Let’s start this neverending list of fun facts about Indonesia!
Whether it is your first time travelling to Indonesia or your 10th time. There will always be that moment during your travels that will put a big smile on your face. Check out our amazing Fun Facts about Indonesia that you might come across.
Indonesia Fun Facts 1: Squatting, Buckets & Butt Guns: Adventures in 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!
Indonesia Fun Facts 2: No toilet paper in the bathroom but on the table.
Talking about Indonesian bathrooms… Most likely because Indonesian people found no use in having toilet paper in in the bathroom (who needs toilet paper, when there is a butt gun anyways!?), they found another use for it on the dining table. Yes, you read it right! Eating in a local restaurant you’ll find toilet paper as napkins on the table. It’s really not a big deal, but it’s one of the best fun facts and needs some adjustment time.
Indonesia Fun Facts 3: Not 2 but 5 chopsticks
…which are their five fingers! –fun fun fun! Different countries – different eating habits. Chinese prefer chopsticks, western countries use a knife and a fork and Indonesians use the right hand. It isn’t dirty, it is super easy and fun: 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. You think it’s weird? Clichés about Indonesia: We are all full of shit!
Indonesia Fun Facts 4: You haven’t been to Indonesia if…
… you didn’t cry over a sambal overdose! ‘Sambal’ – spicy chilli sauce – is served with almost every dish. Indonesian people just love to eat ‘pedas’ (spicy). Not into spicy food? Simply order: “Tidak pedas” (not spicy). Learn these words, they are life-savers and will definitely save you a long visit to the bathroom! 15+1 problems you will have coming to Bali.
Indonesia Fun Facts 5: Flying Vendors
Indonesian food will always find its way to you. Too lazy to go out from your Homestay or move your behind from your towel on the beach? Don’t worry, Indonesian food will always come to you! Be it at the beach with all the flying vendors who sell ‘lumpia’ (spring rolls), fresh fruit or even ‘mie goreng’ (fried noodles) or directly at your Homestay if it is situated more locally: Keep your ears open for sounds that indicate a certain type of dish, for example ‘jagung’ (sweet corn), burgers and so many more! Explore Indonesia’s Street Food and eat like a local!
Indonesia Fun Facts 6: Candy for change
Being the country with the second highest inflation rate, it is a bit confusing they still have and also use coins. Sometimes it happens that they run out of coins and give you candy instead of change. Also, some people could reject you paying them with coins. We wish we could pay them in candy, too, but the other way round doesn’t just work yet.
Indonesia Fun Facts 7: What is ‘Bule’?
Locals in Indonesia have called you ‘Bule’ and you have no idea what it means? No worries, it’s no insult. ‘Bule’ is a commonly used word in Indonesia to describe a foreigner. Another word for ‘Bule’ that is used in different Indonesian regions is ‘Londo’.
Indonesia Fun Facts 8: Geckos – Will they eat me?
Have you been hearing strange returning noises in the evening and at night? Chances are high that you have a gecko or tokay (slightly bigger gecko) close by! But don’t worry, geckos are friendly animals and are actually very useful as they like to eat mosquitos (and not you!).
Indonesia Fun Facts 9: Don’t underestimate people’s age in Indonesia!
You thought you have been talking to a teenager but it turns out that this person is married, has 3 children in his mid-thirties. Asian people look young, don’t they?
Indonesia Fun Facts 10: ‘Please take a shit.’
It’s a common thing for Indonesians to mix up the ’S’ and ‘Sh’ sound, which is why people who kindly ask you to take a seat, might say ‘take a shit’. Mixing up the pronunciation of P’ and ‘F’ is another common mistake. Best example: The HSH Stay Team has received an email from a local Homestay Partner saying ‘Dear Fartner’. Hilarious!
Indonesia Fun Facts 11: Endless Creativity
Guesthouse signs in Indonesia: Sometimes it is an old surfboard or a satellite dish and sometimes it makes you wonder if it is a gravestone. Find more creative ‘Welcome Home’ Guesthouse signs!
Indonesia Fun Facts 12: Coffee made from poop?
Yuck, that sounds gross, but that’s how the most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak – is made! Kopi luwak, or civet coffee, is coffee that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by a civet. Don’t forget to try it during your holiday in Indonesia!
Indonesia Fun Facts 13: Why do some Indonesian men have a long fingernail?
Is it simply a beauty trend? Is it to pick their noses? …Or is it a status symbol for not having to do physical work? There are lots of questions and myths to be answered! The HSH Stay Team has asked the locals for you but the truth is that they don’t know themselves why it is so popular. The most reasonable answer we got was that it is a “tool” to carry around. Jup… just like a screwdriver or a guitar pick (…or a nose pick after all?!). Meet the locals and find out more about their traditions and habits!
Indonesia Fun Facts 14: Why do cats in Indonesia have stubby tails?
We can ease your worries, some may, in fact, lose it as a result of an accident but the majority are simply born this way.
Indonesia Fun Facts 15: Indonesian’s love to take selfies!
People from western countries tend to keep their private life private. Indonesian people on the other hand love to share their whole life on social media. Lot’s of selfies and thousands of Facebook friends are a must of course! By the way, it is very likely that they will ask a selfie with you.
Indonesia Fun Facts 16: What do Indonesian’s eat for breakfast?
They eat rice all day long: for breakfast, lunch and dinner! 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!
Indonesia Fun Facts 17: Balancing things on the head
Women in Indonesia are pretty good at balancing things on their head. Be it meter high offerings, such as on Bali or other daily things. It works and some of them can even balance items on their head while driving bicycle or motorbike!
