Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 29 October 2018, 11:50 NZDT
  • Still current at: 24 July 2019

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Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to Papua and West Papua provinces due to civil unrest and the risk of kidnapping.

Avoid non-essential travel to Central Sulawesi, including the city of Palu, Donggala District, Sigi District and Parigi Moutong District due to damage from the recent earthquake, aftershocks and tsunami.

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Indonesia, including in Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali, due to the ongoing threat of terrorism.

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There is a high threat of terrorism in Indonesia. While effective counter-terrorism measures have reduced the risk of attacks, Indonesian authorities continue to arrest terrorist suspects in the advanced stages of attack planning. Terrorist cells exist and have the capacity to carry out attacks anywhere in the country, including Bali. Terrorists may specifically target Westerners or Western interests in Indonesia, as well as police and security forces.

New Zealanders throughout Indonesia are advised to exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, choose destinations and activities carefully and ensure appropriate security arrangements are in place. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising particular vigilance in public places, especially in areas where Westerners congregate or there are identifiable Western interests. You should monitor the media and other local information sources for any new information on potential threats to your safety and security.

Possible targets include any location associated with Western interests or known to be frequented by expatriates or foreigners. These include (but are not limited to) embassies, hotels, bars, restaurants (including fast food outlets), identifiably Western businesses, banks, shopping malls, schools, places of worship, tourist resorts, transport hubs, residential areas and all other areas where foreigners frequent or tend to gather. Recent targets have included Indonesian security and police forces.

Previous terrorist attacks in Indonesia, including in Jakarta and Bali, have resulted in the deaths of Indonesians and foreign nationals.  

  • On 13 May 2018, there were explosions at three churches in Surabaya in East Java causing a number of deaths and casualties. On 14 May 2018 an explosion occurred at Police Headquarters in the same area.
  • On 24 May 2017, a suspected suicide bombing at the Kampung Melayu bus terminal in East Jakarta killed 3 police officers and injured more than 10 people.
  • On 14 January 2016, an attack took place near the Sarinah Plaza on Thamrin Street in downtown Jakarta, involving a number of explosions and gun battles with security forces. 8 people were killed in this incident, including 4 attackers.
  • In July 2009, 2 suicide bomb attacks took place at the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels in Jakarta, killing 8 people and injuring more than 50 others. 

Further attacks, including low-scale or opportunistic attacks, cannot be ruled out.

Civil unrest
Demonstrations, often large-scale, are a feature of Indonesian life, especially in Jakarta. Most demonstrations pass without incident, but we advise New Zealanders to avoid all demonstrations, rallies and large crowds as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning. Be aware of your surroundings, monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities.

Papua and West Papua Provinces (Avoid non-essential travel)
Avoid non-essential travel to Papua and West Papua provinces. The security situation remains unpredictable and there is a risk of kidnapping. Political tensions associated with anti-government groups and local rivalries can lead to violent clashes. Sporadic violence has occurred in Papua province, mainly in Jayapura, parts of the central highlands, around the Grasberg mine and on the road between Timika and Grasberg. Clashes between security service personnel and civilians, and between groups of civilians, have resulted in deaths and injuries. If you are travelling to Papua or West Papua provinces, a travel permit known locally as a “surat jalan” is required. Should you need medical attention, limited facilities are available.

Seismic Activity
Indonesia is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes, with the potential threat of tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. On 29 July 2018 a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the North East area of the island of Lombok and was followed by several aftershocks. Slips, flooding and landslides can occur with little warning, commonly in mountainous and remote areas, but also in urban areas. On 5 August 2018 a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the same area, causing many fatalities and injuries, as well as impacting local infrastructure.

There are a number of active volcanoes in Indonesia and many have high alert levels which, at times, can necessitate evacuations. These volcanoes erupt from time to time and in the past have caused destruction and loss of life.  Ash clouds have also caused disruptions to flights. Mount Agung, an active volcano on the island of Bali has shown increased volcanic activity since September 2017. The volcano continues to be active and the alert level of Indonesia's Natural Disaster Management Authority can change with little warning.

New Zealanders are advised to exercise caution, check news reports and follow local advice before travelling to areas within Indonesia that are prone to volcanic activity.  Daily updates (in Indonesian) can be found on the Indonesian Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Mitigations website and Smithsonian Institution’s weekly updates.  More information is available from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service.

Petty crime is common in Indonesia, including in Bali. Incidents of bag-snatching and pick-pocketing occur and can turn violent. Ensure your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure when walking in public areas and travelling on public transport. Exercise caution, particularly at night.

Credit card fraud, including skimming, is common in Indonesia. We recommend New Zealanders take extra care when using credit cards and ATMs and carefully check credit card statements for fraudulent charges.

There have been incidences of both tourists and Indonesians becoming seriously ill from food and drink spiking. Do not leave food or drink unattended or accept any food or drink from strangers or recent acquaintances.

Maritime Safety/Piracy
Inter-island travel by boat has its risks and a number of passenger boats have sunk in bad weather and due to mechanical failure. Passenger limits are not always observed and sufficient safety equipment may not be provided. We advise against boarding any ferry you believe to be overloaded or unseaworthy.  We also recommend caution when taking tourist boats and checking that appropriate safety and communications equipment are on board.

Piracy is a problem in South-east Asian waters, particularly in the Straits of Malacca. Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautionary measures in these waters. For more information, view the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy report.

General travel advice
Indonesia is a diverse country in both a cultural and religious sense, which often differs from region to region. Some areas, such as Aceh are extremely conservative, and expectations of high moral conduct are enforced. New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Indonesia to avoid offending local sensitivities.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Indonesia should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air and coverage for high risk activities.

New Zealanders are urged to take note of Indonesia’s strict, and stringently enforced, laws against the possession, use or sale of illegal substances.

New Zealanders in Indonesia are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

Street Address Sentral Senayan 2, 10th Floor, Jl Asia Afrika No 8, Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta Pusat 10270, Indonesia Postal Address PO Box 2349 JKT 10024, Jakarta 10210, Indonesia Telephone (+ 62 21) 2995 5800 Fax (+ 62 21) 5797 4578 Email Web Site Hours Mon-Thurs 0730 - 1600 hrs, Fri 0730 - 1300 hrs

See our regional advice for South East Asia

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New Zealand Embassy Indonesia

Street Address
Sentral Senayan 2, 10th Floor, Jl Asia Afrika No 8, Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta Pusat 10270, Indonesia

Telephone: (+ 62 21) 2995 5800

Fax: (+ 62 21) 5797 4578



Hours: Mon-Thurs 0730 - 1600 hrs, Fri 0730 - 1300 hrs

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