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Indonesia is a relatively safe place to travel and violent crime is almost unheard of, but petty crime is on the upswing. Pay close attention to your belongings, especially in big cities. Use a small backpack or money belt for valuables: shoulder bags can be snatched. Bags have been snatched by thieves on motorbikes, so be vigilant. Be especially wary on crowded bemos, buses and trains; this is where pick-pockets lurk. They work in groups and are very clever at slitting bags and extracting valuables unnoticed.
Be sure that the door and windows of your hotel room are locked at night, including those in the bathroom, as thieves are adept at sneaking in while you are asleep. Big hotels have safety boxes for valuables. If your hotel does not have such a facility, it is better to carry all the documents along with you. Make sure you have a photocopy of your passport, return plane ticket and travelers' check numbers and keep them separate from the originals.
Don't take valuables to the beach. Period. Bring your camera only if you're not going to swim or if you are in pairs and one can swim while one watches. You can ask other tourists to mind your gear while you swim, but they may decide to leave while you're in the water.


The Indonesian spelling of geographical features and villages varies considerably as there is no form of standardization that meets with both popular and official approval. We have seen village names spelled three different ways, all on signboards in front of various government offices. In this guide, we have tried to use the most common spellings.
There are three overlapping and concurrent address systems for any given location: old street name and number, new street name with new numbers, and kampung (neighborhood) name with block numbers. Every town now has its street named after the same national heroes, so you will find General Sudirman Street in every city throughout the archipelago.
The names with the new house numbers are the preferred designations for postal purposes. However, when tracking down a hotel address you may find that the old street names, the kampung names, or local landmarks more helpful. You will also find number 38 next to number 119 and the streets referred to by different names, such as Jalan Diponegoro (an Indonesian hero), Jalan Abdi Dongo (from local history) or Gajahan Gang II (the kampung name and alley number).

Finding Your Way
Westerners are used to finding things using telephone directories, addresses, and maps. But in Indonesia, phone books are incomplete, addresses can be confusing and maps little understood. The way to find something is to ask.
To ask for directions, it's better to have the name of a person and the name of the kampung. Thus 'Bu Murni, Banjar Kalah" is a better address for asking directions even though "Jalan Hanoman 14" is the mailing address. Knowing the language helps, but is not essential. Immediately clear answers are not common, so be patient. You are likely to get a general indication of direction without distance or specific instructions. The assumption is that you will be asking lots of people along the way. Begin by asking three people. Usually two point toward the same general vicinity. Proceed, then ask again.
Maps can be useful, but introducing them into discussions with Indonesians may cause more confusion than clarity. More than likely the north arrow on the map will be turned to real north before a reading. Periplus Travel Maps provide detailed and accurate maps of major tourist destinations.


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