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Possible worries for security in Sulawesi and Papua for independent travel?

Possible worries for security in Sulawesi and Papua for independent travel?

Old Apr 10th, 2010, 09:38 AM
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Possible worries for security in Sulawesi and Papua for independent travel?

Hi to all!
The security situation in Sulawesi and Papua according to various governmental travel advice offices, is terrible and almost make you not want to go, while travellers have reported a better situation.
If anybody has a good idea about how things are going this period, I would be greatfull to know
My plan is to travel solo and budget, so with public transport as much as possible (hoping it is possible), and stay at simple places, which might expose a backpacker to some more possible danger, instead of staying in expensive hotels with security, private transport etc, which is not my case.
I'm thinking also to enter overland from Indonesian Papua to P. New Guinea, but governmental advice from western countries, try to keep travellers away, too!
Many thanks guys
Nik
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 03:49 PM
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nik, I can't advise you on Papua -- Indonesian or otherwise; however I believe that you won't have security problems in Sulawesi. The issues there have been sectarian -- mostly religious -- and are avoidable.

I would mention though that Sulawesi's a big island and internal public transportation is poor to none. Ferries are notoriously unreliable -- I mean UNSAFE -- and there aren't a lot of options for public ground transportation. Road access is mostly nonexistant.

Unless you have a whole lot of time, I'd suggest that you travel by bus or private car from Makassar (Ujang Padang) to Tanah Toraja, then go back to Makassar and fly to other parts of Sulawesi -- including Manado. Once you in a geographic area you can explore, but it's difficult to travel from say south to north without flying.

If you are American or Australian you can call your embassy in Jakarta and ask for firsthand travel advice. Despite the official warning, foreign service employees travel frequently to Sulawesi, both on official business and holiday travel.
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 05:19 PM
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As Marmot says, there's very little chance of any violence in any of the tourist places around Sulawesi. I've been there several times, and am going there again next month, and have never seen any hint of trouble.

But then, I live in Bangkok, so I'm probably oblivious to danger.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 12:10 AM
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that's great news guys, I believe the official travel advise exagerates.
But then it's so difficult to travel around by bus and boat. The indonesian airlines don't have a good reputation, too!
It's a puzzle!
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 04:07 AM
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I was in Sulawesi 2+ weeks ago traveling up to Taraja and then walking around Makassar. Unless I was blind and deaf to it there were no demonstrations, banners etc. True the transportation is poor but we were on a pre-arranged bus tour through a travel agency so it was not an issue but one of the main roads up to taraja had been wshed out by heavy rains and we had to take an alternate route requiring a 5 hr, bus trip up and a 9 hour hour trip back since we wanted to end at Makassar to meet our expedition ship. The trip was torturious with dozens of hair pin turns, and bouncing around in our seats such that we almost had to hold on, maybe a bit of an exaggeration but not by much, but up in the Taraja area it was quite interesting and beautiful but that can be wether dependent. The road that was washed out may be repaired soon but it was too long a trip for the experience. Sights and experiences like that can be found in Central Java and Bali.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 05:45 AM
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Garuda is not as bad as their reputation suggests. Both they and Mandala have achieved international safety certification. They are, all things considered, the safest way to get from point A to point B in Indonesia.
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Old Apr 12th, 2010, 12:47 AM
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very usefull news guys!
thanks for the airlines recomendations, this is a risk we souldn't take since we travel for fan and not to save our lives (then we would get into anyhting!)
Getting organised trips seems expensive, but maybe i should search more about it, as it solves many problems, especially in such areas with low and unreliable infrastacture
many thanks!
N.
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