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Travel Security Advice for Indonesia




Indonesia is an independent republic consisting of more than 17,500 islands spread over 3,400 miles along the Equator. The main islands are Java, Sumatra, Bali, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes), Papua, Halmahera and Seram. The capital city of Jakarta lies in the lowlands of West Java, the most populated island. The country has approximately 245,500,000 people and more than 300 ethnic groups.

Indonesia’s geographic location and topography make the country prone to natural disasters, especially seismic upheaval due to its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. Indonesia is a developing country with a growing economy and some infrastructural shortcomings; however, it has many tourist destinations associated with the country’s cultural diversity and natural resources. Annually, approximately 150,000 U.S. tourists visit Indonesia. See the Department of State’s Background Notes on Indonesia for additional information on the country.


 U.S. citizens living or traveling in Indonesia are encouraged to register via the internet with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.

U.S. Embassy Jakarta is located at Medan Merdeka Selatan 5, Jakarta 10110; telephone: (62)(21) 3435-9000; fax (62)(21) 385-7189.  The U.S. and most secure international mail address is: U.S. Embassy Jakarta, FPO AP 96520 USA.  The This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it of the Embassy can be reached by e-mail.  Instructions on how to receive SMS emergency messages on your cell phone can be found on the Embassy’s FAQ page.

U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya is at Jalan Raya Dr. Sutomo 33; telephone: (62) (31) 295-6400; fax (62) (31) 567-4492, after-hours duty officer (62) (811) 334-183.  The consulate can also be reached by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it The consulate should be the first point of contact for assistance to U.S. citizens who are present or residing in the Indonesian provinces of East Java, Nusa Tenggara Timor, Nusa Tenggara Barat, all of Sulawesi and North and South Maluku.

There is a Consular Agency in Bali at Jalan Hayam Wuruk 188, Denpasar, Bali; telephone: (62) (361) 233-605; fax (62) (361) 222-426; or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it The U.S. Consulate in Surabaya is an alternate contact for U.S. citizens in Bali.

The U.S. Consulate in Medan, North Sumatra, provides only emergency assistance to U.S. citizens and does not have public consular hours.  U.S. citizens needing consular assistance in Sumatra should contact the Consulate in Medan to make an appointment.  The consulate can be reached by telephone at (62) (61) 451-9000.


The Indonesian government requires visitors to have a passport valid for at least six months following the date of arrival.  Indonesian authorities regularly deny entry to all foreign nationals who arrive with less than six months’ validity on their passports.  The U.S. Embassy cannot obtain entry permission for U.S. citizens in this situation.  Travelers will be required to depart for Singapore or a nearby country to obtain a new U.S. passport.  Also, travelers to Indonesia who do not have the necessary six months’ validity remaining on their passports may be denied boarding at their point of origin or at a transit point en route.  It generally takes two weeks for a U.S. passport to be issued outside of the United States.

U.S. citizens are required to have a visa to enter Indonesia.  Tourist passport holders may apply for a non-extendable visitor Visa-on-Arrival at airports in Jakarta, Bali, Surabaya, Medan, Padang, Pekanbaru, Manado, Biak, Ambon, Balikpapan, Pontianak, Kupang, Batam, and South Sumatra.  An onward/return ticket is required to apply for a Visa-on-Arrival at these ports of entry.  Visas-on-Arrival are not available at the Banda Aceh airport.  Visas-on-Arrival are also available at a limited number of seaports, including the Batam and Bintan ferry terminals near Singapore but are not available at any land border crossing.  For complete details on Visas-on-Arrival and other visa information please visit the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia websiteVisas-on-Arrival are not available for travelers using diplomatic or official passports to enter Indonesia.

Indonesian visas require one entirely blank passport page.  Travelers without a blank visa page in their passport may be denied entry.  Please see information on how to add extra visa pages.

