DFAT Indonesia Travel Advice

Aug 7th, 2010, in News, Travel, by

Australian travel advice for Indonesia, the threat of angry taxi drivers; comparative threat levels.

In DFAT's (Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) most recent update to its travel advisory page for Indonesia a new danger of visiting the country is noted, that is: Crime (confrontations between taxi drivers in Bali): smartraveller.gov.au

A dispute between rival taxi companies in Bali turned violent during a recent protest. While such incidents are rare and passengers have not been specifically targeted, you should exercise appropriate caution. If you are caught up in a confrontation between taxi drivers, you should seek to leave the taxi and the immediate area if it is safe to do so.

Apart from angry taxi drivers (local taxi companies and the Jakarta-based Blue Bird company are slugging it out for market share) the threat of rabies on Bali (and Nias) was also especially noted.

DFAT concludes its report with its main concern regarding Indonesia: terrorism:

Ask yourself whether, given your own personal circumstances, you're comfortable travelling to Indonesia knowing there is a very high threat from terrorism and you may be caught up in a terrorist attack. Ask yourself whether travel could be deferred or an alternative destination chosen.

In general DFAT through its Smartraveller service uses five categories to judge the danger level for Australian travellers:

  1. Be alert to own security
  2. Exercise caution
  3. High degree of caution
  4. Reconsider your need to travel
  5. Do not travel

Indonesia is listed in the second worst category:

We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to...

Other countries which are included in this grouping:

  • Ethiopia
  • Eritrea
  • Mauritania
  • Angola
  • Haiti
  • Pakistan
  • Nigeria
  • Liberia
  • DR Congo
  • Yemen
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Algeria
  • Madagascar
  • Zimbabwe
  • Kyrgyz Republic

Update: May 2012

Currently DFAT uses four categories of travel advice, they being:

  1. Exercise normal safety precautions
  2. Exercise a high degree of caution
  3. Reconsider your need to travel
  4. Do not travel

Most areas of Indonesia, including Bali, have seen their travel warnings downgraded from "reconsider your need to travel" to "exercise a high degree of caution". The "reconsider the need to travel" warning remains in force for Central Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua, and West Papua.


34 Comments on “DFAT Indonesia Travel Advice”

  1. avatar diego says:

    They should mention ayams as one of the biggest threats when travelling in indonesia….

  2. avatar ET says:

    A possible future threat for travelers safety are the more and more frequent and lengthy traffic jams, especially in Bali in the Kuta – Airport area. Half an hour for a 2 km stretch is quite common these days. I wonder how long it will take for the preman to take advantage of this situation to rob cars that got stuck.

  3. avatar Hans says:

    A bit excessive, no smoke without fire, myself think that the atmosphere in terms of getting worse in recent years, less tourists, less money. course, competition becomes harder for traders.
    Think that people are going in general very friendly and helpful.

  4. avatar Ross says:

    ‘They should mention ayams as one of the biggest threats when travelling in indonesia….’

    Yes, diego, not least when trying to walk down Jalan Falatehan!

  5. avatar Odinius says:

    So Indonesia is, according to these wizards, in the same threat category as Pakistan or Nigeria?! What, exactly, are these people smoking?

  6. avatar vojo says:

    ‘They should mention ayams as one of the biggest threats when travelling in indonesia….’

    Yes, diego, not least when trying to walk down Jalan Falatehan!

    And knocking them up! You could have a lifetime of trouble.

  7. avatar David says:

    So Indonesia is, according to these wizards, in the same threat category as Pakistan or Nigeria?! What, exactly, are these people smoking?

    Yes, that was the whole point of this, it beggars belief, making an issue of a fight between taxi drivers (!) when so much ugliness and dysfunctionalness goes on in some of those other countries in that list, don’t know what planet they’re on.

  8. avatar berlian biru says:

    Bad enough as the list of countries in the same security threat level is, what about the countries which are regarded as safer than Indonesia?

    Russia, North Korea, Mexico, Syria, Kosovo, Jamaica, Iran, Israel, Ethiopia, Egypt, East Timor, Georgia, Jordan, Burma, South Africa?

    Am I living in a different Indonesia than the country these Aussie diplomats are being paid to analyse or is that taxi driver dispute in Bali claiming massive casualties that aren’t being reported?

