Be aware of the risk of street crime and pick-pocketing, particularly in busy tourist areas in Bali, where there have been reports of bag-snatching. Take sensible measures to protect yourself and your belongings. Avoid having bags obviously on show and carry only essential items. Take particular care of your passport and bank cards and avoid travelling around alone.
Credit card fraud is common. Don’t lose sight of your card during transactions. Criminals sometimes place a fake telephone number on ATMs advising customers to report problems. Customers dialling the number are asked for their PIN and their card is then retained within the machine.
Beware of thieves on public transport. If you’re travelling by car keep doors locked at all times. Only book taxis with a reputable firm. You can ask your hotel to book one for you, or use taxis from Bluebird, Silverbird or Express groups. These are widely available at hotels and shopping malls in central Jakarta and at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Take care to distinguish Bluebird and Silverbird vehicles from ‘lookalike’ competitors. Don’t use unlicensed taxi drivers at the airport or anywhere else. Their vehicles are usually in poor condition, unmetered and don’t have a dashboard identity licence. They have been known to charge extortionate fares and to rob passengers.
Drinks served in bars can be stronger than those in the UK. In some cases, over drinking and taking drugs has resulted in accidents, injuries, robbery, assaults and lost travel documents and some British nationals have suffered psychiatric problems caused by alcohol, drugs and a lack of sleep. You should drink responsibly and be aware of your limits.
There have been reports of sexual assaults and drink spiking in Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands. Make sure drinks are prepared in your sight and be careful about accepting drinks from strangers at clubs and parties, or leaving drinks unattended. Tourists have also been robbed after taking visitors to their hotel rooms, and in some cases have found that their drinks were drugged.
There have been a number of deaths and cases of serious illness of locals and foreigners in Indonesia caused by drinking alcoholic drinks contaminated with methanol. These cases have occurred in bars, shops and hotels in popular tourist areas like Bali, Lombok, the Gili Islands and Sumatra. Criminal gangs have been reported to manufacture counterfeit replicas of well-known brands of alcohol containing high amounts of methanol. Take extreme care when buying spirit-based drinks, as bottles may appear to be genuine when they’re not.
There have also been cases of methanol poisoning from drinking adulterated arak/arrack, a local rice or palm liquor.
If you or someone you’re travelling with show signs of alcohol induced methanol poisoning or drink-spiking, seek immediate medical attention.
Use a reliable and reputable guide for any adventure trips, otherwise you may have difficulties with local authorities if you need their help. For longer journeys, notify friends of your travel plans, contact them on arrival and where possible travel in convoy/with others. Always carry a reliable means of communication with you.
The political situation in Central Sulawesi Province is unsettled. Take particular care in Palu, Poso and Tentena and be alert to the potential for politically-motivated violence.
Maluku Province has experienced unrest and violence between different religious and tribal groups. Take particular care in Ambon, including Haruku Island (Pulau Haruku).
Aceh has emerged from a long period of internal conflict. Although violence against foreigners is rare, a British national was abducted in June 2013 and there were three separate incidents in November 2009 targeting foreigners. There have been reports of Shari’a (religious) police harassing foreigners.
Be alert to the risk of politically-motivated violence and take particular care in remote areas. Sharia law is in force, visitors should be particularly careful not to offend local religious sensitivities (eg not drinking alcohol, not gambling, avoid wearing tight fitting or revealing clothing). Keep up to date with local developments and avoid large crowds, especially political rallies.
Political tensions in Papua province have given rise to occasional violence and armed attacks between Free Papua Movement (OPM) and the Indonesian authorities, particularly in the Central Highlands area around Puncak Jaya (including Wamena), but also including in Jayapura, Abepura, and Sentani on the north coast, and Timika town on the south coast.
Clashes in previous years have at times resulted in civilian deaths. If you’re travelling in the region, you should exercise extreme caution. Papuan separatists have kidnapped foreigners in the past. There is a heavy security presence in some areas, especially along the border with Papua New Guinea.
Political tensions have also given rise to occasional mass demonstrations in cities in Papua.
Should you need medical attention, there are limited hospital facilities in Papua and West Papua provinces and the likely destination for a medical emergency is Darwin, Australia.
The situation in West Papua province is calmer although there remains the possibility of unrest. Monitor the situation and be alert to changing circumstances.
You can’t drive in Indonesia using a UK driving licence. You can drive using an International Driving Permit issued in Indonesia. International Driving Permits issued in the UK may need to be endorsed by the Indonesian licensing office in Jakarta. Before driving, riding or hiring any type of vehicle, ensure that you have the appropriate licence to do so, and check with your travel insurance company to confirm that you’re covered.
Traffic discipline is very poor. Foreigners involved in even minor traffic violations or accidents may be vulnerable to exploitation. Consider employing a private driver or hiring a car with a driver. Some multinational companies don’t allow their expatriate staff to drive in Indonesia. Make sure you wear a helmet if you’re riding a motorbike or moped.