U.S. citizens may also apply for a visa at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC, or at an Indonesian consulate elsewhere in the United States.  In some cases, U.S. citizens may also apply at Indonesian embassies and consulates in other countries.  U.S. citizens traveling overseas who wish to apply for an Indonesian visa should inquire with the Indonesian embassy in the country where they are currently traveling.  For up-to-date Indonesian visa information, contact the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia: 2020 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036, phone: (202) 775-5200, or at Indonesian Consulates in Los Angeles (213) 383-5126; San Francisco (415) 474-9571; Chicago (312) 920-1880; New York (212) 879-0600; and Houston (713) 785-1691.  Visit the Embassy of Indonesia website for the most current visa information.

Indonesia strictly enforces its immigration/visa requirements.  Travelers who overstay the date stamped in their Visas-on-Arrival are subject to a fine of U.S. $20 per day and other sanctions.  Westerners, including U.S. citizens, have been jailed for visa violations and/or overstays.  Violators may also be subject to substantial fines and/or deportation from Indonesia for immigration and visa violations.  Immigration officials have also detained foreigners for conducting business, academic, or other non-tourist activities while on visitor status.  Volunteer work with local or international NGOs is not permitted while on visitor status.  Penalties for such immigration/visa violations have included a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of Rupiah 25 million.  Travelers are encouraged to contact an Indonesian consular office to determine the appropriate visa category before traveling to Indonesia.  Please consult the Criminal Penalties section below for further information.

All airline passengers, including children, are subject to a departure tax, which must be paid in Rupiah, cash only.  The international departure tax as of November 2008 is 150,000 Rupiah in Jakarta and varies at other international airports.  The domestic departure tax in Jakarta is 40,000 Rupiah, but this tax also varies by airport.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Indonesia.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.


 Indonesian police and security forces take active measures against both ongoing threats posed by terrorist cells, including Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a U.S. government-designated terrorist organization that carried out several bombings at various times from 2002 to 2009 and outbreaks of violence elsewhere.  While Indonesia’s counterterrorism efforts have been ongoing and partly successful, violent elements have demonstrated a willingness and ability to carry out deadly attacks with little or no warning.  Most recently, in November 2009, unknown assailants shot at foreigners in Banda Aceh, North Sumatra, an area that was devastated by the 2004 tsunami and the scene of a long-running separatist conflict that ended in 2005.  The gunfire wounded a European development worker.  A house occupied by U.S. citizen teachers was targeted and hit by gunfire, but there were no U.S. citizen casualties.  In July 2009, attacks by armed assailants in Papua resulted in several deaths, including security personnel and one Australian national.  Also in July, suspected JI elements bombed two Western hotels in Jakarta, killing nine Indonesians and foreigners and injuring over 50, including six U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens in Indonesia must be physically and mentally prepared to cope with future attacks even as they go about their normal daily routines.

Extremists may target both official and private interests, including hotels, clubs and shopping centers.  While it may be difficult to modify one’s behavior to counter risks in a country where places in which U.S. citizens and other Westerners must congregate to live and work are well known and few in number, it is also extremely necessary.  In their work and daily living activities, and while traveling, U.S. citizens should be vigilant and prudent at all times.  We urge U.S. citizens to monitor local news reports, vary their routes and times, and maintain a low profile.  U.S. citizens must consider the security and safety preparedness of hotels, residences, restaurants, and entertainment or recreation venues that they frequent.  U.S. citizens with Indonesian cell phones may register to get U.S. Embassy emergency text message alerts:

Compose a text message on your cell phone utilizing the following format:

Send to 9388 from your Indonesian cell phone;
You will receive a text message confirmation of registration;
You will be charged RP1000 per SMS Alert Message.

U.S. citizens should always use common sense when traveling in unfamiliar areas and should be aware that a real or even perceived offense may generate a violent response.  For example, in June 2008, two U.S. citizens in western Sumatra were beaten after they reportedly accused a local man of theft. In the same month, another U.S. citizen in Sumatra was threatened by members of a local mosque when he complained about being awakened from his sleep by the morning call to prayer.

The U.S. Mission in Indonesia must receive prior notice by U.S. government employees and Mission personnel of their travel to Papua, Banda Aceh, Central Sulawesi, and Maluku.  All travelers, private and government, to Papua must also obtain prior approval from the Indonesian Government.

