The wonderfully strange quirks of Indonesia

As you know, I believe that what’s ordinary for someone may be extraordinary/odd/curious/unusual for someone else. I love to learn interesting/fun/quirky things in my travels and to share them with you in my Curiosities section. But I realized that I can’t really find out everything there is to know, so I decided to create a series here, on the blog, with articles on curiosities you’ve discovered in your travels – or things that people consider to be odd in your country/city or in connection to a given place (a museum, a garden, etc.). Today I’m publishing the first article in this series, signed by Chantell. She speaks of Indonesia – and I just found out new things about this country. I hope you’ll like the article as much as I do 😉

Quirks of #Indonesia - curious things

I love Indonesia. It’s one of my favorite countries in the world but it is very different from home. I’ve been in Indonesia for a year and a half and there are still some things that surprise and entertain me on a daily basis. They’re not bad, they’re just different. In fact, some of the quirky differences are why I love Indonesia so much.

Indonesia - rice fields
Indonesia – rice fields

These are my favorites:

The questions

There are two questions that you will be asked almost constantly in Indonesia; “Where are you going?” and “Have you eaten”. Seriously. You will be asked these multiple times everyday by local friends, acquaintances and even random strangers. Gets a little awkward when your answer to the question of “Were are you going?” is simply “To the bathroom!”

Animals everywhere

Indonesia - cows
Indonesia – cows

I’ve been to India, where there are frequently cows on the road, but Indonesia really surpasses itself with this one. Here there are cows crossing roads, even on motorways at times, but also lizards, chickens and various other animals. And the best thing is, usually the traffic won’t stop for anything here but a lizard? Yeah, they’ll wait for that.

Indonesia - lizard crossing
Indonesia – lizard crossing

No one walks anywhere

Walking two minutes down the road to go to the shop is just not done here. It literally doesn’t matter how close the place you are going to is. Unless it is actually next-door no one will walk. Most people have a scooter so they’ll just hop on their bike and drive (even if that ends up taking them longer than walking would have done by the time they get their bike out).

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Reversing words

You know the game you used to play as a kid where you’d say words back to front so you parents and teachers wouldn’t understand you? They do that in Java. But it’s not a kids’ game, it’s a legitimate part of Javanese slang.

Traffic lights

They mean a completely differ thing here. Back home the amber light means you shouldn’t start to go across the junction and should stop. Here the amber light might as well not exist since there is no difference in behavior when that is showing verses the green light. The only light that vaguely does anything is the red light which instead of signaling “Stop” appears to signal “Speed up, it’s time to make it across the junction before the traffic starts from the other side”.

The traffic lights get even better at night too, they’re just turned off. A busy crossroad that would have traffic lights on during the day is suddenly deemed to not need them once it hits nighttime. Because… people can figure out timing a four-way crossing on their own in the dark?!? Yeah, that seems likely to end well.

There are so many little differences that make living in Indonesia such fun. You’ll never find yourself short of something to put a smile on your face. It’s a wonderful country to explore and one of the most culturally varied I’ve ever been to. You’ll find something new and beautiful everywhere you go.

About Chantell

Chantell Glenville is a best selling author, entrepreneur and traveler. Her latest book, Travel for Your Life, is now available for pre-order on Amazon. In it you’ll discover how to quit your job, travel the world and transform you life. Chantell also shares her advice on travel, including suggested routes around countries to reduce planning time and essential traveling tips on her website

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Sign up to her blog to follow her travels, or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Bloglovin’.

Quirks of #Indonesia - curious things





I’m offering public relations, communications and image counseling in everyday life and I have a PR agency – PRwave INTERNATIONAL. I am passionate about reading, blogging (I also have a blog in Romanian) and traveling. Follow me on Twitter - @violetaloredana (Romanian) and @TravelMoments.

6 thoughts on “The wonderfully strange quirks of Indonesia

  • 17 November, 2016 at 07:45

    Thanks for your sharing. I want to visit Indonesia now 😀

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