Written by @Saschaflower
GILI ISLAND MANNERS
It’s polite to do some research before going to a new country in order to be respectful of the culture. Here are some helpful tips on behavior and etiquette in the Gilis.
FEET & SHOES
It is considered rude in Indonesia to point at anything with your feet. Always use your hands to do this as you may be considered disrespectful otherwise.
As for shoes, be sure to remove them before entering someone’s home or shop.
In Indonesia, the left hand is considered to be unclean as it is commonly used to clean yourself whilst using the toilet. Whether you’re shaking hands, high fiving, passing someone an object or eating…always use your right hand!
The majority of people living on the Gili Islands are Muslim. If you don’t see a mosque during your stay the chances are you will definitely hear one. The call to prayer sounds 5 times a day and the first call is at 4:30am. Although you may not enjoy the 4:30 wake up call, it is very disrespectful to complain.
BIKINIS & CLOTHING
The dress codes in Indonesia are a lot different to Western societies nevertheless, it is fairly relaxed in the Gilis. You can wear your normal holiday attire and bikinis on the beach are perfectly acceptable however, when you are in the village please cover your body. For females, topless sunbathing is not permitted; it is also considered very disrespectful.
If you are attending a local event or ceremony on the island then we recommend that you cover your body as a sign of respect.
It is your own decision whether or not to tip in the Gilis. In some restaurants a 10-15% service charge may be added to your bill. However, this is not very common. You can offer a tip to local staff for doing any number of jobs e.g. cleaners, waiters, divers etc. Keep in mind that the basic wages in Indonesia are very low compared to that of a western salary and the locals will share their earnings with their families.
If you have an issue with something, try to resolve the problem with a smile. Arguing and shouting won’t get you far here and you will just be considered disrespectful. You are more likely to get a better outcome by being polite, patient and calmly explaining the problem.
LEARN THE LINGO
If you are visiting briefly of course it would be unrealistic to expect you to learn the language but it’s fair to suggest that you learn some basic words and phrases in Indonesian to show respect.
|How are you?
||Bagus/ Baik Baik
|Pleased to meet you
||Senang bertemu dengan Anda
|How much is it?
|What time is it?
|I don’t want
||Saya tidak mau
|No, thank you
||Tidak, terima kasih
Adhering to these guidelines will demonstrate the utmost respect to the people of the Islands. The locals will be much more welcoming and friendly to you if they feel that you have made an effort to learn about their culture. Don’t worry if you don’t pronounce Indonesian phrases correctly. The locals will appreciate your efforts, nevertheless!