Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 30 July 2019, 14:39 NZST
  • Still current at: 7 December 2019

Related news features

Avoid non-essential travel

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

Exercise increased caution

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

View Larger Map Close/Open map

Terrorism
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, and Sulawesi (in the mountains around Poso). 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 on 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, Surabaya, and other large cities. 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
We advise against all tourist and other 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, and in the central highlands. 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 September 28, 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the central region of the island of Sulawesi, resulting in many casualties. Due to damage from the earthquake and tsunami, infrastructure is still in a state of rebuilding and basic services may be difficult to obtain in Central Sulawesi, including the city of Palu, Donggala District, Sigi District and Parigi Moutong District.On 5 August 2018 a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the North East area of the island of Lombok, causing many fatalities and injuries, as well as impacting local infrastructure. On 29 July 2018 a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the same area and was followed by several aftershocks. A volcanic tsunami occurred on 22 December 2018 killing 426 people and causing significant loss of infrastructure along the south Sumatra and north Java coastlines. Slips, flooding and landslides occur with little warning throughout the country.

There are a number of active volcanoes in Indonesia and many have high alert levels which, at times, 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 erupted sporadically since September 2017, as has Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra. For active volcanoes, 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.

Crime
Petty crime is common in Indonesia, including on Bali and Lombok. Incidents of bag-snatching and pick-pocketing occur and can become 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

Only book taxis with a reputable firm, or ask your hotel to book your transport in advance.

Credit card fraud, including skimming, is common in Indonesia. We recommend that you 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 locals 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. Deaths and long-term ill-health have also been reported after drinking local moonshine/homebrew beverages. These should be avoided.

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 and cargo 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 to check 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. Sharia law operates in Aceh and it is expected that all visitors to the province behave in an appropriate manner and respect local customs. New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions throughout 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 adventure 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 nzembjak@cbn.net.id Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/indonesia Hours Mon-Thurs 0730 - 1600 hrs, Fri 0730 - 1300 hrs

See our regional advice for South East Asia

Share this page:

Related News features

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

Email: nzembjak@cbn.net.id

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/indonesia

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

Related advice from other countries

Share this page:

Other pages in this section: