Top 5 dangerous countries in the world

 

We were blessed enough to live in an era where traveling is possible at minimum costs and without losing too much time. There are countless ways of traveling from one state to another in just a matter of hours, while planes can take you to the opposite corner of the world in record times.

Probably this is why more and more people became obsessed with traveling to as many countries as possible, experiencing new cultures and boosting their personalities. Unfortunately, not all your favorite destinations prove to be safe spots, especially for foreign visitors.

Poverty, the lack of work opportunities and infrastructure combined with terrorist threats represent the main reasons why some countries, although beautiful, should be avoided at all costs.

Here is a list of destinations you shouldn’t consider for your honeymoon, at least for the moment.

 

Syria

Although there are still many other conflict spots on the globe, Syria remains the most dangerous country to travel to. Since the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2010 more than 10 million Syrians fled from the country, seeking asylum in other destinations around the world.

Europe seemed like the most welcoming environment, considering that neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia or the United Emirates of Arabia refused to offer them support and recognize Syrian people as refugees.

Colombia

Although there are many other war zones in the world, including Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and Somalia, Colombia remains one of the most dangerous countries to travel to. It’s not a war-torn area but it still possesses a life-threatening risk for travelers looking for adventures outside safe zones.

Medellin, the second-largest city in Colombia, was named South America’s greatest destination in 2016, but this doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Armed gangs continue to run the streets of Bogota as the crime rate increases year after year.

Robberies, kidnappings, and drug trafficking are still common, along with acts of terrorism, including explosions.

Although the country has been blessed with a rich history and picturesque sites, you should avoid traveling without a guide or wander the streets of Bogota at night.

 

Nigeria

Nigeria is consistently considered one of the most dangerous destinations in the world due to its terrorism problem. One of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups, Boko Haram continues to attack the state’s capital, Niger. Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Isis and tries to turn the country into a caliphate ruled by the sacred law of Sharia.

Both groups constantly target highly populated areas in an attempt to make as many victims as possible. Schools, churches, public squares, and even hotels and restaurants are amongst the most vulnerable places in the country. It is strongly advised to avoid trips to this country, at least until the war on terror is over.

 

Pakistan

Another country where terrorism is still a problem, Pakistan is not a safe travel destination either. The country is known for limiting the freedom of speech and forbidding foreigners to enter different areas.

It was consistently voted as the world’s most affected state by terrorism in the past 10 years and already counts for millions of refugees and immigrants.

Because of the risk of illegal immigrants, Pakistani people are often barred from entering developed countries, including the ones in the European Union and the United States. This is why, in a desperate attempt to flee the war zone, most of them decide to migrate towards other Asian and African destinations, including the United Arab Emirates.

Egypt

Formerly one of the most common tourist attractions in the world, Egypt has been avoided in the past few years because of the terrorist threats. Extremist groups, including Isis, continue to target public venues and tourist attractions, looking for as many casualties as possible.

The gates of Egypt remain open for tourists but it’s not advisable to travel there without a guide. All-inclusive resorts and private means of transportation can also become targets for terrorists or muggers.

There are other numerous world destinations in which you should take extra care. From Venezuela to Mali, Bali, Bangladesh, and even Ukraine, Thailand, Brazil or Jamaica – all these popular places may still pose risks due to the presence of robbers, armed gangs, and other criminals.

 

 

Top 5 most dangerous animals in Africa

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If you plan on spending your future vacation in Africa, you need to be aware of the possible dangers. Although it has become a safer destination in the past years, there are still plenty of things that could go wrong and turn your beloved holiday into a nightmare. However, with just a little bit of planning and some safety measures, you’ll have the time of your life.

One of the most popular concerns when traveling to Africa is related to animal and insect dangers. However, contrary to the general opinion, it is not the lion or most of the snakes that prove to be the most dangerous species. Here are the top 5 animals you should stay away from, no matter if you choose a five-star resort or a 2-person backpacking tent under a million stars.

 

Hippopotamus

Despite their vegetarian tastes, it is estimated that hippos are responsible for the death of 3,000 people per year. The male hippos are known for their aggressive behavior, but females can become extremely violent too, especially if you go near their babies.

These large animals defend their territories and can run at speeds of over 20mph, so it would be better to stay out of their reach.

