Foreign travel advice

Indonesia

Local laws and customs

You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

In 2017, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 27 May and finish on 25 June. See Travelling during Ramadan.

Don’t 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. Don’t allow yourself to be persuaded.

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.

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.

Gambling is illegal in Indonesia. There have been cases where tourists have lost large amounts of money to organised gambling gangs.

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