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When it looks too risky ??

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When do you draw the line at the risks to your personal safety and right to visit without harassment by the law?
7 years ago, February 10th 2012 No: 1 Msg: #151682  
B Posts: 897
With my recent fascination for underwater Indonesia I am throwing around the idea of diving Banda Aceh.

I watched a doco the other night about the morality police in hardline shariah law Banda Aceh and started questioning the wisdom of going there. My options are..go alone and stay inside hotels until I can get to a dive resort somewhere on an island nearby or b....take a bodyguard...one that just happens to be handy and around and owes me a holiday. Except said bodyguard is heavily tattood and has a head tattoo. And is 6'5 so will draw attention.

So when do you say a destination is too risky..of course situations such as Libya and Egypt but the destinations your government has on its travel site as Do Not Travel. '

As a visibly tattood middle aged western female I stand out in Indo...I am starting to question is going to dive Banda Aceh going to be worth the risk of run ins with the morality police..they are pretty brutal. When do you say too risky? Reply to this

7 years ago, February 12th 2012 No: 2 Msg: #151742  
I wil be watching this thread closely to see what other members feel but personally for me if I really wanted to go to a country that wasn't deemed safe, I would probably look into an organised tour from a reputable company.

I have always wanted to visit Mexico but the bad press makes me hesitate so I'd probably look into doing a tour.

Bad things can still happen to tours or groups of people but I do think it would make me feel a little more safer being wiht other people. Reply to this

7 years ago, February 13th 2012 No: 3 Msg: #151748  

When reaching these decisions I sit quietly and meditate. Generally, your gut will tell you what to do.

My motto (and it has saved me several times).....when in doubt, don't.
I'm not as risky as I used to be and I am ok with that.

One has to follow their dreams but we don't want them to become nightmares. Reply to this

7 years ago, February 13th 2012 No: 4 Msg: #151761  
There is also option c, which is cover up. I am not talking about walking around in a burqa, but just wearing clothes that don't reveal. It would be similar to travelling to the Middle East, you wear loose fitting clothes with long sleeves and trousers or skirts that cover down to the ankles and a loose fitting head scarf.

I suspect if you do that you will have little problems with any morality police. Keep in mind there is a difference in how they will treat local women and foreign women, there always is. It is far more risky for them to harass a foreigner, so they will think twice about doing so. And if you have dressed conservatively there will be even less reason for them to bother you and even more problems for them if they do.

But if you are uncomfortable with doing that or just the whole situation, you should not go, because it will ruin your trip.

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7 years ago, February 13th 2012 No: 5 Msg: #151785  
no safety issues in Russia. just normal city-smarts...St Petersburg is a great city. the only place in the world i know of with black currant ice cream!! and excellent coffee!! http://www.superhostel.ru/ this is a super place for st petersburg cheap lodging!! Reply to this

7 years ago, February 13th 2012 No: 6 Msg: #151789  
Cindy, Hi from Pulau Weh...did 6 dives the last 3 days. We took a taxi from Banda Aceh airport to the ferry pier...it's a 30 minutes drive, and it didn't look dangerous at all.

On Pulau Weh, bring a good book....there is nothing beside diving to do here...not a single bar...just two or three little restaurants around, all closed by 8pm.

I'm lucky I've got Leslie and Tiffany to entertain me! And the diving is pretty fun, but not really world class....3 more days of diving...and Leslie went pretty deep today! Reply to this

7 years ago, February 13th 2012 No: 7 Msg: #151799  
B Posts: 897
No diving in Russia either :p

Good old Travelblog to the rescue again - Thanks Pierre, I did wonder if Pulau Weh was going to be worth it from a travel diving viewpoint. I was flipping a coin between flying on from an already booked ticket to Manado I have to sorong and diving Raja Ampat or heading west to sabang and diving Pulua Weh..your timely adviced helped me make my mind up!

Funnily I was more concerned about the police..specifically the morality police..than the achenese who I know are lovely people. After watching a doco on the morality police and having several of my indo students tell me they have cousins etc who have been caned for standing too close to girls etc. I watched vision of the morality police removing piercings with plyers and shaving heads and thought..hmm..is this one of those transit in and out type places like Port Moresby.

Then i realised the absolute absurdity of my post..how shall i avoid the attention of the morality police..i know! I shall take a walking giant with a tattoo'd head ... that should help me fade into the background 😊

Enjoy your diving with Leslie and Tiffany - you are making me so jealous with your year of diving the world!

Oh and Hisdudeness your blogs always crack me up..I had considered option C quite eagerly as my friends son who is serving in Afghanistan bought us both back beautiful burqus..naqib?..the full face type last time he came home.'