African elephant

The elephant is the largest terrestrial mammal and statistics say this animal is responsible for over 500 human deaths per year. Most of the attacks occur in musth, the peak period of male sexuality when usually, testosterone levels are high. However, male elephants come just as aggressive in all stages of life, especially if you cross their territories.

Nowadays it is unlikely to see an elephant outside a safari or a protected wildlife reserve, so you don’t have to worry about that. Although you will be able to watch elephants on a safari closely, you will be kept at a reasonable distance from their natural habitats.

 

The Black Mamba

The largest snake in Africa doesn’t take its name from its color but more from the inky black lining in its mouth. It is extremely dangerous and can chase its victim at a speed of 12 mph, so it’s rather hard to catch it using a regular animal trap. Its venom is powerful enough to kill a dozen men at once. Once bitten, the human body will collapse in under one hour and the person will die in less than seven hours unless an antidote is provided.

Nile Crocodile

One of the deadliest animals on the continent, the Nile crocodile hovers underwater with only its nostrils remaining above. Crocodiles are considered to have the strongest bite of all animals and are very ferocious predators. They usually live between 70 and 100 years, so chances are they can make a few hundred victims during their life.

Thanks to their ectothermic metabolism they can survive for long periods of time between meals. However, when they do feed, they can eat as much as half of their body weight at a time. They mainly strike in water and are not as fast on land.

 

African Rhinoceros

This endangered species of animals is known for its bad manners. Rhinos are bad tempered and will not hesitate to attack you when they feel threatened. The weapon of choice is the rhino’s deadly horn. An adult rhino can weigh up to 6,000 pounds and can be as fast as 40 mph on short distances.

Unfortunately, these animals have been haunted by humans for the past centuries up to the point of their extinction. The attacks that rhinos caused on humans don’t even get close to the damage humans caused to these animals and their natural habitats. Sadly, the last known male white rhino died in Kenya, in March 2020.

 

 

Top 5 most dangerous roads in the world

 

You don’t hear this travel-related expression often anymore, but it used to be quite common. Safe roads are a thing of the present, as the past was filled with trails that could literally get you killed. But even to this day, there still are a few destinations you should stay away from. That is unless you’re an adventurer. If you’re curious what those are, read this article because it is never a bad idea to educate yourself.

 

Trans-Sahara Highway, Algiers

There’s a plan to build a network of highways across the African continent, to promote the much-needed economic development in the region, which frankly sounds like a fantastic idea. But it is still a plan, and it will take a few years until it becomes a dream come true.

That’s why the alternative route is the first road on our list. Traveling on the 2,800 mile-long partially sand covered route remains a daunting task. Not only are daytime temperatures scorching, but fuel and water are scarce along much of the way. Plus, with all the political turmoil in the region, it might not be a good idea to go on a solo expedition there.

 

Kolyma Federal Highway, Russian Federation

Another rather creepy road connects Magadan to Yakutsk. The 1,200-mile-long route is known in Europe and Russia as the “Road of Bones”. The story doesn’t end here. It was constructed between the 30s and the early 50s by thousands of convicts who were deliberately overworked and even starved to death, then buried beneath the road.

Over the years, it has fallen into a severe state of despair, as the Russian authorities have neglected it. The Kolyma road passes through some of the coldest inhabited places on Earth, with winter-time temperatures that drop to minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit. At times, the way is frozen solid. To ride here you will need a very thick motorcycle adventure jacket.

Karakoram Highway, Pakistan to China

Sometimes this cool road is considered the Eighth Wonder of the World since it was built at 14,500 feet above sea level and, of course, under very rough conditions. Construction on the Karakoram Highway began in early 1966 and was completed in autumn 1979, although it wasn’t opened officially until 1986.

This dangerous piece of land covers more than half of a continent and, in some places, it follows the famous Silk Road. It cuts through the most mountainous region on Earth, and it is beset with hazards like rock falls, landslides, frequent avalanches, and even flooding. But despite that, it is one of the most profitable commercial routes in modern history. Needless to say, it is not suited even for the sturdiest and the most expensive road bike.

