Journeywoman What To Wear, Where

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In Indonesia, Only Westerners Carry Paper...

Her wardrobe in Indonesia...

Even though it is not as strict here as in the Middle East, it's best to cover your shoulders and upper arms as well as your legs to below the knees. In Jakarta they are quite used to foreigners. However, outside of Jakarta it is more important to be modest in dress.
Pierrette, Calgary, Canada

I traveled in Malaysia and Indonesia. The cities are very hot (and smoggy), so the best clothes both culturally and for comfort are big loose long sleeved light cotton or linen shirts and equally loose long trousers. Leave nothing exposed for the locals to stare at (even though miniskirts are common - why attract unwanted attention?) This type of clothing is great for the hot sweaty days. They're much cooler than a tight singlet or T-shirt and shorts which end up sweaty and sticky and attract too much attention, especially if you have a large bust!
Gillian, Sydney, Australia

In Indonesia wear a long skirt (a sarong is good, which is a local "wrap skirt") or long cotton trousers (fishermen's trousers are a good local option) with a long shirt. This is especially true in big cities in order to avoid nasty comments (but not that important in jungle villages, it's much more free there). Remember, too, that Indonesia is a Muslim country (at least Sumatra is) so you don't go sunbathing topless.
Krista, Helsinki, Finland

She doesn't shake hands...

Women should not offer to shake the hands of an Indonesian man. The Islamic faith dictates that if a man is touched by a woman he must ritually cleanse before praying again.

Foreign women should wait for an Indonesian man to offer his hand before shaking it. A Westernized Indonesian man will offer to shake the hands of a foreign woman.

Women should use the namaste greeting as an alternative when greeting Hindu men. This involves putting the hands together at chest level, as in prayer, and bowing slightly.
(Source: Raise Your Cultural IQ, Louisa Nedcov)

Know before you go...

Indonesians will often smile or laugh to hide sadness, disappointment or embarrassment. Do not automatically assume that the smile has a positive meaning.

Kissing, even a slight peck on the cheek, is not done in public.

It is common to see people of the same sex holding hands or with arms around each other while walking in public. This is regarded as a sign of friendship.
(Source: Raise Your Cultural IQ, Louisa Nedcov)

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