SAFETY TIPS

SAFETY AND SECURITY

PAPUA (SEE ADVISORY)

There has been ongoing political tension and regular violent occurrences since October 2011. In some cases, foreigners and foreign businesses have been targeted by local militants.

There is a heightened police and military presence in Papua. Labour disputes at the Freeport-McMoRan mine near Timika have led to demonstrations, transportation disruptions and violence. Fatal attacks have occurred on roads near the mine.

TERRORISM

There is a threat of terrorism in Indonesia. While effective counterterrorism measures by Indonesian authorities are in place, terrorist cells are active and have the capacity to carry out attacks anywhere in the country.

In May 2018, bomb attacks occurred in three churches and one police station in Surabaya (Indonesia’s second largest city). The explosions caused many casualties.

Further attacks are likely and could take place anywhere in the country. Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • police and military installations and personnel
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels, and other sites frequented by foreigners.

Stay at hotels that have robust security measures, including metal detectors, guards and security cameras. Keep in mind, however, that even the most secure locations cannot be considered completely free of risk.

Be particularly vigilant during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places and identify ways to leave the area in case of emergency
  • Monitor local media
  • Follow the instructions of the local authorities

CRIME

Armed robberies occur regularly. Petty crime, including pickpocketing, bag snatching and forced cash withdrawals from ATMs, is a serious concern. There is a high risk of street crime, pick-pocketing and bag-snatching in tourist areas, such as Bali and Lombok, and foreign tourists are targeted. Tourists travelling alone, women and those travelling at night are at particular risk.

Keep car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times. Use reputable taxis from major hotels or book in advance by phone. Standards of police and legal services differ considerably from those in Canada. 

Merchants do not always honour pricing agreements. Use good judgment in engaging services of tourist guides, especially in places that tourists rarely visit.

DEMONSTRATIONS AND CIVIL UNREST

Demonstrations take place from time to time. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

Sporadic ethnic and religious tensions may lead to violence and civil unrest.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

POLITICAL AND SOCIAL TENSION

There are long-standing sectarian and social tensions throughout Indonesia, particularly in the provinces of Central Sulawesi (especially in Palu, Poso and Tentena), Maluku (especially in Ambon) and West Papua.

Sectarian violence targeting civilians has occurred. While there are ongoing security operations by Indonesian authorities, the potential for violence remains. Exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, maintain a heightened level of vigilance and be aware of your surroundings.

KIDNAPPING

Foreigners have been kidnapped and killed in the past, particularly in the province of Aceh. Avoid travelling alone and travelling at night throughout Indonesia.

EAST AND WEST KALIMANTAN

The Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf terrorist group has kidnapped tourists from Sabah, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Abu Sayyaf has not extended its activities into neighbouring coastal areas of Indonesia, including East Kalimantan, but may be capable of doing so.

SPIKED FOOD AND DRINKS

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. People have died after consuming drinks contaminated with methanol. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

FRAUD

There is a very high rate of credit and debit card fraud in Indonesia, including online fraud. Keep your card information (number, name, expiry date) private. Keep all receipts and bills bearing a credit or debit card number secure or destroy them completely.

 Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your card is handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

More about overseas fraud

ROAD SAFETY

Many remote parts of Indonesia have poor transportation networks. It may be difficult or impossible to leave these areas in a crisis.

Road conditions, particularly outside major centres, are poor. Road travel in Indonesia can be very challenging, as drivers are not disciplined and do not consistently obey traffic rules. Streets are generally congested. Driving at night in rural areas is dangerous, as most rural roads are unlit and some drivers do not use lights. If you plan to rent a car, consider hiring a driver.

Be particularly cautious on the road from Banda Aceh to Medan, where armed robberies have occurred. There is a possibility of mob anger if an accident has caused serious injury. In such cases, remain in your vehicle and drive to the nearest police station to report the accident.

Motorcycle and scooter accidents are the main cause of death and serious injury among foreigners visiting many parts of Indonesia, including Bali. Be aware of scams involving motorcycles rentals. Rental motorcycles are targeted and stolen and the renters are left to pay the replacement cost for a new motorcycle.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Transport by bus and rail can be crowded and safety standards are poor.

MARITIME TRANSPORTATION

Avoid travelling by ferry. Maritime accidents are common and are often caused by poor safety practices or extreme weather conditions. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy. If you choose to travel by ferry, ensure that the vessel you are boarding is carrying appropriate safety equipment, that life jackets are provided for all passengers and that they are accessible at all times. Verify the safety standards of ferries with your tour operator.

AIR TRAVEL

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

SWIMMING

Rough seas and strong currents have led to drownings. Respect local warnings and consult hotel management about potential water hazards.

PIRACY

Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report – International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre

GENERAL SAFETY INFORMATION

Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times. Exercise caution at all times and in all places.