 

Pan American Highway, Alaska to Chile

The Pan American Highway or PAH for short is not dangerous in its entirety. But in some key places, you for sure risk your freedom and also your life by using the PAH as a way of reaching Chile from the US. That’s because a big chunk of the PAH winds through the sketchy parts of Mexico and Central America, where drug cartels make the rules.

And in the gorgeous Panamanian section of the road, you have increased chances of encountering FARC rebels, who often take hostages to hold for ransom. Anyway, the PAH is around 30,000 miles long, and if you want to ignore all the bad stuff that’s going on, the scenery along the way is going to take your breath away.

Halsema Highway, Philippines

This is the last road we are going to talk about for the moment. Although it is one of the most hazardous stretches of road on this planet, it is also one of the most scenic and rewarding too. It was ordered in the 1930s by a man who went by the name Eusebius Julius Halsema, who was weirdly enough from Ohio.

The highway snakes along the dangerous slopes of the Cordillera Central mountain range, in an area loaded with volcanic rock formations. The 7.8 earthquake that took place in 1990 destabilized and broke some stony layers apart, and as a result, drivers are under the constant threat of rock slides and death.

 

 

Top 5 dangerous cities in the world

 

Traveling is a great opportunity of discovering new people and amazing places, but it does come with a series of risks that need to be assessed before you leave your comfortable and safe home.

For today’s article, we have prepared a list of five of the most dangerous cities in the world today. You might want to steer clear of these destinations if you want to travel alone, or if you have little to no experience when it comes to traveling abroad.

Here’s what you should know about these locations. One thing we do have to make clear, though, and it’s that we haven’t showcased these cities in any particular order. So, number 1 isn’t the most dangerous one.

 

Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa is a great destination for frequent and less frequent travelers. The country is filled with excellent sights, and most of the locals are friendly. However, what you definitely need to know about Cape Town is that it has about 65 homicides per every 100,000 residents.

Both the social unrest and the poverty make this destination highly dangerous for someone who doesn’t know the way around things. The high crime rate, as well as the fact that traveling alone at night is not recommended, might make this location unsuitable for your next adventure. It’s not like you could merely grab your LED flashlight and light your way through highly risky neighborhoods.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil is a country of contrasts. From the very poor to the very rich, this country is where the famous Carnival happens every year, usually in the month of March. Unfortunately and similarly to Cape Town, which we’ve mentioned previously, this town also has a very high crime rate, especially in some areas.

Nevertheless, Rio is one of the most popular destinations in Brazil. Nowadays, it is a lot safer compared to how it used to be just one decade ago, but in some areas, street crimes are still more or less common. Common sense is the best way of making sure you remain safe all the time, so we suggest you avoid any dangerous neighborhoods if you’re resolute about going to Rio.

 

Acapulco, Mexico

In case you didn’t know, the U.S. State Department recommends against traveling to Mexico. Why’s that? There have been many cases where Americans were kidnapped and held for ransom from their families, and some of these situations were dramatic and even lethal.

Of course, Acapulco is a resort so it is very tempting in this respect, due to its breathtaking sights and the amazing activities you could engage in while you’re there. Unfortunately, drug violence is common even if the destination is visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year. It has a crime rate of 142 homicides per every 100,000 residents.

 

Karachi, Pakistan

Unless you are a journalist whose job is to investigate cases located in high-risk areas, we would recommend avoiding this city, and even Pakistan altogether. It’s filled with crime and political unrest, and terrorism is a common occurrence.

Gang warfare, suicide bombings, as well as assassinations are other crimes that happen somewhat regularly here. Because of all of these dangers, tourists are advised to avoid this location entirely.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

This city has one of the highest crime rates in the world. Apparently, every year, 169 people are killed in San Pedro Sula out of 100,000 individuals. Illegal firearms can be found all throughout the city, making it highly risky.

 

Final tips

If you do have to travel to a place where you know you might get into some kind of trouble, it won’t hurt if you took some safety precautions. Always carry your valuables in a subtle way and avoid using your very expensive phone to take pictures of tourist attractions, especially in busy areas.

It wouldn’t be a great idea to travel to Kabul without a companion, so if you can take a friend with you, it would certainly put your mind at ease. Before you leave for a risky destination, make sure to do your research and find out just what city areas you’re supposed to avoid. Check the Internet to find out where the U.S. consulate or embassy are located so that you know where you should go if you want to find a safe haven in case you’re followed or in danger.

