Jakarta, the capital city of the Republic of Indonesia, is a special territory enjoying the status of a province, consisting of Greater Jakarta, covering an area of 637.44 square km. Located on the northern coast of West Java, it is the center of government, commerce and industry and as such has an extensive communications network with the rest of the country and the outside world. As Indonesia's main gateway, the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport serves a growing number of international airlines and domestic flights. Jakarta is a city of contrasts; the traditional and the modern, the rich and the poor, the sacral and the worldly, often stand side by side in this bustling metropolis. Even its population, gathered from all those diverse ethnic and cultural groups which compose Indonesia, are constantly juxtaposed as an ever- present reminder of the national motto; Unity in Diversity.
Here’s a selection of useful information to make your trip to Jakarta more easy and enjoyable as possible. Indonesia is generally a relaxed place to laid back. However, we do have our own customs and visitors should try to observe these practices when they arrive. Some common courtesies and customs are as follows:
- Although handshakes are generally acceptable for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge introductions to gentlemen by merely nodding and smiling. A handshake should only be initiated by ladies. The traditional greeting or salam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend's outstretched hands, and then brings his hands to his chest to mean, "I greet you from my heart". The visitor should reciprocate the salam.
- It is polite to call before visiting a home.
- Shoes must always be removed when entering a Indonesian home.
- Drinks are generally offered to guests. It is polite to accept.
- The right hand is always used when eating with one's hand or giving and receiving objects.
- The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers folded under is the preferred usage.
- Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples. Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors. Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask permission beforehand.
- Toasting is not a common practice in Indonesia. The country's large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.
Source: Do's and Don'ts