The Indonesian local surfers will be your new best friends. If you treat them with respect you will enjoy your trip so much more. A smile is worth a thousand words in any language. 

If you smile, talk quietly and give them the respect they deserve, you will develop true friendships, get cheaper bargains as a bonus, but more importantly you will gain a genuine insight into their uniquely spiritual lives and centuries old cultures. Indonesia is alive with religions like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and ancient Animistic beliefs. Your spirit will come alive in Indonesia.

Many Indonesians are highly creative artists, a reflection of their spiritual and religious beliefs.  Be sure to visit an art gallery, museum, dance or musical performance. Balinese funerals and temple ceremonies are open for tourists to watch so long as you wear a sarong and waist scarf as respect for their Hindu religion. Don't climb onto temple walls to watch the ceremony as it is considered rude to place your head higher than an others.  

The most exciting dance to see is the Barong and Kris dance where dancers enter a trance and turn long sharp kris knives on themselves. The Fire dance is another exciting spectacular where a tranced man rides a wooden horse through fire to exorcize demons from the village.

Although most Indonesians are quite poor by western standards, in many ways they are much richer in culture, tradition, religion, family values and the arts.

Many locals earn only $5 a day, with unemployment and food costs constantly rising. Many now live a hand to mouth existence, so be fair when you are trying to bargain someone down an extra 50 cents. It could mean whether they get to eat today or not. 

So enjoy your bargaining sessions, but once the deal is done you can always tip them an extra dollar, or buy them a cold drink. 

Be generous. Karma will reward you.

Whenever you are dealing with the locals try to remember their situation and think from their point of view - you can make friends, have some fun and laughter, but more importantly you can earn their respect, which ultimately will make your surf adventure so much more rewarding. 

For example, a smile and polite attitude will help you deal much better with a Policeman who pulls you over because he says you misunderstood a traffic signal, or a shopkeeper who charges you 10 cents more than a local for a bottle of water, or the over-worked $5 a day waiter in the cafe who is trying to serve you as quickly as he or she can. Be patient.

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Rips Off & Safety

We could fill a whole book with the scams and rip offs we have heard about over the years.  But the same could probably be said for tourists going to New York, London, Sydney, Paris, Bangkok or anywhere else in the world. 

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