U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Indonesia are urged to update their passports and important personal papers in case it becomes necessary to depart Indonesia quickly.  Travel distances, poor communications, and an inadequate health care infrastructure make it extremely difficult for anyone to respond to U.S. citizen emergencies.  Many parts of Indonesia (including many tourist destinations) are isolated, and difficult to reach or contact.

Interreligious violence that plagued parts of Indonesia in the past ten years has largely abated.  The private ownership of firearms is greatly restricted and, therefore, the incidence of violence or crime involving the use of firearms is low.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroadU.S. citizens living in or traveling to Indonesia are strongly urged to have adequate health insurance that includes international medical evacuation coverage.  Recent U.S. citizen victims of bombings and accidents have lived, or avoided being maimed for life, by being medically evacuated for advanced treatment.


Crime can be a problem in some major metropolitan areas in Indonesia.  Crimes of opportunity such as pick-pocketing and theft occur throughout the country.  The Embassy recommends that official employees use reputable taxis only, such as Silver Bird or Blue Bird, which are found in a queue at major hotels or shopping centers, arranged by calling ahead or hailing them on the street.  The Embassy also advises official employees arriving at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport to use only Silver Bird or Blue Bird taxis or arrange transport through their hotel.  Airport touts should not be used.  Criminals in Jakarta regularly rob customers in vehicles that have been painted to look like taxis from reputable companies; booking taxis by telephone directly from the company is the best way to avoid falling victim to this crime.  Some airports, including those in Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Bali, and Lombok offer competitive, reliable, prepaid taxi services.

Claiming to act in the name of religious or moral standards, certain extremist groups have on occasion attacked nightspots and places of entertainment.  Most of these attacks have sought to destroy property rather than to injure individuals.  International news events can sometimes trigger anti-American or anti-Western demonstrations.

Credit card fraud and theft is a serious and growing problem in Indonesia, particularly for Westerners.  Travelers should minimize use of credit cards and instead use cash.  If used, credit card numbers should be closely safeguarded at all times.  There have been many reports of shop, restaurant, and hotel staff writing down the credit card numbers of customers and then making purchases using the credit card number after the card owner has departed the retail location.  Travelers should avoid using credit cards for online transactions at Internet cafes and similar venues.  Travelers who decide to use credit cards should carefully monitor their credit card activity and immediately report any unauthorized use to their financial institution.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and proof of U.S. citizenship are readily available.  While a passport card is valid only for land and marine travel inside North America, it may also serve as a convenient, durable, wallet size, original proof of identity and U.S. citizenship.  Please see the U.S. Passport Card page on the Department’s website.  When U.S. citizens are arrested or detained, formal notification of the arrest is normally provided in writing to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, a process that can take several weeks. If detained, U.S. citizens should immediately telephone the U.S. Embassy Jakarta, or the nearest U.S. consular office.

"Drink-spiking" incidents have been of increasing concern as there have been many reports of males being targeted for this ruse in clubs and nightspots.  The effects of this drug, believed to be an animal tranquilizer, are extremely powerful.  Besides putting the victim in an unconscious state for a long period of time, the side effects include memory loss, nausea, headaches and vomiting.  Although most of these incidents involve male victims, it is important to remember that females have also been victimized in the past with "date-rape" drugs.  Local “home brew” alcoholic drinks may also be spiked.  The best advice is to not go out alone, not leave drinks unattended, drink only brand name beverages, and drink responsibly, in moderation.  Even though alcohol is widely available in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, public inebriation is highly frowned upon.

Maritime piracy in Indonesian waters continues, but incidents have decreased steadily in past years.  Most recent reports are of thefts of valuables or cargo from boats that are in a port and not at sea.  Regardless, before traveling by sea, especially in the Straits of Malacca between the Riau Province and Singapore and in the waters north of Sulawesi and Kalimantan, passengers are advised to review the current security situation with a local port agent.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.


If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if neededThe FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance may offer aid to U.S. citizen victims of certain overseas crimes, including terrorism. 

