Those who are really into traveling like to discover something new by any means. It may sound strange, but people even pay for dangerous trips and adventures and are constantly in search of risky challenges. Nowadays there are so many ways the adventurous travelers can satisfy their cravings. For example, if they want to experience illegal border crossing they don’t necessarily have to hang out with dangerous guys somewhere in Mexico, trying to look trustworthy and then joining one of the groups of immigrants to really feel what they feel while crossing the border at night escaping from dogs and bullets. There are simulated experiences organized by special companies, which will give you all the sensations you’d probably have in a real-life situation.
Anyway, it’s up to you to decide how to look into the eyes of Death, but we suggest our top list of the most dangerous trips in the world, leaving aside everything illegal. After all, the aim of the humanists like us is to make the world better, even through travelling and being immersed in new cultures to understand the people living far away better. So committing crimes in the countries, where the authorities have enough trouble with their local criminals, is not that nice, is it?
The name of Afghanistan is very often associated with the Taliban and civil war. For more sophisticated ones, there are also other associations like carpets and mosques with mosaics and bands of Quranic script, and that’s all. Unfortunately, this land is out of the radar in terms of attractiveness, because Afghanistan isn’t the safest country to travel to, yet there are people who don’t mind traipsing around war zones. The three decades of war have made a huge impact on this country, which now tries to save the fragile peace in its territory. Kabul, having the reputation of one of the most dangerous capitals, has many treasures worth exploring, but our advice is to double check the information about the current situation in the country before you decide to visit it. To say that the country is out of reach for foreigners is not that right, but being conscious will never be a mistake. Even during post-war years in many countries the tourists have always been a target for attacks and kidnapping, so in case of Afghanistan, we cannot say for sure, that the war is over. Anyway, the capital is changing rapidly, and many restaurants, historic teahouses, city markets (bazaars) alongside museums and Bala Hissar & City Walls are quite alluring spots for tourists.
The historical sites and ethnic colors aside, Afghanistan is one of the spots on the Earth, where you can do your own research and form your own set of ideas and opinions about this striking country. Our advice is to visit the Wakhan Corridor by any means to experience natural beauty in its rawest form. This pure piece of land links north-eastern Afghanistan with China and offers breathtaking views of the dusky mountain ranges of Karakoram and Pamir and the silky plains in between. Pamir highway from Dushanbe is a much safer road to get there, but this is convenient for travellers who visited Tajikistan first. If you intend to come here from Kabul or Faisabad, take into account that the road is not among the safe ones. The main advantage of this place is that the Taliban had no interference in the life of locals here and only because the people here are Ismaili Muslims, they are much more tolerant than their Sunni brothers. Though there are no tourism infrastructures here and thus such commercial words as “Eco tourism” is not widely used to this place, but the concept is the same. No signs of modern life that you are used to, no Jacuzzi and SPA. Only yurts, yaks and hot springs! If you are tired of anything hypocritical, why not visit this place?
The territory between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is considered to be a cradle of civilization and Iraq truly lives up to this name, but just because some regions and the capital itself are far from being safe, a visit to this country is not preferable for many tourists and they certainly have their reasons. Most of the tourists travelling to Jordan can’t resist the eagerness to come to Iraq next. For those adventurous bravehearts tourist agencies in Amman organize trips to Iraq. Most of the tourists, however preferred to visit the Kurdish region, which wasn’t caught in a cycle of violence, like the rest of the country, until recently, but the situation has been worsened since 2014, when the ISIS (Islamic State) took control of some territories and continues to be a major threat not only for Iraq, but also for the Middle East in general and like everyone non-Muslim, the Kurds are a target for violence and murder.
What regards the archeological sites, they are among the most impressive ones in the world, and are the tangible reminders of the glorious history of such mighty civilizations as those of Babylonian and Assyrian. But unfortunately, such sites as Ashur, Babylon, Nineveh and Ur have become victims of military negligence and the thought that most of these ruins can never exist in the future tortures many history-minded people, who take the risk of travelling around this area.
The capital Baghdad, though dangerous, yet alluring has a lot of offers for foreigners. The citizens of the USA should definitely skip this destination not to get into trouble, but for other tourists, there may be little risk of kidnapping in the capital, if they are not into off-the-beaten-track exploration. Due to such impressing constructions as the Monument to the Unknown Soldier, Al-Shaheed Monument, the Al Kadhimiya Shrine and Umm al-Qura Mosque, a visit to Baghdad will definitely be a rewarding experience.
The glorious past aside, Syria is a very dangerous country to visit at the moment, because of its recent bloody history. If you are in Syria, the best way to be safe is to get out of the country as soon as possible. A wave of violence in Syria swept through in 2011 and since then, both urban and rural areas of the country have been declared extremely dangerous, especially for foreigners, who may be caught by either the Syrian Army or Hezbollah and be suspected to be an agent and killed. And this is not a fragment from a Hollywood blockbuster. Believe us the real situation in Syria is way too dramatic!
