15 unusual destinations where the terror threat is low

15 Unusual Destinations Where The Terror Threat Is Low

The theat of terrorism is rated “high” in more than 30 countries around the world1, according to the Foreign Office, with summer Discount Holidays © holiday favourites such as Spain and France given the same rating as Libya, Pakistan and Somalia. Here are 15 “low” risk destinations that might surprise you.

Mongolia

Only 6,000 Britons head to Mongolia each year. Those that do can explore vast, rugged landscapes and traditonal celebrations. “For atmosphere as well as sporting prowess, few things can top Bayan-Olgii’s Kazakh Eagle Festival in September, when riders in traditional garb perform hunting displays with their golden eagles in the foothills of the Altai Mountains,” says Telegraph Travel’s Chris Moss2. “Blue Wolf (00976 7042 2772; bluewolftravel.com3) is a respected local specialist; Steppes (0843 636 8408; steppestravel.co.uk4) can organise trips to the Mongolian Altai.”

Credit: AP/FOTOLIA

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Credit: AP/FOTOLIA

Madagascar

Madagascar

“Madagascar truly is the land of the bizarre,” says Mike Unwin. “This extraordinary island, marooned during the break-up of the Gondwana supercontinent some 165 million years ago, carries a cargo of fauna and flora found nowhere else on earth. There are the famous lemurs, of course at least 100 species of these beguiling primates, while some 80 per cent of Madagascar s plant species are endemic, as are 90 per cent of its reptiles. Its chaotic capital Antananarivo is teeming with street markets and encircled by paddy fields that suggest South-east Asia rather than Africa.”

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Cambodia

Around 133,000 Britons visited Cambodia last year. The undisputed highlight of any trip is Angkor Wat5. “This majestic structure lies at the heart of the Angkor Archaeological Park, which covers 154 square miles and contains scores of other Khmer temples dating from between the ninth and 15th centuries,” says Telegraph Travel’s Michelle Jana Chan. “Each has its own allure. Banteay Srei has intricate carvings of sensuous celestial dancers wearing bangles, beaded anklets and sheer drop-waist skirts. The pleats are still folded beautifully in the sandstone, 1,000 years on. Ta Prohm is one of the most photographed temples, deliberately left mostly unrestored, and tangled and strangled by undergrowth.”

Credit: AP/FOTOLIA

Uruguay

Uruguay

Gunnar Garfors visited every country in the world (that’s 198 in total) by the time he was 37 – and among the 12 that he liked the most was Uruguay.

It was also one of Telegraph Travel’s 20 destinations to visit in 2015, thanks to its laid-back capital, fantastic wineries, Unesco-listed Colonia de Sacramento and off-radar sites such as the Sierras de Rocha great for horseriding and Fray Bentos, site of the abandoned plant of the Liebig s Extract of Meat Company which gave the world Oxo cubes.

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Zimbabwe

While the Foreign Office warns about mugging and pickpockets, the terror risk in Zimbabwe is low. The television presenter Charlotte Hawkins visited for Telegraph Travel in 20146. “All of us were conscious of the political difficulties in Zimbabwe, its history of violence and continuing human rights issues,” she said. “What convinced us was the glowing testimony of people who knew Zimbabwe well, in particular their stories about how hard the safari companies worked to protect natural habitats and support local communities.”

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Bolivia

“This poor, landlocked nation has always been more a backpacker hit than a mainstream tourist destination and long, bumpy overland rides from the tropical lowlands up to the high plains can be tiring and stressful,” says Chris Moss, in his guide to Bolivia7. “The rewards for making the effort, though, are considerable. The altiplano (highlands) – often compared to Tibet – is starkly beautiful.”

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French Guiana

French Guiana

Chris Moss writes: “One of the oddest satellites of the EC, this French overseas department has something for everyone. The notorious history of the penal colony is explored at Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni and on the les du Salut (of which Devil s Island is the best known). If you can t time your visit with a rocket launch, you can still go on an educational tour of the huge Guiana Space Centre. The capital, Cayenne (pictured above), has well-preserved colonial buildings, a great museum and the best onion soup this side of Guadeloupe. With direct flights from Paris Orly, it s even easy to get there.”

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Honduras

“Crime and violence are a serious problem throughout Honduras and the country has one of the highest homicide rates in the world,” says the Foreign Office. But the threat from terrorism is low and if sensible precautions are taken, there’s no reason Britons can’t explore its attractions, which include the Mayan site of Cop n, full of impressive carvings, stelae and altars; the Bay Islands of Utila, Roat n and Guanaja with their white-sand beaches and balmy waters; and Parque Nacional Pico Bonito, a habitat for jaguars, armadillos, wild pigs, tepezcuintles (pacas – a type of burrowing rodent), monkeys and toucans.

