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  1. #1
    Utopian Expat Chittychangchang's Avatar
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    The world's most dangerous countries to visit

    A total of 17 countries are now deemed by the Foreign Office to be entirely unsafe. Here they are, in alphabetical order...
    1. Afghanistan
    Why? "Hotels and guesthouses used by foreign nationals and the government of Afghanistan are subject to regular threats. There is a high threat from terrorism and specific methods of attack are evolving and increasing in sophistication. There is a high threat of kidnapping throughout the country. Travel by road throughout the country, but particularly outside the capital Kabul, is extremely dangerous."
    What are tourists missing? The 65-metre Minaret of Jam, which dates back to the 12th century, is recognised by Unesco, while trekkers will be amazed by the Panjshir Valley and the Wakhan Corridor (pictured).


    2. Burkina Faso
    Why? "There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Terrorist groups continue to mount attacks on hotels, cafes and restaurants. There is a risk that terrorist groups may cross the border from Mali and the northern border with Niger into Burkina Faso to carry out kidnap attacks."
    What are tourists missing? The Ruins of Loropéni, a 1,000-year-old settlement, is a Unesco World Heritage Site, the Sindou Peaks rock formations (pictured) would certainly tempt hikers.


    3. Burundi
    Why? "Burundi has experienced political instability since President Nkrunziza was inaugurated for a controversial third term in August 2015. There have been violent incidents reported across the country, but concentrated in Bujumbura, including a number of targeted political and military assassinations. Armed clashes between opposition and security forces occur and armed robbery targeting banks and foreign exchange offices have become common. You should limit your movements, avoid large gatherings and remain vigilant at all times."
    What are tourists missing? The chance to spot wildlife, including hippos and birds, on Lake Tanganyika, and listen to Burudian drummers, whose ancient music and dancing is on Unesco's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.


    4. Central African Republic
    Why? "Tensions are high in Bangui and across the country. There are armed patrols that have set up several road blocks across the country. Reports of violence, reprisal killings, looting and human rights abuses continue across the country. Since January 2015, there have been a number of kidnappings of government ministers and humanitarian and UN workers. Over the last year there have been periodic outbreaks of inter-ethnic violence, particularly in Bangui and Bambari."
    What are tourists missing? Spectacular wildlife. Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park, home to black rhino, cheetah, elephants, leopards and buffalo, is a World Heritage Site, as is Sangha Trinational, where three countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic and Congo) and three national parks meet.

    5. Chad
    Why? "There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. There is a threat of retaliatory attacks following the French intervention in Mali and due to Chad’s involvement in the regional fight to counter Boko Haram. There were suicide attacks in N’Djamena in June and July 2015 which resulted in 53 fatalities and many more injured."
    What are tourists missing? The Ennedi Massif features wind sculpted arches, canyons and pitons, and the picturesque Lakes of Ounianga.


    6. Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Why? "The security situation in eastern DRC remains unstable. The continued presence of armed groups, military operations against them, intercommunal violence and an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries all contribute to a deterioration in the political, security and humanitarian situation. There are continued reports of kidnappings, including of staff from international NGOs."
    What are tourists missing? The Garamba National Park is home to elephants, giraffes, hippos and white rhino.


    7. Iraq
    Why? "The security situation throughout Iraq remains uncertain, and could deteriorate quickly. Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and other armed groups control parts of Iraq, particularly in Anbar, Ninewah, Salah-Al-Din and Diyala provinces. Coalition forces, including the UK, continue to carry out targeted airstrikes against Daesh in northern and western Iraq. Areas recently liberated from Daesh are likely to contain remnants of war and improvised explosive devices. There is a high threat of terrorism including kidnapping across Iraq."
    What are tourists missing? Samarra would be high on most travel wishlists if Iraq were safe to visit. It was once the capital of an empire that extended from Tunisia to Central Asia. So too would Hatra (pictured), with its spectacular temples.


    8. Libya
    Why? "Although the Government of National Accord (GNA) is working to restore stability and security to Libya, intense fighting continues in a number of areas, and there remains a high threat throughout the country of terrorist attacks and kidnap against foreigners, including from Daesh-affiliated extremists (formerly referred to as ISIL)."
    What are tourists missing? Above all, Leptis Magna. Unesco says: "It was once one of the most beautiful cities in the Roman Empire, with its imposing public monuments, harbour, marketplace, storehouses, shops and residential districts."


    9. Mali
    Why? "There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnap, especially in areas north of Mopti. Attacks are highly likely in northern Mali, though the threat exists throughout the country. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. "
    What are tourists missing? A Unesco World Heritage Site, Timbuktu "was an intellectual and spiritual capital and a centre for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its three great mosques, Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, recall its golden age."


    10. Mauritania
    Why? "There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. On 27 October, 2016, the U.S. Embassy warned that the U.S. government has received information that terrorists are planning to carry out attacks imminently against places where U.S. citizens congregate in Nouakchott. You should be especially vigilant in public places, avoid places visited by foreigners, and monitor local media. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners."
    What are tourists missing? Barren desert landscapes, surfing beaches and the ruins of ancient trading posts.


    11. Niger
    Why? "There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. There is a threat of retaliatory attacks in Niger due to its participation in the French-led intervention in Mali and due to Niger’s involvement in the regional fight to counter Boko Haram."
    What are tourists missing? Agadez, a 15th century settlement known as the "gateway to the desert" is a World Heritage Site.