  9. avatar David says:

    Yes, with a lot of those countries in your list the

    We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to…

    bit is restricted to particular areas of the country, not the whole country, so for Egypt it’s the Sinai; for Turkey it’s Kurdistan; etc. Indonesia being so big and diverse then surely they could just do that, recommend not going to places that have a recent history of problems, although even that is debatable, like is Ambon unsafe now? No. Aceh; Papua; and because the taxi drivers got into a punch-up one day, Bali.

  10. avatar BrotherMouzone says:

    While I find their mention of a scrap between cabbies daft, you have to say that, based on data from the previous 10 years for Australian citizens, putting Indonesia in such a high risk bracket is probably justified statistically…

    I mean, I’ll defend Indonesia to anyone but, be honest, if you were working for the Oz embassy, would you really want to sign your name to the letter downgrading Indonesia’s risk level?

    Regardless of how stable things have been, there really is nothing stopping a few idiots from a Pesantren wreaking havoc in Bali or Jakarta again…

  11. avatar Oigal says:

    The Oz goverment is pretty much on a hiding to nothing. Unfortunately, far too many people have come expect others to take the blame for the poor life decisions they make.

  12. avatar Oigal says:

    They should mention ayams as one of the biggest threats when travelling in indonesia…

    In actual fact, in my company we have the official (DFAT) brief to give visitors and the unofficial and more practical seamy (unwritten) one which recognises “kid in lolly shop” factor for first time young (and not so young) males.

  13. avatar yaser antone says:

    want to know the savest thing to do aussiers?, keep stay with your mom, watching tv programmes all the day long, listen to her stories and learn how to cook well. Never travel to indonesia my gigantic unpigmented kids, its very hot there my dear, a lot of sunlight, not good for our lovely -god-chosen-skins. Moreover indonesian foods are contaminated by e coli, our delicate stomachs will easily get diarrhoea my dear. Good boy, oh my dear gigantic pale kids, our own house the most comfy and the savest and lest you forget we have kangaroo !!.

  14. avatar nakal says:

    Just realized i’m living in a very dangerous neighborhood! the taxi companies are disputing… duh!
    I think they should warn their people not to abuse substances.
    Its pretty annoying to be hear loud inebriated and totally smelly bogans with pleated hair, bintang vest and boardies, complaining about how Bali is not “safe” like australia to smoke pots, to get crack and coke.

    They should mention ayams as one of the biggest threats when travelling in indonesia….

    Those ayams are actually one of the main attractions, i wish they are legal and organized! think tax and wellfare. much better than ignoring or trying to be prude about it. That oldest profession won’t give up easily

  15. avatar shorty says:

    DFAT has about as much relevance as ashtrays on motor sepedas.

    Don’t be fooled by the accronym…it stands for Department of Fatuous Advice to Travellors.

    How could you possibly take them seriously…there were no warnings for New York/USA after 9/11…..

    maybe there is a positive side…warring taxi drivers could get rid of the pissed, overweight, kuta centric, obnoxious australians!

  16. avatar Winmar says:

    Yeah if it means there are fewer bogans on Bali’s streets, that can only be a good thing for more knowledgeable tourists!

    DFAT have been giving Indonesia this kind of travel status for as long as I can remember. Can anyone recall what the travel recommendation was prior to krismon?

  17. avatar Oigal says:

    How could you possibly take them seriously…there were no warnings for New York/USA after 9/11…..

    Actually there are but it sounds better your way…

    maybe there is a positive side…warring taxi drivers could get rid of the pissed, overweight, kuta centric, obnoxious australians!

    Well, that may help but the real threat to Bali lies with the domestic tourists and immigrants. Take a long look around its not the foreign culture supplanting the Balinese one but the more insidious one that has done the same throughout Indonesia.

    However, its always better if we blame foreigners for our woes, it makes we don’t have to do anything or take any responsibility.

  18. avatar shorty says:

    mea culpa oigal, i was taking a little licence/the piss on dfat…

    “…Well, that may help but the real threat to Bali lies with the domestic tourists and immigrants……..”

    this is a worthwhile, yet separate issue. the foreign threat is on culture and tourism potential.

    is ozbalia adding or detracting to bali’s appeal?

    the walled, expat ‘ghettos’ are usually located on, around or replacing areas of…

    1. high religious significance .
    2. high agricultural yield.

    as locals sell agricultural land to foreigners the cultural cycle is broken and irrevocably changed.

    uluwatu to canggu….

  19. avatar Oigal says:

    No one is denying the impact of foreign tourism on Bali or any other place for that matter, it always a double edged sword that requires rather skillful and forwarding thinking management.