 

 

Top 5 dangerous airports

 

If you love traveling but you also want to know the risks that you are exposing yourself to while visiting other places by plane, we are here to present to you five dangerous airports that you should avoid or, at least, know about before you book your next flight.

 

The Courchevel International Airport – France

As you can imagine, building an airport between the rocks of a mountain is not the best of ideas. However, this small aerodrome for helicopters and small airplanes is actually located within the mountainous area of Courchevel, a ski resort from the French Alps.

The airstrip has an 18.5% downward gradient that makes it terribly difficult for planes to take off. Also, the runway is very short, as it only measures 1,762 ft.  As a plus, because of the terrain, there is currently no go-around procedure for landing here.

To make things even worse, the runway of this airport has no lighting aids and no instrument approach procedure. Because of this, landing here during foggy days is a nightmare for inexperienced pilots.

The Lukla Airport – Nepal

If you are a fan of mounting climbing and you intend to visit Mount Everest, you will probably find yourself having to reach the Lukla Airport in Nepal. Similarly to the previous airport that we have talked about, this location is dangerous because it is also situated between the mountains. On top of that, the runway is quite short, it has 1,729 ft., and the terminal is not that long.

What is more, given the geographical positioning of the airport, the weather here is often very bad, and the visibility is low. As a consequence, the airport is home to many unhappy incidents and crashes that sometimes end with casualties.

Besides, this aerodrome is surrounded by a chain-link fence, and armed police forces guard it on a daily basis.

 

The McMurdo Air Station – Antarctica

If you are not afraid of the cold and you are dreaming of visiting Antarctica, we suggest that you stay away from the McMurdo Air Station. One of the primary reasons why this airport is dangerous has to do with the fact that not many people travel to this area and, thus, the infrastructure here is bad, or, better said, missing.

Although the runway here is not necessarily short, it is covered in ice, which is a reason why many pilots have issues landing here. Even more so, the temperatures here are below freezing throughout the year and half the year is pitch black.

 

The Madeira Airport – Portugal

The thought of expanding an airport is, usually, a good idea. However, not the same can be said about the situation in the Madeira Airport, in Portugal. Here, in an attempt to boost the landing strips situated between the ocean and the cliffs, the designers decided to build the extra needed platforms on an artificial island.

However, as the time passed by, the columns that hold the artificial runway have withstood a series of shocks during the landings. Because of this, this airport has made it to our list!

 

The Barra Airport – Scotland

This list would have been half-done without us reminding you of the Barra Airport, in Scotland. The first thing that you have to know about this place is the fact that this is currently the only location in the entire world where the landing surface is a beach. In fact, if you happen to reach your destination during the tide, chances are that the plane won’t be able to land here.

The reason for this is connected to the fact that three of the runways of the airport are underwater during high tide. Given these conditions, the planes are only allowed to land here during a certain part of the day.

Additionally, there have been incidents when reflective strips were placed on the beach, and vehicle lights were used to mark the runway during the night so that the planes that have arrived after sunlight could land. However, if you are a fan of the beach, chances are that you will love this location!

All in all, before you make your next flight reservation, be sure to consider just how dangerous the airport that you have to depart from and/or land on is. This way, you can avoid the unexpected stress and anxiety caused by a bad or scary flying experience!

 

 

 

Spain Dangerous Travel Tips You Should Know  

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Spain is the world’s third most-visited country, being famous for its Mediterranean beaches and the Pyrenees Mountains that offer a beautiful landscape in the summer and adventurous skiing in winter.

Also, Spain has a lot of tourist attractions and it is famous for its good food, its fine wine, and its nice weather; summer months can last from May to October. It is considered the land of the siesta, where everyone enjoys a slow-paced lifestyle. Even if traveling in Spain is generally safe, there are some things you should pay closer attention to in order to avoid any unwanted situations.

 

Watch your pockets!

Due to this popularity, Spain attracts a lot of scammers and pickpockets especially around its main cities like Madrid and Barcelona. That is why it is recommended that you pay close attention to your pockets and personal belongings, especially when you are on public transportation.