I always knew it would come in handy for something other than omg i have a giant zit days 😉
[Edited: 2012 Feb 13 16:25 - littlewing:163970 ]
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7 years ago, February 16th 2012 No: 8 Msg: #151919  
We were in Banda Aceh in December 2011 and found the people there to be perhaps the friendliest we've met (that goes for the whole of Sumatra!). Amy had no problems with regards to extra attention or anything of that nature.

I'd generally advise to just use common sense and you'll love it! For example, on Pulau Weh on Iboih beach, one area of the beach is infront of a mosque and frequented by the local muslims. However, after asking the locals, they directed us further down the shore to a stretch of beach where westerners can swim in bikinis and such, although Amy did cover up as soon as she was out out the water, though others didn't bother and there was no issue.

The issues in Banda Aceh have been overblown, and generally any anger directed at foreigners is where they have shown a complete lack of respect for local culture.

Dont worry about it, just go and you'll have a great time!
In response to: Msg #151799 Reply to this

7 years ago, February 18th 2012 No: 9 Msg: #152006  
nice tips shared by you all members nice work Reply to this

7 years ago, March 3rd 2012 No: 10 Msg: #152723  
Actually I draw the line fairly quickly. In the longest of lives there is not time enough to see and experience the best of the best. If visiting some location is more than a moderate risk then it is ignorance to go there. Life is real not a movie and real suffering after doing something stupid sometimes has long time consequences unimaginale to the uninitiated. If I judge some location as more than a moderate risk there are numerous other places to go. I do realise that the media overplays the troubles in some areas and for most travel the most dangerous part of the journey is the drive on the freeway to the airport.....still there is just no sense in taking unreasonable risk. There are too many other options. Reply to this

7 years ago, March 4th 2012 No: 11 Msg: #152783  

Hello Cindy 😊

I watched a doco the other night about the morality police in hardline shariah law Banda Aceh and started questioning the wisdom of going there.


Id say morality police go on bouts of dishing out retribution left, right and centre, but I doubt they are doing it constantly. If they are currently doing it, I would avoid the place for a while.

The morality police didnt come near me in Sumatra, nor did they in Iran which I found even more severe with the morality demands. But, maybe if I was in those places at a different time, there would be problems. I think, a lot of the morality policing happens at times of political or economic turmoil, as tension in society in general increases. Id say keeping an eye on world news helps predict when times of peace and times of trouble are likely for a traveller in the various countries.

I found Sumatra conservative, but noticed that it also has its fair share of rebels. Those rebels often worked as tour guides, in tourist cafes and guesthouses. They do a good job of steering one clear of trouble and also providing a steady stream of place names where you can relax and do what you want. They will probably even escort/accompany you to them, to make sure you are alright, and to explain you to people.

Id say, try to cover the tattoos, piercings and wear loose flowing long clothes to avoid the respect police as well as the morality police. The respect police dont use burtal physical violence to enforce their ideals, but they are tiresome.

Dont wear the burka though. That might cause many to keep a respectful distance from you and that could get lonely. Others might think you are overdoing it or even taking the p*ss, which will cause a degree of negativity to be aimed at you. I am presuming right now, that your suggestion about wearing the burka is a joke, but at the same time wondering what to make of it. You would likely cause more such confusion amongst travellers you meet in Sumatra.

several of my indo students tell me they have cousins etc who have been caned for standing too close to girls etc. I watched vision of the morality police removing piercings with plyers and shaving heads and thought..hmm.


Id say the morality police are more likley to target local people more often than tourists, because they are an easier target as they are less likely to cause the incidents to be featured on world news or to attract the dreaded human rights people.

is this one of those transit in and out type places like Port Moresby.

Then i realised the absolute absurdity of my post..how shall i avoid the attention of the morality police..i know!


If it is one of those in and out type places, the morality police probably wont bother going near it or the transport provided to and from. They know that the sinning and immorality will likely remain enclosed in the tourist bubble and not have any affect on the place or on their sensibilities if they avoid looking in that direction, which is likely because it is the easier choice for them. Unless there are current bad feelings between Indonesia and some country with a western culture, the morality police will probably look more towards people living locally who could use a reminder of what it means to be of the religion they are of, than at you or anyone doing tourist typical activities.

Is the doccumentary you watched about the morality police on the internet? If so, would you post a link to it here. I want to watch it.

Here is a blog of some of my time in Sumatra, which might interest you.
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Mel
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7 years ago, March 12th 2012 No: 12 Msg: #153088  
B Posts: 897
Mell i watched the doco again the other night - its part of Nat Geo's Dont tell my mother series - Dont tell my mother im in Indonesia.

Ohh and of course i was just joking about burqas!


[Edited: 2012 Mar 12 15:04 - littlewing:163970 ]
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7 years ago, March 12th 2012 No: 13 Msg: #153089  
Thanks Cindy 😊 Reply to this

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