4 General Indonesian Etiquette for Travelers

Never get confused again! We offer only tips that work in most places in Indonesia.

From eastern to western ground zeroes of Indonesia, there lies archipelago of more than 17.000 islands with a massive assimilation that differs from place to place. They have six constitutionalized religions with hundreds more of local animism-dynamism wisdoms that represent their conservative ethinicity. So in terms of cultural, customs and etiquettes, there are huge differences that comprehensively pretty difficult to get our heads around. So we wrap for you 4 general Indonesia etiquette for travelers that work in most places. Just remember, it might only suit you enough for days or a few weeks of casual visit on the country, and obviously don’t want to be bothered with the complexity of the locals. If you want to enjoy the rich history and cultures, live somehow nomadicly blogger-like, or want to engage deeply with the natives, that’s a whole another story which needs to be very specific and pretty time consuming.

So for you casual visitors of Indonesia, you can follow this 4 general Indonesian etiquette for travelers:

1.Always do almost everything with the right hand (or at least prioritize it)

Indonesian always wipe with their left hand after their business in the toilet. That’s basically their top of mind considering the usage of left hand. So you must use the right hand for any activity, including shake hands, pointing objects, taking and giving, paying, etc. Especially if the activities are involving other people. You still may work or lift things with the left hand, they’ll give you some slacks if they’re not involved.

Except for eating, while considered as a private activity and even if you’re using spoon or fork without actually touching the food, most of them will find it at the least displeasing. Try to imagine what you wrap and comes to mouth, that’s how they preserve.

2.Acceptable Handshakes

Handshakes has its own categories based on “class” and gender. Not every handshakes is your everyday casual handshake with one hand shaking the other’s one hand. This can be applied only if you have a business meeting or as a casual handshake for coevals.

If you meet an older or respectable person, you should offers two hands simultaneously and remember to bend slightly. And don’t offer a handshake to women, except they offer it first. Instead, offer your no-touch handshake with a closed clap gesture.

3.Learn Basic Bahasa Indonesia

You don’t want yourself stuck in pantomime interactions with the natives which not english-able. Especially if you’re going to some villages or remote objects, yet even then some urbanized people still can’t even understand basic english. Hire a guide can come in handy if you have a little budget to spare and not planning on solo traveling.

4.Always Smile!

It’s obvious, smiling is a universal language for hospitality. Especially when you stare at someone first, they’ll consider your stare as a challenge when not neutralized by a smile.

Remember these 4 general Indonesia etiquette for travelers and you’ll enjoy your stay much more!

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Greeting someone in the Philippines

If you want to greet someone in the Philippines you can do this by putting your hands together and taking a small bow. This is quite similar to a greeting in China.

If you want to say something to the person you greet here are some tips:

  • Good morning – Ma-gan-dang u-ma-ga po / Magandang Umaga po
  • Good afternoon – Magandang Tanghali po
  • Good evening – Magandang Gabi po
  • You are beautiful – Maganda Ka
  • You are from where? – Taga saan ka?
  • My name is WhizKid. – Ako po ay si Whizkid
  • I live in America – Nakatira po ako sa America
  • Take Care – Ingat po

At last, read this article of you’re greeting and showing respect to an elder (60+) you know.

Mano Po Gesture: Filipinos’ Way of Respecting The Elders

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The Face a Holy Temple, Malaysia

It’s common for Westerners to give each other a hug or kiss each other in the face when you meet.

However, when in Malaysia, try to avoid touching a Malay or to kissing them in their face. The head and face are considered to be the home of the human soul. You can only shake hands if they will reach out for you to shake their hands.

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Give/Receive Business Card & Gifts in China with Both Hands

When given and accepting any objects (such as gifts or business cards) with both hands, it shows you are fully interested and dedicated to receive the object. This custom is relevant in China, but also in many other Asian countries.

For example, business cards are also given with both hands and thumbs up. When you’re the receiver, also accept it with both hands.

