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Indonesia - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia due to political and social tensions and the threat of terrorism throughout the country.
Papua - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the province of Papua due to the regular occurrence of violent incidents.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Indonesia. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Papua (see Advisory)
There has been ongoing political tension and regular violent occurrences since October 2011. In some cases, foreigners and foreign businesses have been targeted by local militants.
There is a heightened police and military presence in Papua. Labour disputes at the Freeport-McMoRan mine near Timika have led to demonstrations, transportation disruptions and violence. Fatal attacks have occurred on roads near the mine.
There is a threat of terrorism in Indonesia. While effective counterterrorism measures by Indonesian authorities are in place, terrorist cells are active and have the capacity to carry out attacks anywhere in the country.
On May 13, 2018, police in Surabaya (Indonesia’s second largest city) responded to 3 bomb explosions at the following churches:
- Gereja Santa Maria (GKSM) Tak Bercela di Ngagel, Gubeng
- Gereja Kristen Indonesia (GKI), Jalan Raya Diponegoro
- Gereja Pantekosta Pusat Surabaya (GPPS), Jalan Raya Arjuna
The explosions caused extensive casualties.
On May 14, 2018, Police Headquarters in Surabaya was also attacked.
Further attacks are likely, particularly in the lead-up to Idul Fitri and during Ramadan (May 15 to June 16, 2018).
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels, and other sites frequented by foreigners.
Stay at hotels that have robust security measures, including metal detectors, guards and security cameras. Keep in mind, however, that even the most secure locations cannot be considered completely free of risk.
Be particularly vigilant during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
- Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places
- Monitor local media
- Follow the instructions of the local authorities
Armed robberies occur regularly. Petty crime, including pickpocketing, bag snatching and forced cash withdrawals from ATMs, is a serious concern. There is a high risk of street crime, pick-pocketing and bag-snatching in tourist areas, such as Bali and Lombok, and foreign tourists are targeted. Tourists travelling alone, women and those travelling at night are at particular risk.
Keep car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times. Use reputable taxis from major hotels or book in advance by phone. Standards of police and legal services differ considerably from those in Canada.
Merchants do not always honour pricing agreements. Use good judgment in engaging services of tourist guides, especially in places that tourists rarely visit.
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Large protests have taken place in many parts of the country over a wide range of issues, causing significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Sporadic ethnic and religious tensions in areas of Indonesia have resulted in violence and civil unrest.
Avoid all demonstrations, rallies and gatherings, as they can turn violent with little notice. Monitor local news and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Political and social tension
There are long-standing sectarian and social tensions throughout Indonesia, particularly in the provinces of Central Sulawesi (especially in Palu, Poso and Tentena), Maluku (especially in Ambon) and West Papua.
Sectarian violence targeting civilians has occurred. While there are ongoing security operations by Indonesian authorities, the potential for violence remains. Exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, maintain a heightened level of vigilance and be aware of your surroundings.
Foreigners have been kidnapped and killed in the past, particularly in the province of Aceh. Avoid travelling alone and travelling at night throughout Indonesia.
East and West Kalimantan
The Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf terrorist group has kidnapped tourists from Sabah, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Abu Sayyaf has not extended its activities into neighbouring coastal areas of Indonesia, including East Kalimantan, but may be capable of doing so.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. People have died after consuming drinks contaminated with methanol. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
There is a very high rate of credit and debit card fraud in Indonesia, including online fraud. Keep your card information (number, name, expiry date) private. Keep all receipts and bills bearing a credit or debit card number secure or destroy them completely.
Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your card is handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Many remote parts of Indonesia have poor transportation networks. It may be difficult or impossible to leave these areas in a crisis.
Road conditions, particularly outside major centres, are poor. Road travel in Indonesia can be very challenging, as drivers are not disciplined and do not consistently obey traffic rules. Streets are generally congested. Driving at night in rural areas is dangerous, as most rural roads are unlit and some drivers do not use lights. If you plan to rent a car, consider hiring a driver.
