Etiquette

  • Greetings Local men will typically shake hands with foreign men, but sometimes not women. Muslim women sometimes won't shake hands with foreign men. Handshakes are typically a soft press of the hands, with the right hand then raised to touch your heart. If not shaking hands, it's fine to touch your heart in greeting instead.
  • Eating If eating with your hands, never touch the food with your left hand; according to Islamic beliefs, that's the 'unclean' hand used for toileting.
  • Bathing Swimwear is fine at beach resorts, but if you stay with an indigenous community, you're expected to cover up while bathing (swimming in shorts and T-shirt is fine).
  • Shoes Remove your shoes before entering a house or longhouse. Bathroom thongs (flip-flops) are usually provided.
  • Visiting indigenous communities Always pay your respects to the chief of the longhouse first.