TRAVEL WARNING TO INDONESIA - exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali
Indonesian authorities continue to arrest terrorists who have allegedly been in the advanced stages of attack planning. The terrorist threat level in Indonesia remains high. Terrorist attacks could occur anywhere at any time in Indonesia, including Bali. Be particularly vigilant during the Christmas and New Year period as gatherings of Westerners could be targeted (see Safety and security). 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. 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.
· Indonesian authorities continue to arrest terrorists who have allegedly been in the advanced stages of attack planning. The terrorist threat level in Indonesia remains high. Terrorist attacks could occur anywhere at any time in Indonesia, including Bali. Be particularly vigilant during the Christmas and New Year period as gatherings of Westerners could be targeted. See Safety and security.
· Maintain a high level of vigilance and security awareness.
· 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.
· 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.
· 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. 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, including sexual assault, 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. 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.
· Exercise normal beach safety behaviour and consider carefully the risks involved in using motorcycles, including licence and insurance issues. See Local travel.
· Be aware that there is a risk of rabies throughout Indonesia, in particular Bali and Nias. See under Health for more information.
· It is typical for there to be smoke haze across much of the north-west part of the archipelago from July to October. This can also be a problem at other times of the year. You should be aware the smoke haze could affect your health and travel plans. See Additional information.
· See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
Entry and exit
The Indonesian Government has introduced visa-free short visits (30 days) for Australians to Indonesia. You will not be able to extend your stay if you enter Indonesia under the visa-free facility. Travellers intending to remain in Indonesia for longer than 30 days can apply for a visa from an Embassy or Consulate of Indonesia or apply for a visa on arrival (for a fee of $US35). Further details are available on the website of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra.
The visa-free and visa on arrival facility is not available to foreigners entering Indonesia through the land border between Timor Leste (East Timor) and Indonesian West Timor or to foreigners entering Indonesian West Papua. Some airlines flying from Australia to Jakarta and Bali may offer a visa processing service on board the flight.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Indonesia for the most up-to-date information.
Ensure that your activities are consistent with your immigration status. Foreigners require a special visa to work in Indonesia. Any breach of Indonesian immigration regulations may result in you being fined, jailed, deported or banned from re-entering Indonesia for a period of time.
Media personnel should note that a Journalist Visa is required for travel to Indonesia. The Journalist Visa must be obtained through an Indonesian Consulate in Australia or the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra before arriving in Indonesia. Journalist Visas cannot be obtained on arrival into Indonesia. Media personnel working in Indonesia on the wrong visa may be arrested and/or deported.
Indonesian immigration staff may refuse entry to Indonesia to Australians with a criminal record, regardless of how long ago the offence took place. Australians concerned about the possibility of being denied entry, should consider contacting an Embassy or Consulate of Indonesia before departure. The decisions of Indonesian immigration officials are final. The Australian government cannot intervene on such matters.
Visitors travelling on an Emergency Passport will only be able to enter Indonesia if they have obtained a visa from an Embassy or Consulate of Indonesia.
Visas are non-transferable, but may be extended once only for an additional 30 days without leaving the country. The period of stay for visas is calculated from the day of arrival. Part days are counted as whole days. Fines are imposed for each additional day in Indonesia.
If you are staying in a private residence (not a hotel), you are required to register with the local Rukun Tetangga (RT) Office and the local police when you arrive. If you plan to be in Indonesia for more than 90 days, you must register with the local immigration office and hold the correct visa.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should also carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
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.
Indonesian authorities continue to arrest terrorists who have allegedly been in the advanced stages of attack planning. The terrorist threat level in Indonesia remains high. Terrorist attacks could occur anywhere at any time in Indonesia, including Bali. Be particularly vigilant during the Christmas and New Year period as gatherings of Westerners could be targeted.
We continue to receive information that indicates that terrorists may be planning attacks in Indonesia. Since January 2016, a number of threats have been received by Indonesian authorities from groups purporting to be planning attacks, including in Bali.
Indonesian police have stated publicly that terrorist suspects remain at large and that they may seek to attack Western targets. Groups linked to, or inspired by, the conflict in Syria and Iraq have anti-Western motivations.
There is a high threat of attacks against Western targets. In January 2016, terrorists attacked a Starbuck's cafe and police post in Central Jakarta, detonating bombs and exchanging gunfire. Eight people were killed, including the terrorists and one foreign national.
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.
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 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, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so and follow the instructions of local authorities. Do 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 Consulates-General in Bali and Makassar remains at a high level. Australian officials and their families have been advised to be particularly careful in how they travel to and from the Embassy and Consulates-General.
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
Monitor local media and avoid all protests and rallies as they can turn violent with little notice. Rallies, protests and demonstrations occur regularly. Most are publicised in advance and are often held near the Presidential Palace, major government buildings and embassies.
Monitor local media and avoid all protests, demonstrations and rallies as they can turn violent with little notice. 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. 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.
