Indonesia country information and facts for travelers.

INDONESIA

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COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Indonesia is an independent republic consisting of more than 13,500 islands spread over 3,000 miles. Its economy is developing and tourist services are plentiful in the major tourist sites.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of departure from Indonesia is required. A visa is not required for tourist stays up to two months. For additional information about entry requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, 2020 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202) 775-5200, Internet address http://www.kbri.org.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: After over 30 years in office, the government of President Suharto came to an end in May 1998 amid widespread demonstrations, rioting and looting throughout the country. The political and economic situation is unsettled and is likely to remain so leading up to the June 7, 1999 parliamentary elections and the selection of a new president a few months later. American citizens should consider carefully whether to travel to Indonesia during this period.

Frequent demonstrations have occurred throughout Indonesia, including in the capital city of Jakarta and on all the major islands. Civil unrest, sometimes resulting in violence, has also been a problem in some areas. Serious rioting occurred in Jakarta in mid-May and in mid-November, 1998. Elsewhere in Indonesia sporadic and unpredictable violence has sometimes disrupted the plans of American travelers. Although demonstrations in Bali have not affected tourists, serious unrest has occurred in isolated areas and is possible elsewhere on the island. American citizens in all parts of Indonesia should exercise prudence and common sense, and avoid demonstrations and other situations that could turn violent. In late 1998 and early 1999, periodic civil unrest resulting in violence has occurred in the provinces of Maluku, Aceh, West Kalimantan, Irian Jaya, and East Timor. The U.S. Embassy recommends that persons traveling to these provinces stay in larger towns, avoid traveling to remote villages, and contact the U.S. Embassy in advance of any travel.

Travelers may need permits to visit certain regions in Irian Jaya province. In 1996, a group of foreigners was taken hostage for several months in Irian Jaya by the Free Papua Movement (OPM). U.S. citizens should exercise caution when traveling in the province.

Ethnic tensions continue in West Kalimantan, where hundreds of people were killed and thousands displaced following fighting in early 1997. Although U.S. citizens have not been specifically targeted, the State Department recommends that travelers exercise caution. Travelers and residents should ensure that passports nd important personal papers are in order in the event it becomes necessary to leave the country quickly. Americans traveling in Indonesia should remember that much of the country, including many tourist destinations, can be isolated and difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: The general level of sanitation and health care is below U.S. expectations. Some level of routine medical care is available in all major cities, although most expatriates choose to leave the country for serious medical procedures. The U.S. Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment of medical services outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage including provision for medical evacuation may be useful. Information on medical emergencies abroad is provided in the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs' brochure 3Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via our home page and autofax service. Additional information on vaccinations and health matters may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through its international travelers hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), via the CDC autofax service at 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888- 232-3299), or by visiting the CDC Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: The crime rate in Jakarta is moderate but rising. Minor crimes, such as pickpocketing and thefts, occur in popular tourist sites throughout the country. Incidents of robbery have been reported and are on the rise as the economy and political environment remain unsettled.

One common technique involves puncturing automobile tires so that the occupants of the car can be robbed while changing the tire. The number of beggars and vagrants at intersections has increased and some incidents of thefts and robberies from cars stopped at traffic lights have been reported. American citizens are advised to keep car doors locked and windows rolled up.

Two Europeans were killed during a late-night taxi robbery in May 1998, and there are continuing reports of robberies in taxis. Therefore, Americans in Jakarta who require taxis are advised to engage a taxi from a major hotel queue or by calling a taxi company, rather than hailing one on the street. Sporadic incidents of road blocks and robberies have been reported on the toll roads leading to the international airport in Jakarta.

Lost or stolen passports should be reported to the local police and the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate. Useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad." It is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402 or via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: 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 do not afford the same protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Criminal penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect severe jail sentences and fines.

ROAD SAFETY: All traffic operates on the left side of the road, and most vehicles use right-hand drive. Roads in major cities and toll roads are good. Roads are narrower and may be more poorly maintained in rural areas and remote regions. Driving at night outside major cities can be hazardous. Taxis are an affordable means of transportation, but should be called directly or hired from the taxi queue at a reputable hotel. Make sure the taxi driver agrees to take you to your destination, never get into a taxi already occupied by another passenger, and always insist on using the taxi meter.

AVIATION OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Indonesia civil aviation authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Indonesia's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at (703) 697-7288.

REGISTRATION AND EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans resident in Indonesia are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where they may obtain updated information on travel and security within the country. The U.S. Embassy is located in Jakarta at Medan Merdeka Selatan 5; telephone:(62)(21)344-2211; fax (62)(21) 386-2259. The Embassy's website is located at http://www.usembassyjakarta.org. The consular section can be reached by e-mail at jakconsul@jakartac.us-state.gov. The U.S. Consulate General is in Surabaya at Jalan Raya Dr. Sutomo 33; telephone: (62)(31)567- 2287/8; fax (62)(31)567-4492; e-mail amconsby@rad.net.id. There is a consular agent in Bali at Jalan Hayam Wuruk 188, Denpasar, Bali; telephone: (62)(361)233-605; fax (62)(31) 222-426; e-mail tabuh@denpasar.wasantara.net.id. The U.S. Consulate in Medan closed in May 1996.

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