Indonesia — Visas and Vaccinations
For US citizens, it is possible to get a visa upon arrival when arriving at most ports of entry into Indonesia. The same process applies to most other Western travelers. Those who hold a passport from a Southeast Asian country usually fall into the ‘visa waiver’ category. For more information about Indonesian visa processes, visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/.
Health and Safety
As a developing country, Indonesia has its fair share of safety and health issues. However, these shouldn’t deter travelers from holidaying here. There are some areas of Indonesia that are experiencing separatist movements, and should be avoided like Aceh and Papua.
In major cities, violent crime is rare, but minor indiscretions are more common, especially in major tourist areas like markets, beaches and landmarks. Keeping an eye on possessions at all times is necessary, and avoid wearing flashy items if possible.
Corruption is found in most cities and towns, but it isn’t common for tourists to become involved in this sort of situation. Nevertheless, rare occurrences do happen. Even things like forgetting to carry a passport around can grab the attention of local police. For Westerners, the ‘bribe’ will not be much money at all, but it is the principle of ‘buying off police’ that some tourists will be put off by.
Vaccinations are recommended before reaching Indonesia due to the Equatorial climate and landscape. In some areas, diseases like malaria, dengue fever and hepatitis are commonly found.
All visitors need to remember that drug traffickers receive the death penalty every year, and that includes both locals and foreigners. The other possible consequence is a life sentence confined to a decrepit Indonesian prison, which is often considered a fate worse than death. The risks are far too great, so avoid drugs when vacationing in Indonesia at all costs.