5 Of The Most Beautiful Countries You Should Think Twice About Visiting

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


The U.K. Foreign Officer recently compiled a list of countries that: a) you should not travel to, and b) those that you should travel to only if you must. These warnings, as listed by The Telegraph, are focused in areas of the world that have experienced political, social and economic turmoil within the past few years. As a result of various stirrings, springings and uprisings, things on the ground here are chaotic, making it difficult for Westerners to travel in these countries as freely as they are otherwise used to doing.

I wonder what this list would have looked like five, ten or twenty years ago in the days before the global political shift of the decade, and I wonder what the list will look like in the years to come with new insight and wavering interests in other parts of the world?

In these five places, there is concern over safety and kidnappings as opposed to the general risk that comes with any good-natured travel adventure. Also, there have been reports of foreigners in these locations experiencing difficulty with papers and border crossing, leaving those that have been able to make it through with a frustrating experience.


Iran is culturally rich and an attraction for many as it boasts one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Unfortunately, between the years of 2010 and 2011, there were several reports of British nationals having been arbitrarily detained. Turmoil culminated in November 2011 when the Iranian parliament and council voted to expel the British ambassador. A day later, during a demonstration, the British embassy in Tehran was attacked and set on fire. Since this incident, the risk of traveling through the region has diminished, however the Foreign Office still strongly advises against traveling in this region.


Home of Timbuktu, this country is not only known as a place that is rarely ventured, but also home to ancient manuscripts of well-established mathematics and astronomy. However, it is also known as the “breakaway Islamist republic” and has remained the center of debate within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on whether the member-nations should send in 3,000 of their troops to oust Islamist militants in the northern part of the landlocked country.


Known as the Horn of Africa and historically seen as a land of enterprise due to its location,  it has been fought over by both Britain and Italy, both of whom saw a potentially rich port-channel for resources. Today, it has experienced a transitional government since 2004 that was, for a time, allegedly presided over by one of the most feared militant Islamist group leaders, Al Shabab. However, things seem to be in adjustment as that government was dissolved this past August and a moderate political activist and academic, Hassan Sheik Mohamud, has been sworn in.


The area appeared as part of the Neolithic culture which is said to be the first agriculture and cattle-breeding regions in the world. It is also said that this civilization is one of the oldest in the world. However, violence between the ruling regime of Bashar Assad and rebel forces has lasted over 19 months and has resulted in thousands of deaths with no end in sight.


It is the region known to be the historical link between cultures in Arabia and the Near East due to its geographical positioning. It also includes over 200 islands. Though its Arab Spring against President Ali Abdullah Saleh resulted in his resignation in February, the country is still transitioning into peace. Recently, a senior Yemeni officer who was working at the U.S. embassy was killed in an attack, showing that things may still be tumultuous not only for foreigners, but nationals as well.


Above all else, whenever you’re traveling, you should remember to do a little research ahead of time before going anywhere. Usually, threats of danger and peril are overblown, and sometimes they haven’t made the news yet, but knowing customs, niceties and potential hot spots will help you avoid any problems and ensure a trip you’ll never forget.

[Mali by Magharebia/Flickr]

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