2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games – Event Advisory and Risk Summary

The 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games is set to begin on 18 August 2018. Travel to the country brings a unique set of challenges and issues to overcome. For more on the Games, how to prepare and, what to expect when travelling to Indonesia, please take a look at our risk summary below or download this information as a PDF from the following link: 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games – Event Advisory. Estimated Population: 9.6 million (Jakarta, 2016 estimated) Geographic Area: 6,392 km² (Jakarta metro)   Language: Indonesian (Bahasa) and more than 700 other   languages Religion: Six recognised religions – Islam, Protestantism,   Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and   Confucianism Climate: Tropical UTC: +7 (Jakarta) Currency: Indonesia rupiah Emergency Services112 or 110 (police), 113 (fire), 118 (medical),  Tourist police (Jakarta): (021) 526 4073 


COUNTRIES: 45 At the time of writing, 45 National Olympic Committees have confirmed attendance at the Asian Games. Competing associations include ‘Independent Asian Athletes’. ATHLETES: 11,000 An estimated 11,000 athletes are expected to participate in the Games. By some estimates, they are the largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games. Some 5,000 media personnel are also set to attend. TICKETS: 1.3 MILLION 1.3 million tickets are set to be made available to spectators, with more available if early sales are strong. The average ticket price is set to be $7, with prices as low as $2 for some events. Indonesian officials are hoping to attract as many as 170,000 foreign tourists for the Games. SECURITY: 100,000  Organisers have confirmed that 100,000 security personnel will be deployed in Jakarta, Palembang and West Java, where several events are taking place. A further 30,000 volunteers are also set to be mobilised. EVENTS: 462 There are 462 events to be held in the games in 40 sports and 63 disciplines, in everything from aquatics to wushu, and fencing to rugby. This marks the first Asian Games with events held across two cities – Jakarta and Palembang.


Criminality: Most crime impacting travellers in Jakarta, and Indonesia as a whole, is low-level petty crime, though it is the most likely threat to travellers in Indonesia. While figures suggest that criminal activity as a whole is on the decrease, violent crime has risen marginally. This increase has been attributed to the prevalence of unregistered firearms, although these are typically only used if a victim offers resistance. There have been reports of drink-spiking in Jakarta. This may lead to assault, sexual assault, or robbery. Do not allow food or drink to be left unattended and do not accept food or drink from a stranger. Indonesia has very severe penalties for drug crimes. Foreigners have been subjected to capital punishment for drug-trafficking sentences. Thefts of vehicles, particularly motorcycles, or from parked vehicles occur frequently. Cars parked at unsecured locations are particularly attractive targets. Police services have limited responses to crime in Indonesia. Police forces are under-funded and are plagued by corruption. Crime is particularly prevalent in the following areas: Tanjung Priok – Jembatan Tiga – Pluit toll road, the Jagorawi toll road, Galur, Gambir station, Lapangan Banteng, Matraman, Taman Suropati, Gunung Sahari, Senen, Kuningan Pondok Labu, Pancoran, Blok M, Jalan Sisingamangaraja, the junctions at Tomang, Slipi, Grogol, Jalan Daan Mogot and Jalan Kyai Tapa, Cililitan, around Taman Mini, Klender and Jalan Pemuda, Ancol and Pluit. Terrorism: Terrorism is a persistent threat in Indonesia, however, instances have reduced significantly since 2010 following successful counter-terror policies and operations. Jakarta’s most recent terror attack occurred in June 2017, when an assailant attacked two police officers at a mosque near the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta. The most significant recent incident in Jakarta occurred in January 2016. At least four militants reportedly detonated explosives in or near a Starbucks in central Jakarta before destroying a nearby police post with grenades, killing at least three men. An exchange of gunfire ensued when police arrived shortly afterwards. Attacks are likely to target Western and non-Muslim locations (such as churches) and are more likely to occur on days of significance – Christmas, during Ramadan etc. This is shown by the June 2018 attacks on churches in Surabaya. Terror attacks may involve various different tactics. In the recent past, terror groups have used grenades, bombs, knives, vehicles, and guns. Security at locations including western hotels has been increased substantially to combat potential threats. Corruption: Corruption is a longstanding, widespread, and systemic issue. The police (as mentioned) and judiciary are notoriously corrupt and are likely to request bribes or find in the favour of an Indonesian if in a case against a foreigner. Travellers have reported that customs and immigration officials have demanded bribes in order to gain entry into the country. Officials and police officers are more likely to request bribes during and before festivals. This trend is likely to be exhibited prior to, and during, the Asian Games. Civil Unrest: There are underlying religious, political, and ethnic tensions in Indonesia and Jakarta is the most common location for unrest. The government has mandated that all demonstrations should occur between 0600 and 1800hrs and at three locations – Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan, the Alun-alun Demokrasi civic square in the parliament complex in South Jakarta; and near the National Monument in Central Jakarta. However, protests can and have occurred at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout, the presidential palace, the House of Representatives complex on Jalan Gatot Subroto, Grand Mercure Hotel, Merdeka Square, government offices such as the Corruption Eradication Commission and the US embassy. All protests should be avoided as there is the potential for violence. In the event of Christian-Muslim tension, travellers should avoid sites with Christian significance, including the cathedral in Monas. Cybersecurity: Credit card fraud is common. 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. Most incidents involve employees of small businesses recording the details of the credit card or swiping it through a skimmer. Travellers should only use cards in reputable establishments and should never allow their card to be taken out of their sight. Indonesia’s response to cybercrime is not coordinated or efficient despite the establishment of a cybercrime policing unit in 2018. Travellers are advised to employ enhanced cybersecurity measures while in country. Unsecured WiFi hotspots are especially at risk and should be avoided.