Money and valuables
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
Tourist areas, including Bali:
Rough seas and strong currents have led to numerous drownings in coastal areas, including in Bali and other tourist locations. You should respect local warnings and consult relevant local information sources about potential water hazards. You should also be aware that local beach rescue services are not of the same standard as in Australia.
A number of foreigners, including Australians, have been killed or seriously injured in motorcycle accidents in tourist areas, particularly in Bali. If you hire a motorcycle you should seek advice on any restrictions that may apply (such as insurance cover if you are not licensed to ride a motorcycle in Australia). You should check with your travel insurer whether these activities are covered by your policy. Motorcycle riders and their passengers must wear a correctly fastened and approved helmet. Fines may be imposed for non-compliance. In the event of an accident, foreigners may be assumed to be at fault and expected to make financial restitution to all other parties. For further advice, see our road travel page.
There have been reports of violent crime against foreigners and locals in Bali. Be aware of your surroundings and conscious of the potential risks of crime. To reduce the risk of bag snatching by thieves on motorcycles, ensure bags or valuables are not visible when riding a motorcycle or bicycle. If you are walking, stay on the footpaths (where available) and away from the curb with your bag held on the opposite side to the traffic, and remain alert in crowded areas. Victims of crime should see our Safety and Security: Crime section for further information and be aware that a full statement must be made to local police for a criminal investigation to commence.
The safety standards you might expect of service providers, such as hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, transport and tour operators, including for adventure activities (e.g. scuba diving, rafting, surfing and bungee jumping), are not always met. If you intend participating in adventure activities, you should check if the activity is covered by your insurance policy. Don't be afraid to ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements with tour operators.
Travel between the islands of Indonesia by ferry or boat can be dangerous. Passenger limits are not always observed and sufficient lifejackets may not be provided. You should ensure that any vessel you intend to board is carrying appropriate safety equipment and that life jackets are provided for all passengers and are accessible and worn at all times. Lifejackets suitable for children are unlikely to be available and you should consider bringing your own. Check with your tour operator or crew to ensure appropriate safety standards are maintained. You should avoid travelling on water after dark unless the vessel is equipped appropriately.
Other parts of Indonesia:
Traffic can be extremely congested and road users may not drive in a predictable or safe manner. Headlights may often not be used until it is completely dark.
Public transport, including buses, rail and ferries, is often crowded, poorly maintained and may have limited safety equipment. In recent years, there has been a series of inter-island ferry accidents with significant loss of life. The wet season, between October and March, may increase the risks of sea travel.
Mountain treks, including some on Mt Rinjani in Lombok, are only suited to experienced climbers. We recommend you travel with a guide and seek information on the level of difficulty. Be aware that Mt Rinjani is an active volcano – always check local conditions before climbing.
Piracy occurs in the coastal areas of Indonesia. For more information about piracy, see our piracy bulletin. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website.
The European Union (EU) publishes a list of airlines subject to operating bans or restrictions within the EU. While all Indonesian airlines were included on the list in July 2007, some carriers are now cleared to operate in Europe, including Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Ekspress Transportasi Antarbenua (trading as PremiAir) and Indonesia Air Asia. To see the list, visit the EU website.
CASA assesses the safety of all aircraft flying within, to and from Australia. CASA has certified Garuda Indonesia and Air Asia to operate flights between Australia and Indonesia. CASA cannot assess the safety of any Indonesian carriers operating within Indonesia or to countries other than Australia.
Fatal air crashes involving the Indonesian carrier Susi Air occurred in September 2011, November 2011 and April 2012. Australian officials in Indonesia have been directed not to use Susi Air for official travel until further notice.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through its foreign assessment program focuses on a country's ability, not the individual airline, to adhere to international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance established by ICAO. The FAA has determined that Indonesia's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is not in compliance with ICAO safety standards for the oversight of Indonesia's air carrier operations. For more information, visit the FAA website. The US Embassy in Jakarta has advised Americans travelling to and from Indonesia to fly directly to their destination on international carriers whenever possible.
Information on aviation safety in Indonesia is available on the Aviation Safety Network website. For general information on aviation safety and security, please refer to our air travel page.
When you are in Indonesia be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we cannot get you out of trouble or out of jail. You should research local laws before travelling, or engaging employment in Indonesia.
Australians living and working in Indonesia should be aware that the application and interpretation of local labour laws may be subject to change at short notice. This may have implications for expat workers.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Under Indonesian law, you must carry identification (an Australian passport, Kartu Ijin Tinggal Sementara (KITAS) or Residents Stay Permit) at all times. Failure to present your passport or other acceptable identification to law enforcement officers upon request may result in detention.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty. Penalties for possession of even small amounts of recreational drugs include heavy fines and imprisonment. Police target illegal drug use and possession across Indonesia, in particular popular places and venues in Bali and Jakarta.
The active ingredient in 'magic mushrooms' is considered to be a Class 1 narcotic and local police have taken action to prevent their distribution.
