Rica terraces in Bali, Indonesia
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Rica terraces in Bali, Indonesia

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Indonesia Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

1,904,569 sq km (735,358 square miles).

Population

269,544,949 (2019)

Population density

140.08 per sq km.

Capital

Jakarta

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Joko Widodo since 2014.

Head of government

President Joko Widodo since 2014.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz but 127 volts is still used in some areas. Plugs used are European-style with two circular metal pins.

Spread across the equator, Indonesia is a series of emerald jewels scattered across a broad expanse of tropical sea. This is one of the world's great adventures in waiting - hidden away in dense jungles on secret islands are tribes still living in isolation from the modern world and animals hardly known to science.

Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation on Earth with an incredible legacy of people, culture and geography just waiting to be explored. This archipelago boasts more than 18,000 islands, from tiny islets not much bigger than a palm tree to rugged expanses of land like Borneo, shared with the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Many visitors come specifically to seek out their own island paradise, complete with white-sand beaches, swaying palms and emerald waters. Below the waters, there are some of the world's best dive sites, swarming with huge sunfish, giant rays, sharks, porpoises, turtles and a blindingly colourful array of tropical fish.

For others, the attraction is cultural. A fascinating range of civilisations has developed across these tropical islands, from animist tribes in remote jungle villages to the elaborate Hindu kingdoms of Bali and Java. In Indonesia, timeless temples jostle for space with golden-domed mosques and beach resorts crowded with sun-seekers and surfers. The surf resort of Kuta in Bali has become one of the world's favourite tropical escapes, and the beach parties rave through till dawn every day of the week.

Those in search of a real escape can venture to the volcanic islands that drift eastwards towards Australia. There are towering volcanoes to be climbed, national parks to be explored and tropical rainforests to be trekked. You might even get lucky and meet a babirusa endemic to Sulawesi or the world's largest living reptile on the island of Komodo, home to the eponymous Komodo dragon.

Best of all, flights and ferries link all of the major islands, so you can island-hop right across the archipelago, stopping only when you find your own perfect piece of Southeast Asia.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to support British nationals in making informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Areas where the FCDO advises against travel

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice. Consular support is also severely limited where FCDO advises against travel.

Mount Marapi, Western Sumatra

FCDO advises against all travel to within 3km of the crater of Mount Marapi in West Sumatra.

Mount Sinabung area, Karo Regency

FCDO advises against all travel within 5 km of the Mount Sinabung crater in Karo Regency, North Sumatra.

Mount Semeru area, Lumajang Regency

FCDO advises against all travel within 5 km of the crater of Mount Semeru in Lumajang Regency, East Java. FCDO also advises against all travel to the southeast area of Mount Semeru along the Besuk Kobokan river (approximately 13 km from the crater). You should stay at least 500 m from the Besuk Kobokan riverbank.

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes:

  • advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks
  • information for women, LGBT and disabled travellers

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and potential expenses in an emergency.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Indonesia set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact Indonesia’s embassy in the UK.

Death from COVID-19 in Indonesia

If COVID-19 is given as cause of death and you would like to arrange a local cremation and repatriation of ashes, you will need to make contact with a local undertaker within 4 hours of the death registration to give your instructions. If you do not do this, it is likely that a local burial will take place.

You will also require a letter of no objection from the Embassy. This will be issued on the next working day.

Passport validity requirements

Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your date of entry into Indonesia.

Check with your travel provider or the nearest Indonesian Embassy or Consulate to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet the requirements.

Dual nationality

Indonesian law does not allow dual nationality for those aged 18 and older. If you are a British national who has retained Indonesian nationality, you could have difficulties with immigration in Indonesia. You might have to renounce your nationality or hand in your Indonesian passport.

Visa requirements

E-visas

You can apply for an e-visa before arrival on the Indonesian immigration website.

Visas on arrival

British nationals who visit Indonesia for the following reasons can also apply for a visa on arrival at a cost of 500,000 Indonesian rupiah:

  • tourism
  • official visit or government duties
  • business or official meeting
  • procurement of goods
  • transit

The visa is valid for 30 days. It can be extended once (for a maximum of 30 days) by making an application to an immigration office within Indonesia. Make sure you extend your visa within the initial 30 days to avoid an overstay fine of 1 million rupiah a day.

