39

I am a muslima with Moroccan passport, and my boyfriend is European. Do you think that we might have problems sharing a room in Indonesia? We do not plan on going to Aceh. We will mostly go to Yogjakarta, Borneo, Gili Islands and Bali.

What kind of trouble can we get into if any issue? Will we be just able to book separate rooms if anything occurs? Thanks!

  • 8
    Possible duplicate of Travelling as an unmarried Western couple in Indonesia – JonathanReez Feb 14 '17 at 10:04
  • 27
    @JonathanReez in this case it may warrant it's own question due to the fact that one of the travelers is muslim, which I believe may have different implications with regards to activities they may perform together and how they conduct themselves around each other. – Joel Damien Feb 14 '17 at 10:11
  • 9
    Mentioning whether the OP visibly looks like a Muslim (e.g. clothing, headgear) might significantly influence the validity of the answer, so it would be a sensible information to add to the question. – vsz Feb 14 '17 at 18:50
  • 12
    @NZKshatriya : For those who might have misunderstood me, please understand "visibly looks like ..." as if I had written "would be identified by most onlookers as ..." – vsz Feb 15 '17 at 19:40
  • 10
    @NZKshatriya "people who wear X clothing are Y" would be stereotyping, but recognising that "people who wear X clothing may be thought of as Y" [by the local population: the views of which the OP is concerned about] is not; it's just accepting reality. – TripeHound Feb 16 '17 at 9:19
41

I also posted an answer in the linked thread, though your case is slightly different. For reference, I lived in Java and now in Bali.

It's not impossible that there are some hotels that will give you trouble, though I find it highly unlikely with neither of you actually being Indonesian. As usual, money speaks and most places would rather make money than enforce religious traditions. Especially in tourist locations (and I doubt you'll go that far 'off the beaten path' that I would not consider it a tourist place)

I can speak from personal experience that I did manage to rent a room with my Indonesian Muslim former girlfriend before.

I can assure you that on Bali and the Gilis you will have no trouble, extremely unlikely in Jogja too, but in some remote places in Borneo it's possible (but still unlikely) you'll have to try another hotel.

  • 7
    I traveled around Indonesia for a month+ (and also Malaysia for a month+) with my Thai girlfriend, who everyone mistook to be Indonesian everywhere, and no one ever said a word (or even gave a dirty look) about us sharing a room. We did stray off the beaten track, but not too far off. – coldfused Feb 15 '17 at 5:59
17

Law says extra-marital sex is forbidden for Indonesian. Foreigner do whatever they please.

And the mixed religion couple is no problem either. There are many mixed religion couple in Indonesia. They have to get married in Singapore, but this is a totally legal (and admitted) situation.

Even in Aceh (I know Aceh quite well) you won't have any problem.

17

You are an unmarried couple of mixed religion. But do you have to disclose either?

The easiest solution, if neither of you has any objection to doing so, is faking both a marriage and a shared religion.

Most likely it's enough to just not disclose anything that may lead them to think otherwise.

  • 45
    "Faking a marriage" In fact most people will assume you are married, as the alternative is unthinkable to them, so just don't tell them otherwise. If one of you is Muslim they will assume the other is too, so, again, don't contradict them. In fact don't mention it at all. – RedSonja Feb 14 '17 at 12:30
  • 2
    Thank you! Are police-raid in hotels something common there? I mean, cant it get worse than just having to book separate rooms? – sbyd Feb 14 '17 at 13:20
  • 20
    It's not illegal to be in the same room together with someone of the opposite gender. And though technically by law you're not allowed to have sex before marriage, I doubt any tourist couple ever got arrested for that. And how would they prove you're not married anyway? A hotel may be able to reject you, but law enforcement acting on this? I've never heard of hotel raids anyway. I think you may be mistaking Indonesia for an extremist country. – Sebastiaan van den Broek Feb 14 '17 at 17:33
  • 5
    @sbyd I used to (briefly) managed hotel in Aceh and the Gili. The police never ever checked the marital status of anybody. Anyway, read my answer below: your situation is legal. And the comment of RedSonja is 200% true – Madlozoz Feb 15 '17 at 9:39
  • 1
    @SebastiaanvandenBroek Actually, in areas with shariah law like Aceh, two unrelated people of the opposite sex being in a closed space without a guardian is illegal (khalwat, proximity). But even in Aceh this is not enforced for foreigners. – jpatokal Feb 16 '17 at 8:23
14

Haha. I traveled around Indonesia with a woman who was in fact my wife, but she carried a different country's passport and we certainly didn't bring a marriage license with us. Nobody challenged us -- that may have been the wedding rings or the two small children in tow, or just the fact that hotel staff have better things to do with their time than turn away paying customers.

  • 16
    I don't really think your experience is relevant to the OP. The "two small children in tow" will have a huge effect. Everyone will assume you are married (it's a common presumption even in the UK). On the other hand, if a couple turn up at a hotel with different surnames in the UK, the assumption will be that they are not married (although nobody will care). – Martin Bonner Feb 15 '17 at 8:38
4

I'll share my experience now that I have travelled and came back from Indonesia. Absolutely no problem at all. In most of the hotels, they didn't even asked about the religion. Some did, but more in a friendly, curious way. We always stated that we are a married couple, just in case. We slept in hotels in Jogjakarta, Jakarta, Cemoro Lewang, Banyuwangi, Semarang, Ubud, Gili Air and Sanur. Hope it helps somebody in the same situation.

2

Well, "Indonesia" is a big word. And a big world by itself.

First of all, it all comes to who is the subject: Muslim law has nothing to say over kafir, it's (mostly) their own problem what they do with their lives. So, when it's about touristic areas or hotels for tourists, you are mostly free to do whatever you want.

This does not apply, anyway, to privately owned places; in short, if you book a guest house or an apartment, or things like AirBnB...the owner has all the rights to prohibit your staying once he discovers that you are an unmarried couple; I've seen myself this in a couple of place in Indonesia, there were signs stating it.

But keep in mind that all of this depends on the island, too, and the area:

  • Bali is out of question, it is the only big Indonesian island to not be Muslim, so they never make troubles there.
  • Gili is another touristic destination, so they'll just ignore mostly everything
  • Jawa can be complicate depending on the area. Basically it's mostly Muslim, but there are part of Jawa which are more free and some which are more strict. But again, if you limit yourself to normal hotels nobody will ever have something to say. Maybe in rural areas do not kiss in public, but Yogja is hardly rural :-) (while I hade my share of shivers, I must admit it, in Lumajang)

Final point is, obviously, if you are recognizable as a Muslim. That the case, it can become very complicate even in a normal hotel as someone can get offended by your lack of respect for the tradition (not me, ok? Just saying, not implying anything), but as a Muslim yourself you already know it, and anyway you wrote in comments that you are not recognizable as such.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.