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Is Indonesia Safe?

Indonesia is generally safe for travelers, but caution is advised due to the risk of petty crime, terrorism threats, and natural disasters. Avoid protests and crowded areas, remain vigilant, and follow local advisories. Mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever are prevalent, so take preventive measures. Transportation safety varies, with traffic accidents being a concern on roads. Respecting local customs and dressing modestly can prevent cultural misunderstandings.

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Safety & Security

Indonesia is generally safe for travelers, but there are some risks to be aware of. Petty crimes like bag snatching and pickpocketing occur, especially in crowded areas. Violent crime rates are low, but disputes can escalate quickly. Scams targeting tourists are common, so remain vigilant.

  • Petty Crime: Bag snatching, pickpocketing, and theft are common in crowded areas like markets and public transportation. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure.

  • Violent Crime: Rates of violent crime against foreigners are low, but it does occur. Avoid isolated areas, especially at night.

  • Disputes: Disputes can escalate quickly, so it's best to avoid confrontations and remain calm.

  • Scams: Common scams include taxi overcharging, fake tour guides, and gem/art sales scams. Only use official taxis and guides.

  • Civil Unrest: Protests and demonstrations can occur, sometimes leading to violence. Avoid large gatherings and monitor local news.

  • Terrorism: The risk of terrorism exists, though attacks against Westerners are infrequent. Remain vigilant in crowded public areas.

While most visits are trouble-free, exercising caution and being aware of your surroundings is advisable when traveling in Indonesia.

Health & Medical

Travelers to Indonesia should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. While the country offers excellent medical facilities in major cities, rural areas may have limited access to quality healthcare.

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date, and consider additional vaccines like hepatitis A, typhoid, and rabies, depending on your travel plans.
  • Mosquito-borne Diseases: Malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus are present in some areas. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and consider antimalarial medication if visiting high-risk regions.
  • Food and Water Safety: Drink bottled or purified water and avoid raw or undercooked food to prevent traveler's diarrhea and other foodborne illnesses.
  • Air Pollution: Major cities like Jakarta experience high levels of air pollution, which can exacerbate respiratory conditions. Carry necessary medications and limit outdoor activities during peak pollution periods.
  • Medical Facilities: Top-notch hospitals and clinics are available in Jakarta, Bali, and other major tourist destinations, but facilities may be limited in remote areas. Comprehensive travel insurance is recommended.

Natural Disasters

Indonesia is located in a region prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and flooding. Here are some key points for travelers:

  • Earthquakes and Tsunamis: Indonesia lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, making it highly susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis. Major quakes and tsunamis have occurred in recent years, causing significant damage and loss of life.

  • Volcanic Activity: With over 130 active volcanoes, volcanic eruptions are a constant risk in Indonesia. Eruptions can disrupt air travel, cause evacuations, and pose health hazards from ash and gases.

  • Flooding and Landslides: Monsoon rains and deforestation contribute to frequent flooding and landslides, particularly in densely populated areas. These events can disrupt transportation and damage infrastructure.

  • Preparedness: Travelers should familiarize themselves with emergency procedures, evacuation routes, and safe areas in their destinations. Monitoring local news and following instructions from authorities is crucial during natural disasters.

  • Travel Insurance: Comprehensive travel insurance that covers natural disasters is highly recommended for trips to Indonesia.

While natural disasters are a risk, Indonesia has well-established disaster management systems in place. However, being prepared and exercising caution is essential for a safe and enjoyable trip.


Transportation in Indonesia can be challenging for travelers, with varying levels of safety and reliability across different modes of transport. Public transportation options, such as buses, trains, and taxis, are generally affordable but may lack consistent safety standards. Road safety is a significant concern, with high rates of traffic accidents due to factors like reckless driving, poorly maintained roads, and a lack of enforcement of traffic laws.

  • Public Transportation: While convenient and inexpensive, public transportation systems in Indonesia can be overcrowded, poorly maintained, and lack adequate safety measures. Exercise caution when using buses, trains, and taxis, and prioritize reputable companies or services recommended by trusted sources.