There will be four venue clusters for the 18th Asian Games: 1.Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex – This area is home to the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium which will host the opening and closing ceremonies as well as athletics events. The Aquatics Centre, the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Palace, and Jakarta. 2.Jakarta Suburbs – A number of events will be held across Jakarta’s suburbs. Cycling events will be held at the Jakarta International Velodrome in Rawamangun, while golf will be held at the Pondok Indah Golf Course. A temporary venue, the Jakarta International Expo, will host a series of events including boxing and gymnastics. 3.Palembang – The Jakabaring Sport City complex at Palembang will host a series of other sports events. This includes tennis, women’s football, rowing/canoeing events, and shooting. 4.West Java – There are a small number of venues located in West Java, notably four stadiums for men’s football and road and mountain bike events. In total, nine locations in West Java will serve as hosts to different sporting events. The athlete’s village in Jakarta is built at Kemayoran. In Palembang, it is inside the Jakabaring Sport City.


  • All travel to Indonesia should be planned carefully in advance.
  • Travellers to Indonesia should maintain a low-profile, a slightly heightened level of situational awareness, and sensible security precautions at all times.
  • Travellers should be especially vigilant in crowded areas.
  • Take extra care of passports, credit cards, and wallets/purses when in crowded or tourist areas. Take extra care when travelling alone, at night, or on public transport, due to the greater potential for crime.
  • Be sure to carry a form of ID as well as details of your next of kin. Avoid carrying any valuables in a backpack as this is an easy target for thieves.
  • Road safety in Indonesia is poor. Locals are known to drive aggressively and routinely ignore road signs. If self-driving, a defensive style should be adopted. Due to the different culture and language, travellers should consider the use of a prearranged driver for all travel. Roads in Jakarta are often gridlocked in morning and evening rush hours.
  • Photographing military establishments and strategically important sites (such as airports) is not permitted and may lead to detention or arrest.
  • Only book taxis with a reputable firm. It is advised to book taxis through hotels rather than hailing them from the street. Make a note of the vehicle registration number.
  • Do not give out personal information and don’t discuss your plans with strangers.
  • Do not carry large sums of cash.


US Embassy Jakarta Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan No.3-5, RT.11/RW.2, Gambir, Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10110, Indonesia Telephone: (62) (21) 34359000 UK Embassy Jakarta Jalan Patra Kuningan Raya Blok L5 No.6, RT.6/RW.4, Kuningan Tim., Setia Budi, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12950, Indonesia Telephone: (62) (21) 23565200 Australian Embassy Jakarta Jalan Patra Kuningan Raya Kav. 1-4, RT.6/RW.4, Kuningan Tim., Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12950, Indonesia Telephone: (62) (21) 25505555 Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital – government-run No.71, Salemba, Jalan Pangeran Diponegoro, Kenari, RW.5, Kenari, Senen, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10430, Indonesia Telephone: (62) (21) 1500135


  • ATM Skimmer: Skimmers on ATM machines are not uncommon. Always make sure the slot where you insert your card has nothing attached to it. These devices may be disguised to look like regular parts of an ATM, so check carefully. Try to use ATMs inside banks if possible.
  • The Airport Pickup: Fake drivers work at the airport. As you walk out of your gate you unexpectedly see a driver with your name on a board and knowledge of your hotel (information which has probably been fed to them by a member of cabin crew). En route to your hotel, your driver stops and demands money as fare, which you feel obliged to pay. Travellers should not accept unexpected trips and should follow journey management plans if pre-arranged drivers have been organised.
  • Taxis Parked in Front of Your Hotel: Many four and five-star hotels have taxis waiting outside all day. Despite appearances, these taxis are not associated with the hotel. These drivers may not switch on their meters when picking up passengers and instead insist on an excessive charge whilst already in motion. Travellers should avoid taxis waiting outside of hotels. Ask your hotel to order one for you from a reputable company and ensure they meter your journey. If the vehicle has a meter, it should be used. Taxi drivers have also been reported as taking intentionally extended journeys in order to overcharge fares.
  • Fake Blessings: There are numerous temples in Indonesia and while they are more prominent in Bali, the fake blessings scam can occur in Jakarta. It involves a fake priest or holy man who will offer blessings and demand a donation in return, showing a jar filled with high denomination notes. Avoid engaging with such individuals.
  • Airport Porters – Foreigners will be targeted at the airport by those who look like official staff who will offer to take your bag to your transportation before demanding a fee. At times they can be forceful in their actions. Be firm in your response if you do not want any assistance.
  • The Fake Money Changer – This scam has become synonymous with Indonesia. It involves money changers offering rates which seem too good to be true. There are a few tricks they can play after grabbing your attention. They may claim to only have IDR 10,000 notes and while counting in front of you, they use sleight of hand tricks without you realising. They are betting that a customer will not count the whole stack of currency. Some money changers have also been accused of using a rigged calculator, which can be quite effective due to the large denomination of the rupiah. Only use authorised money changers and know how much you should be receiving.


