Indonesia is one the best places to go to. With its rich natural resources, scenic views, multicultural traditions. Being one of the top go-to destinations in the world, Indonesia also has an image of being dangerous for westerners.
The archipelago of the 4th highest number of population around the world, Indonesia is also a home of the largest Muslim population. Because of the recent news of terrorism done mostly by Muslims, it is unfortunate that nightclubs, hotels and bars across Java and Jakarta are susceptible to terrorist attacks. This has in fact decreased the number of foreigners and tourists in the archipelago.
However, much to the relief of the tourism department, the Australian Government has downgraded the level of its warning to parts of Indonesia. When the neighboring country has advised its citizen to “reconsider traveling”, many Aussies have heeded, thinking of the possible high risk of going to the country.
According to Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours, travel reviews of the country has dropped low on 2010 but has slowly regained its momentum at the start of 2012. Since then, Indonesia’s record is slowly recovering its rank on top tourist spot once again.
Despite it, cultural differences may also be an issue to many western foreigners visiting the country regardless of terrorism attacks. The extreme diversity of Indonesian beliefs and openness to foreigners may result to confusion. Tourist should still be careful about what they do, where they go and what they say.
The terrorism department of Indonesia also released their own list of places that non-locals should be careful of.
1. Aceh - The northernmost province of the largest island of Sumatra, Aceh is known for its strict Islamic Sharia law and for its desire to become an independent country. Political attacks in this region are preeminent and have been religious in nature. This is why it is imperative to pay respect to their laws. Women should keep their heads covered, and men should wear long pants and not show too much skin.
2. Papua - Despite its rich biodiversity and beautiful natural surroundings, Papua is currently under heavy Indonesian military occupation due to past and present political uprisings among the people for independence. The situation is such that tourists need to apply with the Indonesian government for a travel permit indicating pressing need or desire to visit
3. Sulawesi – this island is particularly violent during election time. You are also required to acquire travel permits to visit due to increased sectarian and ethnic violence.