    12. North Korea

    Why? The Foreign Office says: “Tensions are high on the Korean peninsula following a series of North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile tests in 2016 and 2017; there remains a threat of further missile or nuclear tests, which could lead to further instability in the region; the security situation in North Korea can change without warning and with no advance notice of possible actions by the authorities. This represents a significant risk for British visitors and residents.”
    What are tourists missing? “The highlights most obviously are specific places - Pyongyang, certain monuments, some mountains, iconic areas - but above all it is the interaction with people in North Korea,” says Simon Cockerell, general manager at Koryo Tours, which is based in Beijing and runs trips to the country. “It is limited, perfunctory sometimes, but these people see nothing else of the outside world. The press focus on one man alone [Kim Jong-un] is understandable but it does a disservice to the 25 million others who live there.
    “You cannot go everywhere, see everything or meet everyone in the country on a trip and of course there are great restrictions on what you can do and see, but we understand this, as do our travellers, and they know there is more to it. This piques the interests of many and although you usually leave with more questions than you arrive with this is part of the fascination of the place.”


    13. Somalia
    Why? "Terrorist groups have made threats against westerners and those working for western organisations. There is a constant threat of terrorist attack in Mogadishu and terrorists continue to plan attacks against westerners in the rest of Somalia including Somaliland. There is a high threat of maritime terrorism in the territorial and international waters off Somalia and piracy remains a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean."
    What are tourists missing? Somalia might be a beach destination to rival Zanzibar were it not for civil unrest. Its also teeming with wildlife.


    14. South Sudan
    Why? "The security situation in Juba has been relatively calm since the July 2016 crisis, when fighting broke out across the city. However, there are daily reports of fighting throughout the rest of the country. The security situation is especially unstable in the Equatorias in the south of the country. The FCO continue to advise against all travel to South Sudan. If you have no pressing need to remain, you should leave if it’s safe to do so."
    What are tourists missing? Wildlife galore. Sophie and Max Lovell-Hoare visited in 2013: "We sailed across the Nile to Opekoloe Island early one morning, the tiny boat scattering river birds as it crept through the still-cool waters. Somewhere in the shallows a crocodile was lurking, though it kept a healthy distance, and a family of hippos wallowed near the bank, taking their first dip of the day. There was a cacophony of noises as creatures approached the river to feed and to fight: male baboons hooted and screeched to show us who was boss; vibrantly coloured Red Bishops and Little Bee-eaters filled the air with their squawks and tweets; and from the long, dry grass came the constant, excitable rasping of hundreds of horny crickets. A family of elephants, the remarkable survivors of years of unrestrained poaching and conflict, calmly lumbered towards us, as unconcerned by our presence as we were transfixed by theirs."


    15. Syria
    Why? "The situation remains extremely volatile and dangerous. There is widespread fighting throughout Syria, including in Damascus and its suburbs. Full scale military operations involving the use of small arms, tanks, artillery and aircraft are ongoing. The Syrian government no longer exercises control of large parts of Syria, notably the north, south and east of the country. Areas of eastern Syria are under the effective control of the Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), which is fiercely hostile to the United Kingdom."
    What are tourists missing? The Crac des Chevaliers Crusader castle (pictured) and the city of Damascus, founded in the 3rd millennium BC.


    16. Venezuela
    Why? The Foreign Office (FCO) advised against all but essential travel to the entire country at the start of August, citing “ongoing unrest and instability”. It also urged anyone in the country to consider leaving and warned that the British embassy may be limited in its ability to provide assistance.
    Since then it has updated its advice to warn of further issues, including travellers being asked to pay bribes, petrol shortages, and outbursts of violence. It warns against all travel to parts of the country along the border with Colombia, owing to the presence of drug traffickers and illegal armed groups.
    What are tourists missing? “The best-known attraction in Venezuela is probably the table-top tepuis of the Gran Sabana region in the east of the country, made famous as the ‘Lost World’ in the fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle,” says Telegraph Travel’s South America expert, Chris Moss. “The flora and fauna of these mountains are distinct from those of the Amazon and Orinoco basins. The centrepiece of this area, close to the border with Guyana, is Angels Falls, which is reached by small prop plane and motorised canoe.”
    Moss also highlights the nation’s 1,200 miles of Caribbean coastline.


    17. Yemen
    Why? "Yemen remains very tense and unstable and the security situation throughout the country is dangerous and in some areas it is unclear which faction has control. In addition to ongoing fighting, there’s a threat of terrorist attacks, kidnap and unlawful detention against foreigners from terrorist groups, local militia, armed tribesmen and criminal groups that have the intent and capability to carry out such acts."
    What are tourists missing? Socotra (pictured), off the coast of Yemen, is known for its distinct flora and fauna: 37 per cent of its plant species and 90 per cent of its reptiles, are found nowhere else. Sana'a, the country's capital, which has been inhabited for 2,500 years, is recognised by Unesco.


    Rest of the world
    The Foreign Office advises against visiting parts of a further 40 countries, including Algeria, Angola, Eritrea, Haiti (pictured), Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uganda and Western Sahara. For more information, see our detailed and regularly updated map.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat

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    Australian government in it's travel advisory still has Southern provinces of Thailand as a no-go red zone, and the rest of Thailand as a be cautious yellow zone.

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