GILI ISLAND ETIQUETTE

Gili Air can – in some ways – be regarded as a different world compared to our western world perspectives. The island contains specific cultural dynamics that can be difficult to understand or interpret for an outsider. Therefore it is highly recommended that you take effort to indulge yourself in this new culture which contains different customs, habits, norms and values than in the western countries. Of course no one will expect you to immediately understand or behave like an Indonesian but it will be wise to take some time in order to gain insight into the Indonesian culture(s) and start to think and become a little bit more ‘Indonesian’.

  • In the Indonesian culture, it is very rude to point with the feet, so if you need to show something, use your hands
  • Throughout Indonesian society the left hand is used for “toilet duties” and is therefore considered unclean. In Gili Air it is rude and offensive to hand someone something with your left hand like food or a drink or to shake hands with your left hand. When you think of where that person’s left hand has been, you probably wouldn’t want anything from it anyhow.
  • Remove your shoes when entering a building and wait to be invited to sit if you are a guest.
  • Smiling and having fun happen naturally when on holiday. Some situations can sometimes be a little frustrating or tiring. Try and deal with these keeping a smile on your face, the issue will be resulted much easier. Shouting and screaming are very counterproductive and rarely brings a solution. Just keep smiling!
  • Indonesians will highly appreciate it if you (try to) speak their language, even if the quality of your Indonesian is not that great. In fact, if you only know a couple of words you will probably already receive many compliments from the locals.
  • Gili Air is a Muslim island which means that the dress codes here are very different than in the western world. People are modest and cover their body and sometimes their head. Of course as tourists, we are not expected to dress the same way, but we are expected to be respectful! Please cover yourself with a t’ shirt or a sarong when going into the village or a shop. On the beach or on a dive boat, bikini and swimwear are accepted, please do note that being topless or wearing very small and revealing bikinis or G-strings is not appropriated.