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Thread: How safe is photo-taking in Indonesia?

  1. #1
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    Default How safe is photo-taking in Indonesia?

    Anyone from or have been to Sumatra, Indonesia ?

    Am contemplating whether or not to shoot or even bring my camera gears there for the main sake of personal safety.

    I will be primarily stationed at Palembang and Jambi, South and central of Sumatra respectively, both of which I don't know what to expect, be it photographically or day-light robbery.

    Quick, I need your advice...

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    Stay in good reputable hotels that provide safety box where you can put in your camera gears when you have to leave the hotels without them.

    If you really must do street photography, be aware of your surrounding. Watch out for snatch thieves. They can come to you lightning fast, either on foot & on motorcycle. Unless you have adequate escort by street-smart natives, I really don't recommend street photography.

    Watch out also for pickpocket.

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    Hmmm.

    In such situations what I would do is get a cheap but good P&S (eg Olympus mju II) and secure it to my wrist with a strong strap. And be ready to surrender it if necessary to save my life without too much heart pain.

    And a good pair of running shoes...

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    a monopod would come in handy too

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    Originally posted by rty
    Stay in good reputable hotels that provide safety box where you can put in your camera gears when you have to leave the hotels without them.
    My hotel I think quite high class one

    Originally posted by rty

    If your really must do street photography, be aware of your surrounding. Watch out for snatch thieves. They can come to you lightning fast, either on foot & on motorcycle. Unless you have adequate escort by street-smart natives, I really don't recommend street photography.

    Watch out also for pickpocket.
    oh ok, is this something you have heard of or experienced yourself?

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    Originally posted by StreetShooter
    Hmmm.

    In such situations what I would do is get a cheap but good P&S (eg Olympus mju II) and secure it to my wrist with a strong strap. And be ready to surrender it if necessary to save my life without too much heart pain.

    And a good pair of running shoes...
    dame, have sold my Ricoh GR1s and Leica Minilux. They would have come useful... I wonder if my Xpan or Fm3a looks cheap enough not to attract unnecessary attentions and actions!

    Otherwise, anyone has any cheap or cheap looking camera to lend to jas?

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    Xpan will look classy enough for them to rob ...

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    I was in Pekanbaru and Padang, Sumatra about 10 years ago and found these places to be beautiful.

    However, I would agree about the warning on the pickpockets.

    I was in Padang and it was in the afternoon as I was walking in front of a shopfront at a marketplace. Suddenly, I felt someone tapping at the bottom of my trousers and around my socks. At the same time, I could feel someone tapping my rear pockets.

    As I looked down, there was this man in front of me who picked up a cigarrette butt from the floor. Smilingly, he said something about dropping the cigarette and then left. It all happened in just a few seconds, like magic!.

    Obviously, he was trying to pickpocket me and that there was more than one person involved. Thankfully, they did not manage to steal anything from me. It surprised me that they dare to carry out such a despicable act in public and that no one saw or try to stop them.

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    Originally posted by aosis
    Xpan will look classy enough for them to rob ...
    Xpan classy? Really? you sure?
    ... or is it because you know what Xpan is.

    My plan was to bring the Xpan there with its attached diminutive lens and keep my Nikon long lens at home!

    hmmm.... maybe I need plan B!

  10. #10

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    Originally posted by jasphotography
    Xpan classy? Really? you sure?
    ... or is it because you know what Xpan is.

    My plan was to bring the Xpan there with its attached diminutive lens and keep my Nikon long lens at home!

    hmmm.... maybe I need plan B!
    Hmmm ... if u decide to sacrifice Xpan, why not sell me cheap? Say $50 ?

    Sorry for tok cok ... Don't trash ur tread liao ...

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    Originally posted by drafting88
    I was in Pekanbaru and Padang, Sumatra about 10 years ago and found these places to be beautiful.

    However, I would agree about the warning on the pickpockets.

    I was in Padang and it was in the afternoon as I was walking in front of a shopfront at a marketplace. Suddenly, I felt someone tapping at the bottom of my trousers and around my socks. At the same time, I could feel someone tapping my rear pockets.

    As I looked down, there was this man in front of me who picked up a cigarrette butt from the floor. Smilingly, he said something about dropping the cigarette and then left. It all happened in just a few seconds, like magic!.

    Obviously, he was trying to pickpocket me and that there was more than one person involved. Thankfully, they did not manage to steal anything from me. It surprised me that they dare to carry out such a despicable act in public and that no one saw or try to stop them.
    This is something really to bear in mind... thanks.

    I was advised actually to dress-down as much as possible and never get in a taxi alone or even with a friend as there were stories and speculations that taxi driver drove the lone 1 or 2 passengers to their gangs to have the passengers slaughtered for their internal organs...

    please tell me this isn't true...

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    Originally posted by drafting88
    I was in Pekanbaru and Padang, Sumatra about 10 years ago and found these places to be beautiful.

    However, I would agree about the warning on the pickpockets.

    I was in Padang and it was in the afternoon as I was walking in front of a shopfront at a marketplace. Suddenly, I felt someone tapping at the bottom of my trousers and around my socks. At the same time, I could feel someone tapping my rear pockets.

    As I looked down, there was this man in front of me who picked up a cigarrette butt from the floor. Smilingly, he said something about dropping the cigarette and then left. It all happened in just a few seconds, like magic!.

