How safe is Jakarta?
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Dec 14, 2012 9:01 AM Last Post By: BuildingMyBento
Dec 2, 2012 3:13 PM
How safe is Jakarta?Hi guys
This is my first time in this forum. I have been offered a job in Jakarta and would like some opinions on the safety there and around. I am also a scuba diver so hope there are amazing places to dive? I would be very grateful for anyones opinions or experiences on this area of Asia.
Dec 2, 2012 3:35 PM
1I really think it s perfectly safe.
About the only thing to watch out for are pickpockets on public transports, and Jakarta expats almost never travel on public buses anyway! ;-)
Lots of great diving is available around Indonesia, but definitely NOT in or even close to Jakarta. Think taking a 2-3 domestic flight from there first...
Dec 2, 2012 5:13 PM
2Here's one expat who has used the buses in Jakarta a lot...
...and has been pickpocketed on the bus lol.
Otherwise ditto Laszlo, Jakarta is one of the safest big cities in the world.
Dec 2, 2012 6:32 PM
3Hey Bonek, have you seen the new Jakarta guide by Tuttle ?
It's great, actually manages to make Jakarta sound interesting!
So much so, that I bought it.
It also has a very funny entire page devoted to trying to dispel expats' fear of public transport and encouraging them to use it to explore the city.
It goes by listing each common objection against it, then fighting it.
My favourite is:
"Objection #7: It is dirty, polluted and stinks!"
"So is Venice! But don't let that stop you!"
(Of course one could argue that comparing Jakarta to Venice is stretching it a bit... though after major rains and floods in JKT, the similarity definitely increases.)
Dec 2, 2012 9:44 PM
4As the others have said above, for a place of such gargantuan size, in a country with some considerable economic stresses, it really is remarkably safe.
Petty and criminal violence, of the kind common in many Western cities, is virtually unknown, and like bonek, I've never encountered the legendary pickpockets, either in Jakarta or Surabaya.
People are also remarkably friendly and open towards foreigners; the food it great, and there's decent shopping, nightlife and music.
Jakarta does have one truly horrific problem, however, and that's the traffic, in which it probably surpasses all the other major Southeast Asian capital cities. But despite that, you've got the entire Indonesian archipelago on your doorstep, just a cheap flight away. Diving in the immediate vicinity is not in great supply, but there's a plethora of places a short plane ride away, and a whole Indonesian archipelago on your doorstep for weekends and holidays.
Laszlo - I just got given a copy of that book myself, and yes, it is excellent. The couple who wrote it have been doing very good articles in the local English language media about Jakarta and beyond for several years...
Dec 2, 2012 9:59 PM
5Tim, hasn't bonek said he has encountered the pickpockets?
So have I - once, and even then managed to fend them (it always seems to be a group of 3 or so, never a solo one, in Java) off. In one more case I heard an Indonesian cry about having been pickpocketed after they had safely got off the bus - how silly is that?!?
But that's all. No more such experiences in Jakarta, none as yet in Surabaya.
I met the worst ones, leaving me with bitemarks on my arm (but also with all my valuables still on me!) for a while after fighting them off, in Yogyakarta.
Dec 2, 2012 10:11 PM
6Oh ya, I misread his post.
Only times I've ever been pickpocketed anywhere was once in London - a camera nabbed from the back pocket of a backpack - and once in Spain getting on a crowded bus in Pamplona - the pick-pocket had to bail out when they discovered that there was a chain connecting the wallet in question to this large Cornishman!
The thing that does strike me as worrying is the snatch-and-grab motorbike thieves, but they seem mostly to target local women on motorbike, with handbag over one shoulder, and it seems, judging from local news reports, to be more prevalent in Bali than elsewhere (though I'm sure it does happen in Jakarta and Surabaya from time to time too).
Dec 2, 2012 10:24 PM
7A good expat package that makes it worth living in jakarta will include a car and driver and comfy accomodation close enough to your office that you won't spend 3 hours each way in your commute on a public bus or train. Hopefully your employer is one of the enlightened ones.
About pickpockets, I caught a young boy with his hand in my purse on an escalator in a luxury mall. Luckily I heard the latch click and he ran away. But practically everyone else I know (female) has had their bag razored from the bottom or yanked off their arm...but then it happens everywhere around the world. In general I feel safer from attack in Jakarta than most Western cities. Indonesian people are lovely and not at all the way they are pictured in Western media, and for the most part women (as individuals) are given a lot of respect and treated like royalty. But the pollution, trash, flooding and general grime makes it not comfortable for me anymore.
Hopefully the new Governor Jokowi will be able to eventually make some difference, but it will still take a long time for such changes to be evident.
Also, go over your contract with a fine tooth comb and make sure you have any employment terms in writing, not vague promises. If you do decide to take the job and stay with it, it can be the start of an amazing adventure and experiences that will enrich your life immeasureably.
Dec 2, 2012 10:26 PM
8Those snatch-and-grab motorbike thieves are said to be very common in KL, too.
I sometimes remember to worry about this risk when carrying a shoulder bag with money or laptop in it while riding a bike in Surabaya, but so far, nothing...
Apart from Jakarta and Yogya, in Indonesia I've only encountered pickpockets in Batam and on a Pelni ship. Only that last one was successful - I was too distracted talking to a South African spear-fisher during the usual, chaotic disembarkation!
Dec 14, 2012 9:01 AM
9I use the Kopaja buses in Jakarta often too, much more so than the irritating Transjakarta buses. Being able to exit anywhere, and not walking for ten minutes just to reach the (inevitably overcrowded and muddling) Transjakarta bus are two reasons why. At the same time, the ten minutes I "save" from walking are quickly lost from traffic that the regular buses must contend with. And then there's the whole, smoking is allowed on Kopaja... it's a tough call. That's where Express taxis come in handy.
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