Women Travellers

Plenty of Western women travel in Indonesia either solo or in pairs, and most seem to travel through the country, especially on Bali, without major problems. However, women travelling solo or otherwise may receive unwanted attention.

  • Dress modestly, especially in conservative Muslim areas. Even the tourist islands of the Gilis have signs asking women not to walk around off the beaches in bikinis. In Aceh, women are expected to wear head scarves and cover their arms, whether they are Muslim or not.
  • Indonesian men are generally very courteous; however, there is a macho element that indulges in puerile behaviour – horn honking, lewd comments etc. Ignore them totally, as Indonesian women do.
  • If you’re a solo female and you hire a car with a driver for several days, it’s not culturally appropriate for a male Muslim driver to be travelling alone with you. A third party will come along as a chaperone.