Many tourists have had their passports, cash or credit cards stolen, so you should make sure you put them somewhere safe. You have to be extremely careful when you find yourself in crowded places like train stations or airports; even restaurants or outdoor cafes are places where your phone or bag can be stolen.

Also, if you decide to spend the day at the beach swimming, bear in mind that there are thieves who wait for you to go in the water then they will try to steal any valuable that you leave unattended. Make sure you never leave your personal belongings unattended, always go to the beach with someone else or if you do go by yourself don’t take valuable things with you.  

Don’t let yourself be fooled

There are many scams happening on the streets of Spain, especially in Madrid and Barcelona’s touristic places. Usually, there are small groups of thieves who act together in order to distract your attention, so they can steal your wallet. They prove to be very ingenious when it comes to these types of scams, and you can expect anyone to take part, from small children to older women, so don’t let yourself get fooled.

A famous scam is the flower pin scam, which involves an old lady and some of her accomplices. So, she pins a flower on you and then she asks for money and since you are on vacation and you want to feel good you will think that it is ok to open up your wallet and give the lady some money. But the trick here is that when you pull out your wallet, she might just snatch it. You should politely decline and give the pin back.

Another scam involves some “football players” who will come to you to ask you to join a football game along the streets. Their goal is to get you involved in the game, and if you love playing football it may be very easy for them to do that. Then they will steal all your valuables while you are playing. You should stay away from this setup.

 

Renting a car can be very tricky

If you decided to rent a car in Spain you have to make sure that it has proper insurance, and also very important, you have to check if it has a mileage limit. Sometimes you may find very good deals but be careful because you may find out that you are only allowed to drive a total of 100 km during your car rental period. Pay maximum attention to these aspects.

There are lots of speed radars on the streets of Spain, so make sure you don’t overlook all those speed limit signs. Also, bear in mind that radar detectors are forbidden in Spain, and if you are caught using one the ticket can be as high as 2000 euros (more than 2200 dollars).

 

 

Top 5 most dangerous sharks out there

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If the ocean waves are calling you every time the surfing season starts, you need to be prepared. This also includes investing in some quality surfing gear and paying attention to ocean dangers, especially sharks.

But, even a harmless ride with your fishing boat can turn into a disaster if you’re not aware of the dangers lurking from the ocean waters. This list of the most dangerous species of sharks should be consulted periodically by all water sports enthusiasts, including fishers, surfers or divers.

 

The Great White

The subject of the famous movie “Jaws,” the Great White is considered the second most perilous sea mammal, after the Blue Whale. The animal is credited for 65 human fatalities since official measurements started being made, but you can rarely encounter it as it mainly prefers deep water.

However, unlike its depiction in the movie, The Great White shark is in fact, extremely intelligent and curious. Although it prefers the flesh of sea lions and seals, there have been reported around 250 unprovoked attacks on humans.

Females can reach an average size of 14 feet, while males are smaller, around 10.5 feet long. This shark can consume up to 30 pounds of flesh per bite, so there is a significant chance of internal organ failure or bleeding to death if you encounter this animal in the water.

Tiger Shark

The Tiger Shark is credited as the second most dangerous shark for humans, according to the International Shark Attack File. These ferocious ocean predators are known for their aggressivity and insatiable appetite. They are responsible for a large number of attacks in the waters of Hawaii, Australia, and the tropics.

Despite its large dimensions, the Tiger shark is very fast, and its razor-sharp teeth can even penetrate the hard shell of sea turtles. Just as the Great White, it only takes one bite for the Tiger shark to decide whether or not you’re a good meal.

Its curiosity is responsible for over 150 attacks on humans and the death of 27 people.

 

Bull shark

It is believed that the Bull shark is actually responsible for more than 121 attacks. It can be found worldwide in warm waters and is one of the few species that can be spotted both in freshwater and saltwater so you may encounter these sharks in rivers, along coasts or in the ocean.

There were bull sharks spotted swimming as far as 700 miles outside the ocean, in the Mississippi River, but also in the African waters or in Nicaragua.

Another particularity is that the Bull shark can be found in waters as shallow as those where humans swim or walk in them. It is very territorial so people might disturb its habitat without even knowing it.

Just like other species, female bull sharks are bigger than males, weighing up to 694 pounds. On average, a male shark weighs 210 pounds and is approximately 7.5 feet long.

