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Is Bali Worth the Risk? Local Authorities Fight Back Against Terrorism

Monday 26th March 2012

With the killing of five terrorists in Bali last week, we have a look at the threat of terrorism and its effects of tourism in a South East Asian paradise.

This past week has seen the national police of Indonesia send a real message to terrorists and tourists alike, with the killing of five Islamic extremist terrorists in Bali. In recent times, the government of Indonesia and the protective forces of the country have been criticised for not taking the threat of terrorism too seriously, but that changed when the powers that be realised their economy was taking a hit due to the world‘s view of the country. The latest raids on two different locations in Bali were the culmination of months of hard work and tracking the subjects, and were ruthlessly and successfully carried out. The success of this operation has sent a clear message to terrorist groups planning to attack the area, as well as tourists who may have previously been wary of visiting what the British Foreign and Commonwealth office have labelled a ‘high-risk’ destination. There have been infrequent attacks on places such as Bali and Jakarta in the last few years, notably the 2009 bombing in Jakarta and suicide bombings in Bali in October 2005.

Should the problems in Indonesia put travellers off going? The recent hard-line stance from the Bali and Indonesian forces has quelled some tourist worries, but that doesn’t put an end to possible attacks. That said, there are problems and threats of terrorism in many of the world’s hot spots, including massive tourist attractions in America, India and even here at home - and Bali is like a paradise. The gorgeous beaches, the modern architecture, not to mention the glorious weather, have been attracting millions of tourists for a number of years, and the number is still rising. If you’re going to visit Indonesia on your gap year, you will want to exercise extreme caution and be wary of anything that seems out of the ordinary. Terrorist groups have been known to target well-established hotels, local monuments, and even religious grounds such as churches. The five men who were killed by the special anti-terrorism unit Densus 88 were known to have been behind a large-scale bank robbery in 2010.

All you need to do is ask yourself whether you really want to go there, and if you do, then go! If you are aware of the risks involved, and are unfazed, then there is no point missing out on a truly beautiful place, because millions of tourists think likewise. On the other hand, if you weren’t really bothered about going there, then don’t, because there are endless opportunities for choosing another destination on your gap year. See our South East Asia destination page for some more ideas, and for what organisations can do for you while you are out there. Make sure you check the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office before you head out to see the latest advice, and keep yourself updated with what is going on in the area you will be visiting before you set off. Bali is a wonderful place, so you can be buoyed by the fact the local authorities want to keep it that way.