With its pristine beaches and breathtaking sceneries, Indonesia is a dream destination for every tourist seeking a much-needed summer break. However, like any other country, Indonesia has its dark side. As tourism continues to flourish, the country is working hard to ensure the safety of its visitors. So, before you book your tickets to this captivating land, let’s take a quick look at essential things you should know to ensure your safety in Indonesia.
How Safe is Indonesia?
Indonesia has been ranked as the 76th safest country in the world and is regularly cited as a safe destination for tourists, as long as certain precautions are taken and certain areas are avoided. While some people may have doubts about safety when traveling to this country, Indonesia is generally safe if you remain aware and cautious of your surroundings. The locals are welcoming and always ready to help. However, there are a few things you should be mindful of to ensure your safety.
Safety Tips in Indonesia
Indonesia has national emergency helpline numbers that you can use in case of any emergency. It’s important to note that these numbers may not always be answered, so it’s advisable to physically approach the authorities for immediate assistance. If the local police neglect your issue, seek help from your respective embassy. Now, let’s explore some potential risks and how to avoid them to ensure your safety in Indonesia.
Indonesia offers various modes of public transportation for tourists, including buses, MRTs, taxis, becaks, ojeks, and angkot. To ensure your safety:
- Trust reliable agencies for transportation. Hire a cab or vehicle from a credible travel agency rather than hailing one from the streets to avoid exploitation.
- Beware of taxi scams where drivers may force you to withdraw money or drive off before you can retrieve your luggage.
- Take care of your luggage, even if you have to take a random cab. Be mindful of different driver attitudes and adjust accordingly.
While Indonesia boasts mouth-watering cuisine, it’s important to be cautious about where and what you eat to avoid health issues:
- Avoid tap water and consume packaged drinking water instead.
- Be selective with roadside food stalls. If the prices seem too low to be true, exercise caution before consuming.
- Stay away from peeled fruits sold by street vendors, as they may not meet hygiene standards.
- Be mindful of spicy sambal, as excessive spiciness can cause stomach irritation.
- Ensure you’re consuming the meat you think you are, as illegal meat sales have been reported.
3. Natural Disasters
Indonesia is situated in an area prone to high risks of natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides. While these situations can be frightening, they do not occur frequently, and the government has taken measures to handle them. Stay updated on the local situation before planning your trip to avoid any potential encounters.
Indonesia, being a popular tourist destination, has instances of pickpocketing and mugging. To ensure your safety:
- Avoid deserted areas and always be aware of your belongings.
- If you feel you are being followed, contact emergency services immediately.
- Avoid carrying non-essential valuable items like gold or diamond jewelry.
Indonesia faces risks of terrorism, including suicide bombings and attacks targeting public places. To stay safe:
- Keep emergency contacts with you at all times.
- In case of any suspicious encounter, inform officials immediately.
- Stay updated on the latest travel advisories.
6. Women, Children, and LGBTQ
While Indonesia may not be the safest place for solo female travelers, caution can help avoid unwanted attention and risks of sexual assault. Travelers should also consider the following:
- Women should avoid places filled with bars and nightclubs in dingy alleys and never leave their drinks unattended.
- Choose hotels in tourist-friendly areas.
- LGBTQ travelers should book LGBTQ-friendly hotels and keep their sexuality discreet to avoid unwanted attention.
Tourist scams are a serious issue in Indonesia. Stay vigilant and watch out for common scams such as drink spiking, unlicensed tour guides, and exploitative money changers. If threatened to withdraw money by strangers, seek help or use self-defense mechanisms if traveling alone.
8. Civil Unrest
Indonesia is prone to civil unrest due to political and religious conflicts. Always check the local status before traveling. Avoid traveling during voting seasons when mass demonstrations are common. Stay aware of your surroundings and follow local news.
When traveling to Indonesia, it is advisable to get routine check-ups and appropriate vaccinations. Keep in mind that malaria is prevalent in rural and remote areas, so take necessary precautions or avoid such places if not necessary.
Choose your accommodation wisely and ensure its safety. Check ratings and reviews before booking and be mindful of hidden cameras or suspicious items. Stay aware at all times, as illegal activities are not uncommon in Indonesia.
To avoid legal or criminal charges during your visit to Indonesia, be aware of the following laws:
- Always carry essential documents as proof of identity.
- Strictly adhere to Indonesian drug laws to avoid severe penalties, including life imprisonment or even death sentences.
- Respect different religions and cultures, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
- Abstain from gambling, as it can lead to exploitation and is illegal in Indonesia.
Places to Avoid
Certain areas in Indonesia should be avoided due to safety concerns:
- Block M, South Jakarta: Known for nightclubs with a higher risk of drink spiking.
- Ciliwung, Jakarta: Jakarta’s largest slum, known for illegal activities.
- Ancol Port Area, North Jakarta: High crime rate and rampant illegal activities.
- Arak bars: Be cautious as some traditional drinks may be mixed with methanol, causing severe health issues.
- Central Sulawesi Province: Certain areas, such as Palu, Tentena, and Poso, have a higher risk of religious and political unrest.
Here are some additional tips to ensure a safe trip to Indonesia:
- Follow local Indonesian media to stay informed about the latest news and updates.
- Obtain travel and health insurance coverage.
- Familiarize yourself with safety measures in case of natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
- Keep significant emergency helpline numbers and embassy addresses.
- Carry a small first aid kit with essential medications.
- Make beautiful memories while staying safe by following the tips and guidelines mentioned above.
Remember, Indonesia is a beautiful country with incredible natural wonders. By taking necessary precautions, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip of a lifetime. Plan your trip, explore the diverse culture, and experience the beauty of Indonesia while ensuring your safety throughout your journey.