Indonesia is hosting the Asian Games 2018, which will run in several locations between Saturday 18th of August and Sunday 2nd September.

There are many excellent guides to the Games out there, but we wanted to focus on some of the risks and difficulties travellers might face, and to offer advice and information on how to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Official Asian Games 2018 links

Advice

  • Buy appropriate travel insurance. Do not travel without it!
  • Follow some reliable sources of information on Twitter and set up push notifications, so you get an alert on your phone when these accounts tweet. This could include reputable news outlets and, for English speakers, consular services such as the American, Australian, New Zealand and British embassies. In the case of an emergency, the embassy accounts will share useful information. It is worth following multiple embassy accounts as they sometimes share different types of information.
  • Find a couple of good weather apps and set them up for your locations. Heavy rains and flooding could occur during the Games.
  • Make sure you have talked to a healthcare provider and have all the vaccinations and medications you will need. Double check there are no restrictions on your medications and make sure you have the prescription with you. Check in with the NaTHNaC website to see what health issues you might face and what you can do to minimise the risks.
  • Make sure you have the contact information of your travel insurance company and your local embassy stored in a secure offline location.
  • Review your travel risk management plan, so you know what to do in an emergency. (Not sure what this means? Read this introduction from Doug Nicholson at GM Risk Group.)
  • You should avoid demonstrations, large crowds of people and public events.
  • Monitor local media.
  • If possible, set aside some supplies of food and bottled water in your accommodation. Put together a grab bag that contains ID, travel documents, insurance information, medication, snacks and a bottle of water.
  • Know what form emergency warnings will take – siren, police announcement, text message, etc – and be prepared to comply with instructions from the authorities.
  • Keep your devices charged where possible. Consider investing in a quality battery pack to keep you charged if you are out all day.
  • Check in with friends and family.
  • If something does happen, contact the local embassy as soon as it is safe to do so.

Links to travel advice on visiting Indonesia from the following governments –

This tweet sets out items that are banned from the stadiums –

 

Risks travellers might face

Transport

Road traffic accidents are one of the biggest risks travellers face. Pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists are particularly vulnerable to being injured or killed in road traffic accidents in Indonesia. Make sure you remain aware of your surroundings at all times when near roads and traffic.

The FCO warns that ‘foreigners involved in even minor traffic violations or accidents may be vulnerable to exploitation.

Due to the limitations of public transport, you might want to download ridesharing apps Go-Jek and Grab. Be aware that ridesharing comes with its own risks and limitations – please carefully consider these before using the apps.

Crime

From the FCO

Be aware of the risk of street crime and pick-pocketing, particularly in busy tourist areas in Bali, where there have been reports of bag-snatching. Take sensible measures to protect yourself and your belongings. Avoid having bags obviously on show and carry only essential items. Take particular care of your passport and bank cards and avoid travelling around alone.

Credit card fraud is common. Don’t lose sight of your card during transactions. Criminals sometimes place a fake telephone number on ATMs advising customers to report problems. Customers dialling the number are asked for their PIN and their card is then retained within the machine.

Beware of thieves on public transport. If you’re travelling by car keep doors locked at all times. Only book taxis with a reputable firm. You can ask your hotel to book one for you, or use taxis from Bluebird, Silverbird or Express groups. These are widely available at hotels and shopping malls in central Jakarta and at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Take care to distinguish Bluebird and Silverbird vehicles from ‘lookalike’ competitors. Don’t use unlicensed taxi drivers at the airport or anywhere else. Their vehicles are usually in poor condition, unmetered and don’t have a dashboard identity licence. They have been known to charge extortionate fares and to rob passengers.

Please click here for more information. Topics covered include drugs, drink spiking (mostly in Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands), and methanol poisoning.

Fraud

The Canadian Government warns travellers about the risk of fraud

There is a very high rate of credit and debit card fraud in Indonesia, including online fraud. Keep your card information (number, name, expiry date) private. Keep all receipts and bills bearing a credit or debit card number secure or destroy them completely.

Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your card is handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Please click through here for the rest of the security advice for Indonesia.

Tickets

If you are attending the games and have not already bought your tickets, make sure you buy them from an official seller. The official link for tickets is: asiangames2018.id/tickets (You can switch languages using the options in the top right of the screen.)

Terror threat

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns that

There is a high threat of terrorism in Indonesia. Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and intent to carry out these attacks at anytime and anywhere in the country. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places where large groups of people gather or which are known to be frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers: beach resorts, bars and restaurants, hotels and shopping malls hosting major international brand outlets, tourist attractions, places of worship, ferry terminals and airports. Attacks may also target Indonesian Government and law enforcement interests.

Please click through here for the rest of the travel advice.

You can read the advice on terrorism from the FCO here.

Health and healthcare

Do not drink tap water – drink bottled water (check the seal beforehand).

The FCO warns that ‘good medical care can be very expensive and in remote areas attention for serious injuries or illness is likely to be unavailable. You may require expensive medical evacuation costing up to tens of thousands of pounds. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.’

Air pollution poses a health risk to people with breathing conditions.

You should also be aware of the risks posed by Malaria, Zika, dengue fever, rabies, schistosomiasis, chikungunya, leishmaniasis and scrub typhus. Talk to a medical professional as soon as possible if you think you may have been exposed to any of these diseases.

Political situation

Protests and demonstrations occur frequently and can turn violent without warning. Avoid demonstrations and, where possible, large crowds.

Natural disasters

Indonesia’s location on the ‘Ring of Fire’ makes it vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Aftershocks continue in the wake of the recent devastating earthquakes that hit Lombok and neighbouring Bali and the Gili Islands.

Volcanic eruptions can endanger those in the immediate vicinity, and can pose a serious disruption to air travel as well. Eruptions can lead to a serious deterioration in air quality, causing further health issues for people who have conditions like asthma.

Factor these risks in to your travel risk management plan. Know what emergency warnings will sound like and work out what you will do in the case of an earthquake.

Overwhelming travel advice?

If you made it this far through the post, you may feel a little overwhelmed, for which we apologise. We put this together to help you be your most prepared when travelling, because we believe knowledgeable travellers are empowered travellers.

Multi-source research, appropriate travel insurance, plus some common sense – these will stand you in good stead on your adventures. The vast majority of travellers will have a safe and enjoyable trip, and we hope you have a fantastic time at the Asian Games.

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