KITAS extension (stay or work permit)

KITAS holders with expiring stay permit but currently outside Indonesia can apply for an extension through a sponsor. The sponsor must submit the application to the immigration office attaching a copy of the passport and proof of leaving Indonesia. The application is submitted without biometric sampling. The sponsor must report the foreigner’s arrival within 30 days.

Visa scams

Beware of visa scams by fake visa agents who, having taken your money, may fail to provide a visa or supply the wrong visa. This could result in your overstaying and a fine of 1 million Indonesia rupiah per day, detention, deportation and possible re-entry ban. Use the Indonesian Immigration self-service portal.

Visa scams are increasing in Indonesia. Some travellers have lost significant amounts of money. Others have been deported despite paying large fees to an agent to get the correct visa or extension.

If you choose to use to use an agent check they are reputable.

Overstaying your visa

Visitors who overstay without the proper permissions can be held in detention or refused permission to leave the country until a fine of 1 million Indonesian rupiah per day is paid.

If you have overstayed your visa for less than 60 days, you must pay your fine at the airport. After 60 days, you will be detained until the fine is paid.

If your visa will expire during a period of hospitalization or detention, contact Indonesian Immigration before your visa expires to avoid any overstay fines. The British Embassy Jakarta can assist with this.

Proof of onward travel

Immigration officials in Indonesia may ask you for proof of onward travel (such as a return or onward air ticket). Make all reservations before leaving for Indonesia. Some airlines have refused to board passengers without evidence of onward travel.

Airport tax

Airport tax is included in the cost of all domestic flights within Indonesia. For some international flights departing Indonesia, airport tax might not be included in the price of the ticket. Check with your airline or travel agent before you travel.

Tourist levy

On 14 February 2024, the Bali Provincial Government will introduce a tourist levy of 150,000 Indonesian rupiah per person (approximately £8) to all foreign tourists arriving in Bali. Payment can be made online or on arrival at designated payment counters at Bali’s airport and seaport. Further information can be found on the Bali Provincial Government’s official website.

Vaccination requirements (other than COVID-19)

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and vaccination certificates you may need on TravelHealthPro.

Depending on your circumstances, these may include:

  • polio
  • yellow fever
  • Zika virus

Accommodation

Registering

If you stay in private accommodation in Indonesia (not a hotel) you must register your presence with the local police at the nearest police station. You could be fined 5 million Indonesia rupiah if you do not register. If you stay in a hotel you will be registered automatically.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and regional risks advice.

Terrorism

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Indonesia

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Indonesia.

The threat from Islamist extremism remains high, though the Indonesian authorities continue to disrupt attack planning, including arresting alleged terrorists reportedly in the advanced stages of preparation.

Indonesian government and law enforcement interests and places of worship are regularly targeted by extremists. Western interests are also at risk. Small-scale attacks occur on a regular basis and further incidents are likely. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. Potential targets include:

  • beach resorts
  • bars and restaurants
  • hotels
  • markets
  • shopping malls hosting major international brand outlets
  • tourist attractions
  • places of worship
  • foreign embassies
  • polling stations
  • ferry terminals and airports

There’s a heightened risk during holiday periods such as:

  • Christmas, New Year and Easter
  • Chinese New Year
  • Nyepi (Balinese New Year)
  • Islamic celebrations and holidays such as Ramadan
  • local elections
  • presidential inaugurations
  • Independence Day (17 August)

Follow the advice of the local authorities, remain particularly vigilant and maintain a high level of security awareness in crowded places and at large gatherings.

Recent attacks include:

  • in 2022, a suicide bomber attacked a Police post on Jalan Astana Anyar, in Bandung, West Java, killing one and injuring 8 people
  • in 2021, there was a suicide attack outside the Catholic Cathedral Church at JaIan Kajaolalido, Makassar
  • in 2020, a police officer was killed and another injured during an attack on a police station in Kalimantan
  • in 2019, a suicide bomber attacked police headquarters in Medan, Sumatra, injuring 4 police officers and 2 civilians
  • in 2018, there was an explosion at a police headquarters, and at 3 churches, in Surabaya, East Java, causing multiple deaths and injuries

Political situation

The political situation in Indonesia is stable. However, internal developments such as elections, presidential inaugurations and external developments, including in the Middle East, can trigger protests or unrest. Nationwide student protests took place in 2019 and 2020, and could reoccur at any time.

Indonesia will hold national elections on 14 February. Be more vigilant in the weeks before and after the vote. Demonstrations following the previous election in 2019 resulted in rioting and loss of life.

Avoid all protests, demonstrations and student and political rallies as they could become violent without notice.

Crime

Sexual assault

Reported cases of rape and sexual assault are high in Bali and Lombok. Exercise the same caution you would in the UK when travelling at night and avoid areas that are poorly lit.

If you want to travel by taxi, use only registered companies (such as Bluebird, Silverbird or Express) and ensure the driver’s identity is shown. If you are booking with a mobile app, check the driver is the same as the person on the app and share your journey with a friend using the app. Be wary of drivers claiming to be registered with online ride hailing apps trying to pick up passengers off the street.

Protecting your belongings

Be aware of the risk of street crime and pickpocketing, particularly in busy tourist areas in Bali, where there have been reports of bag-snatching. Concealing your bag as much as possible will help avoid bag-snatching and only carry essential items. Take care of your passport and bank cards.

Beware of thieves on public transport. If you’re travelling by car keep doors locked at all times.

Scams

Credit card fraud is common. Do not lose sight of your card during transactions. Criminals sometimes place a fake telephone number on ATMs advising customers to report problems.

Only use licensed currency exchangers. Licensed currency exchangers can be identified by the presence of a sign titled ‘Authorized Money Changer’ and the formal name of the business, accompanied by logos and certificates issued by the Bank of Indonesia. On the logos and branding, there should be a QR Code that when opened shows the information of the business and proof of licenses.

There has been a rise in the number of scams at tattoo parlours, nail salons and spas in Bali. Exercise caution when choosing your provider and ensure that you receive the service you request at the agreed price.

Drink and food spiking

There have been reports of sexual assaults and drink spiking in Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands. Make sure drinks are prepared in front of you and do not accept drinks from strangers at clubs and parties or leaving drinks unattended. Tourists have also been robbed after taking visitors to their hotel rooms, and in some cases have found that their drinks were spiked.

Alcohol strength and drugs

Drinks served in bars can be stronger than those in the UK and the measures of spirits are larger. In some cases, over drinking and taking drugs has resulted in accidents, injuries, robbery, assaults and lost travel documents and some British nationals have suffered psychiatric problems caused by alcohol, drugs and a lack of sleep. Drink responsibly and be aware of your limits.

Drink poisoning (methanol)

People, including British nationals, have died or suffered serious illness in Indonesia after drinking alcoholic drinks contaminated with methanol.

Drink poisoning incidents have happened in bars, shops and hotels in tourist areas like Bali, Lombok, the Gili Islands and Sumatra. Criminal gangs make counterfeit replicas of well-known alcohol brands containing high amounts of methanol.

Take extreme care when buying spirit-based drinks. Bottles may appear to be genuine when they’re not, and bottle labels may not be accurate. Contaminated drinks have included:

  • local spirits, including arak/arrack (a local rice or palm liquor)
  • spirit-based drinks, such as cocktails
  • brand name alcohol

Symptoms of methanol poisoning can be similar to those of alcohol poisoning. The fact sheet on TravelHealthPro has a list of symptoms for methanol poisoning.

To protect yourself from drink poisoning:

  • buy or drink alcoholic beverages at reputable licensed premises
  • be careful drinking cocktails and drinks made with spirits
  • avoid home-made alcoholic drinks
  • check bottle seals are intact

Seek urgent medical attention if you or someone you are travelling with show signs of alcohol-induced methanol poisoning or drink-spiking.

Laws and cultural differences

Religious holidays

Ramadan

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. The dates vary by year and country. Ramadan in Indonesia will take place on 10 March to 9 April 2024. During this time, do not:

  • eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public in the daytime, including in your car
  • play loud music or dance
  • swear in public

Get more advice when you arrive from your tour guide, hotel or business contacts.

You should also:

  • check opening hours of shops and restaurants
  • be aware that if hotels and restaurants are providing food or drink in fasting hours, they may separate you from Islamic guests, for example with screens
  • follow local dress codes – clothing that does not meet local dress codes may cause more offence at this time
  • be aware that driving may be erratic, particularly when people are trying to get home at dusk
  • be patient and show tolerance

Balinese New Year

During Balinese New Year, known as Nyepi, local custom requires that all people in Bali observe a day of silence by staying indoors, turning off lights, and making no noise. Ngurah Rai International Airport is closed for the entire day. However, emergency services and hospitals are allowed to operate.

