Interested in exploring the culturally rich beauty that is Indonesia? Of course, you are. The Republic of Indonesia, located off the coast of Southeast Asia, is as stunning as it is rich in history, cuisine, and adventure.
Did you know that Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia? It also shares borders with Papua New Guinea and Malaysia, both breathtaking destinations that we love.
It has countless sites and paths to walk on a journey that will feed the soul. Indonesia promises many must-see attractions like beaches, mountains, mosques and temples. The local cuisine offers a gastronomic experience like no other, so you won’t go hungry while traveling here.
With Indonesia growing more popular and attracting more faces every year, it does leave you wondering: how safe is it for tourists? We are going to guide you through the steps you should take when visiting, as well as how you can do so with the least amount of stress.
Why Visit Indonesia?
“Bhinekka Tunggal Ika,” which, when translated, means “Unity in Diversity,” perfectly describes the diversity and unique charm you’ll find when you visit Indonesia.
This massive country boasts more than 17,000 islands, many of which are uninhabited. You’ll find well over a hundred ethnic groups spread across Indonesia, each contributing their dialects, customs, and dishes to its rich culture.
For many, it’s a dream to visit Indonesia. You can explore the breezy beaches, watch or experience prayer in the different worship houses, tantalize your taste buds with the local food, and learn about the country’s extensive history.
Indonesia has turned into quite the hub for tourists and immigrants, so it’s not surprising people want to know if it’s safe to visit.
Is Indonesia Dangerous
Just like anywhere in the world, Indonesia is not free of crime. As a tourist, you’ll be relatively safe from significant crimes. However, being aware of your surroundings is always helpful. Knowing where you are and what crimes commonly happen as a visitor will help you avoid these issues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported cases of Polio in Indonesia. So, when visiting, it is advisable to be cautious of any infections you could contract. You’ll be offered a specific set of routine vaccinations before you travel to the country, including the Polio vaccine, and these will help prevent the spread of Polio and among others.
It is important to take general safety precautions when traveling so that you can avoid dangerous situations. While this is not necessarily exclusive to Indonesia, getting clued up on common crimes like pickpocketing, scams, and other issues will help keep you safe in any travel destination.
Dangerous Areas in Indonesia
Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia and the largest city in Southeast Asia. It has been debated for some time: Is it a safe or dangerous city? It attracts tourists and locals daily with its charming atmosphere. But the promise of overall safety has yet to be met.
As with many busy cities, locals and tourists could fall victim to petty crimes like robbery and pickpocketing. The dense traffic in the city center also poses a safety risk as it could lead to car accidents and hijackings.
While the capital city is mostly safe, it is worth noting that extra safety precautions are always for the best.
Depok is situated in West Java and has a hefty population of nearly two million residents. While the city is safer than other dangerous cities across the globe, in Indonesia, the crime in Depok has increased significantly over the last three years.
If you’re visiting or traveling through Depok, the main risk to be wary of is property vandalism, car and home break-ins, and petty cases of muggings. You can stay safe by finding the safest areas in Depok to stay should you need to, travel during the day, and when booking a place to stay, find one that has security or is fenced in.
Is it Safe to Live in Indonesia
Indonesia is generally safe for tourists, and in recent years, the country has seen an influx of people immigrating to the beautiful country either for work or for leisure.
You’ll find that the appeal of living in Indonesia revolves around a number of reasons. People enjoy the slow pace of life and work versus the mundane and structured work-driven lifestyles offered in other parts of the world.
Many immigrants also want to fulfill the desire of being surrounded by a melting pot of cultures and history. It can also simply be due to the visual appeal of the country. Either way, it remains a growing attraction. While it has its safety risks and concerns, it is safe to travel to Indonesia, and it is also safe to live there.
Safe Cities in Indonesia
Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia and is located on the coast of the Island of Java. This buzzing town boasts numerous visual and cultural wonders to explore, and you can do so freely as the city remains one of the safest areas in the country.
Are you wondering what to see in Surabaya? You could see the Heroes Monument, which honors the people who fought in the Battle of Surabaya in 1945. Or head to Al-Akbar Mosque for a taste of Indonesian religion and culture. Catch a sunrise or sunset tour of Mount Bromo or visit Kenjeran Beach to soak up the sun on the sandy shores.
While widely considered one of the safer regions, Surabaya is not free of petty theft like bag snatching and pickpocketing. Exercising at least a little precaution would still be wise to best avoid these issues.
The province of Bali is located east of Java and has its highest peak at the top of Mount Agung. The island has been one of the most popular travel destinations in recent years.
It offers breathtaking views for a picture-perfect vacation and has sites and practices that can help nurture mindfulness and self-actualization. You could visit Tanah Lot temple and watch the sunset from the beach. You could also go over to Muhammad Mosque and see the intricate architecture or travel to Denpasar to see the Al-Muhajirin Mosque.
There are many things to do when visiting Bali, so be sure to check out must-see sites like the Ubud Monkey Forest, Bali Museum, Goa Gajah (also known as “Elephant Cave”), or check out The Cave, an exclusive subterranean restaurant.
This special district is located on the Island of Java, situated near Borobudur and Prambanan, and is less than an hour from Mount Merapi. It is an art and history hub on the Island.