If you’re involved in an accident or breakdown, make sure someone remains with your vehicle. If you have any concerns for your security, move to another location safely. You should make yourself available for questioning by the police if requested to do so.
A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network.
With the exception of Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines (not currently operating), Airfast Indonesia, Ekspres Transportasi Antarbenua (operating as PremiAir), Indonesia Air Asia, Batik Air, Citilink and Lion Air, all other Indonesian passenger airlines are refused permission to operate services to the EU due to safety concerns.
British government employees are advised to use carriers which are not subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the EU unless this is unavoidable.
Inter-island travel by boat or ferry can be dangerous as storms can appear quickly, vessels can be crowded and safety standards vary between providers. In 2015, the Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency recorded 633 boat accidents (of which 24 were in Bali and Lombok), resulting in injuries and deaths. Make sure you are satisfied with safety standards before travelling, including safety equipment and life-jackets. Life-jackets suitable for children aren’t always available and you should consider bringing your own.
There have been attacks against ships in and around the waters of Indonesia. Mariners should be vigilant, reduce opportunities for theft, establish secure areas on board and report all incidents to the coastal and flag state authorities.
The overall political situation is stable, but external as well as internal developments, including the Middle East, can trigger public protests or unrest. You should avoid all protests, demonstrations and political rallies as they could turn violent with little notice.
There is a high threat from terrorism. Terrorist groups continue to plan and carry out attacks. These groups have the capacity and intent to carry out attacks at anytime and anywhere in the country. Type of attacks have included suicide bombings and small-arms fire, targeting public and crowded places.
The threat from Islamist extremism remains high, though the Indonesian authorities continue to disrupt attack planning, including arresting alleged terrorists reportedly in the advanced stages of preparation.
On 14 January 2016 a terrorist attack took place near the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel and Sarinah Plaza on Jalan M.H. Thamrin in central Jakarta. The attack included a number of explosions and gun battles. Eight people died and a number were injured, including foreigners. The last major attack before this was on 17 July 2009 when the JW Marriot and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta were bombed. One British national was killed. Small-scale attacks occur on a regular basis and further attacks are likely.
Indonesian government, law enforcement interests and places of worship are regularly targeted by extremists. Western interests are also at risk.
Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. Beach resorts, bars and restaurants, hotels, markets, shopping malls hosting major international brand outlets, tourist attractions, places of worship, foreign embassies, ferry terminals and airports are all potential targets.
Be vigilant and take care at all times. You should regularly review your security arrangements and be particularly vigilant during holiday periods including the Christmas and New Year period, Chinese New Year (28 January 2017), Nyepi (Balinese New Year, 28 March 2017), Easter and Independence Day (17 August), which can be a time of heightened tension and increased risk.
There is a risk of kidnapping at sea in and around the waters of Indonesia. This risk is higher in the Sulu and Celebes seas.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking.
There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
In 2017, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 27 May and finish on 25 June. See Travelling during Ramadan.
Don’t get involved with illegal drugs. Possession, trafficking and manufacture of any illegal drugs are serious offences in Indonesia. The Indonesian authorities have a zero-tolerance policy and those caught face lengthy prison sentences or the death penalty, usually after a protracted and expensive legal process. British nationals have been caught and jailed for drug offences in Indonesia.
Police often raid venues (particularly in Bali) known to be frequented by foreigners. You may have to take a urine or blood test if there is a reasonable suspicion that drugs have been used. Criminal gangs in the UK and elsewhere are known to coerce people into carrying drugs across borders. Don’t allow yourself to be persuaded.
It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a license. Indonesia is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which includes bans on trade in ivory and tiger parts. If you’re caught purchasing or trafficking illegal goods you’ll be prosecuted and could receive a prison sentence and fine.
During Balinese New Year, known as Nyepi, local custom requires that all people in Bali observe a day of silence by staying indoors, turning off lights, and making no noise. Ngurah Rai International Airport is closed for the entire day. However, emergency services and hospitals are allowed to operate.
Gambling is illegal in Indonesia. There have been cases where tourists have lost large amounts of money to organised gambling gangs.
You must be able to show your valid travel document (passport) or stay permit (eg KITAS or KITAP) at any time when required to do so by an active immigration officer.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
You don’t need a visa to enter Indonesia for visits of up to 30 days. Visa-free visits can’t be extended or transferred to another type of visa. For a list of airports, seaports and land border crossings for entering/exiting Indonesia under this visa waiver scheme, and more information about entry requirements, visit the website of the Indonesian Embassy in London or your nearest Indonesian embassy.
