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Indonesia - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Indonesia. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to a continuing threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country.
Papua (see Advisory)
Political tensions and violent incidents have increased since October 2011. In some cases, foreigners and foreign businesses have been targeted.
In May 2012, a foreign tourist was shot in Jayapura without apparent motive. A series of random attacks causing casualties followed. A sharp increase in violent incidents was reported in June 2012.
Police and military presence in Papua has been significantly increased following a series of violent incidents in Puncak Jaya. Labour disputes at the Freeport Indonesia mine near Timika, have led to demonstrations, transportation disruptions and violence. Fatal attacks have occurred on roads near the mine.
Permits are required to travel to Papua. Entry regulations and permission to remain in Papua may change at any time. Demonstrations may turn violent and should be avoided. Seek local advice on your travel plans. Foreigners have been kidnapped and killed in the past.
Several climbers of the Carstensz Pyramid (also known as Puncak Jaya or Jaya Kesuma) and surrounding areas in Papua have encountered significant difficulties travelling overland out of the area, resulting in unforeseen costs, delays and inconvenience. The Indonesian government regulates and approves permits to the Lorentz National Park, including the Carstensz Pyramid. Ensure that you have proper permits and have made arrangements for reliable and reputable guides prior to arrival. The only approved overland access is via a hiking trail from Illaga.
You should only travel to Aceh with well-established and reputable organizations. Exercise caution at all times and in all places, and register and remain in contact with the Embassy of Canada in Jakarta. Kidnappings for ransom, including of foreigners, have taken place. Avoid travelling alone and travelling at night. Exercise particular caution on the road from Banda Aceh to Medan, where armed robberies have occurred.
Religious police enforce sharia (Islamic law) in Aceh. Be aware that specific applications of sharia may differ by country and 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.
Bali and Lombok
Terrorist attacks targeting foreigners and resulting in deaths and injuries took place in Bali in 2002 and 2005, and police disrupted an alleged terrorist cell in March 2012. Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times.
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Cases of consumption of alcohol adulterated with harmful substances, such as methanol, and drink-spiking have been reported in local bars and restaurants.
Long-standing religious and social tensions remain in Central Sulawesi. Sectarian violence took place from 1998 to 2001 and from 2003 to 2006, especially in Poso, Palu and Tentena. The situation is now mostly calm, but the potential for violence remains.
East and West Kalimantan
The Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf group has kidnapped tourists from Sabah, Malaysia, and the Philippines. They have not extended their activities into neighbouring coastal areas of Indonesia, including East Kalimantan, but may be capable of doing so.
Social tensions remain in West Kalimantan; however, no major conflict has taken place since communal violence ended in 2001.
Long-standing communal tensions, including religious tensions, remain in the province of Maluku, especially in Ambon. Wide-spread violence occurred between 1999 and 2002, and there have been sporadic incidents since. Tensions between Christian and Muslim groups in Ambon resulted in clashes in late 2011. The situation is now mostly calm, but the potential for violence remains.
Criminal activity targeting foreigners has increased in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, in places frequented by tourists, such as hotels, and on public transportation. Several incidents involved either the threat or use of violence. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid showing signs of affluence.
Political tensions and violent incidents have occurred in the past, and the potential for violence remains. Permits are required to travel to the province of West Papua. Consult the Regional Advisory for the province of Papua if you are planning to travel there.
There is an ongoing high 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. Terrorist targets could include government buildings, places of worship, schools, transportation hubs and public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels, and sites frequented by foreigners. Stay at hotels that have robust security measures, including metal detectors, guards and security cameras; however, keep in mind that even the most secure locations cannot be considered completely free of risk.
Terrorist attacks could occur at any time. Be particularly vigilant during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
On January 14, 2016, explosions and gunfire occurred in the area around the Saris Pan Pacific Hotel and Sarinah Plaza on Jalan Sudirman Thamrin, in downtown Jakarta. Indonesian authorities have increased security measures at certain locations, such as airports, the presidential palace, foreign embassies and shopping centres.
Exercise a high degree of personal security awareness, maintain a heightened level of vigilance and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Armed robberies are reported regularly and criminals are increasingly using weapons. Petty crime, including pickpocketing, bag snatching, and forced cash withdrawals from automated banking machines (ABMs), remains a serious concern. The risk of street crime, pick-pocketing and bag-snatching has increased significantly 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. Be aware that, in some cases, police who stop motorists or others may request the immediate payment of fines.
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum, or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Some tourists have reported being overcharged for services rendered, after having previously agreed on a lower price. Use good judgment in engaging services of tourist guides, especially in places rarely visited by tourists.
Large and occasionally violent protests have taken place in many parts of the country over a wide range of issues. Sporadic ethnic and religious tensions in areas of Indonesia have resulted in violence and civil unrest.
Ongoing protests by taxi drivers against ride sharing services have caused traffic disruptions in the SCBD and Semanggi areas of Jakarta.
Avoid all demonstrations and gatherings, monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities.
Many remote parts of Indonesia have poor transport links, and departure from these areas may prove difficult or impossible in times of crisis.
Road travel in Indonesia can be very challenging. Traffic drives on the left, driver discipline is poor, traffic rules are not consistently adhered to and streets are generally congested. Road conditions, particularly outside major centres, are substandard. Night driving 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 the services of a driver for a nominal additional fee.
