Traveling should be fun and adventurous but in the current state of the world, it appears that any location that attracts people could be the next location of a large scale terrorist attack. I know this is a scary thought but please don’t let it deter you from travelling, be mindful of your surroundings and try to keep up to date with current events as much as possible. Here is a list of 8 places to avoid around the world for various reasons, keep reading to find out:
1. Marawi, Philippines.
Approximately a month ago ISIS-affiliated militants have stormed the Northern area of Marawi, taking hold of important buildings while destroying other important buildings such as schools and churches. The Philippine joint forces, accustom to jungle fighting rather than urban warfare, have been making slow progress in driving the ISIS-affiliated militants out of the city with their seemingly endless supply of weapons. Approximately, 1000 civilians trapped within the conflicted area are in contact with Philippine officials but being isolated they are running out of time. Current statistics tells us that approximately 66 Philippines soldiers have been killed and many more wounded since the conflict begun. These numbers are still rising and yet to be verified by official reports.
2. Mogadishu, Somalia.
Regarded as the most lawless and dangerous city in the world currently in a refugee and food crisis. The Civil War continuing to rage throughout Mogadishu with no end in sight. Remember the movie “Black Hawk Down”? This is the city that inspired the film, based on true events. The American involvement in Somalia attempted to bring order into the country, concentrating on the capital city of Mogadishu has continued to fail since the country and with the country voting this year, who knows what will happen. It’s no wonder most countries have set a travel ban on this region.
3. Mount Huashan, China.
One of the most dangerous hikes in the world, the Huashan Trail in China with its highest peak at approximately 2160 meters. Steps carved into the rock, sometimes just narrow wooden planks are definitely only for the brave or stupid. Strapped via a harness (rented on arrival, approximately $5) you make your way along the mountain side, keep in mind it’s a two way path so you will come across people heading the opposite direction. If you are unafraid of heights and willing to harness yourself to a mountainside in China, then this is something for you!
It might be exciting to visit the abandoned sites in Chernobyl but keep in mind that there are still high levels of radiation in the whole area and that long exposure may cause huge health problems in your future. The surrounding areas are still largely unpopulated and those who live within the contaminated area are continuing to be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. If you’re simply after some nice photos or to explore abandoned places, there are plenty of other and safer places to go all over Europe. If you’re happy to expose yourself to these radiation levels then by all means book your next trip in Chernobyl.
5. Mount Everest Base Camp, Nepal and Tibet.
Many years ago it was special to climb the highest of all mountains, mostly alone or with a Sherpa but times are changing. On a good day you will meet hundreds of people climbing up the mountain and before you is a sea of bright coloured winter outfits flowing along the road. Surprisingly, Base Camp is no risk physically but health wise it can be a bit more complicated. Altitude sickness and hygiene are huge concern to those visiting and the country have begun the process of cleaning so with any luck this will be something we can all do in the near future.
6. Chichen Itza, Mexico.
One of the most popular Mayan sites in the country with as many souvenir sellers as there are tourists. You can find almost anything for sale in this sacred site where everyone there appears to be trying to selling you something. You can fight your way through hundreds of sellers and tourists to the famous step pyramids known as El Castillo or you choose to visit one of the less popular sites like Coba, Quintana Roo where you can walk through a quiet forest and can even climb some of the pyramids.
7. Favelas, Rio, Brazil.
Don’t go inside by yourself, who knows what they are doing. Some favelas are said to be safe but keep in mind that the people living in these places are extremely poor. Keep your valuables safe and on you at all times. Don’t take pictures without permission of the locals. Taking a picture of the wrong person may be the last thing you do. The Favelas are a good place to get a real sense of the striking divide between the rich and poor of Rio but are the dangers it comes with worth the risk? With most poor places it’s advised that you avoid flashing anything expensive such as cameras, phones, watches or your wallet to avoid attracting unwanted attention.
8. Oktoberfest, Germany.
Typical German or not? Awfully crowded, hotels even more expensive and beer prices for a “mass” between €10.60 and €15.60 (tip not included). Although this event attracts many locals from the surrounding areas in Bavaria, Germany, the way the locals and tourists celebrate Oktoberfest is completely different. Hotels, flights and of course beer are immensely overpriced. For those wishing to catch a glimpse of the local life in the beer capital, try booking your trip any other time of year and you will definitely save money! TIP – Any other German Bierfest would charge you around €5-€6 per beer so check out the country towns.
It’s a shame that so many wonderful places are going through hard times. With so many things to see, so much history to learn and so many people eager to see it makes it a real shame. Hopefully one day in my lifetime we will have a chance to see these places.