Be particularly cautious on the road from Banda Aceh to Medan, where armed robberies have occurred. There is a possibility of mob anger if an accident has caused serious injury. In such cases, remain in your vehicle and drive to the nearest police station to report the accident.
Motorcycle and scooter accidents are the main cause of death and serious injury among foreigners visiting many parts of Indonesia, including Bali. Be aware of scams involving motorcycles rentals. Rental motorcycles are targeted and stolen and the renters are left to pay the replacement cost for a new motorcycle.
Idul Fitri (the celebrations marking the end of Ramadan) will take place on June 15, 2018. Expect an increase in traffic and traffic accidents.
Transport by bus and rail can be crowded and safety standards are poor.
Avoid travelling by ferry. Maritime accidents are common and are often caused by poor safety practices or extreme weather conditions. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy. If you choose to travel by ferry, ensure that the vessel you are boarding is carrying appropriate safety equipment, that life jackets are provided for all passengers and that they are accessible at all times. Verify the safety standards of ferries with your tour operator.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Rough seas and strong currents have led to drownings. Respect local warnings and consult hotel management about potential water hazards.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
General safety information
Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times. Exercise caution at all times and in all places.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Indonesian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Airlines may deny entry to foreign nationals if they are not in possession of a return ticket or the correct visa. Confirm requirements with your airline prior to travel.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the date of entry into Indonesia and must contain at least one blank page for the placement of the Indonesian visa or entry stamp.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Free visit (stays under 30 days): Not required
Tourist visa (stays of 30 to 60 days): Required
Business visa: Required
Social-cultural visit visa: Required (e.g. for humanitarian work, educational field trips)
Limited stay visa (see below): Required
You do not need a visa if you are planning to stay in Indonesia for less than 30 days and are travelling for one of the following purposes:
- art and culture
- government visit
- giving a lecture or attending a seminar
- attending a meeting held by a head office or representative office in Indonesia
- attending an international exhibition
If you are travelling for tourism with a regular Canadian passport and plan on staying in Indonesia from 30 days to 60 days, you may obtain a visa in advance or on arrival at select points of entry. You may need to show a return or onward ticket.
Business and social-cultural visas
Canadians travelling to Indonesia for business or social-cultural purposes (e.g volunteer work) must be in possession of a visa prior to arrival. A business and social-cultural visit, single-entry visa is extendable from within Indonesia. A round-trip airline ticket is required to obtain all types of visas.
Canadians travelling for business or social-cultural purposes require a letter from both the sponsoring organization in Indonesia and the sending organization.
More information on visas - Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
Limited stay visa
A limited stay visa can be issued to Canadians travelling to Indonesia for any of the following reasons:
- work (regardless of the length of stay)
- study (regardless of the length of stay)
- installation of equipment (regardless of the length of stay)
- performing art (more than 60 days)
- competitive sports (3 months or more)
- volunteer program (6 months or more)
- scientific research (regardless of the length of stay)
- media, journalism or film making (regardless of the length of stay)
- join immediate family members that are working in Indonesia for 6 months or more
Journalists and aid workers
Journalists visiting Indonesia for reporting and filming purposes must obtain authorization from the Directorate General of Immigration in Jakarta before applying for a visa. Aid workers are required to have a sponsor in Indonesia in order to obtain a visa. Aid workers going to Aceh require prior authorization from the Directorate General of Immigration in Aceh or Jakarta.
Canadians who travel to Indonesia for an extended stay must have their visa converted into a permit at the nearest immigration office upon arrival in Indonesia.
Indonesia strictly enforces its immigration and visa requirements. Foreigners have been detained in immigration detention centres for visa violations or overstays. Those in violation may be subject to substantial fines and deportation.
You must obtain a permit to travel to Papua. Entry regulations and permission to remain in Papua may change at any time.
You must pay a fee, in cash, on all international and domestic airport departures. Fees vary by airport, and domestic departure fees are lower. Verify the applicable fee with immigration officials, airport authorities or your travel service provider.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southeast Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southeast Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is caused by filariae (tiny worms) spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause a range of illnesses. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for lymphatic filariasis although drug treatments exist.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Southeastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country.
Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds. In rare cases, it can infect people.
- avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets
- avoid areas where poultry may be slaughtered
- avoid contact with birds (alive or dead)
- avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them
- ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities throughout Indonesia are below Western standards. Most medical staff do not speak English or French. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury. Make sure you have travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws.
Learn about the criminal law system in Indonesia and what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Canada does not have a Transfer of Offenders Treaty with Indonesia.
Illegal and restricted activities
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are very severe and include the death penalty for serious drug offences. Suspects can be detained for prolonged periods, without the possibility of release on bail, while police conduct investigations prior to prosecution. Random drug testing of tourists throughout the country has resulted in several arrests.
Gambling is illegal.
Local customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation or export of items such as medications and audiovisual material.
More information on customs requirements - Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
Religious police enforce sharia (Islamic law) in Aceh. Specific applications of sharia may differ by region and may apply to non-Muslims as well. Inform yourself of the relevant provisions specifically related to the region, regardless of your religion.
Carry adequate identification, such as a passport and your stay permit, at all times. You may be detained and fined if you don’t have the original on you. Keep copies, in case it is lost or confiscated.
Traffic drives on the left.
In the event of an accident, drivers must stop and exchange information and assistance.
Motorcycle drivers and passengers are required to wear helmets.
Canadians can’t drive in Indonesia with a Canadian driver’s licence but may purchase an International Driving Permit locally. Check with a local Indonesian licensing office if they need to endorse an International Driving Permit obtained in Canada.
Information on International Driving Permits
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Indonesia.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Indonesia, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
Indonesia allows minors to carry dual citizenship until the age of 18. After this time, they must choose between their Indonesian citizenship and foreign citizenship.
In some areas, Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in local customs, laws and regulations.
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2018, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 15.
In some provinces, sexual acts between individuals of the same sex are prohibited and punishable. Individuals can be arrested under laws related to what is considered immoral behaviour, prostitution or social ills.
In Aceh, Sharia law is enforced and sexual acts between Muslim individuals of the same sex is punished by caning. Even in provinces that don’t prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, homosexuality is not socially tolerated.
LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Indonesia.
The currency is the rupiah (IDR). Credit cards are not widely accepted outside of large urban centres and tourist areas.
Traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at banks and larger hotels.
Carry cash when visiting remote areas.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Indonesia is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to a multitude of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, volcanic eruptions and drought.
On February 19, 2018, Mount Sinabung volcano, in North Sumatra, began erupting, spewing ash and smoke above its peak. An evacuation order is in place within 3 km of the summit. Avoid the evacuated area and be ready to leave quickly upon recommendation from local authorities.
Ash clouds could disrupt air travel in the region. Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation could affect your travel plans and monitor local media.
Indonesia has 129 active volcanoes and periodically experiences major volcanic events. The Indonesian Directorate of Volcanology monitors active volcanoes to ensure that residents are provided with an early warning should unusual activity occur. Alert levels can be raised and evacuations ordered on short notice.
Keep up to date with any developments if you are travelling close to active volcanoes and follow the instructions of local authorities. Consult the Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and National Disaster Management Authority for a list of volcanoes with elevated risk levels.
Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (Bahasa Indonesia, only)
National Disaster Management Authority (Bahasa Indonesia, only)
The rainy season extends from November to March, but heavy rains are common throughout the year. Flooding and landslides can occur with little warning, especially in remote areas where extensive deforestation is common, but also in major cities, including Jakarta. Such incidents have led to fatalities and destruction of property. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts as well as road closures or detours, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities.
Unrestricted burning in Sumatra and Kalimantan periodically causes atmospheric pollution (haze) to rise to unhealthy levels, especially from June to October. Monitor levels closely, as they change quickly.
In case of emergency, dial 110 for police.
Research and carry contact information for local medical facilities.
Jakarta - Embassy of Canada
Bali - Consulate General of Australia
The Australian Consulate-General in Bali can assist Canadians in an emergency, under the Canada-Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement.
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Jakarta and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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