How safe is it to travel to these countries in Asia Pacific?
“WILL I BE SAFE?” is a question that creeps into the mind of most travelers at some point. But recent survey data suggests, that far from being a nagging doubt, safety concerns are now very much front and center.
In a study conducted by Global Rescue, surveying 1,200 of its former and current members, a staggering 82 percent “expressed concerns for their safety during anticipated 2018 travel”. When asked about potential threats, terrorism ranked most often as either the first or second concern, followed by health or medical issues and then crime.
In light of their fears, most respondents (48 percent) said they would do more research before they travel, but nearly a quarter said they would go one step further and change travel destinations this year.
These results may be from a single study, but given the current climate of global uncertainty, it is highly likely that most of us share these anxieties. With this in mind, we took a closer look at some countries in the Asia-Pacific region raising concern and the safety advice you should heed:
Comprising more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is a honeypot for adventurous travelers. The area is well known for its balmy tropical climate, idyllic beaches, and remarkable natural features which include active volcanos, towering waterfalls, and verdant rice fields.
However, the government issued travel advice from several countries including the US, UK, and New Zealand, is to be cautious. Both violent crime and the threat of terrorist attacks are issues here. In fact, the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) warns:
“Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out attacks at any time and anywhere in the country, including in places visited by foreigners.”
The risk is extremely high in many of the Mindanao provinces, which the FCO urges tourists to avoid.
For these reasons, if you are planning a trip to the Philippines, you are advised to buy insurance, research the places you visit thoroughly and cross-check your plans against the latest recommendations from official travel sources.
Thailand is affectionately called the “Land of Smiles.” It is a veritable paradise with white sandy beaches and vast turquoise waters. But it also has bustling cities and rich cultural heritage to explore.
However, like all countries, Thailand has its bad points too, and its road safety record is certainly that. So much so that it holds the number one spot on the World Atlas list of countries with the highest road traffic death rate.
Check any official travel source, and the advice is similar: Take care when traveling be that by car, coach, tuk-tuk, motorcycle, or any other means. It is recommended that you choose your transportation carefully, take safety precautions and familiarize yourself with the terms of your insurance and the law. For instance, to ride a scooter or motorcycle, you need to have the correct license and wear a helmet.
Vietnam is a popular destination with thrill-seekers, where it is possible to experience its breathtaking and varied landscape through adrenaline-fueled activities like abseiling, canyoning, mountaineering, and sandboarding.
But safety standards can be lower here compared to elsewhere in the world, which can make adventure sports particularly treacherous. For some travelers, it has cost them their lives. In 2016, at the Datanla Waterfalls, three British tourists were swept to their deaths after venturing too close to a whirlpool.
Although the accident occurred while they were with a licensed tour guide, unauthorized guides operate throughout the country. This poses a threat to personal safety, especially when they supervise dangerous activities and excursions.
The FCO and other tourist bodies have therefore advised tourists to seek an official and reputable tour guide for these trips and be vigilant of hazards when navigating rural areas. It is also a good idea to have comprehensive insurance and to double check that it is sufficient for the activities you plan to do.