  • Road Safety: Driving in Indonesia can be hazardous due to aggressive driving behaviors, inadequate road infrastructure, and a high volume of motorcycles and pedestrians sharing the roads. Rental vehicles may not meet international safety standards, and road conditions can be poor, especially in rural areas.

  • Ride-Sharing Services: Popular ride-sharing apps like Grab and Gojek offer a relatively safe and convenient transportation option in major cities. However, it's advisable to verify the driver's identity and vehicle details before entering the vehicle.

  • Air Travel: Domestic and international air travel within Indonesia is generally safe, but travelers should exercise caution when booking with smaller, lesser-known airlines that may not adhere to strict safety regulations.

Cultural Norms

Indonesia is a culturally diverse nation with a predominantly Muslim population. As a traveler, it's essential to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Avoid public displays of affection, as they are generally frowned upon. During Ramadan, refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public areas during daylight hours.

  • Religious Observances: Islam is the predominant religion, and religious holidays like Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are widely celebrated. Be mindful of your behavior and attire during these times.

  • Local Etiquette: Greet people with a smile and a polite nod. Remove your shoes before entering homes or places of worship. Use your right hand for giving, receiving, and eating.

  • Traditional Attire: In some areas, particularly in rural regions, it's advisable for women to cover their shoulders and legs to avoid offending local sensibilities.

  • Cultural Events: Indonesia hosts numerous vibrant festivals and ceremonies throughout the year, such as the Bali Arts Festival and the Waisak Day celebrations. Respectfully observe and participate if invited.

  • Haggling: In markets and with street vendors, haggling is a common practice. However, do so politely and avoid being overly aggressive or insulting.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Indonesia can be limited and unreliable, especially outside major cities and tourist areas. While emergency numbers exist, response times may be slow and services may lack resources or training.

  • Tourist Police Units operate in popular destinations to assist travelers, but their capabilities are limited. They can help with minor issues but may not be equipped for serious emergencies.

  • Private Security and Medical Services are recommended for travelers, as they provide a more reliable response. Many hotels and resorts have in-house medical staff and security personnel.

  • International SOS and Private Hospitals offer quality emergency medical care, but services can be expensive. Travel insurance that covers medical evacuation is advisable.

  • Embassy/Consular Services can provide assistance to citizens in case of emergencies, lost documents, or legal issues. However, their ability to intervene is limited.

The availability and quality of emergency services highlight the importance of taking precautions, having a backup plan, and considering travel insurance when visiting Indonesia.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful illustration with three people and the letters "FAQ" representing a Frequently Asked Questions section

Is Indonesia safe for tourists?

Indonesia is generally safe for tourists, but caution is advised in certain areas. Petty crime and scams can occur, so remain vigilant. Avoid demonstrations and protests. Follow local laws and customs, and register with your embassy.

Is Indonesia safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers should exercise caution in Indonesia. Dress modestly, avoid isolated areas, and be cautious at night. Harassment can occur, but most areas are safe with proper precautions. Respect local customs and traditions.

Is Indonesia safe for families?

Indonesia is a family-friendly destination with many attractions. However, be cautious with food and water to prevent illness. Ensure children are properly vaccinated. Avoid remote areas and monitor travel advisories for safety.

Is Indonesia LGBTQ+ friendly?

LGBTQ+ rights are limited in Indonesia. Same-sex relations are legal, but discrimination and intolerance exist. Public displays of affection should be avoided. Same-sex marriage is not recognized. Exercise caution and respect local customs.

Do you need a visa to go to Indonesia?

Most visitors can enter Indonesia without a visa for up to 30 days. However, a valid passport is required. Some nationalities may need a visa, so check requirements before travel. Visa extensions are possible but have strict rules.

Can you drink tap water in Indonesia?

Tap water is not safe to drink in Indonesia. Stick to bottled or purified water to avoid waterborne illnesses. Avoid ice cubes and raw foods washed with tap water. Boiling or using a water filter can make tap water potable.

What is the currency in Indonesia?

The Indonesian rupiah (IDR) is the official currency. Credit cards are accepted in major cities and tourist areas, but cash is preferred elsewhere. Carry small bills for convenience. ATMs are widely available.

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