonesia will have to learn 300 different languages. You will find that most less ambitious people learn Bahasa Indonesia, but you will also come across Sudanese, Betawi Madurese and Javanese, as well as Dutch and Chinese dialects and occassionally English.



a few key words in case your lost or in need

Kamar Kecil-  toilet

Bemo - motorised jeep

Becak- tricycle with passenger seats

Bukit- hill

Gunung- mountain

Istanan- palace

Jalan- street

Kali- canal

Merdan- square

Pasar- market

Polisi- police

Stanplatz- bus or taxi station

Stasiun Keretapi- train station

Tolong- help


Selamat pagi- good morning

Selamat siang - good afternoon

Sekamat Malam- good evening


Jam Karet- a wonderful Indonesian phrase for "late" or rubber time. In practice the Indonesians tend to go by rubber time, trains and business meetings run on rubber time so don't dispair and use the time to take in the views.


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