You’ll find plenty of galleries and museums paying homage to the history that built the city. You could visit the Pendhapa Artspace to see regular art exhibits. Also, see authentic batik and beautiful fabrics made in the traditional process indigenous to Yogyakarta.
Warnings & Dangers in Indonesia
Not short on beautiful and picturesque landscapes or cultural hotspots, Indonesia offers travelers a unique experience. But like most travel hotspots, it has its risky parts.
Crime is the most significant risk factor you need to keep in mind. It is crucial to know which areas are safer for tourists, what time to explore, and whether it’s safe to be alone or better in a group or with a guide.
Nature poses a more unpredictable risk, and Indonesia is no stranger to natural disasters. There are over 100 active volcanoes, and one erupting could threaten tourists and locals alike. There have also been cases of tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, and landslides that have happened during certain seasons.
Overall Travel Risk (4/10)
People from all walks of life frequently visit Indonesia. Places like Bali are known for being picturesque and peaceful destinations fitting for self-reflection, self-discovery, and cultural exploration.
Like many other countries, Indonesia has its risks and dangers. The most significant risk of all is crime. You’re not likely to experience significant or violent crimes. Additionally, depending on the season, floods, tsunamis, and cyclones could occur. Nature risks can, however, be avoided by planning your vacation around the more enjoyable times and seasons. With that being said, the overall risk is low.
When areas are densely populated or tourist attractions, it often invites petty crime such as pickpocketing and robbery. These kinds of crimes can occur in any place but are more likely to happen when you’re in Indonesia’s bustling towns and city centers.
In the digital age of ever-evolving technology, online crime is a possible threat. Phishing, for instance, is responsible for people’s personal information being stolen and accounts being hacked.
Recently, Indonesia has seen a rise in phishing attacks, which pose a threat regarding cyber security. While the chances of falling victim to this cybercrime are relatively low, it is still possible. With free WiFi being available nearly everywhere, it is crucial to be cautious with your information when accessing and using online platforms.
Natural Disasters and Weather
Indonesia has predominantly either sunny or rainy weather. But if you are close to the coastline, you could be at risk should a storm hit. Indonesia has also experienced tsunamis and floods over time, which is a significant risk when traveling to the country. As mentioned, it would be best to coordinate trips with the calmer times of the year.
The fabric that makes up the beautiful tapestry of Indonesia is intricately woven with various ethnic groups, religions, languages, and cultural practices. For first-time visitors, the rich mix of cultures can be a bit of a shock.
The country houses people in the Muslim, Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist faiths, with hundreds of different ethnic groups and many languages spoken. If you were to disrespect the culture or history, it could offend the locals.
While the people of Indonesia are known for being a friendly bunch, insulting their culture could strike a chord, so being tolerant and respectful is highly advised.
Tips for Staying Safe in Indonesia
Indonesia remains a generally safe tourist destination, but there are a few safety tips to make that trip extra safe.
- Be aware and alert: Keep your belongings close by at all times. For women, especially, it is vital to ensure your food and drinks are not tampered with.
- Check the weather before traveling: In a place where the weather can be warm and clear or wet and stormy, it is helpful to plan your travels around the seasons as best as possible to avoid mishaps.
- Steer clear of dangerous areas: While most of Indonesia is safe, it is best to avoid the more unsavory areas, especially at night and, most of all, when alone.
- Find safe methods of transportation: Find out if any reputable transport services are available nearby and make sure the ones you use are safe.
- Stay Hydrated: It is essential to stay hydrated, especially in warmer climates. On your travels, stick to bottled water, and on those scorching days, keep cool.
Is Indonesia Safe | Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a Visa to travel to Indonesia?
Most countries require a Visa. The country you’re from will usually have the most significant influence on your Visa process. Nationals from countries such as South Africa, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, and more can travel to Indonesia without a Visa. They may do so and stay in the country for up to 30 days before applying for an Indonesian Visa.
There are different types of Visas available for travelers. The options include Indonesian Tourist visas, Student visas, the Indonesian Digital Nomad visa, and the Business Visa of Indonesia. There are specific requirements to note when acquiring a Visa for Indonesia, depending on your location and the nature of your visit.
What vaccinations do I need to travel to Indonesia?
Suppose you have not been previously vaccinated for anything. In that case, it is recommended that you go and get the routine vaccines (Chickenpox, MMR: Measles-Mumps-Rubella, Influenza, etc.) in addition to the COVID-19 vaccine and the Hepatitis A and B vaccines. As recently as September 2023, more and more Polio cases have been reported worldwide, and travelers have been advised to ensure they’re up to date with the required Polio vaccines.
Is alcohol allowed in Indonesia?
While many parts of Indonesia are majority Muslim, the sale and consumption of alcohol is indeed legal. The Islamic faith prohibits the consumption of alcohol. Still, due to Tourism and the rest of the local population of non-Muslims, the country allows the sale and consumption of alcohol. It would, however, be best practice to not consume alcohol near religious sites and ultimately show respect for the local Muslim population.
Is it safe for a woman to travel to Indonesia?
Solo travel for women can be liberating and empowering but risky, depending on the destination. Some places require a specific dress code or a chaperone for female travelers.
Women can travel through Indonesia as freely as they wish. There are, however, valuable tips for women to remember while traveling to Indonesia and anywhere in general.
It’s helpful to remember to be conscious and aware of your surroundings, practice safety precautions when eating and drinking in public, and refrain from walking alone at night, for example.