Indonesia: travel safety

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Current smart traveller advice

A high level of caution is advised to visitors of Indonesia due to the increased threat of a terrorist attack. Tourists must be vigilant at all times and pay close attention to their surroundings and personal safety. It’s advised to avoid protests or public demonstrations as they can turn violent.

Safety tips and advice


Unlicensed tour guides: These can be found predominantly at temples and other main tourist attractions. There’s nothing quite like receiving local knowledge when visiting a new area for the first time, however, the people offering it at these densely populated tourist areas are often not doing so for free, although their demeanour suggests otherwise. After taking unsuspecting tourists around an attraction, they will demand a fee for their ‘service’, much to the traveller’s surprise.


Ubud forest money thefts: Although they may appear cute and relatively harmless, the monkeys at Ubud’s forest are often trained by their owners to steal items from unsuspecting tourists for the trainers to then offer back for a fee. Keep all valuables in secure places to make them as unaccessible as possible.


Already damaged rentals: When renting scooters, vehicles or jet skis, vendors have been known to exclaim that tourists have damaged the rental. However, the item in question is often found to bear these damages before the individual has even used it. They will then demand further payment to cover costs. It’s important to assess the rental beforehand and notify the vendor of any present damages.


Overall, crime in Indonesia seems to be centered around petty cases such as pickpocketing and opportunistic theft. Bali and Jakarta appear to be two of the main areas in which crime occurs.

A study from the University of Indonesia found that the majority of crimes reported in Jakarta were committed by people between the age of 15 and 34 and included blackmail, robbery and fraud.

Thieves may target tourists in busy, populated areas, on public transport and even while driving past on motorcycles.


Due to attacks in previous years, the terrorism threat remains high in Indonesia. This is inclusive of popular travel areas such Bali, Jakarta and Lombok. All tourists must adopt increased personal safety levels and monitor the news for updates on potential attacks. Keep alert in crowded areas such as malls, temples and tourist attractions as these are prone to higher risk of attack.

Laws travellers should be aware of

The death penalty is still exercised in Indonesia and is inclusive for tourists breaking laws as well as locals. Drug offenses can involve capital punishment as well as fines and imprisonment.

Gambling is also illegal in Indonesia so tourists must stay away from partaking in gambling related games, no matter how innocent they may seem.



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