Personal ID

You must be able to show your valid travel document (passport) or stay permit (such as KITAS or KITAP) at any time when needed to do so by an active immigration officer.

Alcohol laws and bans

In the province of Aceh consumption, production and distribution of alcohol are all illegal under Sharia law. Punishment following a Sharia court process is public caning.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Do not get involved with illegal drugs. Possession, trafficking and manufacture of any illegal drugs are serious offences in Indonesia. The Indonesian authorities have a zero-tolerance policy and those caught face lengthy prison sentences or the death penalty, usually after a protracted and expensive legal process. British nationals have been caught and jailed for drug offences in Indonesia.

Police often raid venues (particularly in Bali) known to be frequented by foreigners. You may have to take a urine or blood test if there is a reasonable suspicion that drugs have been used. Criminal gangs in the UK and elsewhere are known to coerce people into carrying drugs across borders. Do not allow yourself to be persuaded.

LGBT+ travellers

The province of Aceh enforces Sharia law. It is the only province in Indonesia to do so and the laws apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Homosexual activity is illegal under Sharia law. Punishment following a Sharia court process includes public caning, prison sentence or a fine which should be paid in gold.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Wildlife, animal products and souvenirs

It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a license. Indonesia is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which includes bans on trade in ivory and tiger parts. If you’re caught purchasing or trafficking illegal goods you’ll be prosecuted and could receive a prison sentence and fine.

Gambling

In the province of Aceh gambling is illegal under Sharia law. Punishment following a Sharia court process includes public caning, prison sentence or a fine which should be paid in gold.

Extra-marital sex

In the province of Aceh, extra-marital sex is illegal under Sharia law and punishable by public caning after a Sharia court process.

Transport risks

Road travel

You cannot drive in Indonesia using a UK driving licence. You can drive using an International Driving Permit issued in Indonesia. International Driving Permits issued in the UK may need to be endorsed by the Indonesian licensing office in Jakarta.

Before driving, riding or hiring any type of vehicle, ensure that you have the appropriate licence to do so. Check you are covered with your travel insurance company.

Traffic discipline is very poor and there are several moped and motorbike accidents, including serious injury and fatalities in Bali. Make sure you wear a helmet if you’re riding a motorbike or moped.

Foreigners involved in even minor traffic violations or accidents may be vulnerable to exploitation. Consider employing a private driver or hiring a car with a driver. Some multinational companies do not allow their expatriate staff to drive in Indonesia.

If you’re involved in an accident or breakdown, make sure someone remains with your vehicle. If you have any concerns for your security, move to another location safely. Make yourself available for questioning by the police if requested to do so.

Sea travel

Travelling by boat or ferry can be dangerous as the sea conditions can change rapidly. Vessels can be crowded, overloaded, poorly maintained and safety standards vary between providers.

Make sure you’re satisfied with safety standards before travelling, including availability of safety equipment such as life-jackets. Life-jackets suitable for children aren’t always available so you may need to bring your own. Avoid travelling after dark unless you’re satisfied the vessel is suitably equipped.

There have been attacks against ships in and around the waters of Indonesia. Mariners should be vigilant, reduce opportunities for theft, establish secure areas on board and report all incidents to the coastal and flag state authorities.

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Volcanic eruptions

There are lots of active volcanoes in Indonesia. They can erupt without warning. Villages within a 3 to 7 kilometre radius will usually be evacuated. Eruptions have caused destruction and fatalities.

There are 4 volcano alert levels:

  1. normal
  2. advisory
  3. watch
  4. warning

Check media reports before travelling to areas that are prone to volcanic activity. Take extra care and follow the advice of the local authorities, including respecting any exclusion zones. See the Multiplatform Application for Geohazard Mitigation and Assessment (MAGMA) in Indonesia for updates on volcanic activity (in Bahasa language).

Sometimes areas beyond local exclusion zones have been affected by mud and debris flows (particularly in valleys) and volcanic ash falls. While near any volcano, you should:

  • monitor local media
  • exercise caution
  • follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders

Ash clouds can affect flight schedules and the operation of regional airports. Check with your airline or travel company for the latest information.

Be aware that ash plumes can affect air quality and have an impact on health. A fitted face mask may provide some protection. While masks should be available in Indonesia, you may choose to buy your own before you travel.

If you have any pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, be aware that you might be at increased risk of triggering or worsening your symptoms. Make sure you travel with sufficient supplies of any regular medicines to cater for this.