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

The Indonesian equivalents to the “911” emergency line are 110 for police, 113 for fire, and 118 for ambulance services. Indonesian emergency service responses may take a long time and are often rudimentary at best. It is often more effective to go to Indonesian authorities for help rather than to wait for emergency services to respond to a call.  Selecting tour guides, hotels and business partners based on their reputation, competence, and ability to help can be very useful when considering how to cope with an emergency.


While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than those in the United States for similar offenses.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

In March 2008, the Indonesian parliament passed a bill criminalizing the access of Internet sites containing violent or pornographic material.  Anyone found guilty of this offense could be jailed for up to three years or required to pay a heavy fine.

Engaging in sexual conduct with children, as well as using and/or disseminating child pornography are crimes prosecutable in the United States regardless of the country in which the activity occurs.  The Indonesian child protection law imposes up to 15 years in prison for those convicted of engaging in sexual contact with a child, and the anti-trafficking in persons law imposes 15 years in prison for anyone engaging in sex with a victim of trafficking.

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Indonesia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.  A life sentence or even the death penalty can be given in cases of drug trafficking; several foreigners have been sentenced to death in recent years.  One U.S. citizen was given a life sentence for drug trafficking. Indonesian prisons are harsh and do not meet Western standards.  Many prisoners are required to supplement their prison diets and clothing with funds from relatives.  Medical care in Indonesian prisons, while available, is below Western standards, and it is often difficult to obtain access to medical testing to diagnose illness as well as to medications to treat conditions.


Natural Disasters:  Many areas of Indonesia are at high risk for natural disasters due to its geographic location and topography.  A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Padang, Western Sumatra in September, 2009, killing 3,000 Indonesians.  The Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami on December 26, 2004, killed more than 130,000 people and left over 37,000 missing in Aceh and North Sumatra.  On September 12, 2007, an 8.4-magnitude quake offshore of Sumatra along the edge of the Menawai islands damaged hundreds of homes and killed at least 13 people.  Dozens of strong aftershocks were felt, and magnitude 7.8 and 7.1 tremors were recorded during the following two days.  Major earthquakes on Nias Island, off Sumatra, in March 2005 and in Yogyakarta in May 2006 killed thousands of people.  An earthquake and tsunami on the southern Java coast in July 2006 killed more than 600 people and left thousands homeless.  Mt. Merapi volcano near Yogyakarta experienced significant pyroclastic flows from April to early July 2006, and authorities evacuated residents within a 15-mile radius.

U.S. citizens planning hiking or other outdoor activities in Indonesia are encouraged to obtain up-to-date information on local conditions, to travel with a local guide and to carry a local mobile phone.  Travelers should obey instructions from Indonesian authorities and should not enter restricted areas.  Organized and trained emergency services in populated areas are rudimentary, and in remote areas do not exist.  U.S. citizens who get into trouble may find themselves at great risk even if they can communicate their plight.  Fire departments lack modern equipment and training.  Occupants of high floors, beyond the reach of simple ladders, are at risk, since fire departments have been reported to let such fires simply burn themselves out.

Environmental Quality:  Air quality outside of Jakarta and other major cities is acceptable most of the time.  However, within Indonesia’s major cities, air quality can range from “unhealthy for sensitive groups” to “unhealthy.”  The air quality in Jakarta is particularly polluted. Individuals susceptible to chronic respiratory illnesses should consult with their doctor before spending significant amounts of time in Jakarta.  Open burning of rain forests to replant those areas with commercial crops continues, although to a lesser degree than in the early 2000s.  Water is not potable.  Only bottled water should be consumed.

Scuba Diving:  Snorkeling and Surfing: U.S. citizens should exercise prudence when scuba diving, snorkeling, and surfing, and when visiting remote tourist locations.  Strong seasonal undercurrents in coastal waters pose a fatal threat to surfers and swimmers, and every year several U.S. citizens drown in unstable water.  Surfers and divers should also be aware that local fishermen in coastal waters may use explosives to catch fish, even though this practice is illegal in Indonesia.

Hiking:  U.S. citizens interested in hiking on Puncak Jaya or other mountains in Papua should organize their trip through a reputable tour operator, and ensure that they have firm, realistic primary and backup plans for climbing down the mountains.  In the past, some local tour operators have abandoned climbers after they reached the summit.  Climbers should be aware that transiting private or commercial properties is considered trespassing, and is not a safe or legal alternative to a proper plan.  Hikers must assume that they will be on their own in case of an emergency.

