Maluku Travel Information - Safety & Warnings

Maluku: Safety & Warnings

Chloroquine resistant malaria occurs throughout Eastern Indonesia, so do take preventive drugs before coming here!

During my first trip to Maluku in 1999, I found the region to be almost completely free of overcharging.
This has unfortunately changed after the influx of wealthy foreign NGOs in the following years, and overcharging became more common in Central Maluku (Ambon & nearby islands).
Make sure you always ask the prices/fares before taking a service or buying something in that area!
Suspicious Authorities

In remoter parts of Maluku where tourists are all but unknown, I occasionally found the local police or security guards suspicious of my motives to go there. They sometimes asked for a "surat jalan", which isn't really necessary to travel around Maluku, and in one case on Taliabu I got into real danger.
Being able to speak Indonesian is essential to be able to clarify such situations!
Sectarian Violence

Maluku suffered from horrible strife in 1999-2002.
Fortunately that IS a thing of the past, and the entire region has been safe to visit for years now.
Government travel advisories warning against travel to Maluku are simply ignorant of the actual situation on the ground, and are based on the old issues.
The latest edition of the LP Indonesia guidebook provides a realistic assessment.
However, try not to be in Ambon around 25 April, when tensions may flare up due to the anniversary of the separatist RMS movement.