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Tinkering and a plethora of other pursuits...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thinking about a summer trip to somewhere in a triangular area formed by the Phillipines to the north, Malaysia to the west and Papua New Guinea to the east. So this is mainly Indonesia but also, perhaps Derawan.

The FCO website isn't too encouraging about trips to Indonesia - have you folk got any info to share in terms of safety and security? And, of course, what about sites and operators?

Cheers,
S.
 

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New Member ? Its the same one i've always had
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I would have thought that, with the obvious exception of Afghanistan and Iraq, almost anywhere in the world has about the same level of safety and security as your own high street. A lot of people seem to leave their brains at home when on holiday and act in ways that they would never dream of back in blighty. Wearing all your jewellry at once, flashing huge wads of cash or waving expensive cameras about and then wandering blindly down some dark alleyway at the behest of some creepy bloke that you meet in a bar is as much a recipe for disaster in Shanghai, (for example), as it is in Slough, (for example).
Bombs, terrorism etc are, regrettably, as likely outside your workplace as they are overseas.:frown:
However, I seem to remember being told that certain levels of FCO warnings can invalidate your travel insurance, so it may be worth checking up on that.
If it is any consolation, the Australian version of the FCO warnings recently advised against any non essential travel to Germany, FFS, because they were having an election ! It is mainly government butt covering, do your own research and go anyway. Have a great time, i am sure that you will.

HTH
Keith
 

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"we're gonna need a bigger boat"
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One of the best places I've been to is a place called Pulau Weh off the northern tip of Indonesia in Aceh province (where the Tsunami hit). Its really difficult to get to and everything is very basic but the diving is excellent (lots of big stuff and a fantastic wreck) and if you like to get off the beaten track you'll love it.

This is the dive operator we dived with - they are excellent as well.

Enjoy your diving with Lumba Lumba Diving Centre, Pulau Weh (Weh Island), Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia

Ian
 

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Travel safety

Over the past couple of years I have travelled to Indonesia (Derawan), Philippines and PNG. As long as you are sensible there are no problems. I intend to go back to PNG this year again, the diving is fantastic.
 

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I've travelled a bit in Malaysia and Indonesia and been on a couple of separate dive trips. On the security front, Indonesia is generally safe. Obviously avoid any specific problem areas detailed on the FCO website as there are occasional flare ups of trouble, but the majority of the islands are fine.

On the diving, going West to East on your area of interest, I wouldn't recommend the stuff around peninsula Malaysia (Tioman, Perhentian, Redang), it's OK if you're passing but not worth a specific trip. Not been to the 'good bits' in Malaysia, Sipidan etc.

Think I'd agree with the comments on Bali diving in another thread, again comes under the 'OK if you're passing' sort of standard but with very variable quality of operators. Don't bother with Lombok, the reef never recovered from the devastating '97 El Nino.

Places I would recommend - went to Eco divers in Manado, Sulawesi, which was a well run dive centre (owned by a couple of ex-Emperor Red Sea people). The diving is really good in the Bunaken national park and for something completely different the Lembeh strait provides bizarre black sand muck diving. The resort that it's based in is pretty decent and not overly expensive - although it's probably cheaper to book a package through a UK agency rather than DIY.
If you want something a bit more remote, there's a brilliant dive centre in Labuanbajo, Flores, called reefseekers (www.reefseekers.net), run by a couple of Brits (Ernest from Scotland and Kath from the North East). They've been living on their own island there for a few years and will (allegedly) finish bulding a small scale resort on it some year soon. In the mean time they just run an excellent dive centre sharing a huge number of dive sites with the few liveaboards that go out there from Bali. The 'only' big stuff we saw there was Mantas (every other dive or so, and a snorkel over a cleaning station with about a dozen) but the diversity of marine life and quality of the diving is excellent. And it's a bit of a slug-fan's dream with huge numbers and huge specimens, especially on Cannibal rock in the South of the area they dive.
The down side is that it's well off the beaten track, Labuanbajo has one hotel with western facilities and a couple of others that are OK if very basic. We stayed in one of the latter, accommodation and food was about 15 quid a day (for 2). Besides the diving, it's quite an interesting area 'though, Komodo is the next island along (with the correspondingly named 'dragons' - actually big lizards with bad breath) and Flores itself has quite a few interesting bits, from animist villages to the '3 coloured lakes'.

Not been to the Philippines or PNG, still on the list....


Cheers,


Ian.
 

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If you stick to the tourist areas you shouldn't have too much of a problem. Aceh, Kalimantan, Ambon, West Papua (previously Irian Jaya) and obviously East Timor have a history of violence. It's nothing aimed at westerners but you wouldn't want to get caught up in it.

Philippines is generally safe, although there have been cases of Islamic extremists groups targetting westerners in the Southern Philippines and kidnapping in Manila by criminal elements.

Really the FCO advice is very good. If they advise that you avoid a specific region then I personally would take that advice. Bear in mind that most of the time the problems are isolated in specific regions, so you should be fine to visit the rest of the country. Check the website before you leave and during the trip and have a look at the general security advice they give as well. It's all useful stuff.

Security Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Most importantly, enjoy your trip. As long as you are sensible you should have nothing to worry about and will have a great holiday.
 

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Tinkering and a plethora of other pursuits...
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Very useful info - cheers,
S.
 
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