An often made mistake is to directly hide the card away. This is considered rude. The best thing is to study the card closely for a while and then put it in front of you on the table. Do not play with the card or write any details on the card. Instead, just take a careful look to remember the name and the background of the receiver.

accepting objects with both hands

Do not throw cards across table. This is considered to be very rude and disrespectful. Always handle the business card with great care and respect. After you finish the conversation pick it up and take it with you. Do not put it in your pocket directly!

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Getting the Most Out Of Your Business Trip To Singapore

Singapore offers a little bit of everything for anybody traveling to Southeast Asia. However, the question is, what makes Singapore an attractive hub to investors and business people alike?

Multicultural Society

Singapore boasts four predominant cultures: Malay, Chinese, Eurasian, and Indians. Business people can take a trip to this city-state to enjoy the cultural diversity.

Ease of Doing Business

Singapore offers a smooth and short process for acquiring business permits and setting up shop within the country – both for locals and non-locals. Additionally, Singapore is among the first nations within Asia to embrace new tech for business people to use.

Are you planning to visit Singapore any time soon for a business trip? Here are excellent pointers to make the most out of your stay there.

Find the Right Accommodation

Singapore has plenty of excellent places of accommodation for business travelers. If you are looking forward to staying there for an extended period, you can always check in to corporate apartments.

These apartments are designed for business tourists and are 30% cheaper than hotels. Additionally, they’re fitted with modern facilities alongside social amenities located within the neighborhood.

Get Connected   

Singapore is a telecommunication hub and, being a corporate center of the Asian continent, staying connected is easy. You can easily buy a SIM card; however, you will need to show your passport at the time of purchase.

Besides that, the city-state is supplied with high-speed free internet.

Understand the Language

Singaporeans speak Malay, Mandarin, and English. Also, there is Singlish, which borrows heavily from English. It is crucial that you understand a few phrases from the local languages which may come in handy when you need help.

Get Yourself a Work Permit

Singapore has strict immigration rules. If you’re visiting the country for a business trip, having a work permit is essential. Besides a work permit, it is also important to know how you’ll get your visa.

This shouldn’t be a bother. You can visit Visa Express, where you can find assistance in getting the necessary documentation for a trouble-free stay.

Your Behavior

Singapore has made significant progress thanks to the discipline of its citizens. As a foreigner, you’ll be required to behave well else you will find yourself on the wrong hand of the law. Here are some of the don’ts: do not litter, avoid PDA (Public Displays of Affection), and avoid emotional behavior in public.

Carry the Right Clothes

Singapore has a tropical climate, meaning the weather there is hot and humid. Cotton clothes are the best since they allow for proper aeration and comfort. Additionally, get yourself an umbrella or a stylish raincoat for the rainy days.

Be Polite

This is standard in all countries. Always be sure to let the hosts speak first during meetings, keeping your interruptions low if possible. Additionally, make your speech or talk brief and to the point.

Do’s and Don’ts in Japan: Things to know before you go to Japan

Japan is a land full of wonder and mystery that may have no equal in the world. As such, it’s no surprise the way people go about their lives entails some pretty specific and unique customs to match. Some of which may seem so unique that they may be too hard to follow for anyone else around the world. To those weary though, we say, fear not. Instead, just remember the age old saying: when in Rome, do as the Romans do, and while in Japan, never blow your nose in public! You’ve been warned. 


You can slurp your soup!

Slurping noodles in Japan is considered a sign of good gesture towards the house and the chef signaling a delicious meal. But this custom also has a practical purpose, slurping usually aids in cooling noodles by allowing air to pass through them while eating. This is often necessary because noodles (especially ramen) are served piping hot, and are best consumed at the hottest temperature. Slurping is particularly encouraged while eating ramen and soba, and slightly less common when eating other noodles like udon. While difficult for foreigners to get used to, after a while, this custom will quickly become second nature!

