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Understanding Indonesia: Home

This guide provides useful information and links to resources on Indonesia.

At A Glance


The following information have been carefully selected for your reference. Some resources may have bias perspectives. Please approach the SMU Libraries ( ) should you have any doubts or need clarifications.

This introduction video brings you around Indonesia -- when to go and the top things to do while you are in Indonesia.

  • Demographic Trends
    Learn more about the population distribution and density of Indonesia.


Learn more about Indonesia provinces and capitals through this educational video.

Get to know the history of Nusantara that explained in 9 minutes.

Need To Know

This section helps prepare an individual before embarking to Indonesia, such as learning the cultural etiquette, basic conversational phrases, and even some useful local numbers.

Cultural Dos and Don’ts

Indonesia is an open, friendly and peaceful country. Nevertheless, good cultural awareness will ease the culture shock and ensure that you​ avoid any unnecessary faux pas in daily life and business. Indonesians are taught from a very young age to remain calm in public, avoid disagreements, speak quietly with consideration and not get angered by little things. You should do the same. Adopt a humble demeanour, practice patience and remember to smile!

  • Greet an Indonesian with “Selamat”, which means peace. This should be said slowly and with sincerity. Initial greetings will involve a slow handshake (always with the right hand) accompanied by a slight nod of the head or bow.
  • Only shake an Indonesian woman´s hand if she initiates the greeting.
  • Always greet the eldest or most senior person first.
  • Do not slap the back of an Indonesian, or touch their head, as this is considered very disrespectful.
  • An Indonesian may show their approval with a pat on the shoulder.
  • Avoid extended eye contact as this can be interpreted as a sign of hostility and never chew gum or yawn.

All about Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim, Islamic calendar, and is a time to pray, give charity and also fasting during daylight hours. During the month of Ramadan, adult Muslims fast from dusk until dawn, unless they are ill, pregnant, diabetic, breastfeeding, or travelling. Children are not obliged to fast during Ramadan, not until they are close to their teens, but some practice in order to prepare for adult participation. Find out more what is the 5 Pillars of Islam represent.

Basic Conversational Language

Some phrases in Bahasa Indonesia that are handy to know when visiting Indonesia.

  • Selamat Pagi (Good Morning)
  • Selamat Siang (Good Afternoon)
  • Selamat Malam (Good Night)
  • Terima Kasih (Thank You)
  • Tolong (Please)
  • Apa Kabar (How Are You)
  • Maaf (Sorry)
  • Permisi (Excuse me)

Phone Apps

    Lessons are broken down into bite-sized chunks and it feels like you’re playing a game. Duolingo is a great introduction, but it can feel like you’re learning a random mix of information, often through repetition. The more you do, the more robust your vocabulary will be.
    The only way to become fluent in a new language is to speak it. Tandem is geared toward conversations with native speakers. The idea is that you can help one another learn new languages via text, audio, and video chat. The app vets you and then helps you to find a partner who shares your interests. They teach you and you teach them.


Indonesian Rupiah (Rp)

More details on the exchange rate.

Dialing Code


Useful Numbers

  • Police: 110, 112
  • Tourist police (Jakarta): (021) 526 4073
  • Ambulance and rescue: 118 or 021-65303118 for a more reliable response.
  • Fire: 113
  • Medical: 119
  • Indonesian Embassy Hotline:
    • For domestic worker matters (PLRT): +65-9295 3964
    • For seaman matters: +65-8428 1348
  • Embassy of Singapore (Jakarta)
    • +62-21 29950400 (Mainline)
    • +62-811 863 348 (Duty Officer)

Local Repository and Media Source

This section links to the various local news media in Indonesia.

What To Look Out

This section informs the common scams and crimes to look out for when visiting Indonesia.


Crime & Security

  • Overall Crime and Safety Report
    Find out more information on the common crime threats, areas of concerns, transportation-road safety, and even terrorism threat.


This section lists some recommended readings about Indonesia.


Useful Links

This section provides useful links to the Indonesia social media.

Social Media

Indonesia Travel


MFA of the Republic of Indonesia


Acceptable Use Policy

Electronic resources (e.g., databases, datasets, e-journals, e-books and streaming audio/video) provided by the SMU Libraries are governed by license agreements that restrict use to current students, faculty and staff of SMU and the Singapore Copyright Act.

The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy