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12 Examples of Culture Shock in Indonesia You would Experience

by Tri Setiya

When you visit a country that is typically different with the country where you get used to live, you might experience some bad situations. It is called cultural shock. Although Indonesia is a multicultural country, in fact it is not that easy to adapt. Some of foreign people even reveal Indonesia is a great country but still needs improvement in some part of the service. Moreover, you have to adapt with the culture of Indonesians who are likely to be close to others. Here are the examples of cultural shocks in Indonesia you might feel.

  1. Typical spicy foods

Almost of Indonesian foods are typically spicy. Don’t be shock if you find sambal in every menu you order in restaurant. For those who don’t like spicy food, you should notice to the waitress or seller not to put any sauce or sambal in it. However, you will find that almost of Indonesian foods are also delicious. Some local Indonesian foods like rendang, ayam betutu, nasi goreng are even very popular in the world.

  1. Traffic jam is every where

If you visit some big cities in Indonesia such as Bali, Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, or Surabaya you will experience traffic jam in every busy hour. The solution is, don’t get out when the time for people go or left their works. While you get out at 7:00 AM or 5 PM, the road would be really crowded. Even more, in the weekend the traffic would be extremely bad. Avoid visit the tourism place on Saturday or Sunday. It would be better for you to visit on weekdays.

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  1. Bad behavior of motorbike riders and drivers

If you are street walker, be careful when crossing the road in crowded area. You will probably find some wild motorbike riders or car drivers. Traffic system in Indonesia is bad. It has been popular for foreign people that they get mad toward Indonesian traffic system. The road is not well managed. Moreover, breaking the traffic rule is a common thing in Indonesia. It is recommended not to drive by yourself in Indonesia. Better to rend a professional driver.

  1. Deep fried foods

You know that in Indonesia eating deep fried foods is very normal. You will find catfish is eaten in deep fried until it is crunchy. However, the taste would be very good. Not only catfish, you can find many other kinds of fishes that fried in really hot frying oil. While in Japan you can easily find row fish or meat, in Indonesia you will find them on a really deep fried. You must think about the cholesterol, but it is delicious.

  1. A pretty loud call for Islamic prayer 5 times in a day

Don’t be bothered if you hear such an Arabic sound from a loud speaker in mosque once in almost every 4-5 hours. It is a call for Islamic prayer. You have to get used to this since most Indonesians are muslims. You may feel shocked, but you don’t need to protest to them. Just enjoy your livings there without being racist.

  1. Too much attention toward “bule” (foreign people)

While you are at the public place, some people would call you “Bule” (Foreign people). You will probably catch locals’ attention since you are different with them. Many of locals would silently video or take picture of you. Some of them even will come to you to interview or ask many things. Don’t be stressed with this, if you don’t like their habits, you just need to say that you are busy or something. They do this because they admire foreign people with the tall body and white skin. They see you just like a celebrity.

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  1. Spending long days with local people wanting to pose for pictures with you

It has been said that locals attention toward bule is too much. For them, foreigner like you is almost same like an artist. It is because your great body posture, noisy nose, white skin, and blonde hair that is pretty different with theirs. You will suddenly become a celebrity since many local people want to pose with you for picture. If you have an objection to this, just politely say that you are busy.

  1. Being on time for locals is not priority

Making an appointment to someone in Indonesia is sometimes stressful. While you date or make an appointment with Indonesians, they would be probably late in several minutes even hours. It is because the time in Indonesia is very flexible. When they say it should be at 7, that means at 7.30 or even more.

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  1. Everyone gonna smile to you

While you walking around public places, are you bothered toward everyone who smiles at you even you don’t know them? Don’t worry since this is Indonesian culture. It is not like someone wants you to date him/her. They just get used to be friendly to everyone. That is why they smile each other. For them, smiling means respecting others. It is the form of respect in Indonesia.

  1. Eat without spoon or fork

In some occasions, you will find there is no fork and spoon while eating. Some traditional concepts in most of Indonesian restaurants are eating without any utensil on hand. Don’t be shocked if you find these kinds of restaurant. You can experience the different way to eat your foods. Believe me it tastes more delicious.

  1. No toilet roll

The next common cultural shocks in Indonesia is the different stuffs in toilets. While in western country they use tissue or toilet roll to wipe the bum, in most of Indonesian toilets you will not find any toilet rolls. You have to wash your bum with water that is available. Don’t be mad with this, you can solve this by always brings tissue everywhere.

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  1. Strict drug law

Indonesia has a really strict law for the drug use. If you consume a certain kind of drug or medicines, the immigration staff would check it. It is better to stop consuming any kind of drug while visiting Indonesia. If you are caught due to drug abuse, you will experience a really weight punishment. Some of drug agent even got death penalty in Indonesia.

Those are the cultural shock you might have in Indonesia. To solve the problem, you just need to be calm and don’t be stressful. Just take a deep breath and relax, remember that the nature in Indonesia is too beautiful. You get there for a vacation, not for being mad, see?

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