Drinking on the street is O.K.!

Japan has no open container laws; as a result, you are able to buy a beer, sit in a park and sip back a drink or two. Since there are plenty of cheap places to wet the whistle, most Japanese use this as a way to top off while traveling from party to party or bar to bar. In the spring and summer, people take the chance to drink outdoors in parks or next to rivers under cherry blossom trees, as well as during picnics with friends.

Smoking in a restaurant or bar

Influenced by the salary man culture, Japan surprisingly still allows indoor smoking within designated areas. This is particularly the case in izakayas, arcades, pachinko (or pinball) parlors and small bars. Don’t be surprised when visiting a restaurant and being asked, “smoking or non-smoking?”

“This is not a library!” Standing and reading is A O.K.

If you walk into a convenience store in Japan, don’t be surprised to find people reading magazines and books on display; something that in other countries may grant you a sharply addressed reaction from the store owner. The practice is so common that there is even a name for it; “tachiyomi” (which literally means ‘stand and read’). This is true unless the magazine or book is taped shut or wrapped in a yellow elastic. This means there are promotional items inside that could otherwise fall out. Other than that, all reading material is fair game.

Sleeping on the train and street

If you’re headed to school during the wee hours of the morning or exhausted after a long day at work, be sure to take a nap on the train or, if you’re tired after a few beers, just take a nap wherever. Throughout the country you will often find businessmen, complete with briefcase and wallet, leisurely (and drunkenly) napping just about anywhere. Join in the fun, and find a comfy space en-plain-air. More recently, the Tokyo government is discouraging the practice for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to no avail.


Blowing your nose

While in Japan, never, and we mean never, blow your nose in public. In fact, try to avoid touching your nose altogether. Ever wonder why people wear surgical masks in Japan in the first place? The pervasive surgical masks seem like a mystery to most foreigners that visit or know about Japan. But the reason behind them is simple: since it is nearly impossible to blow your nose in public and not be seen as a germ machine, surgical masks are necessary to hide the nose plugs and runny noses that may be behind them.

Talking on the phone on the train

Considered a public space in a country that values privacy, peace and quiet, the train in Japan is a place of nearly complete silence. Speaking on the phone on the train is seen as a uniquely foreigner faux-pas, as there are signs everywhere in English asking people not to talk on their phone or make loud noises. Consider the train like a library; read, listen to music with headphones, maybe take a nap, but no loud noises. In addition, be conscious of large obtrusive backpacks (we’re looking at you backpackers). Throughout Japan you will also find signs in English (along with cartoon mascots) that discourage unconscious backpacking and noisy gabbing plastered throughout most trains.

Wearing shoes indoors

Take off your shoes when visiting a Japanese home. This is a common custom for many northern Europeans and Canadians. Like these northern nations, Japan is a country of four distinct seasons. In the fall or winter, walking indoors with your shoes on can make for a dirty mess. In addition, Japanese people focus on cleanliness and shoes are generally considered unclean. Even Japanese architecture accommodates this cultural practice; every Japanese home has a ‘genkan’ which is meant for individuals to take off their shoes and jackets. The genkan will be the space you encounter immediately after entering a Japanese home and will clearly be lower than the rest of the house. In addition, make sure to point your shoes neatly towards the door. Japanese tradition states that facing your shoes inwards will invite wandering spirits into the household.

Finger pointing

While in Japan, use your palm and never your pointer finger while pointing at signs or directions. It is considered offensive, forceful and has negative connotations. Avoid finger pointing even when talking with people you know. Pointing should only be done with the palm faced upward and with the entire hand. Try it out; you may find it to be more pleasant and it may help you understand the Japanese mindset better.

NEVER cross chopsticks or pass food with chopsticks

Considered unsanitary, passing food with chopsticks is essentially a way to pass germs. Think about it and this one is easy to understand. This gesture is also considered taboo due to the connotations associated with using chopstick-like utensils during funerals to prepare the body for burial or cremation.