    Obviously, he was trying to pickpocket me and that there was more than one person involved. Thankfully, they did not manage to steal anything from me. It surprised me that they dare to carry out such a despicable act in public and that no one saw or try to stop them.
    wat do u think?
    its indonesia leh...

  13. #13

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    Hi

    I'm not sure if this help...

    There's a colleague of mine who went with us on overseas trip to Bali. He took a cab alone and was being driven to a place. When the cab reached there, 4 other men came out from the house and demanded money from him. He then gave them whatever he had on him and the driver drove him back to where he wanted to go.

    In my opinion, a camera or even a handphone is equal to a few months' pay to them. with your camera or phone, they can sent d their kids to school and also use the money for the family for a few weeks. Think about it...

    I would advise you to bring somethign small esp to place like Indonesia. Even if you are robbed, I doubt the locals will help you.

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    erm..OT abit horr....how about Vietnam? is it safe to lug around a DSLR? going there in 3 weeks' time....
    Believe it. And it will be so.

  15. #15

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    Originally posted by Horus
    erm..OT abit horr....how about Vietnam? is it safe to lug around a DSLR? going there in 3 weeks' time....
    Ho Chi Minh City is very safe. And during weekends, u can see Vietnamese love to take photographs. Hmmm .... Why not start another thread ?

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    Suggest those waist money pouches that you can hide under your shirt.

    Stuff some money in your shoes/socks so that if you go get pickpocketed (touch wood) at least you won't be penniless.

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    Originally posted by jasphotography
    Xpan classy? Really? you sure?
    ... or is it because you know what Xpan is.

    My plan was to bring the Xpan there with its attached diminutive lens and keep my Nikon long lens at home!

    hmmm.... maybe I need plan B!
    Why not I exchange your Xpan with you my mjuII?

    I can then play with safely here in Singapore while you shoot with the weatherproof mjuII over there

    On a serious note, if you need to loan a mjuII, let me know.

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    Originally posted by jasphotography
    oh ok, is this something you have heard of or experienced yourself?
    I myself experienced a couple of pickpocket attempts only in Jakarta but thankfully I had been conditioned to always be alert in public places including posh shopping malls.

    They usually operate in a group of 4-5, so unless you are inside a mall with security guards around, it might not be worthy to fight them over a few $$ worth of stuffs. Some nave angmohs tried to fight them but only ended up being stabbed from the back (literally). There are of course some civic minded natives who might be brave enough to come to the rescue, but please ask yourself this: would you bet your life on it?

    When walking and you know you are being followed closely, try making a fast U-turn and walk fast.

    In a non-tourist area, when taking photos, don't stay at one place for too long. When I said tourists I mean international tourists, not local tourists. Just because the locals do it, doesn't mean it is safe for you to do so. One engineer from Singapore went to Jakarta and he was robbed in the morning when walking from the hotel to the office. When asked why he walked instead of taking a taxi, he said his other colleague "also walk wat". What he failed to realize is that his other colleague is a huge, 6-ft tall, dark-skin native with moustache, beard and an intimidating look, while the former was just an average skinny nerdy looking Ah-beng.

    Just use your common sense. Try as much as possible to go out in a group. Keep a low profile. Be alert. Be street-smart. Enjoy yourself.

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    Originally posted by jasphotography
    ..slaughtered for their internal organs...

    please tell me this isn't true...
    NOT true.


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    Hi jasphotography,

    Just curious, which part of sumatra are you going? In general, in indonesia, just try to blend in and try not to speak too much since people will know that you're not local or have not stayed here a long time.
    Dressing probably should be more casual, dressed down.

    Yes, please beware of pickpockets and people around you...
    Try to hold on to your bag at all times (can get something like a sling bag) and make sure you can see it at _all_ times.

    I've never really taken taxis there before coz my relatives there have cars
    but you might want to try the trishaw (they call it bear-cak -> according to pronounciation but again it depends on which part of sumatra you are going again). Can bargain with the driver to say how much you offer....

    yea heard of stories about the taxis.... best way is to get someone who knows their way around and speaks bahasa indonesia so that he/she can keep a lookout for you. If you can go in a group, it's always recommended (especially so for females!).

    For taking pictures, think it's still okay but dun take too long like setting up tripod or stuff (if you do then get people to keep a lookout for you). Try to keep low profile and try to act as local as you can (especially helps if you speak the language). Take pictures quickly and ya don't use equipment that look too expensive (you can always make it look more shabby or something).

    the traffic conditions there in general are crazy so be very careful and alert. Try as much as possible to steer clear of dark places. Walk briskly.

    Think rule of thumb is try not to travel alone, if not then don't act as if you don't know where you're going. Indonesia is quite a beautiful place and it's not _that_ bad. You just need to stay alert and keep a lookout.
    There'll be beggars but _don't_ start to give them money coz all will come to you when they found out that you give to one (unless you're protected in a car). Don't display your money in public too. You don't need so much to get around there...
    The chinese people there (if any) are generally more friendly since they're chinese too.... and you'll have a better chance of being understood since they'll probably know some english or chinese.

    Btw, handphones and cameras there can mean like years of pay to them.... not months so that's alot of money to them...

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