Oceanic Whitetip Shark

This shark was once scattered in waters all over the globe, but in the past two decades, it was estimated that a decline of over 70% of its total population happened. The Oceanic Whitetip prefers warm and deep waters with temperatures higher than 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

This animal has a reputation of being the first to arrive when ships sink, and its encounters with humans were common enough during World War II.

 

Requiem Sharks

Requiem sharks are actually a family gathering around 50 different species. They can be particularly dangerous for fishers but not for those using a regular long fishing rod and reel. On the contrary, fish that are caught and struggle on a spear usually emit a low-frequency vibration that is quickly picked up by the sophisticated requiem sharks.

These animals are known to hunt alone or in groups, can smell blood from a long distance, and have big mouths with sharp and serrated teeth.

 

 

Where not to go in Jamaica

 

Jamaica is famous for its breathtaking beaches and holiday resorts. But this island has a long history of political conflicts, poverty, and repression. If you’re thinking of picking Jamaica as your next vacation destination, you might want to understand that, outside the guarded beaches and resorts, there’s a community that relies solely on tourism to survive.

Indeed, Jamaica has so many things to offer, from art and music to beautiful landscapes and cuisine.

Unfortunately, there are several media reports that talk about the high rate of crime in this area. Most of these crimes tend to happen in impoverished regions. Before embarking on your Jamaican trip, make sure you take all the risks into account.

 

Kingston and Montego Bay

It is a known fact that some of the places tourists should avoid are Kingston, New Kingston, Montego Bay, and any other urban centers, especially after dark. As much as possible, always travel in groups of two people or more to avoid being seen as an easy target.

Also, don’t use the public transportation because these crowded places are an excellent opportunity for thieves to steal your personal belongings. Don’t go out wearing expensive items, such as pricey bags or jewelry because these are too tempting for locals to steal.

Nevertheless, millions of tourists visit Jamaica each year because all-inclusive resorts here offer outstanding services without having to worry about safety. So, it’s best to say that you can go and have a tremendous Jamaican experience and see the real deal without being concerned about dangers.

Crime rate

Jamaica is one of the top countries with the highest murder rates in the world because of the violent gangs and drug issues. These crimes are a critical problem especially in Montego Bay and Kingston. It is all related to the fact that the locals attack each other for matters like gangs, drugs, poverty, and revenge.

Generally, crimes that target visitors in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril involve pickpocketing and other robberies.

Occasionally, these injuries are armed, and tourists can become victims if they don’t give in to the thieves’ demands. However, to control crime in these places, special tourist police can be found. You can spot them by their distinctive uniform that consists of white hats and shirts and black pants.

 

Safety tips

To enjoy your holiday in Jamaica and have a wonderful time, lock all the doors and windows in your hotel room at night. Furthermore, keep your valuable items in a secure location like the in-room safe.

As far as eating goes, it’s best to serve your meals at the resort you are staying. If you venture outside, make sure you pack water and food storage containers so you can have a snack throughout the day.

Cyber theft

In addition, be extra careful with the way you handle your payments during your stay. Credit-card skimming is a significant issue in Jamaica and scammers can make a copy of your credit card information in no time, right after you give it to the restaurant personnel or shop assistant.

ATMs aren’t safe, either. Some units could be rigged, or individuals may keep an eye on you to try to steal your password when trying to withdraw money from the ATM.

 

Other aspects you should know about

Another thing you need to keep in mind is the sexual assaults that happen in areas located on the north coast of Jamaica. Since there are male prostitutes that offer their services to female tourists, it might be a good idea to avoid these well-known dangerous places for women.

Therefore, don’t go by yourself in risky areas of the Jamaican capital, like Mountain View, Tivoli Gardens, Cassava Piece, Trench Town, and Arnett Gardens.

If you plan on visiting Montego Bay, stay away from Flankers, Norwood, Rose Heights, and Clavers Street.

 

Where not to go in Thailand

 

Thailand is one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world. The Land of Smiles is loved by solo travelers and honeymooners alike and in 2017 it welcomed more than 30 million tourists. Its breathtaking nature, tolerant people and world renowned gastronomy make Thailand an extremely popular place for a holiday.