BONUS: NO walking and smoking. Get to that designated area, or better yet, get to a bar!

A land of unique customs and traditions, Japan can be a bit discombobulating at times in regards to everyday practices; but as you become more accustomed to Japanese customs, they can quickly become second nature with ease. Just remember, NEVER blow your nose in public!


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5 Major Insights On Chinese Business Culture And Etiquette

The difference between China and other western countries regarding business culture and etiquette cannot get ignored. It’s big and diverse. China’s unique history contributes immensely to their distinctive business culture and etiquette. With China’s economy opening up and joining trade organizations like WTO, it sure has become a darling of many in doing business. If you intend to travel to China for business reasons, there’s no better advice than you having to learn some basic Chinese business culture before traveling.

In this article, you will gain insight on how to conduct a successful business in China as you avoid cultural and social disasters. Here are the tips:

The First Approach.

Chinese prefer doing business with people recommended to them by other business associates other than direct contacts. Referrals form the basis of business relationships. If you have no connections, contact investment committee for direction and advise.


Unlike business relationships in the Western countries, in China, they graduate to a social relationship with time. Business relationships become closer as you share more of your political opinions, personal life, hobbies, aspirations, and family. They accept your deal based on how much they know you.


Chinese business people value addressing each other based on rank. One gets addressed according to his/her seniority and especially in the state-owned businesses. The other party gets addressed as Chairman, Director, Manager, or other titles that represent a particular rank. They avoid addressing each other as Mr., Miss, or Mrs. While giving out any documentation like name cards, always start with the senior person. Make sure you stretch out your both hands.

Giving Face.

Giving face also refers to giving due respect. Respect gets accorded according to rank. When giving gifts, they should differ according to seniority. Those in high positions get better gifts than those in lower levels. Sitting in board meetings or when dining should get accorded according to rank.

Gifts and presents.

Gifts, especially from the western origin significantly enhance business relationships in China and especially in the small cities and towns. Similarly, you will receive gifts from them and especially products with a touch of Chinese art. You should not refuse gifts from them as they refer such an act as impolite and will affect your business relationship.

While conversing with the Chinese, never mention the following topics and avoid them as plague:

  • Independence of Taiwan as a country.
  • Your Friendship with Japanese or show that you praise them over Chinese.
  • Anything to criticize Deng Hsiao Ping.

They term them as taboo and mentioning the above topics results to nasty arguments. Converse anything else under the sun with the Chinese except for the above topics.

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Use the right gestures/greetings

The Chinese are a reserved nation in general. Normally people don’t like being touched by strangers. It can be abrupt if you make a sudden body contact with the person, such as hugging and kissing, though it is common in the western world. Sometimes nodding and shaking hands can do for all. Bowing is a very old gesture to show respect to someone of great significance. Don’t bow with your palms pressed together in front of your chest- it’s a Thai gesture that gets confused a lot by westerners

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Chum Reap Suor

Cambodian people greet each other by saying “Chum Reap Suor”, accompanied by a gesture of pressing their palms together in front of their face and slightly bowing forward, which is called ‘sampeah’. Your Cambodian hosts will be happily surprised to see you using the ‘sampeah’ to greet them. Shaking hands is now more and more acceptable, usually with men, and after a ‘sampeah’.

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Greetings in Indonesia

Guarantee you will not see many Indonesian greets each other with a kiss on a cheek or a giant hug. Indonesians respect their elderly (or people they respect, generally) by salim, which is a revering handshake by touching the back of the hand to the forehead. For example, when shaking the hand with older persons, such as parents, grandparents and teachers, the younger people or students are expected to touch the back of the elder’s palm with the tip of their nose or forehead, this reflects a special respect from the young to the old. This salim gesture is similar to hand-kissing, with exception it is only tip of nose or forehead that touch the hand, not the lips. As for the meeting new people, a hand-shake is a very common thing to do.

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