Indonesia overall, exercise a high degree of caution We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the high threat of terrorist attack.
Conditions can change suddenly
Latest advice, August 2016
The overall level of advice has not changed. We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali.
·We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the high threat of terrorist attack. You should also be aware of the severe penalties for narcotics offences, including the death penalty; some specific health risks; and risks associated with natural disasters.
·Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. See Safety and security.
·There is an ongoing high threat of a terrorist attack. On 14 January 2016, terrorists attacked a Starbuck's cafe and police post in Central Jakarta. Eight people were killed, including the terrorists. The attack demonstrates the continuing terrorism threat in Indonesia, including in locations frequented by foreigners. See Safety and security.
·We continue to receive information that indicates that terrorists may be planning attacks in Indonesia. An attack could occur anywhere at any time. Be particularly vigilant at places of worship and during significant holiday periods.
·You should exercise particular caution around locations that have a low level of protective security and places known to be possible terrorist targets. Terrorists have previously targeted nightclubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, international hotels, airports and places of worship in Bali, Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia.
·We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Central Sulawesi, Papua and West Papua provinces where additional safety and security risks exist.
·Since July 2009, there has been a series of violent attacks in the area around the Freeport Mine in Papua province. A number of these incidents have resulted in deaths, including of one Australian. Attacks were reported in the area in December 2013 and January 2014. Further such attacks could occur. See Safety and security.
·Australians should avoid all protests, demonstrations and rallies as they can turn violent without warning.
·Indonesia is subject to a range of natural disasters including volcanic activity, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods. You should pay close attention to emergency procedures and monitor local warnings.
·Visitors to Indonesia, particularly to tourist locations such as Bali and Lombok, should be aware of the specific risks from crime, and from drink-spiking and consumption of alcohol adulterated with harmful substances such as methanol. Tourists may also be exposed to scams and credit card/ATM fraud. There has been an increase in reports of violent crime in Bali, including muggings in the Kuta area. Be aware of your surroundings and conscious of your personal security and potential crime risks. See Safety and security.
·Petty crime, such as opportunistic theft, is common in Indonesia. Thieves on motorcycles may snatch handbags and backpacks from pedestrians. Tourists may be exposed to scams and confidence tricks in Indonesia. Legal disputes are common regarding the purchase of real estate including land, houses, holiday clubs and time share schemes.
·You should exercise normal beach safety behaviour and consider carefully the risks involved in using motorcycles, including licence and insurance issues (See under Local travel for more information).
·Visitors should be aware that there is a risk of rabies throughout Indonesia, in particular Bali and Nias. See under Health for more information.
· Safety and security
· We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Jakarta, Bali and Lombok, due to the high threat of terrorist attack.
· We continue to receive information that indicates that terrorists may be planning attacks in Indonesia, which could take place anywhere at any time.
· On 14 January 2016, terrorists attacked a Starbuck's cafe and police post near the Sarinah Plaza in Central Jakarta, detonating bombs and exchanging gunfire. Eight people were killed, including the terrorists and one foreign national. The Indonesian police have made a large number of arrests of suspects linked to terrorism.
· The attack in Jakarta demonstrates the continuing terrorism threat in Indonesia. Groups linked to or inspired by the conflict in Syria and Iraq have anti-Western motivations. Police have stated publicly that terrorist suspects remain at large and that they may seek to attack Western targets. There is a high threat of further similar attacks against Western targets (see list below).
· Since January 2016, a number of threats have been received by Indonesian authorities from groups purporting to be planning attacks, including in Bali. Indonesian security agencies continue to conduct operations against terrorist groups. Since 2010, police have disrupted a number of terrorist groups in Jakarta, Central Java, East Java, West Java, Bali, Central Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, Lampung, Banten, and North and South Sumatra. Extremists in Indonesia may seek to carry out small scale violent attacks with little or no warning.
· We recommend you be particularly vigilant during holiday periods including Christmas and New Year, Nyepi (Balinese New Year, 9 March), Easter and Independence Day (17 August). Gatherings at places of worship in such places as Poso and Solo have been, and may still be, targets for terrorists.
