Indonesia Everyday Life


In Indonesia there have been several bomb attacks by Islamist extremists in recent years, most recently in January 2016 and May 2018 in suicide attacks on 3 churches and a police headquarters in East Java. According to the safety instructions from the Federal Foreign Office, hotels, shopping centers, discos, airfields, Christian churches and western or non-Muslim institutions, especially in metropolitan areas such as Jakarta, Bandung, Medan, Makassar and Surabaya and on the island of Bali, are particularly at risk of attack. Travelers are advised to use the media to find out about current security developments.

In autumn 2019 there were violent clashes between demonstrators and the police, especially in large cities. The protests were the strongest in 20 years.

In individual regions, such as the Moluccas, Papua, Aceh and central Sulawesi (Poso region), the security situation can suddenly tighten. Although the situation in Aceh has improved significantly since the peace agreement in 2005, there have been isolated bomb attacks since 2007.

The Foreign Office is currently advising against an unnecessary visit to the provinces of Papua and West Papua. For Papua and West Papua, special police regulations and restrictions apply to entry and residence for non-tourist stays. The last time there were clashes between demonstrators and security forces, some of which were violent, occurred in August and September 2019, and the Internet was temporarily blocked in both provinces.

In principle, however, the dangers of road traffic (also for foreigners) are significantly higher than the security dangers that threaten from religiously or politically motivated extremism. The risk of being a victim of pickpocketing is relatively high, especially in crowded conditions and on public buses. There are relatively many thieves, some of whom are organized in gangs, particularly in means of transport that are heavily used by tourists. However, violent crime against foreigners is very rare.

According to militarynous, there have been repeated pirate attacks in Indonesian waters in recent years.

The Helmholz Center publishes leaflets on the correct behavior in the event of tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

Stay healthy

In Indonesia, the same basic health precautions must be taken as in many other tropical countries. For example, tap water should never be drunk.

Let an experienced tropical doctor at a tropical medicine center advise you on the measures required for preventive health care – also because the vaccination measures required depend heavily on the region of Indonesia in which you are primarily deployed. In particular, the risk of malaria is very different from region to region. Around 80% of the malaria cases registered by the Indonesian Ministry of Health are distributed among the Moluccas, West Papua and the province of East Nusatenggara – regions that are rarely visited by foreigners. A medium risk exists in the provinces of Riau and Lampung in Kalimantan, in the highlands of West Papua below 2000 m. There is only a very low risk of malaria on the islands of Java, Bali and Lombok, the islands that the vast majority of foreign tourists visit.

There are a number of fairly good private hospitals in Jakarta and other major cities. Outside of the large centers, however, the health care provision is rather patchy.

For milder complaints it can be worthwhile to try the Indonesian herbal medicine called “Jamu”.

In Indonesia, an average of more than 100 deaths have died from illegal adulterated liquor in recent years, mainly in Bali and Lombok. Tourists were also affected.

During the dry season, especially in Kalimantan, there have been more large forest fires in recent years, which have caused breathing difficulties for many people.

In Indonesia, according to official statistics, there are only a few deaths from the Covid-19 virus in terms of population. While 165 new infections per 100,000 residents were reported in Germany on December 16, 2020, the figure in Indonesia was just 18.1. The extremely low incidence is mainly due to the fact that – especially in poorer remote regions – almost no tests are carried out. Around a quarter of the registered Covid 19 cases were recorded in Jakarta. There is a travel warning from the Federal Foreign Office.

Bayern-Munich fan club in Jakarta

Internet, telephone and mail

There are often fast internet connections in the big cities. In the more remote regions outside the main islands, good internet connections (at least via landline) are still a rarity. Due to the widespread use of smartphones, the number of internet caf├ęs has fallen sharply in recent years.

More than half of Indonesians are online regularly. The young urban middle class in particular uses the Internet with great enthusiasm. The need for communication via the Internet is extraordinarily great. 90% of all Indonesians who have access to the internet or a smartphone use social networks. Most of them use their smartphones to access the Internet.

Nowhere in Asia is there so much tweeting as in Indonesia. Approx. 20 million Indonesians use Twitter. Jakarta is even the world’s most active city on Twitter – which many residents attribute to the long waiting times in traffic jams.

Also Pokemon Go enjoyed himself with young and old very popular. The National Police and the Navy had therefore officially forbidden their forces to play the game while on duty.

Estimates by the Internet service “Inside Facebook” assumed that in 2011 Indonesia had the second largest Facebook community (after the USA). Indonesia is now in fourth place with 126 million monthly Facebook users. Facebook has now also become an important medium for political protest.

Many people from the poorer sections of the population now also have a mobile phone. The number of cell phones is estimated at 182 million. Mobile connections to Germany are possible from 10 cents per minute. In the meantime, WhatsApp is used more and more to make calls.

Letters to Germany take different lengths of time, depending on where they are sent from. It is usually 3-5 days from Jakarta or Bali, but up to several weeks from remote islands.

Sea freight takes 2-3 months. Generally speaking, however, the Indonesian Post is relatively reliable.