Indonesia Fun Facts 18: Artistic or crazy? – Traffic in Indonesia!
‘They are crazy – At least 5 people sit together on a scooter. Mum, dad, kids & the little one in the front.’ You’ve probably heard this sentence a couple of times or even seen it yourself all over Asia. It’s true – no doubt they must be good drivers. But that’s just the start. It is amazing to see how they get the things done, simply because they can. See more artistic transportation pictures from Indonesia!
Indonesia Fun Facts 19: Make a virtue out of necessity!
Using an electric screwdriver for mixing herbal local potions? Why not!
Indonesia Fun Facts 20: ‘Even at McDonald’s there is no escaping rice?’
Jup, besides all the regular menu items, that all of us are used to, there is a vast selection of menus that include rice and chicken. We’d even dare to say it is the bestseller for Indonesian nationals. Ohh ya, and instead of tomato ketchup, there is an unlimited supply of chilli sauce.
Indonesia Fun Facts 21: Lost Flip-Flops all over the streets
Driving through the streets of Indonesia you’ll notice a lost flip-flop (favourite type of shoe in Indonesia) every now and then on the street. We totally understand how small kids who drive with their parents can lose a flip-flop, but adult sized ones? How does this happen Indonesia? We’d love to know!
Indonesia Fun Facts 22: Only married couples can share a hotel room.
Did you know that Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world? Living together with your partner before you are married is therefore not tolerated by society. Especially in Java, Muslim laws are practised quite strictly in various regions, which is why even you as a tourist cannot check into a hotel with your girlfriend or boyfriend unless you pretend to be married or even show your marriage certificate. But no worries, on usually other Indonesian Islands this will not be much of a problem, especially with Guesthouses that target international tourists.
Indonesia Fun Facts 23: 90% holes and 10% actual sidewalk
Travelling to Indonesia, you will soon come to notice that the infrastructure as not as modern as you might be used to. Sidewalks in Indonesia (if there is any at all) are uneven and sometimes have huge holes. Always watch your step! With streets it’s a similar story; going to rural areas and small islands streets seem to have more holes than asphalt or are literally dirt roads.
Indonesia Fun Facts 24: Let’s start small talk with an easy topic. Or not.
Some people like to break the ice by talking about the weather and Balinese people get straight to the point by asking personal questions. It’s their way of showing interest in a person they just met. Especially being in your early 20s it seems that their favourite question will be if you are already married and have kids. Questions about your parents, siblings, job and money are also very popular!
Indonesia Fun Facts 25: Peace, Love & Banana Pancakes
Be prepared: 95% of all guesthouses in Indonesia will serve you the famous Banana Pancake! Find out what to expect when staying in a Homestay in Indonesia.
Indonesia Fun Facts 26: Coffee to go
It’s common in Indonesia to get takeaway food and drinks on a daily basis because the local food is so cheap. It can happen, that you get your drinks or even soup served in a plastic bag for takeaway. Therefore, be prepared to have some cups prepared at your accommodation or simply have your drink right on the spot at the food stall.
Indonesia Fun Facts 27: Locals seem to never feel hot.
Even with 30°C and the sun burning down on you, Indonesians will wear thick jackets, gloves, socks (in their flip-flops) and long pants. Actually, the reason they do this is not because they feel cold, but because they don’t want to get a tan. Whereas western people love to get a nice healthy tan, Indonesian try to avoid the sun as much as they can because for them being white is beautiful
Indonesia Fun Facts 28: Beauty products with whitening effect
Talking about beauty ideals: Watch out when you head to the shop to buy some lotion or deodorant. Most of the beauty products in Indonesia contain whitening for your skin.
Indonesia Fun Facts 29: Wise and meaningful pieces of advice
Indonesia Fun Facts 30: How do pineapples grow?
Did you know that pineapples actually grow on the ground and not on trees? It was quite surprising to make that discovery in Bali!
Indonesia Fun Facts 31: Adorable or too much?
In Indonesia, you might come across dyed chicks at the local market.
Indonesia Fun Facts 32: Tropical Halli Galli Game
Have you been a Halli Galli addict as a kid? In Indonesia, the cards sometimes show tropical fruits on it such as Durian, Banana, Rambutan and Mangosteen on it.
Indonesia Fun Facts 33: ‘Come here’ looks like ‘go away’ in Indonesian body language
How to deal with an Indonesian person whose smile is inviting but body motion looks like he/ she wants you to get lost? This is very confusing for people from western counties. What in Indonesia actually means ‘come here’ looks to many people like the ‘go away’ motion in their country.
Indonesia Fun Facts 34: Indomie – A full meal for 25 Cents
Indonesians love their Indomie which is nothing else than instant noodles. You can get it in various flavours at almost every store for a couple of dimes. Also, tourists love this cheap and easy snack for in between. But watch out, don’t eat it too much as it contains lots of MSG. By the way, ‘mie’ means noodle in Indonesian.
Indonesia Fun Facts 35: Sleeping at work
… or at the gazebo, or at the beach: Indonesian people can sleep everywhere and nobody seems to mind. After all, things on an island aren’t as quick as in vibrant cities. So this isn’t just an Indonesia thing, it’s an island thing. But of course, this can’t be generalized because once you go into an Indonesian city you will see that it is not just all about relaxing and doing nothing – It’s quite the opposite. Most companies have a six-day working week, or even seven.
Did we miss some fun facts about Indonesia? Tell us in the comments below.