· Gatherings at places of worship during periods of religious significance have been targeted in the past, particularly in places like Poso and Solo, and could be attacked again. Gatherings of Westerners over these periods could also be appealing targets for terrorists.
· In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided at venues. Terrorists have previously attacked or planned to attack nightclubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, international hotels, airports and places of worship in Bali, Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia. Tourist areas and attractions throughout Indonesia and tourists travelling to or from these places, including those in tour groups or tour buses, could be targeted.
· Other possible targets include clubs, sporting clubs and venues, international fast food outlets, Western-branded venues, cinemas, theatres, Jakarta's embassy district and diplomatic missions elsewhere, international schools, expatriate housing compounds and Western interests and businesses. Places frequented by foreigners, central business areas, office buildings, banks, airlines, public transport and transport hubs, shopping centres, premises and symbols associated with the Indonesian Government and police, and outdoor recreation events are also potential targets.
· Suicide attacks at locations frequented by foreigners in Bali and Jakarta, such as the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings and bomb attack outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in September 2004, have killed and injured many people.
· In July 2009, terrorists detonated bombs at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the JW Marriott Hotel in Mega Kuningan, Jakarta. Australians were among those killed and injured. The JW Marriott Hotel was also attacked in August 2003.
· A number of attacks have targeted Indonesian government facilities, including police stations and checkpoints.
· On some occasions where high profile extremists have been detained or killed, there has been a strong response from some supporters in Indonesia, including acts of violence.
· In the event of an attack, you should leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so and follow the instructions of local authorities. You should not remain in an affected area or gather in a group in the aftermath of an attack or if you are evacuated from a building for security reasons (such as a bomb threat). Terrorists have conducted secondary attacks targeting bystanders and those who come to help.
· As a consequence of the security environment, security at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and the Consulate-General in Bali remains at a high level. The Australian Embassy has advised its staff and their families to be particularly careful in how they travel to and from the Embassy.
· For security reasons, staff at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta have been directed not to live in apartments which are co-located with, adjacent to or closely associated with international hotels that have been and may continue to be terrorist targets.
· Central Sulawesi Province: We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Central Sulawesi. There are ongoing security operations by Indonesian authorities against terror groups in Central Sulawesi, where terrorist groups have conducted a number of recent attacks targeting civilians. In January 2015, terrorist groups in Poso, exchanged gunfire with security forces. In April 2015, two policemen were killed by terrorists. In August 2015, a policeman was killed in an exchange of gunfire with terrorists in Poso. In September 2015, two civilians were killed by terrorists in Parigi Moutong Regency in Central Sulawesi.
· Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Worldwide bulletin.
· Civil unrest/political tension
· Political rallies, protests and demonstrations occur regularly. Most are publicised in advance and are often held near the Presidential Palace, major government buildings and embassies.
· You should monitor local media and avoid all protests, demonstrations and rallies as they can turn violent with little notice. You should also maintain a high level of vigilance and security awareness.
· The Australian Embassy in Jakarta periodically experiences demonstration activity. Australians should expect traffic delays and restricted access to and from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta during any demonstration activity. You should telephone ahead for an appointment before going to the Australian Embassy (See Where to get help section).
· Australians in Indonesia should be aware that judicial processes, including trials of extremists and the implementation of sentences, could prompt a strong reaction from their supporters such as demonstrations and acts of violence.
· Communal and sectarian conflict sometimes arises in Indonesia. There is a risk of periodic violence in Papua and West Papua provinces. Outbreaks of localised violence sometimes are directed at minority groups elsewhere, including on Java.
· Papua and West Papua: We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Papua and West Papua provinces. There are regular reports of violent clashes between the police/military and armed groups. Many of these clashes have resulted in the deaths of security forces, members of armed groups and occasionally civilians. If you are travelling to Papua and West Papua provinces, you will require a travel permit (Surat Keterangan Jalan). Permits can be obtained from the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta. Applications may take some time to process.
· There have been a number of violent attacks in and around Jayapura, in which a number of people have been killed and several injured, including one foreign national. There is a risk of further attacks.
