How safe is travelling through East Indonesia?

Evacuation route; security in eastern Indonesia
For current information on the security situation in the individual regions of Indonesia, we refer to the website/ information provided by your home country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The following information should serve as a guidance.

Natural Disasters

Indonesia is located in a seismically active zone, the Pacific Ring of Fire, which leads to frequent volcanic activity as well as earthquakes and seaquakes and also tsunamis can be triggered.

At the end of July and in August 2018, several earthquakes, some of which were severe, shook most of the north of the holiday island of Lombok and Sumbawa. Also affected were the Gili Islands Trawangan, Meno and Air, on which, however, the infrastructure could be largely restored. In the south and southwest of Lombok (and Bali), only isolated damage was reported.

At the end of September 2018, several earthquakes occurred on the Minahasa Peninsula, Sulawesi. A tidal wave was triggered, which led to floods in the provincial capital Palu and the surrounding area. Restoring the infrastructure will take a long time. In mid-July 2019, an earthquake in the South of the Northern Moluccan island of Halmahera led to severe damages in several villages. Restoration of the infrastructure is ongoing.

Several volcanoes in different parts of the country show increased activity. This is the case for example in North Sulawesi, where Mt. Soputan has been showing increased activity since October 2018. On the island of Halmahera (North Moluccas), the volcanoes Mt. Ibu and Mt. Dukono are permanently active. Also, it should be noted that Ternates Mt. Gamalama (North Moluccas), although currently rather quiet, is still an active volcano that can erupt at any time. With increased volcanic activity, air traffic must be expected to be impaired, including the closure of airports, at any time. On all our (volcano) trips, safety comes first. Safety first applies, and the EASTofWALLACE team is always there for you.

During the rainy season (please see under ‘climate’), floods and landslides can occur, which can cause considerable disruption to traffic. When travelling overland, local weather forecasts should be taken into account.

Crime

Indonesia is one of the countries with the strictest drug laws worldwide. Offenses against the narcotics law are punished even with very small amounts and every kind of drugs. Caution even is advised when taking non-prescription medicines as well as when taking objects for other people. Keep money, ID cards, driver’s licenses, air tickets and other important documents safe. If possible, take only the cash needed for the day as well as no unnecessary valuables.

Terrorism

In the past, isolated terrorist attacks were reported. The Indonesian security forces strongly oppose terrorism. Nonetheless, it appears that there is still an increased risk for the whole country. The focus is on international hotels, shopping malls, nightclubs, airfields, Christian churches and Western or non-Muslim institutions. In particular, metropolitan areas such as Jakarta, Bandung, Medan, Makassar and Surabaya and the island of Bali, are considered particularly vulnerable. Therefore, caution is advised at busy places and on special occasions.

The provincial capital Ambon, located in the central Moluccas, and the city of Poso in central Sulawesi have historically experienced greater turmoil due to ethnic and religious tensions. Although the situation has stabilized in both regions, caution is advised when traveling to these regions. Papua and West Papua have special police regulations and restrictions on entry and stay for non-tourist stays. Travel to these areas should not be undertaken without a local guide.