Moreover, many retired Westerners and digital nomads decided to call this south-east Asian country “home” because of the cheap cost of living at nearly Western standards. Businesses thrive and the expat community is vibrant, adding to the cosmopolitan atmosphere you can experience in cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

Overall, Thailand can be considered a very safe place, much safer than many other countries in the area. Women traveling alone usually feel at ease in Thailand and generally families with children have nothing to worry about. However, like anywhere else in the world, there are places best to be avoided or at least where you should exercise some caution when visiting. Here are five of these not so safe places.

 

Deep South – Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat Provinces (also known as the three Southern Border Provinces)

You should really avoid these three provinces during your trip to Thailand as bomb and terror attacks are common here. Historically, this region belonged to Malaysia until it was conquered by the Kingdom of Siam (nowadays Thailand) in 1785 and it has been governed by Thailand ever since.

An insurgency movement led by different secessionist groups started not long after World Word II and it has become increasingly violent since 2001.

Violence occurs almost daily in the region, usually involving drive by shootings and small bombings. You shouldn’t be here unless you absolutely have to, not like you can pack your full gear in a hunting backpack and consider yourself ready for anything. There is serious unrest in this area and Thailand has a plethora of amazing places that are safe to visit so why take the chance?

 

Khlong Toei in Bangkok

The City of Angels is a truly amazing place that developed incredibly quickly and it’s generally quite safe. There are the usual bag snatchers and scammers that prey on innocent tourists, but Bangkok is considered a safe place even at night.

Khlong Toei, however, is the epitome of the word “slum” and, even though you can find slums neighboring skyscrapers everywhere in Bangkok, Khlong Toei is renowned for its extreme poverty. Although not particularly dangerous during the day, it isn’t a place where a solo female tourist should venture. Locals are somehow used to seeing tourists as the slum isn’t far from downtown, but the crime and drug abuse are off the chart in the neighborhood.

 

Koh Tao

Also known as “Turtle Island”, this is an amazing place, perfect for scuba diving. However, the island has been getting a lot of negative feedback lately due to a series of events involving violence against foreigners.

The case of the British couple murdered there some years back made the headlines and the conviction of two Burmese migrants didn’t help as it raised even more questions in international media.

Koh Tao still is a haven for backpackers and the island isn’t necessarily dangerous, although the gloomy nickname “Death Island” doesn’t make it as appealing as it used to be, and all that in spite of the stunning nature it’s blessed with.

Aranyaprathet

Although it’s not considered dangerous per se, Aranyaprathet is simply too much of a hassle. Meaning too much of a scam.

This small border town has been used for years by foreigners living in Thailand for visa runs which roughly means crossing the border to Cambodia and then quickly crossing the border back to Thailand. Thus a whole industry was born.

Unfortunately, this city is difficult to avoid if you plan on going to Cambodia by bus as it’s the most popular tourist route for travel between Bangkok and Siem Reap.

 

Pattaya

Roughly 2 hours away from Bangkok lies the city of Pattaya which evolved from the small fishing village it used to be in the ‘60s to the infamous Sin City of Thailand. Although North Pattaya still is a good place to go for a day trip at the beach, the rest of the city isn’t very family friendly.

If you do go to Pattaya, watch out for the well-known jet-ski scam and pretend you don’t see the trash on the beach.

 

 

How to avoid crime and scams in Bulgaria

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On the south-eastern edge of the European continent lies Bulgaria, a small country with an extremely beautiful landscape. The country’s culture, history and people are fascinating and especially after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Bulgaria quickly became a highly popular tourist destination, due to its close proximity and opening to the Black Sea, the reasonable prices and high-quality services.

The country’s location makes it an important gateway between Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Bulgaria is one of European Union’s external borders, which gives it relative stability, thus presenting a safe environment for all the businesses, organizations and tourists located within its borders.

From a tourist’s point of view, a lot of the scams that we are about to present to you below are well known, spread and practiced in a lot of destinations all over the Globe. However, a few of these crimes are extremely typical to Bulgaria; therefore you should carefully take note when reading the following information, especially if you are planning a vacation in Bulgaria.

Pickpocketing

It couldn’t be more obvious that pickpockets are drawn to large and preferably crowded masses of people. In those cases, victims have limited visibility and little space to move or react.