· In recent years there has been a series of violent attacks in the area around the Freeport Mine in Papua province, including attacks on vehicles using the Grasberg to Timika road. A number of these incidents resulted in deaths, including of one Australian.
· Ongoing violence in Puncak Jaya District in Papua Province has led to a number of deaths in recent years, including in January 2014 in Kulirik and Lanny Jaya in July 2014. A number of deaths were reported in clashes in Enarotali in Paniai regency in December 2014. There is a possibility of further attacks in Papua and West Papua provinces, including on infrastructure and national institutions.
· Sexual assault, food and drink spiking, assault and robbery against foreigners have occurred in Indonesia, including around popular tourist locations in Bali
· Victims of serious sexual assault are strongly encouraged to seek prompt medical assistance. For a criminal investigation to be initiated by the police, a victim needs to make a full statement to the local police, in person. Local police cannot investigate crimes reported by victims who have departed Indonesia without making a report. In some instances a sworn statement by the victim and any witnesses can be used as evidence in any criminal court proceedings. As such, victims and overseas witnesses are not always required to be present in Indonesia for subsequent trial proceedings. See our Sexual Assault Overseas page for further information on how to avoid becoming a victim of sexual assault and the assistance available to victims.
· Before going out to bars and nightclubs in Indonesia, see our Partying Overseas page for advice on the risks you may face and tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.
· Petty crime, such as opportunistic theft, is common. Violence is sometimes used. Thieves on motorcycles may snatch handbags and backpacks from pedestrians. Bag snatching in upmarket shopping malls and on crowded public transport has occurred. Thefts from cars stopped at traffic lights have been reported and tourists have been robbed while repairing car tyres punctured by criminals.
· Credit card and ATM fraud occurs in Indonesia. You should monitor transactions statements and use ATMs in secure locations such as banks, shops or malls.
· Tourists may be exposed to scams and confidence tricks. Travellers have reported losing large sums of money in card game scams and other fraudulent activity, including in Bali. In Bali, legal disputes are common regarding the purchase of real estate including land, houses, holiday clubs and time share schemes. Australians should thoroughly research and obtain legal advice on any proposals before entering into an agreement or providing personal financial details. See our International Scams page for further information.
· There have been reports of tourists being robbed after bringing visitors back to their hotel rooms. In some cases, the victims' drinks were spiked.
· There have been several reported cases in Bali of taxis departing before passengers were able to retrieve their baggage from the vehicle. Cases of robbery and temporary confinement in taxis have previously been reported in urban areas, including in Jakarta. Victims have been forced to withdraw funds from credit or debit cards at ATMs to obtain their release. Lone female travellers appear most vulnerable. You should only use official taxi companies that can be booked by phone or from stands at major hotels and from inside the airport. You should check taxis carefully as unscrupulous operators have vehicles that look similar to those run by reputable companies. If you are caught up in an incident involving a taxi, you should seek to leave the taxi and the immediate area if it is safe to do so.
· Poisoning from alcoholic drinks containing methanol: There have been cases of poisoning in Indonesia, most notably in Bali and Lombok, from alcoholic drinks adulterated with harmful substances, particularly methanol. Locals and foreigners, including Australians, have died or have become seriously ill. Cases have usually involved local spirits and spirit-based drinks, such as cocktails, but supposed brand name alcohol can also be adulterated. A number of deaths have also been reported after drinking adulterated arak – a traditional rice-based spirit.
· You should consider the risks when consuming alcoholic beverages in Indonesia, particularly cocktails and drinks made with spirits. Drink only at reputable licensed premises and avoid home-made alcoholic drinks. You should be aware that the labelling on bottles may not be accurate and that substitution of contents can occur.
· If you suspect that you or a companion may have been poisoned, you need to act quickly and get urgent medical attention. Symptoms of methanol poisoning can include fatigue, headaches and nausea, similar to the effects as excessive drinking, but with pronounced vision problems that may include blurred or snowfield vision, flashes of light, tunnel vision, changes in colour perception, dilated pupils, difficulty looking at bright lights, or blindness. If you suspect that you, or anyone you are travelling with, have been affected by methanol or other poisoning, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention, which could be vital in avoiding permanent disability or death. All suspected cases of methanol poisoning should be reported to the Indonesian police.