In the event of a major eruption, they may be increased levels of particulate and gaseous pollutants in the air, even in areas outside of the exclusion zones. Face masks only offer protection against small particulate matter; they do not protect against hazardous gases emitted by a volcano. Unless you’re advised to evacuate, the best way to reduce your exposure is to remain inside and close all doors and windows.

Flooding

The Indonesian rainy season runs from September to January but can run into February. Monitor international and local weather reports if travelling during the rainy season.

Large areas of the country have been badly affected by heavy rains, landslides and flooding, including parts of:

  • West Sumatra
  • Central, East and West Java
  • Jakarta

Flash floods and widespread flooding can occur across Indonesia. Cities, especially Jakarta, can suffer severe localised flooding which can result in major traffic congestion and power outages. The main toll road to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and other major roads in Jakarta can be affected by flooding. Slips and landslides occur in mountainous and remote areas, but also in urban areas.

Take care when driving and walking. Keep a stock of bottled water and make sure your phone is charged.

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Earthquakes happen regularly. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

If a major earthquake or landslide occurs close to shore, follow the instructions of local authorities, bearing in mind that a tsunami could arrive within minutes. The Indonesia Tsunami Early Warning Centre issues warnings when a potential tsunami with significant impact is imminent or expected.

Forest fires

Forest fires continue to burn in Indonesia’s forest and peatlands, mostly on Sumatra and Borneo, generating widespread haze that can affect air quality.

This section has safety advice for regions of Indonesia. It only covers regions where FCDO has specific advice.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.

Mount Marapi, Western Sumatra

FCDO advises against all travel to within 3km of the crater of Mount Marapi in West Sumatra. This is an exclusion zone put into place by the local authorities. Mount Marapi erupted in December 2023.

Mount Agung, Bali

In 2018, Mount Agung in East Bali erupted, emitting gas and ash which resulted in the closure of Bali’s airport and a number of nearby regional airports for a period of time. Climbers are recommended to limit activity around the crater. The alert level is subject to change at short notice.

Travellers to Bali may find information on travel during the volcanic activity useful.

Further disruption cannot be ruled out. The local authorities have indicated that Mount Agung continues to show signs of volcanic activity and the possibility of volcanic eruptions remains.

Mount Semeru, East Java

FCDO advises against all travel to:

  • within 5 km of the crater of Mount Semeru in Lumajang Regency, East Java
  • the southeast area of Mount Semeru along the Besuk Kobokan river, approximately 13km from the crater, and 500m from any Besuk Kobokan riverbank

These are exclusion zones put into place by the local authorities.

Mount Semeru erupted in 2022, emitting a 1,500 meters (4,921 ft) high ash cloud. Indonesian authorities have set an alert status of level 4 (of 4) and are warning of the potential for pyroclastic flows and lava flows along rivers, tributaries and valleys around Mount Semeru, especially along Besuk Kobokan, Besuk Bang, Besuk Kembar and Besuk Sat.

Mount Sinabung, North Sumatra

FCDO advises against all travel to:

  • within 5km of the crater of Mount Sinabung in Karo Regency, North Sumatra

This is an exclusion zone put into place by the local authorities. Mount Sinabung erupted in 2021, sending a large column of smoke and ash into the sky.

Aceh

Aceh has emerged from a long period of internal conflict. Although violence against foreigners is rare, a British national was abducted in 2013 and there were 3 separate incidents in 2009 targeting foreigners. There have been reports of Sharia (religious) police harassing foreigners.

Be alert to the risk of politically motivated violence. Take particular care in remote areas. Keep up to date with local developments and avoid large crowds, especially political rallies.

Sharia law is in force in Aceh. See safety and security.

Central Sulawesi Province

The political situation in Central Sulawesi Province is unsettled. Take particular care in Palu, Poso and Tentena. Be alert to the risk of politically motivated violence.

There is conflict between the Indonesian security forces and terrorists, including attacks upon police and civilians in 2021. This conflict is predominantly in the Sigi, Parigi Moutong and Poso regions.

Maluku Province

Maluku Province has experienced unrest and violence between different religious and tribal groups. Take particular care in Ambon, including Haruku Island (Pulau Haruku).