In the event of an accident, Indonesian law requires drivers to stop and exchange information and assistance. There is a possibility of mob anger if the accident has caused serious injury. In such cases, remain in your vehicle and drive to the nearest police station to report the accident.
Motorcycle drivers and passengers are required to wear helmets. 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.
Transport by bus and rail can be crowded and safety standards differ from those in Canada.
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.
The Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation makes regular public releases of operational performance assessments of Indonesian commercial airlines. These reports have indicated that some local airlines do not maintain their aircraft to international maintenance and safety standards. In the past several years, a number of commercial aircraft have crashed in various parts of Indonesia, often as a result of failing to meet such aviation standards. In light of these sometimes fatal crashes and substandard practices, carefully evaluate implications for your safety before deciding to undertake domestic air travel.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
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. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
General safety information
Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Carry adequate identification, such as a passport and your stay permit, at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Indonesian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia or its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Indonesia, which must be valid for at least six 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. Travellers transiting through Indonesia will not be permitted to board their onward flights to Indonesia without the six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Holders of regular Canadian passports arriving in Indonesia for the purposes of tourism may obtain a 30 day visa upon arrival. Immigration officials can require visitors who are entering the country without obtaining visas in advance to show return or onward tickets. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Canadians travelling to Indonesia for business, social-cultural, or study purposes must be in possession of a visa prior to arrival. Business and Social-Cultural Visit single entry visas are extendable within Indonesia. A round-trip airline ticket is required to obtain all types of visas. For further information on visas, consult the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia.
Canadians travelling for business or social-cultural purposes require a letter from both the sponsoring organization in Indonesia and the sending organization. You will be required to show proof of your Canadian immigration status if you do not hold Canadian citizenship.
Journalists visiting Indonesia for reporting and filming purposes must obtain authorization from the Director General of Immigration in Jakarta prior to 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 Director General of Immigration in Aceh or Jakarta.
Tourist visa for visits under 30 days: Not required
Business visa: Required
Study visa: Required
Social-Cultural Visit Visa: Required (humanitarian work, educational field trips, etc.)
A fee, which must be paid in cash, is applied for 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
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
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 Vaccination
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.
|* 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.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
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 at high risk 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.
- 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 and in rare cases, it can infect people.
Avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets including areas where poultry may be slaughtered. Avoid contact with birds (alive or dead) and 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. Medical evacuations to Australia or Singapore are often required for serious conditions. Most medical staff do not speak English or French. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Poisoning from alcoholic beverages resulting in death or serious illness has occurred, including in Bali, Lombok, Java and Sumatra. Some drinks, particularly those containing liquor, may contain methanol or other harmful substances. The contents of any bottle, even brand name bottles, may have been altered. Locally brewed liquors such as “arak” can be especially dangerous. Symptoms of methanol poisoning may resemble those caused by alcohol consumption, such as nausea and dizziness, coupled with acute vision problems. Choose reputable and licenced establishments, and seek immediate medical attention if you experience such symptoms.
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 & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Canada does not have a Transfer of Offenders Treaty with 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.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are very strict 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. Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Canadians are not permitted to drive in Indonesia on a Canadian driving licence but are permitted to use an international licence, which can be purchased locally. An International Driving Permit obtained in Canada may need to be endorsed by the local Indonesian licensing office.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Indonesia. If local authorities consider you an Indonesian citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present an Indonesian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Indonesia allows minors to carry dual citizenship until the age of 18.
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 2017, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 27. Idul Fitri (the celebrations marking the end of Ramadan) will take place on July 17. Expect an increase in traffic and traffic accidents during these celebrations, as well as possible delays at airports.
In some areas, Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in local customs, laws and regulations. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Although the laws of most provinces of Indonesia do not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, homosexuality is not socially tolerated. In some provinces, sexual acts between individuals of the same sex are prohibited and punishable. Individuals can be arrested under laws related to 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.
The currency is the rupiah (IDR). Credit cards are not widely accepted outside of large urban centres and tourist areas.
There is a very high rate of credit and debit card fraud in Indonesia. Pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others during payment processing. Indonesia is known for its high rate of online credit card fraud. Ensure that your card information (number, name, expiry date) is kept private. Keep all receipts and bills with a credit or debit card number secure or destroy them completely.
Traveller's cheques can be exchanged at banks and larger hotels.
Carry cash when visiting remote areas.
Natural disasters & 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.
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 apprised of any developments if you are travelling close to active volcanoes and follow the advice of local authorities, as it is possible that safe-distance restrictions may be in place. Consult the Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources for a list of volcanoes with elevated risk levels.
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. These 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.
On October 25, 2010 a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck under the Indian Ocean near the Mentawai Islands off the coast of Sumatra, generating a tsunami that killed hundreds of people. In December 2004, a massive tsunami struck coastal areas on the Indian Ocean, including the island of Sumatra, following an earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter scale.
Unrestricted burning in Sumatra and Kalimantan periodically causes atmospheric pollution (haze) to rise to unhealthy levels, especially from June to October. Levels change quickly and should be closely monitored.
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 Consulate General of Australia in Bali, under the Canada-Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement, can assist Canadians in an emergency.
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. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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