· Measles cases in Australians returning from Bali: In 2014 there were measles cases diagnosed in Australians returning from recent travel to Bali. Periodic outbreaks of measles continue to be reported in Indonesia. Full protection for measles requires two doses of vaccine four weeks apart. Australians with symptoms of measles should seek medical attention (as measles is highly infectious you should call ahead before attending a health care facility).
· Magic mushrooms: The active ingredient in 'magic mushrooms' is considered to be a Class 1 narcotic and local police have taken action to prevent their distribution. Whilst still available in some places such as Bali, 'magic mushrooms' can cause major health problems such as severe hallucinations, erratic behaviour, anxiety and even psychosis. In the past, a number of Australians have been injured, fallen sick and come to the attention of police after consuming 'Magic mushrooms' in Bali. We strongly recommend you do not consume 'Magic mushrooms' in any form.
· Mosquito-borne illnesses: Indonesia is experiencing sporadic transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. We continue to advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given the possibility that Zika virus can cause severe malformations in unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, pregnant women should discuss any travel plans with their travel doctor and consider postponing travel to Indonesia. See our Zika Virus Bulletin.
· Other mosquito-borne and other insect borne illnesses are common throughout the year. Malaria (including chloroquine-resistant strains) is prevalent throughout rural areas, but is uncommon in Jakarta. Dengue fever occurs throughout Indonesia, including in Bali and the major cities, and is particularly common during the rainy season. In recent years Australian Health authorities have observed an increase in the number of dengue virus infections in returned travellers from Bali. There is no vaccination or specific treatment available for dengue. Outbreaks of chikungunya have been reported. Japanese encephalitis and filariasis are also present, particularly in rural agricultural areas. Japanese encephalitis has been detected in Australian travellers returning from Indonesia (including Bali). We encourage you to consider taking prophylaxis against malaria where necessary, ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof and take measures to avoid insect bites, including using an insect repellent at all times and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing.
· Rabies: There is a risk of rabies throughout Indonesia, in particular Bali and nearby islands and Nias (off the coast of Sumatra). A number of people with rabies like symptoms have died in recent years after being bitten by dogs. Rabies is almost always spread by an animal bite but can also be spread when a rabid animal's saliva gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin. Visitors are strongly advised to avoid direct contact with dogs and other mammals, including monkeys. Travellers should be aware that between January 2010 and June 2013 bites or scratches from monkeys in Bali comprised approximately 47 per cent of all cases where Australians were potentially exposed to rabies while overseas and were treated with rabies immunoglobulin on return to Australia. To avoid potential exposure you should not feed or pat monkeys, even in popular markets, tourist destinations and sanctuaries where you may be encouraged to interact with monkeys.
· If bitten or scratched, you should immediately use soap and water to wash the wound thoroughly and seek urgent medical attention. Availability of post-exposure rabies treatment in Indonesia may be limited, which may require bite victims to return to Australia or travel to a third country for immediate treatment. If you are planning to stay in Indonesia for a prolonged period or to work with animals, you should consult your doctor or travel clinic about obtaining a pre-exposure rabies vaccination. See our health page for further information.
· Prescription medication: Some prescription medications available in Australian may be considered to be illegal drugs under Indonesian law and treated in the same way as narcotics. If you intend to bring prescription medication into Indonesia you should first contact the closest Indonesian Embassy to confirm it is legal under Indonesian law. See Laws for more information.
· Other diseases and health issues: Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including cholera, hepatitis, measles, typhoid and tuberculosis) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and uncooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea. You should also be aware that illness caused by naturally occurring seafood toxins such as ciguatera, as well as scombroid (histamine fish poisoning) and toxins in shellfish can be a hazard (for more information see Queensland Health's fact sheet). Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning.
· HIV/AIDS: HIV/AIDS is a risk for travellers, particularly in Bali. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
· Tattoos: Avoid temporary 'black henna' tattoos as they often contain a dye which can cause serious skin reactions.
· For divers: Decompression chambers are located at Bali's Sanglah General Hospital and hospitals in Jakarta and Manado.