    However, I have always found it a bit rich that the powers that be (and others) permit whole streets of down-market bars, invest nothing into basic infrastructure and then complain about the class of tourist they get…Duh

    “the walled, expat ‘ghettos’ are usually located on, around or replacing areas of…

    1. high religious significance .
    2. high agricultural yield.

    as locals sell agricultural land to foreigners the cultural cycle is broken and irrevocably changed.

    uluwatu to canggu….”

    Again its worth digging a bit further below the surface, who really owns these properties. As we know, despite what people are told a foreigner cannot legally own a Villa in Indonesia (including Bali). More importantly just how did the (most usually) Non-Balinese Indonesians get their grubby little paws on these lands.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have no liking at all for the new age bule finding his or her path in the Island of the Gods at the expense of others. I liken the deals as an offensive symbiotic relationship of parasites.

    You do raise a good point though, which is the more damaging; the young and no so young singlet clad party boys restricted to the relatively small Kuta area or the Villa Vipers and the Javanese cultural invasion?

    My view is the Kuta and places like Jalan Jaska serve a useful function to extract as many dollars as possible from people who would gain nothing nor offer nothing by interacting with the rest of the population.

  20. avatar Oigal says:

    Mmmm Maybe..

    I have to confess a personal bias tho, I consider Bali to be the most overrated Tourist Destination in SE Asia. If you want sleazy bars and parties there are heaps better. If you want five star resort there are heaps better and cheaper. Views and historical sites same story. As for surf, sun and sand… give me a break! Unless you enjoy the swimming with the blind mullets and sub standard waves.

    At the risk of abuse, this does not make me anti-Balinese just anti the wank and dishonest image presented

  21. avatar ET says:

    I liken the deals as an offensive symbiotic relationship of parasites.

    The pinnacle of greed: parasites feeding on each other.

  22. avatar shorty says:

    oigal

    the kuta + sleaze serves a useful purpose. it’s a bogan honeypot. it makes it eay to avoid them!!!

    i rate my bali trips on the time spent in kuta/legian/tuban/seminyak…the lower the time the better the trip. 27 minutes in 6 weeks is my record!

    open your eyes…70% of bali doesn’t or rarely sees a tourist. it’s not all sand, sea and sun. (im an oz, we’ve better back here) it’s the balinese. blind mullet, sleazy bars and swimming is not in my bali.

    you mention 5 star…a favorite joke…

    2 people at the bar at ……bali hilton?…….are discussing the countries they’ve visited. listening in, you realise they’re not discussing the countries they’ve visited, but the hilton’s at which they’ve stayed.

    .

  23. avatar Oigal says:

    A fair cop Shorty, post probably sounded a bit more cynical than it should have. Indeed, the places like Kuta do serve a useful purpose and the point is no point complaining about the type of tourist they draw if thats the way they are marketed. To be honest, I have made my share of forays into such places but under no pretence of what I was doing..and jolly good fun and all.

    I have also do more share forays into inner darker Bali as well, agreed a different world but for me have moved on to other places. No particular reason, just time to move on. Although if I hear one more story about the kind, gentle nature of the Balinese I will vomit.

  24. avatar timdog says:

    Seen Eat Pray Love yet, have you Oigal? 😉

  25. avatar Oigal says:

    Hi Timdog, Aaagh Spare me (and the answer is no) 🙂
    Although recently in Bali (for technically non-tourist reasons) and laughed out loud at the pony tailed, pot bellied aged hippie (male) reading a copy at one of the local warungs.

  26. avatar Oigal says:

    Oh and before I get slammed, I am not suggesting the Balinese people are not “nice” people but the the kind, gentle safe little native dancer image does them and their history a great disservice.

  27. avatar shorty says:

    oigal/timdog….i’ve forgotten an earlier post which was hilarious and true…maybe you can remember/dig it up.

    instead of eat, pray, love it was along the lines of get pissed, get laid…and was the account of cheryl from western sydney at the kuta hotspots.

    re epl and ubud. i gave up when i saw a pamphlet advertising didjeridoo healing at the notice board at the ubud market. there’s lots of kooris in ubud………..

  28. avatar shorty says:

    thx et. drink, f*ck vomit would make a much more interesting movie….there’s an inherent honesty/reality rather than the new age, esoteric, poseur ubud portrayed in the movie and hijacked/perpetuated by some ubudians.

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