Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 19 November 2013, 10:04 NZDT
  • Still current at: 6 December 2016

Security

There is an increased, global risk of terrorism. No country is immune from a terrorist attack, and no person is immune from becoming a victim of an attack. Terrorists have little regard for civilian casualties and in many cases, attacks are designed to maximise casualties.

Although New Zealand travellers may not be targeted deliberately, they are usually indistinguishable from any “Western” tourist and frequent places where other Western tourists are found. This puts New Zealanders at the same risk as others.

Wherever you are, you should keep yourself informed about the latest alerts and stay aware of your surroundings in areas where large numbers of people congregate, such as shopping malls, markets, monuments, demonstrations and on any public transport.

Kidnappings and bombings have been the hallmark of several groups operating in the southern Philippines such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf Group. In Indonesia members of the Jemaah Islamiyah (which allegedly has links to Al Qaeda) have been charged with responsibility for the Bali Bombings in 2002 and 2005. There is a risk of kidnapping of foreigners travelling to the islands and coastal areas in Eastern Sabah (from Kudat in the north around eastwards to Tawau) by the Abu Sayyaf Group operating out of the Philippines.

Other countries in Southeast Asia, particularly those with Islamic populations, have terrorism concerns. Accordingly, there is now a region-wide warning out about the possibility of terrorist attacks in Southeast Asia.

In many Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Viet Nam, the penalties for drug offences (possession or trafficking) are severe and can include the death penalty. The possession of even small quantities of drugs for recreational purposes can result in lengthy jail sentences and deportation. While "party pills" may be legal in New Zealand, travellers should not take them on holiday overseas as they are classed as prohibited substances/drugs in many countries.

Extreme Risk

Destinations in South East Asia where we advise against all travel.

Philippines

There is extreme risk to your security throughout central and western Mindanao, including in the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay and in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (including the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi).  We advise against all travel to these areas. The very high threat of terrorist activity, kidnapping and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups makes travel to these areas extremely dangerous.

Thailand

There is an extreme risk to your security in the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla due to ongoing politically-motivated and criminal violence, which occurs on an almost daily basis. We advise against all travel to these provinces. The Thai Government has warned tourists not to travel to these areas.

High Risk

Destinations in South East Asia where we advise against tourist and other non-essential travel.

Indonesia

There is high risk to your security in Papua and West Papua provinces due to civil unrest and the risk of kidnapping. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these provinces.

Laos

There is a high risk to your security in Xaisomboun Province due to the potential of violent incidents and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel. Travel to this area requires a permit from Lao authorities. There has been a number of violent incidents in the Xaisomboun Province in recent years. These incidents have included shooting attacks and the detonation of improvised explosive devices, resulting in a number of deaths and injuries, including of civilians.

There is a high risk to your security on Road 13 between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang and the “new road” between Kasi and Road 4. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel due to the potential for violent incidents. There have been a number of shooting attacks targeting tourist buses travelling these routes. 

Malaysia

There is a high risk to your security in coastal areas of eastern Sabah (from Kudat to Tawau, including Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Kunak and Semporna, including the offshore islands and dive sites) due to the risk of kidnapping and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these areas. 

Myanmar

There is high risk to your security along the borders with Laos, Thailand and China and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel in the vicinity of these borders, including official border crossings. Military activity, ethnic militias, armed drug smugglers and the presence of landmines pose a particularly high risk to your safety. 

There is high risk to your security in Kachin, Rakhine and northern Shan states due to ethnic tensions and the potential for armed conflict and violent civil unrest. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these areas.  

Philippines

There is high risk to your security in the remaining provinces of Mindanao and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these areas due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups.

Some Risk

Destinations in South East Asia where we advise caution.

Cambodia

There is some risk to your security in Cambodia due to violent crime and we advise caution.

Indonesia

There is some risk to your security elsewhere in Indonesia, including in Jakarta and Bali, due to the ongoing threat of terrorism. We advise a high degree of caution.

Malaysia

There is some risk to your security elsewhere in Malaysia due to the threat of terrorism, crime and the potential for civil unrest and we advise caution. 

Myanmar

There is some risk to your security elsewhere in Myanmar due to the uncertain political situation and potential for civil unrest and we advise caution. 

Philippines

There is some risk to your security elsewhere in the Philippines, including in Manila, due to the threat of terrorism, risk of kidnapping and violent crime and we advise caution.

Singapore

There is some risk to your security in Singapore due to an underlying threat from terrorism and we advise caution.

Thailand

There is some risk to your security elsewhere in Thailand due to the potential for civil unrest and threat of terrorism and we advise caution.

Timor-Leste

There is some risk to your security in Timor-Leste due to the threat from violent crime and isolated incidents of civil unrest and we advise caution.

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