Is Indonesia safe?

Wondering if Indonesia is safe? Here are some tips and current events that you may want to know about so you can fully prepare for your trip to Indonesia and stay safe while you're there!

7min

Is Indonesia Safe?

Indonesia is one of the most special places to visit in Southeast Asia

Most well-known for its popular island of Bali, Indonesia is nestled in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and is composed of over 17,000 islands. With its idyllic beaches, impressive volcanoes, glittering temples, flavorful food, and welcoming locals, there are countless reasons to visit this beautiful and vibrant archipelago. However, the question remains: is Indonesia safe?

Like any country, Indonesia has its positives and negatives. Overall, it can be considered a safe travel destination. However, there are precautions that any traveler should take, and having the right knowledge is essential for staying safe throughout their trip.

If you do some research and are aware of any Indonesia travel restrictions and safety precautions, you can have an incredible trip there! You can also consider a Worldpackers work exchange to learn about the local culture and stay safe. 

Whether you’re visiting the touristy haven of Bali, or you’re venturing to a lesser-known island such as Lombok, Sumatra, Komodo, or Flores, just be travel-smart and you can soak in all the beauty of this fascinating Southeast Asian country!

Is Indonesia safe for travel?

Though Indonesia is quite safe overall, there are a few safety risks you might want to be aware of.

But don’t let the possibility of crime or natural disaster scare you away from traveling! Bad things can happen anywhere in the world, and you shouldn’t let fear cripple you.

However, if you want to be a smart traveler, it can help to just be aware of your surroundings and be prepared. Here are some common safety risks that are known to occur in parts of Indonesia.

If planning a trip around Southeast Asia, you might also want to read: Is Vietnam safe to travel to? and Is Cambodia safe to visit?


Landscape in indonesia.

Crime and scams

Crimes and scams are quite common in Indonesia, but you can avoid them if you are expecting them and keep your wits about you!

The most common type of crime in the country is petty crime like pickpocketing. Crowded tourist areas, such as Bali, are full of pickpockets. To avoid becoming a victim, make sure you leave your valuables locked up at your accommodation and keep your bag close by while exploring.

Fraud and ATM scams can also happen. Avoid these by only using official ATMs inside banks or businesses. Use general caution, cover your PIN number, and monitor your bank account regularly to spot any scams.

Taxi scams may happen as well, so always call an official taxi driver instead of hailing a random one off the street.

Drink spiking can also happen in touristy areas, particularly if you’re a female. Never accept a drink from anyone! And if you’re a solo female traveler, avoid going out alone at night.

All of these crimes may seem scary, but again, they can happen anywhere and are easily avoided if you travel safely and use common sense.

Indonesia does have the occasional violent crime occurrence. Armed robberies and kidnappings may occur, but mainly in certain areas. The provinces of Papua and Aceh, as well as East and West Kalimantan have known violent crime, so just avoid these areas.

Natural Disasters and Health

Due to its location across various tectonic plates, Indonesia has a diverse island landscape that is prone to natural disasters.

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and floods are all known to happen around the islands. The issue with natural disasters is that humans often don’t know they’re coming until it’s too late!

Nature is unpredictable, and we cannot always control it. But it's important not to let the fear of natural disasters disrupt your trip. Always check local alerts to stay informed of any potential risks. For example, currently, travelers should avoid traveling to Mount Agung in Bali due to possible volcanic eruptions.

In terms of health, make sure you avoid drinking tap water in Indonesia. Pollution is a problem, so stick to bottled water. That means avoiding brushing your teeth and washing produce with tap water, and avoiding ice in your drinks.

Also, make sure you are up to date on all vaccinations and have medications for various tropical diseases that may occur. Speak to your doctor about the best healthcare you may need to prepare for a trip to Indonesia!


Indonesia

Terrorism

Currently, one of the biggest risks in Indonesia is terrorism. Anti-terrorism efforts are strong, but terrorist attacks have been known to happen around Indonesia and may still happen.

Terrorist attacks tend to target busy areas, including religious buildings, hotels, restaurants, bars, airports, public transport, tourist attractions, and markets. Celebrations and holidays are sometimes used to launch such attacks.