Some prescription medications available in Australia may be considered as illegal drugs under Indonesian law and treated in the same way as narcotics. If you are caught with illegal medication in Indonesia you may face detention, fines and possibly harsher penalties, even if an Australian doctor has prescribed it to you. This includes medication to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 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 the website of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra for more information.
Other serious crimes, such as murder and piracy, may also attract the death penalty.
Gambling is illegal. Tourists have fallen victim to organised gambling gangs, particularly in Bali, resulting in the loss of large sums of money and threats of violence if travellers are unable to pay the debt.
If you intend to fly on private aircraft through Indonesian airspace, including non-scheduled overflights, you should ensure that correct clearances have been obtained from Indonesian authorities before your depart. Possible penalties include fines and imprisonment.
You should obey signs that prohibit photography. If in doubt, seek advice from local officials.
To drive in Indonesia, you will require an Indonesian or international driver's licence appropriate to the type of vehicle. An Australian licence is not sufficient.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 17 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in sexual activity with children under 16 while outside of Australia.
Under Indonesian law, foreigners cannot own real estate. If you are considering investing in property in Indonesia, you should first seek advice from a legal authority.
Bali: Australians intending to visit Bali in March 2017 should be aware that local custom requires that all people on the island observe a day of silence for Balinese New Year (Nyepi) from 6am on 28 March 2017 until 6am the following day.
Ramadan: The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin in late May 2017. During Ramadan, Australians should take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, people who are not fasting are advised to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. For more information see our Ramadan travel bulletin.
Aceh: Aceh province has a degree of special autonomy and upholds some aspects of Sharia (Islamic) law including punishments that are not applied in other parts of Indonesia. Travellers should be aware that Sharia law may be applied to anyone in Aceh, including non-Muslims and foreigners, and are enforced by local Sharia police. Activities relating to gambling, alcohol, prostitution, standards of dress and homosexual and extra-marital sex are not compliant with Sharia law. Travellers should inform themselves of relevant provisions. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Conservative standards of dress and behaviour apply in many parts of Indonesia. You should find out what customs are observed at your destination and take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Information for dual nationals
Indonesia's citizenship legislation permits children born to an Indonesian parent and a foreign parent to maintain citizenship of both countries until their 18th birthday. For more information, contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate of Indonesia or visit Indonesia's the Department of Law and Human Rights website (in Indonesian).
Our Dual nationals page provides further information for dual nationals.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health pages also provide useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
Medical facilities are generally below Western standards and in many regions hospitals provide only basic facilities. Hospitals often require confirmation of medical insurance cover or up-front payment prior to providing any services, including emergency care. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to Singapore or Australia is recommended and could cost more than $A100,000 depending on circumstances and location.
Mental illness and counselling services: The availability of psychiatric and psychological services in Indonesia is limited. Australians in need of counselling services can contact our Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 to be transferred to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.
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.
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.
Zika virus: There is limited transmission of Zika virus in Indonesia. All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites. The Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and consider deferring non-essential travel to affected areas.See other advice for females and males provided by the Department of Health. Also see our Zika virus travel 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.
Where to get help
Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.
If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police. The national emergency number is 118. In Bali, you can contact the Bali Tourist Police at Jalan Raya Kuta No 141, Kuta, Badung; Tel: (0361) 759 687 and (0361) 224 111. See also contact details of police stations in Bali.
If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.
If your query relates to your pension or social security payments you should contact Centrelink directly.
The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can't do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:
Access to the Australian Embassy in Jakarta is by appointment only. An appointment for consular services can be made by calling +62 21 2550 5500 or +62 21 2550 5555.
Australian Embassy Jakarta
Jalan Patra Kuningan Ray Kav. 1-4
Jakarta Selatan 12950 INDONESIA
Telephone: +62 21 2550 5555
Facsimile: +62 21 2550 5467
Jakarta Selatan 12950 INDONESIA
Telephone: +62 21 2550 5555
Facsimile: +62 21 2550 5467
See the Embassy website: indonesia.embassy.gov.au for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
In Bali, you can obtain consular assistance from:
Australian Consulate General Bali
Jalan Tantular 32
Denpasar Bali 80234 INDONESIA
Telephone: +62 361 241 118
Facsimile: + 62 361 221 195 (general enquiries)
Denpasar Bali 80234 INDONESIA
Telephone: +62 361 241 118
Facsimile: + 62 361 221 195 (general enquiries)
See the Consulate General website: bali.indonesia.embassy.gov.au for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
In South Sulawesi, North Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, West Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Gorontalo, Maluku, North Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, Papua, and West Papua you can obtain consular assistance from:
Australian Consulate General Makassar
Wisma Kalla Lt. 7
Jalan Dr Sam Ratulangi No. 8
Makassar South Sulawesi 90125
Telephone: +62 411 366 4100
Facsimilie +62 411 366 4130
Jalan Dr Sam Ratulangi No. 8
Makassar South Sulawesi 90125
Telephone: +62 411 366 4100
Facsimilie +62 411 366 4130
See the Consulate General website: makassar.consulate.gov.au for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy, Consulate General or the Consulate, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.