Travellers will find the sub continent a fascinating although an often tiring area to visit. We believe crime levels are significanatly lower compared to Latin America although the risk from road traffic accidents is greater, driving in India has to be seen to be believed at times.
Terrorism remains an ongoing problem in some areas of India, the threat stems from Islamist terrorism Pakistan has an alarming increase of Maoists attacks against the police and army. However travellers are geneally not the target and therefore the risk is incidental - wrong place, wrong time. Most of the country is safe but all travellers are urged to spend time researching the situation. Maoist activity in the past have been restricted to the NW but is spreading. Jammu & Kashmir had opened up to tourism in 2013 but since mid 2015 has been beset by increase strikes and general unrest and attacks by the security forces on Kashmir separatists has resulted in a worsening secuirty situation. The FCO is now advising against all travel to most of Jammu and Kashmir. An attack in Kashmir on 18 Sept 2016 killed 18 security forces & has led to increased tension between Pakistan & India. Whilst concerns over security are of a concern in some parts, it's worth remembering that approx 275 people die in India every day from road traffic accidents - that is the greatest threat to travellers. Many Indian cities are currently experiencing high levels of pollution, smog is always worse in the winter months. Of the top 10 most polluted cities in the World, the majority are in India so the problem is not confined to Delhi and indeed Mumbai can be worse that Delhi. In November 2018 health official reported a significant increase in the cases of Dengue Fever in the Delhi area. The Kumbh Mela festival began on 14 January 2019 and will contnue for another 6 weeks. Relations with Pakistan have deteriorated following a suicide attack in Kashmir in mid Feb 2019 which killed 40 security personnel. India blames Pakistan for harbouring militants. Following the incident both countries undertook cross border raids, India had a jet shot down which only added to the tension. As of the beginning of March 2019 tensions have eased a little. India holds parliamentary elections from 11 April to 19 May 2019, some demonstrations are expected. Counting day is 23 May and up to 900 million people are eligible to vote.
Pakistan held presidential elections on 25 July 2018, some attacks occurred. The PTI party led by Imran Khan claimed the majoirty and has formed a government. Great care needs to be taken if visiting the country and please call us for advice. Relations with India remains very strained after the flair up in early 2019 resulting in Pakistan shooting down an Mig -21 fighter jet over the Kashmir region.
On Easter Monday 2019 a series of bombs exploded around the capital Colombo killing over 290 people. A newly formed Islamist group called Sri Lankan Towheed Jammaatis experiencing a significant rise in cases of Dengue Fever, caused by day biting mosquitos. Other devices have been found and a State of Emergency has been called and on 25 April the UK FCO upgraded its advice and now advices against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka. Travlellers don't have to leave but should they elect to stay they need to be aware that their travel insurance may not still be valid. In Mid May innner religious violence prompted the government to reimpose night time curfews.
Power cuts due to rain fall shortage for hydro, are expected to last until late April. Visiting Sri Lanka prior to India is a good, a less frantic introduction to the wonderful Indian sub continent. Have a look at the Safety Net as Alicia Fellowes has added some useful travel ideas. The train journey from Ella to Kandi is a must.
Myanmar/Burma has really opened up to tourism although many areas are still off limits (due to regional conflicts). The Rakhine Province has seen significant unrest, it's unstable and an attack on 25 August 2017 killed over 30. The military response to this attack has resulted in over 100,000 Rohingya muslims fleeing to Bangladesh at the beginning of September that year. The military action suggests that although Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party won the November 2015 election and the country continues to move towards a functioning democracy, the military still run much of the country. The standard of food hygiene is poor, however its a highly rewarding country to visit and our favourite in SE Asia as the central and south tourists areas are safe to visit. Many gappers may find the cheapest and most convenient way to get around Myanmar is to rent a taxi with driver for a week or so.
Nepal experienced a very powerful earthquake on 26 April 2015 which killed over 5,000 and has caused extensive damage in the Kathamndu & Pohkara areas, the country will take years to fully recover. In Kathamandu crime levels have risen since the 2015 earthquake.
21 May, 2019
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