To minimize the risk of terrorism, it's important to always be alert and aware of your surroundings while exploring. Identify exit routes in public places and follow the guidance of local authorities. Also watch the local media to see if there are any hints of trouble.

Certain areas are more prone to terrorism and crime than others. Regions such as Central Papua, Highland Papua, Central Sulawesi, and Maluku have experienced increased social tension and civil unrest. Avoid these areas during your travels just to take extra precautions.

Tips to stay safe in Indonesia

Despite the issues we just listed, there are still ways to have a safe and successful trip to Indonesia. So if you’re still wondering, “Is it safe to travel to Indonesia”, it definitely is if you follow these steps and do your research!

Get travel insurance

Travel insurance is definitely a must-do when visiting Indonesia. You really should get travel insurance anywhere in the world, but definitely have it when visiting countries where theft, natural disaster, and tropical disease are more common.

Travel insurance backs you up if anything happens abroad! Depending on the type of plan you get, you can have financial security if you need to pay for medical bills, flight changes, bag loss, or any other type of problem.

Sometimes travel insurance can be expensive, but it will save you money in the long run. Just make sure you read your plan in-depth and ask your insurance provider any questions so you know exactly what you are covered for.


Landscape in indonesia

Do a work exchange

A work exchange is another excellent way to stay safe while traveling. This is when you work in exchange for accommodation so you can have a more in-depth cultural experience.

This type of travel does save you money, but more importantly, it gives you a closer look into the local culture and way of life. You are often living and working alongside locals, so you can really get to know them and learn about how they live.

Having local insight can give you an extra boost of knowledge that many tourists don’t have. You can make local friends, understand the area, and learn about the best things to do off the beaten path.

Your host wants you to have a great experience in their country, so they will help direct you to the safest areas and make sure you feel comfortable during your travels.

Some examples of top work exchanges in Indonesia include:


A person practicing meditation

Other travel safety tips

In addition to trying a work exchange and having travel insurance, there are a few other habits you should adopt for traveling in Indonesia. Those wondering, “Is Indonesia safe?”, can confirm the safety of their trip by practicing smart travel tips. Most of these safety tips can apply to any destination!

Avoid going out alone at night

This is a safety tip that applies to anyone, in any country. Exploring alone at night is never a good idea! Explore alone during the day, or explore at night with a group. But venturing out alone in a foreign environment after dark can put you at risk. 

Especially for solo female travelers, try to do all your sightseeing during the day. If you do want to go out at night for dinner or partying, make sure you’re with a trustworthy group of people who will have your back!

Get necessary vaccinations

When traveling to a country like Indonesia, visit your doctor before your trip to ensure you have the necessary vaccinations and medications. “Bali Belly” is a common term for food poisoning or upset stomachs in Indonesia, so get some medicine that can help. And make sure you’re vaccinated against diseases such as Yellow Fever, Dengue, Malaria, and other harmful conditions.


Landscape in indonesia

Dress appropriately

Make sure you learn about and respect the local cultures, traditions, and religions in any country. Much of Indonesia follows Islam, which has strict expectations for what people and women should wear. Try to blend in by wearing similar clothes to the locals and showing respect for the religious customs.

Don’t wear flashy clothes or jewelry

While out exploring, don’t make yourself a target for pickpockets by wearing flashy jewelry! Even carrying around an expensive phone or camera makes you look attractive to pickpockets. Keep valuables locked safely at your accommodation. If you need a phone, camera, or debit card while sightseeing, keep it securely stored in your bag, which you can have an eye or a hand on at all times.

Ensure you follow the local laws

Indonesia has very strict laws for things like drugs and certain behaviors. Check the local laws and make sure you abide by them. Punishments can be severe for misdemeanors, and it’s smart to keep yourself out of trouble while traveling.

Research your destination beforehand

No matter where you are traveling, good research can help keep you safe and prepared! All of the safety tips and precautions mentioned in this article will help you have a smooth trip. 

Following local alerts, being prepared for natural disasters, and knowing which areas to avoid will help you stay safe in Indonesia! Showing up to a country with no information or knowledge can put you at risk, so it’s best to always do your research.

  • Want to learn more about planning your trip to Indonesia? By subscribing to the WP pack plan you have unlimited access to +120 courses at Worldpackers Academy, the travel school made by travelers! 



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