Teaching English:  U.S. citizens who would like to teach English in Indonesia are urged to carefully review employment contracts before they travel to Indonesia.  Most contracts include a monetary penalty for early termination.  Individuals should be aware that English schools may hold passports to ensure that the employee complies with the terms of the contract or pays the appropriate penalty.  In the past several months, there has been an increase in the number of U.S. citizens who terminated their employment contracts early and could not depart Indonesia because their employer would not release their passports.

Commercial Disputes:  U.S. citizens involved in commercial or property matters should be aware that the business environment is complex, and dispute settlement mechanisms are not highly developed.  Local and foreign businesses often cite corruption and ineffective courts as serious problems. Business and regulatory disputes, which are generally considered administrative or civil matters in the U.S., may in some cases be treated as criminal cases in Indonesia.  It can be challenging to resolve trade disputes.  For more information, please refer to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Country Commercial Guide for Indonesia.

Internet Purchases:  U.S. citizens frequently experience difficulties when purchasing goods by Internet from Indonesian suppliers with whom the buyer has not met personally.  An increase in fraud has been noted with U.S. citizens attempting to purchase goods via the Internet from Indonesian stores and suppliers.

Counterfeit Currency:  Banks, exchange facilities and most commercial establishments do not accept U.S. currency that is worn, defaced, torn, or issued before 1996.

Dual Nationality:  Indonesian law does not recognize dual nationality for adults over 18 years of age. Because of this law, U.S. citizens who are also documented as Indonesian nationals may experience difficulties with immigration formalities in Indonesia.  Furthermore, holding dual nationality may also hamper the U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s ability to provide consular protection to dual national U.S. citizens.  In addition to being subject to all Indonesian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Indonesian citizens.  In July 2006, the Indonesian Parliament passed new legislation allowing children under age 18 to maintain a foreign nationality as well as Indonesian citizenship.  Parents whose children hold both Indonesian and U.S. citizenship may experience difficulties with entry and exit immigration procedures until the law is fully implemented.

Transportation:  There has been a rapid rise in all manner of public and private transportation within Indonesia.  Various private airlines have begun operations in Indonesia over the past several years, as have new bus and ferry lines.  Several recent air accidents have resulted in fatalities, injuries and significant damage to aircraft.  In the past year, several ferries sank and another was badly damaged by fire, resulting in a significant number of deaths and injuries.  While all forms of transportation are regulated in Indonesia, equipment tends to be less well maintained than similar equipment operated in the United States, and the quality of amenities found on various modes of transportation do not typically meet Western standards.  (See Aviation Safety Oversight section below for further information).

Customs Regulations:  Indonesian customs authorities strictly regulate the import and export of items such as prescription medicines and foreign language materials or videotapes/discs.  U.S. citizens are encouraged to contact the Embassy of Indonesia in Washington or Indonesian consulates elsewhere in the United States for specific information about customs requirements.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal, and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeiture and/or fines.

Please see our Customs Information.


The general level of sanitation and health care in Indonesia is far below U.S. standards.  Some routine medical care is safely available in all major cities, although most expatriates leave the country for serious medical procedures.  Psychological and psychiatric medical and counseling services are limited throughout Indonesia.  Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to locations with acceptable medical care, such as Singapore, Australia, or the United States can cost thousands of dollars.  Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payments or sizable deposits for health services.  A list of English-speaking doctors and hospitals is available via the U.S. Embassy Jakarta’s website.

Indonesian ambulance attendants lack paramedical training equivalent to U.S. standards. U.S. citizens staying in Indonesia for extended periods, especially those who have known health problems, are advised to investigate private ambulance services in their area, and to provide family and close contacts with the direct telephone number(s) of the service they prefer.

Malaria, dengue, avian and swine influenza, and other tropical and contagious diseases are prevalent throughout Indonesia.  In 2005, polio reemerged in Western Java.  Avian Influenza (H5N1) is endemic among poultry in Indonesia, and outbreaks in poultry have been reported in the majority of Indonesia’s provinces.  Travelers are urged to consult with their personal physicians and to obtain updated information on prevalent diseases before traveling to Indonesia.

