Clichés about Indonesia: We are all full of shit

The world is full of clichés, so is Indonesia! People do things a bit differently than the western world is used to – but the reasons why, are not what we think they are.

Clichés about Indonesia

Why do Indonesians do what they do? It has nothing to do with money and modernisation, and definitely not because Indonesia is a second, and parts of it even third world country. It’s about tradition & culture – Values are as thick as blood.

They all live together under one roof

The first cliché that is also quite true is that Indonesians hold on to family. In the western world we become ‘free’ in the age of 18 – In Indonesia you stay with your family until you get married. Even after marriage it is not unusual to stay with the family – You don’t marry a single person – you get married to a family! It is absolutely clear that your parents are taking care of you when you are a child and in return you give them back the same once they get old – on and on! Did you ever see a retirement house in Indonesia? Family stays together from birth to death through all generations. Get to know the Indonesian culture – Meet the locals!

cliques about Indonesia family

They are always happy, smiling and a bit naive!

Bali, also known as the islands of gods is Hindu. Am I risking possession when stepping on an offering? People believe in karma and therefore, of course, they are very caring and giving. Also being open-minded and welcoming everybody with a ‘Hi, how are you?’ does not mean they want to hit on you or sell you something (well, yes sometimes this is the purpose!) – most of the time they are just kind. ‘Terima kasih’ (thank you in Indonesian) means literary ‘receive love’. This explains lot already!


Eating with Hands

Different countries – different eating habits. Chinese prefer chopsticks, western countries use a knife and a fork and Indonesians use the right hand. Back in the old days the left hand was used for the ‘toilet stuff’. Using the fingers enhances the food experience! It isn’t dirty, it is super fun and easy: Try it! How to do it? By pinch all your five fingers together, and use it like a clam for the food, bring them close to your mouth and, ta-da you eat like local now. Check out Bali’s Street Food!

cliches about Indonesia Eating with hands

They only eat Nasi (rice) all day long

Well, that’s true. No meal works without rice. Though rice isn’t only for the poor, they are in love with rice! It is cheap, it is growing everywhere and it always has been there for everybody. It is filling you up and has good carbs and it simply tastes good with everything: Sweet & savoury. Try Bali’s Street Food & eat like a local!

clishes about Indonesia nasi goreng

Indonesians love to sit on the floor

Not because they cannot afford tables and chairs. One reason is the temperature – If it is hot outside it is very refreshing to sit down on the ceramic floor and cool down. Sitting on the floor also becomes a thing when you are invited to a family celebration: Just spread the rug, put the snack or drinks in the middle and let the crowd make a circle. In this way, none will feel excluded and everybody will have an equal position to one another. Also if there is an issue, which needs to be discussed, they use the principle called ‘musyawarah’, which means going through the problem without emotion while sitting on the floor.

Adventures on Indonesian Toilets

Flushing with water from a bucket, using a butt shower instead of toilet paper (because there simply is none!) and managing all of that while squatting, trying not to mark your own leg – Welcome to Indonesia! But after you get used to it, it all makes sense! Did you know that sitting in a squat is healthy for your back? Also the bucket aka toilet flush can be used as a shower – 2 in 1! Water pressure very often is an issue in Indonesia. Instead of washing your shampoo off with a couple of water drops, a bucket shower is actually really refreshing and helps to use the water wisely. Even though Indonesia is surrounded by water, the water system isn’t as developed as in the west. Holy science!


The role of the woman

Women in Bali are not only taking care of the household and the children – they are true all-rounders: They work hard, take care of the ceremony preparation and take on all the responsibility. The chances for job possibilities are almost equal for men and women in Bali. There is no such rule that says that women have to stay at home and do the household. Learn more about Balinese believes and myths!


Everything is slow and people are lazy

Things on an island aren’t as quick as in vibrant cities. So this isn’t just a Bali, it’s an island thing. Of course people at the beach are relaxed, the tourists as well as the locals. Once you go into a city like Denpasar you will see the similar stress like in other busy cities. It is not just all about relaxing and doing nothing – It’s the opposite. Most companies have a six-day working week, or even seven.

Fun Facts Indonesia: Sleeping at work

We are all full of shit!

The world is full of clichés and stereotypes! Some of them are true but in general they shouldn’t be taken too seriously.Therefore don’t judge by your first impressions; simply think twice when observing the fascinating cultures all over Indonesia! Do you think Everything was better in the old days?

Be in the middle of Love & Hospitality

Meet Buda, the lovely host of Buda’s Homestay and get introduced to Balinese Religion and culture. He is an extraordinary person that has dedicated his life to his village and to achieve happiness. Buda loves to show his guests the traditional Balinese way of life such as ceremonies and Balinese Art. He will also take you on secret tracks through the rice fields, to waterfalls and hot springs. Find yourself in the middle of nowhere and enjoy incredible hospitality at Buda’s Homestay.



Local Super Hosts: All of our hosts have a big heart. But our local super hosts make you speechless: They go beyond hospitality and care about you as part of their family! Check out more places with Local Super Hosts!


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