If you’re travelling to Indonesia for more than 30 days, you should apply for a visa before you travel, or get a visa on arrival at a cost of US$35, or the equivalent in Indonesian rupiah. This type of visa is valid for 30 days, and can be extended once (for a maximum of 30 days) by applying to an immigration office within Indonesia.
The visa waiver scheme and visas on arrival aren’t available if you’re a British Overseas Citizen, British Subject, or British Overseas Territory citizen, or if you’re travelling to Indonesia for journalistic purposes. Instead, you must apply for a visa before you travel.
These options aren’t available if you’re travelling to Indonesia for journalistic purposes. Instead, you must apply for a visa before you travel, and should make sure that you have the correct permits for local travel within Indonesia as some areas may require special permits in addition to your visa. You should with your nearest Indonesian Embassy.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Indonesia. If you’re entering Indonesia using an ETD you must apply for a visit visa before travelling. You won’t be able to get a visa on arrival. The processing time for an Indonesian visa can vary depending on where you apply. Some Indonesian embassies don’t issue Indonesian visas in ETDs. Contact your nearest Indonesian Embassy to check before you apply.
Entry requirements may differ if you live in Indonesia. Contact your nearest Indonesian Embassy to confirm whether you need to apply for a visit visa before you travel to Indonesia using an ETD.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of your departure from Indonesia.
Immigration officials in Indonesia may ask you for proof of onward travel (eg, a return or onward air ticket). You should make all reservations before leaving for Indonesia. Some airlines have refused to board passengers without evidence of onward travel.
Airport tax is included in the cost your ticket for all domestic flights within Indonesia. For some international flights departing Indonesia, airport tax may not be included in the price of the ticket. Please check with your airline or travel agent before you travel.
Overstaying without the proper authority is a serious matter and visitors can be held in detention or refused permission to leave the country until a fine of Rp. 300,000 per day is paid. After overstaying for 60 days, you will be detained and possibly imprisoned.
If you stay in private accommodation in Indonesia (not a hotel) you must register your presence with the local police or you could face a fine of Rp 5 million. If you stay in a hotel you will be registered automatically.
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Indonesia sits along a volatile seismic strip called the ‘Ring of Fire’ in the Pacific. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur regularly, which can present a potential threat of tsunamis. The capacity of the Indonesian emergency and rescue services to deal with large natural disasters is limited.
The US Federal Emergency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
If a major earthquake or landslide occurs close to shore, you should follow the instructions of local authorities, bearing in mind that a tsunami could arrive within minutes. The Indonesia Tsunami Early Warning Centre issues tsunami warnings when a potential tsunami with significant impact is imminent or expected.
Large areas of the country, including parts of West Sumatra, Central, East and West Java and Jakarta have been severely affected by heavy rains and subsequent landslides and flooding in recent years. Throughout Indonesia flash floods and more widespread flooding occur regularly. Cities - especially Jakarta - often suffer severe localised flooding which can result in major traffic congestion, and occasionally deaths. The main toll road to Soekarno-Hatta international airport can be affected by flooding. Slips and landslides occur in mountainous and remote areas, but also in urban areas.
Monitor local reporting and take care when driving and walking. Keep a stock of food and bottled water and make sure your phone is charged.
There are many active volcanoes in Indonesia any of which can erupt without warning resulting in the evacuation of villages within a 3 to 7 kilometre radius. In the past, repeated eruptions have caused destruction and fatalities.
Ash clouds can affect flight schedules and the operation of regional airports. Check with your airline or travel company for the latest information.
Check media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities before travelling to areas that are prone to volcanic activity and take extra care.
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
The standard of local medical care can be poor and some medical tests can’t be done reliably. Good medical care can be very expensive and in remote areas attention for serious injuries or illness is likely to be unavailable. You may require expensive medical evacuation costing up to tens of thousands of pounds. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
There’s a risk of dengue fever in Bali and elsewhere which is heightened during the rainy season (usually from around October to April).
UK health authorities have classified Indonesia as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website for travel to Indonesia - including Bali, for travel to Indonesia - Borneo.
Rabies exists in domestic and wild animals. There are many street dogs in Bali and elsewhere. You should avoid direct contact with all dogs and cats (including pets), monkeys and other animals and seek immediate help if you’re bitten or scratched.
During the dry season (May-November), widespread forest fires can cause smoke haze resulting in poor air quality across parts of Indonesia, particularly Riau Islands, central Sumatra and Kalimantan. The haze can cause disruption to local and regional air travel, and the air pollution may have an impact on public health. Keep up to date with local information and seek medical advice on appropriate precautions. A regional haze map is available from the Singapore Meteorological Service.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 118 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Avian flu has led to over 150 confirmed human fatalities in Indonesia since 2003, although the annual rate appears to be declining. All cases so far have been linked to close contact with poultry.
Although the risk to humans from Avian Influenza is low, you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds, and make sure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.