Papua

Armed Papuan separatist groups are fighting for independence from Indonesia in the region of Papua. Violence has been steadily increasing since 2018. The Indonesian government has a heavy security presence throughout the region especially in Highland Papua, Central Papua provinces and along the border with Papua New Guinea. There are regular armed clashes between Papuan separatist groups (known as the TPNPB-OPM) and government security forces, mainly in the regions of Highland Papua and Central Papua.

Clashes have resulted in civilian deaths, including foreign nationals. In 2020, a New Zealand national was shot dead and a number of Indonesian nationals were wounded in a mining facility in Highland Papua province.

In February 2023:

  • a New Zealand national was kidnapped by a separatist group in Nduga, Highland Papua Province
  • the TPNPB-OPM issued a statement that foreigners in the Papua region would be targeted

There have been several instances of Papuan separatists attacking commercial aircraft servicing remote communities via small local airfields, especially in Highland Papua and Central Papua provinces. This includes aircraft which are regularly used by foreign nationals and those working in the region as the only viable means of transportation.

Political tensions have also led to violent demonstrations in cities across Papua, which have turned violent at short notice. Take local advice to help you avoid possible demonstrations and political rallies. Internet communications might be switched off in areas where demonstrations are planned. Make plans in advance in case you are affected.

If you’re planning to travel in the Highland Papua and Central Papua provinces be aware that the security situation is unpredictable and can change quickly, Take local advice to understand the current tensions, and how you can reduce your personal risks.

In 2022, the Indonesian government passed new legislation to reform the governance and administration of the Papua region. The existing provinces of Papua and West Papua have been reorganised into 6 provinces, which are now known as:

  • Papua
  • West Papua
  • Central Papua
  • Highland Papua
  • South Papua
  • Southwest Papua

If you have travelled to the area previously make sure you check the updated map.

The UK Government has no permanent presence in the region. Consular services are delivered remotely from Jakarta. There are limited hospital facilities in the region. If you need emergency medical treatment, you are likely to be medically evacuated to Darwin in Australia.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 118 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Air pollution

Air quality in Indonesia’s major cities can reach levels considered ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ or ‘unhealthy’. Current air quality data for Jakarta can be found on the Air Quality Index website.

Ash plumes from volcanoes can affect air quality and have an impact on health, particularly for anyone with pre-existing respiratory conditions. If you’re in the vicinity of a volcanic eruption and affected by subsequent ash fall, you can find further information in digital pamphlets issued by the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN), which cover the potential health hazards of volcanic ash and offer advice on how to prepare and cope with ash fall.

During the dry season (May to November), widespread forest fires can cause smoke haze resulting in poor air quality across parts of Indonesia, particularly Riau Islands, central Sumatra and Kalimantan. The haze can cause disruption to local and regional air travel, and the air pollution may have an impact on public health. Keep up to date with local information and seek medical advice on appropriate precautions. A regional haze map is available from the Singapore Meteorological Service.

Tap water

Tap water is not safe to drink in Indonesia.

Dengue fever

There’s a risk of dengue fever in Bali, Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia. While this is particularly heightened during the rainy season (usually from around October to April), local outbreaks can occur at any time.

Rabies

Rabies exists in domestic and wild animals. There are many street dogs in Bali and elsewhere. Avoid direct contact with all dogs and cats (including pets), monkeys and other animals and seek immediate help if you’re bitten or scratched.

Avian Influenza (bird flu)

Avian flu has led to over 150 confirmed human fatalities in Indonesia since 2003, although the rate appears to be declining. All cases so far have been linked to close contact with poultry.

Although the risk to humans from Avian Influenza is low, avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds, and make sure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.

Polio virus

In 2019, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative reported 2 cases of genetically linked circulating vaccine derived polio virus (cVDPV) type 1 in Papua Province, Indonesia. This factsheet on the TravelHealthPro website contains information about the Polio outbreak and vaccination recommendations.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:

Medication

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

TravelHealthPro explains best practice when travelling with medicines.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities in Indonesia

The standard of local medical care can be poor and some medical tests cannot be done reliably. Psychological and psychiatric services are also limited.

Good medical care can be expensive and in remote areas attention for serious injuries or illness is likely to be unavailable. Medical evacuation can cost tens of thousands of pounds. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

You can view a list of English speaking doctors in Indonesia.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Indonesia

Ambulance: 118

Fire: 112

Police: 110

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually need you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO provides guidance on how to help yourself stay safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Find more support for British nationals abroad.

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

Find more support for British nationals abroad.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy or consulate.

You can also contact FCDO online.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.