  • All travellers to the Asian Games should visit their doctor at least six to eight weeks before arriving in Indonesia.
  • Travellers should ensure that they are up to date with all routine vaccinations before travelling. Most travellers should ensure that they have vaccinations for hepatitis A, tetanus, and typhoid. For some travellers, it may be advisable to have cholera, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, and tuberculosis.
  • Travellers should take precaution against mosquito-borne diseases including malaria. This includes the use of insect repellent containing DEET and sleeping in a mosquito net.
  • Travellers should take the necessary precaution against sun- and heat-related illnesses. Sun creams with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above and 4 or 5 stars UVA (ultraviolet A) protection should be used. Travellers should also ensure that they drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids.
  • If taking long-term prescribed medication, travellers should contact their local Indonesian diplomatic mission to ensure that the import of such medication does not contravene any local laws. Travellers should also ensure that they maintain the original prescription, consider having it notarised and translated, and that they have more than enough to cover the length of their stay. There may be a limited supply of medication in Indonesia.
  • Health facilities in Jakarta are generally below western standards, although some private hospitals offer western-level care. However, such care can be expensive. Travellers should ensure that they have adequate medical insurance to cover medical repatriation in case of severe incidents.
  • Travellers should avoid drinking tap water, drinks with ice or uncooked food such as salads – water is not potable in Indonesia. Bottled water is widely available.


25 July 2014
  • The Olympic Council of Asia appointed hosts for the Games during a meeting in Kuwait City.
30 June 2018
  • Organisers announced that the 30 June marks the first day of ticket sales.
15 July 2018
  • Flame for the Asian Games lit in New Delhi, India.
19 July 2018
  • Relay of the Asian Games Flame begins in Indonesia.
21 July 2018
  • Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium in Palembang damaged due to a riot during a local football match.
08 August 2018
  • First events of the Games – Basketball – begin.
18 August 2018
  • Opening Ceremony to be held in the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
02 September 2018
  • Closing Ceremony to be held in the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.


While the various ethnic/religious groups in Indonesia have their own traditions and cultural traits, the following information is helpful to remember for most groups.
  • Indonesians avoid direct confrontation and place a large social emphasis on saving face. An unenthusiastic ‘yes’ may, in fact, mean ‘no’ and Indonesians are more likely to say ‘maybe’ rather than ‘I don’t know’. Do not raise your voice with Indonesians, especially with the police. Staying calm makes it more likely that you will receive the help or service needed.
  • If giving something to an individual of a higher status, use two hands as a sign of respect.
  • Avoid crossing your legs while sitting and do not allow the bottom of your feet to face or point at another person.
  • Use your right hand to pass objects or eat food. The left hand is considered unclean. Do not touch food, pass or receive anything, touch anyone or point with your left hand.
  • Although there are no anti-gay laws (apart from in Aceh), there are also no laws protecting the LGBT community and an anti-pornography law has been used to raid gay entertainment venues.
  • The head is considered sacred; the head of others should not be touched.
  • Most restaurants and hotels include a service charge of 10 per cent in their bill. If not automatically added, then a tip of five to ten per cent is appropriate.
  • Standing with your arms on your hips may be interpreted as an angry and aggressive posture.
  • Pointing should only be done with the thumb, not the finger.
  • Indonesians generally expect punctuality for social or business events.
  • Due to the importance of religion in Indonesia, all travellers should dress conservatively, especially women. It is advisable to wear clothes which cover knees and shoulders. Displays of affection between members of the opposite sex are generally frowned upon and may attract unwanted attention.


Solace Global remains available to provide the full range of Travel Risk Management services to clients. Solace Global is also able to provide comprehensive travel tracking, crisis management, in-country journey management, meet and greet, 24/7 monitoring, response, and evacuation services. For further details please contact +44 (0)1202 795 801 or email sgr@localhost.