When in Bulgaria, be wary of your valuables when you are using public transportation as a means of traveling around. Busy trams or buses are good places for pickpockets to steal from tourists, so keep an eye on your bags, purses or wallets when traveling in such conditions.

These thieves can be as skilled as to relieve tourists of possessions even when they are standing on a street corner and waiting for the lights to turn green in order to cross to the other side.  

Other dangerous places where pickpockets wait for easy targets include crowded alleys or malls and shopping streets. Just before a pickpocketing takes place, a diversion usually happens. This may vary from someone bumping into you, to a fake argument or even a fight. Keep your eyes open and do not let yourself easily distracted.

Always be aware of what is happening around you, especially in your close proximity. Try not to let anybody get too close to you if you do not know them. If you must go through a crowded area and you have your belongings in a backpack, switch it and carry it in front of you. If the bus that you must take in order to reach somewhere else is jam-packed, it is a good idea to wait for a few minutes for the next one.

 

Old, Invalid Banknotes

The Bulgarian currency is called leva and the valid banknotes are issued after 1999. The simplest way to check how a valid one looks like and what its features are is to search it on the Internet, on the Official Bulgarian National Bank’s website.  

Scammers could try to give you invalid or old currency, relying on you not knowing the banknotes well enough. Pay attention to what you are being handed when you receive change at a shop or when you are exchanging money.

You must never exchange money on the street, no matter how good the rate is. Money should only be exchanged in banks. Tourists have reportedly received invalid banknotes all along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, so you must avoid these places when exchanging money.  

 

Absent Tickets

If you are traveling through Bulgaria using public transportation you should buy the tickets before getting on.

You have the possibility to buy the tickets from the driver, as well. However, it is nearly impossible to receive one, unless you pay the exact amount of change.

If the trip starts at Sofia Airport, and you plan to travel using public transportation, you must buy a ticket in advance, before you get on the metro, tram or bus.

Foreign tourists have claimed that after boarding the bus from an airport, the driver refused to sell them tickets due to the fact that the tourists didn’t have the precise amount of money needed. The bus departed and they received a fine because they did not have any tickets.

If you use the metro, keep in mind that tickets are valid only at the time and from the station where you acquired them.

 

Fake Taxis

Inflated taxi prices that drivers impose on tourists are a known scam and that can be experienced in large cities all over the world. However, in Bulgaria, you must be particularly wary because there are fake taxi companies.

The ones who try to scam you, fake the car’s stickers and impersonate other well known legitimate taxi companies, by changing only a character and a couple of digits from the phone number. If you are a tourist and you do not pay attention you may not see the difference and especially in Sofia, you risk to fall into their trap.

One of the safest methods to call a taxi is to ask the receptionist of your hotel or a waiter to do it for you. Also, you could use an official smartphone application.

Free Gifts

Some scammers will meet you on the streets or in any other public places and will wish to give you a small trinket, such as a tiny Crucifix, a ring or something similar. They will insist that you do not need to pay for it and that you should accept it as a symbol of good luck, or a blessing, or some other reason.

However, after you accept said gift, they change their attitude and charge you money in return. They will follow you and demand payment, refusing to take the item back, if you want to return it. Most tourists give in and eventually pay for the trinket, after getting annoyed past any limits. In order to avoid this scam, just refuse any object from strangers.

 

Inflated Restaurant Bill

The main Bulgarian cities greet tourists with a plethora of restaurants where everybody can enjoy the local dishes and culinary specialties. However, before paying your bill or personally handing over the money to the waiter or bartender, double check that the total amount is correctly calculated.

At times, you might find on the bill an extra portion of bread or a drink you did not order. More often than not, it’s not an innocent mistake, but rather it’s your waiter making a few extra levas. The way to handle such a situation is to politely show them the mistake. They will politely apologize and calculate your bill again.

 

Stray Animals

Sometimes, when you are taking a walk on the streets of any town in Bulgaria, you may see stray animals, mostly dogs and cats.

No matter how much you love animals, please resist your urge to pet, feed or take them into your arms. These animals can be dirty, so they can carry all sorts of diseases, lice, and other parasites. Moreover, they can become aggressive if you reach your hand towards them. They may or may not bite you for no obvious reason.

You should just keep a safe distance and simply not interact with any stray animals.