Indonesia Country Report
The immense Indonesian archipelago (17,000 islands), with the world’s fourth-largest population (251 million inhabitants), is a destination that will require a certain amount of preparation on the part of the traveler. The extent of security risks and natural hazards varies throughout the country and changes with the seasons.
Several Western governments formally advise against all travel to Aceh province, Western Papua, the southern Maluku islands, and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) due to the presence of violent political, separatist, terrorist, or criminal groups in these areas. Tensions are also high on the island of Sulawesi.
While in the rest of the country, travelers should always remain vigilant, including in tourist areas and at religious sites. On August 5, 2013, an explosion occurred in a Buddhist temple in the capital Jakarta (one fatality).
The terrorist threat remains high. Over the past twelve years, terrorist attacks have caused the death and injury of numerous foreigners as well as residents. Attacks occurred in Bali in October 2002 (202 deaths) and October 2005 (26 deaths). The capital Jakarta (9 million residents) has also experienced several attacks; the Marriott Hotel was hit in August 2003 and again on July 17, 2009, when a double attack was perpetrated against both the Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels (eight deaths). The Australian embassy was also targeted in 2004 (ten deaths). All of these attacks have been attributed to Jemaah Islamiyah, a radical Islamist group with ties to Al-Qa’ida. After several years of relative calm, Indonesia was struck by a terrorist attack once again in early 2016. On January 14, several bombings occurred near a shopping area along the Jalan Thamrin road, in the district of Sarinah in central Jakarta. Seven people were killed – among them five suspected terrorists – and many others were wounded. The attack was claimed hours later by Islamic State (IS).
The capital frequently witnesses large-scale rallies and strikes.
The next legislative elections will be held in April 2019, followed by presidential elections in July 2019.
Indonesia is a Muslim country and some larger rallies have politico-religious connotations. Such demonstrations occasionally giving rise to moments of tension between protesters and foreigners, particularly Westerners. Tensions are high in Central Sulawesi and the Moluku Islands – notably in the town of Ambon.
Health conditions in the country are often worrying; risks being lower in large cities (Jakarta, Bali) and in tourist areas. Malaria (zone 3; strains highly resistant to chloroquine), cholera, dengue fever, typhoid, tuberculosis, rabies, and chikungunya are all present in the country. Cases of rabies are reported in Bali with relative frequency. Travelers should be aware that tap water in the country is not potable; drink only bottled water, peel all fruits and vegetables and wash them in filtered water, and refrain from eating street food.
Forest fires ‒ regularly reported in autumn (June-October) in Sumatra and Kalimantan ‒ can raise air pollution (smog) to dangerously high levels, particularly for people with respiratory difficulties. Such fires are common between June and October.
As of early June 2015, Mount Sinabung volcano (Karo district, North Sumatra) has shown signs of major volcanic activity (clouds of burning ash, projections of rock, and lava flows), forcing authorities to evacuate those who live up to 13 km (8.1 mi) from the volcano.
Boating enthusiasts should be aware that acts of piracy regularly occur in Indonesian waters.
It should be noted that all means of transportation are affected by generally poor travel conditions. While the entirety of Indonesian airlines was on the EU’s blacklist at one time, in January 2009, the European Commission removed restrictions on Garuda, Mandala, Airfast, and Premiair airlines, citing significant progress in security conditions.
On June 9, 2015, Indonesia waived the entry visa requirement for French tourists.
Drug smuggling is severely punished in this country, sometimes with the death penalty. Travelers are strongly advised to keep a close eye on their baggage while traveling.
Indonesia's climate is tropical with high levels of humidity and relatively stable temperatures.
There are two seasons: the wet monsoon season from November to March (abundant rain) and the dry monsoon season from April to October (dry winds). Temperatures are constant throughout the year along the coast and in low elevation zones (between 25°C and 30°C). Temperatures are lower in mountainous regions.
Useful NumbersCountry Code: +62 Police: 110 (or 911 in Bali) Fire Dept.: 113 Ambulance: 118
Voltage: 127/230 V ~ 50 Hz
Indonesia: Chinese New Year celebrations Feb. 16
TIMEFRAME: from 2/16/2018, 12:00 AM until 2/16/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Jakarta).
Indonesia: Alerts status lowered for Bali Mount Agung volcano Feb. 10 /update 23
TIMEFRAME: from 1/4/2018, 12:00 AM until 1/8/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Jakarta).