Credit: AP/FOTOLIA

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Angola

A few years ago the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) suggested that Angola (along with the likes of Gabon and Iraq) could soon witness a surge in visits8. “Over a decade has passed since the end of Angola’s civil war,” it said. “Although the damage is still widespread, the country is gradually recovering. The national parks are slowly being restocked with wildlife from neighbouring states, and tourism is set to grow exponentially.” British visitors can take advantage of direct flights with British Airways to the Angolan capital Luanda – known as one of the world’s most expensive cities. Package trips are few and far between, however.

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Bhutan

Bhutan was named one of Telegraph Travel’s 20 destinations for 20159. At the time, Charles Starmer-Smith wrote: “Mobile phones, western vehicles and Manchester United may have pervaded the capital, Thimpu, but in the Paro and Punaka valleys the landscape is one of verdant hills, crystal-clear rivers, towering mountains and a patchwork of fields where crops are still tended by plough, oxen and scythe. Opulent accommodation may not be hard to find in the shape of two Como hotels in both Paro and now Punaka and, the obligatory Aman resort, but the traditional dress worn in every walk of public life and the unfailing optimism of its people is not put on for the benefit of camera-toting tourists.

“Sandwiched between the might of India and China you wonder for how long Bhutan can stay like this. But for now, there can be few more magical places on Earth.”

Credit: AP/FOTOLIA

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Papua New Guinea

The country has its problems – “there is a high level of serious crime,” says the Foreign Office, while “carjacking, assault (including sexual assaults), bag snatching and robberies are common” – but the risk of terrorism is low.

“A land of thriving tribal cultures, smouldering volcanoes and vast swathes of pristine mountainous rainforest, Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s last great frontiers10 and remains largely untouched by mass tourism,” says Regis St Louis, in his expert guide. “Jagged peaks run down the length of the country, and its lush landscape is dotted with meandering rivers, sparkling lakes and thundering waterfalls tucked deep inside primary rainforests. Hundreds of islands lie north and east of the mainland, with sparkling white-sand beaches, coral reefs and verdant jungles teeming with wildlife.” Just over 5,000 Britons visit Papua New Guinea each year.

Credit: AP/FOTOLIA

Armenia

Armenia

Despite its proximity to Syria and Iraq, the terror threat in Armenia is low. Peter Hughes visited for Telegraph Travel in 2014.

“To this day the true glories of Armenia are spiritual,” he wrote. “I visited 10 monasteries and churches in three days, the earliest dating from the fourth century. The newest was the least typical, not least because it had seats.

“The thrill of Armenia s churches comes not so much from their ancient masonry or antiquities but from their energy as fervent power plants, steeped in the certainties and rituals of the faith they have kept for more than 1,000 years. At Geghard monastery, a Unesco World Heritage site, two churches have been cut into rock. A monk billowed in, enveloped in a cloud of incense and irritation. He swung his rattling censer with the urgency of one fumigating the place against a dangerous outbreak of doubt.”

Kiribati

Kiribati

Part of Micronesia, Kiribati has 33 coral islands, all atolls with central lagoons, with one exception.

You can surf, birdwatch, scuba dive – and, slightly jarringly, take in the relics of one of the Second World War s bloodiest battles, along the shores of its capital South Tarawa.

It is also one of the world’s least visited countries (which probably has something to do with the low terror threat) – just 5,000 travellers go each year.

References

  1. ^ The theat of terrorism is rated “high” in more than 30 countries around the world (www.discountholidays.info)
  2. ^ Telegraph Travel’s Chris Moss (www.discountholidays.info)
  3. ^ bluewolftravel.com (bluewolftravel.com)
  4. ^ steppestravel.co.uk (steppestravel.co.uk)
  5. ^ Angkor Wat (www.discountholidays.info)
  6. ^ Charlotte Hawkins visited for Telegraph Travel in 2014 (www.discountholidays.info)
  7. ^ Chris Moss, in his guide to Bolivia (www.discountholidays.info)
  8. ^ suggested that Angola (along with the likes of Gabon and Iraq) could soon witness a surge in visits (www.discountholidays.info)
  9. ^ Bhutan was named one of Telegraph Travel’s 20 destinations for 2015 (www.discountholidays.info)
  10. ^ Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s last great frontiers (www.discountholidays.info)

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