Updated information and links to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are posted on the U.S. Embassy Jakarta’s website.

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) websiteThe WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Indonesia. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.


The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to determine whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.


While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  The information below concerning Indonesia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

In general, traffic in Indonesia is highly congested and undisciplined.  The number and variety of vehicles on the road far exceeds the capacity of existing roadways.  Road conditions vary from good (in the case of toll roads and major city roads) to dangerously poor.  Generally, road safety awareness is very low in Indonesia.  Buses and trucks are often dangerously overloaded and travel at high speeds.  Most roads outside major urban areas have a single lane of traffic in each direction, making passing dangerous.  Most Indonesian drivers do not maintain a safe following distance in a manner familiar to U.S. drivers and tend to pass or maneuver with considerably less margin for error than do drivers in the United States.  Although traffic in Indonesia moves on the left side of the road, drivers tend to pass on both sides and may use the shoulder for this purpose.  It is common for drivers to create extra lanes regardless of the lane markings painted on the roads.

Throughout Indonesia, there is an overabundance of motorcycles claiming the right of way.  Many motorcycle drivers recklessly weave in and out of traffic and typically fail to observe traffic regulations.  Throughout the country, motor vehicles also share the roads with other forms of transportation such as pedicabs, horse and ox carts, and pushcarts.

Indonesia requires the use of seat belts in front seats; most Indonesian automobiles do not have seat belts in the rear passenger seats.  The use of infant and child car seats is uncommon, and it can be very difficult to rent a car seat for temporary use.  Helmets are required for all passengers on motorcycles, but passengers often do not wear helmets, and this law is inconsistently enforced.  Accidents on rented motorcycles constitute the largest cause of death and serious injury among foreign visitors to Indonesia.  U.S. citizens are discouraged from riding motorcycles.

Accidents between a car and a motorcycle are invariably viewed as the fault of the driver of the car.  Groups of motorcycle riders will sometimes threaten the driver of a car who is involved in an accident regardless of who is at fault.  Expatriates and affluent Indonesians often use professional drivers.  All car rental firms provide drivers for a nominal additional fee.  Travelers unfamiliar with Indonesian driving conditions are strongly encouraged to hire drivers.

Driving at night can be extremely dangerous outside of major urban areas.  Drivers often refuse to use their lights until it is completely dark, and most rural roads are unlit.  Sometimes residents in rural areas use road surfaces as public gathering areas, congregating on them after dark.

When an accident involving personal injury occurs, Indonesian law requires both drivers to await the arrival of a police officer to report the accident.  Although Indonesian law requires third-party insurance, most Indonesian drivers are uninsured, and even when a vehicle is insured, it is common for insurance companies to refuse to pay damages.  Nevertheless, foreigners who plan to drive while in Indonesia should ensure that they have appropriate insurance coverage and driver’s licenses.  Drivers should be aware that ambulance service in Indonesia is unreliable, and that taxis or private cars are often used to transport the injured to a medical facility.  In cases of serious injury to a pedestrian, the driver of the vehicle could be required to help transport the injured person to the hospital.  If an accident occurs outside a major city, it may be advisable to drive to the nearest police station to seek assistance rather than stopping at the scene of the accident.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  Also, we suggest that you visit Indonesia’s national tourist office online for road safety information.


The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that the Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation is not in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for the oversight of Indonesia’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Indonesian civil aviation continues to experience air incidents and accidents.  Whenever possible, U.S. citizens traveling to and from Indonesia should fly directly to their destinations on international carriers from countries whose civil aviation authorities meet international aviation safety standards for the oversight of their air carrier operations under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program.


Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction

This replaces the Country Specific Information dated July 28, 2009, to update sections on Threats to Safety and Security, Crime, and Special Circumstances.



The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding travel to Indonesia HERE.....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassy Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)........

There is also a Malaria Travel warning for Indonesia HERE......


The SW Team......


Direct Gov Travel News and Alerts