But it’s a bit unfair to only speak about war when we discuss Syria. Like the other countries in the Middle East, Syria brims with history and culture. Damascus and Aleppo are really one of those places, where you’d feel like being plunged into a fairy tale from “A thousand and one nights” if there was not the civil war. Unfortunately, today the local scene reminds more of a post apocalyptic area, but you are never far from history at every corner of these cities, even though the war is still going on. Now the main issue for foreigners is to stay safe rather than to admire the local culture. The Umayyad Mosque, the Mausoleums of Salah al-Din and Saiyeda Zeineb are the absolute must-sees in Damascus. What regards Aleppo, this once flourishing city is now a hot point of terrorism and violence and even such architectural monuments as the Citadel, the Great Mosque and Saint Simeon’s basilica cannot compensate the scenes of war.
The crown jewel of this country is certainly the Roman ruins at the Palmyra oasis, but even this miracle is at risk of being destroyed. There is little hope that terrorism will stand aside the greatest of tangible reminders of the past in Syria.
Anyway, if you happen to visit Syria now, just take into account that some areas of the country, including the capital, are full of jihadist groups and the best option is probably skipping these destinations. And one more thing – never discuss or criticize the policy of President Asaad, while you are in Syria. Try to avoid political topics and especially the ones regarding Israel if you don’t want extra troubles. Syria is not a democracy and no matter how hospitable and polite the locals are towards the foreigner, you should be wise while choosing topics for discussion in general.
The frozen continent is getting more and more popular among the adventurous travellers. South Pole is the main tourist magnet, which draws visitors from all parts of the world. Among the other popular attractions there is the mount Erebus, which is by the way the southernmost active volcano. Penguins and hot springs are the main reason why many tourists visit Deception Island. There are also organized excursions to scientific bases of the USA and New Zealand near Ross Island.
During the previous year there were more than 35.000 visitors in Antarctica, who came for short visits, but the impact is already visible. The large ships, which bring the tourists to the continent, are a cause of oil or fuel spill. The impact of tourist groups on the breeding birds is also a matter of concern. Erosion of fragile environments and invasive species like insects, which are accidentally brought by the visitors, will also make a negative footprint on the local environment. So the only favor we can do to Antarctica, is not visiting this peninsula. Because basically it’s not a country, so we cannot say that by visiting, we help the local economy, like in the case of Greece, for example. There are no boutiques, shops or restaurants there, where the tourists usually spend money and ensure a part of the income of the national budget. To put it simply, money is the last thing that the penguins will even need there! Those are the tour companies, which stand to benefit from tourists, but not the continent itself. Scientists and researchers are the so called population of Antarctica and though few in number compared with tourists, they still have an impact, if we take into account the fact that the birds that previously nested near scientific bases are no longer seen around.
Besides the human destructive interference, there are also risks for humans themselves. Leopard seals hunting penguins in shallow waters may be a threat to people in little boats trying to land somewhere near. Getting wet during excursions or in boats may not be the most pleasant thing ever, if there is only ice and snow around. If you travel on tiny ships, you are likely to feel seasick, especially in the Drake Passage, which features rough waves most of the time. And at the very least the temperature, crevasses and katabatic winds are conductive to extremal difficulties you may have here.
5. Mount Everest
First of all, let’s make one thing clear – climbing any mountain is dangerous. And when it comes to Mount Everest, it’s not that difficult to conclude that the challenge will be even more risky.
Mount Everest can be visited from either China or Nepal side. The best time of the year to climb this mountain peak is early spring or the beginning of fall. Anyway, before planning your visit make sure you double check the weather forecast to find out whether it is an appropriate time for your expedition or not. Many travellers claim, that showing less or no respect towards the weather will cause very traumatic consequences. So keep in mind that preparations are equally important when it comes to mountain climbing. This sport is among the most extremal activities and requires a great concentration. There are a few tips that will help the climbers to minimize the risk, and they should be followed if for nothing else but safety issues. For example old ropes, especially with a large number of climbers are a no go. And there are also some fatal incidents that cannot be predicted, so before making up your mind whether to climb or not, be aware of the possibility of the sudden danger. Falling rocks or large lumps of ice, crevasses, drastic flow of snow, hurricane are among the common dangers of this sport. There may also be personal issues, like pneumonia, severe exhaustion or dehydration. Needless to say that a physical training before climbing is a must.
Dangers aside, this will be a breathtaking experience both literally and figuratively. You’ll have the unique chance to admire the enchanting beauty of the Himalayas from even a higher point. Isn’t this inspiring?
6. Ilha De Queimada Grande, Brazil
If most of the above-mentioned travel destinations had real reasons to allure tourist, this island near Brazil has no cultural and architectural value. Just the lanceheads, 4000 poisonous snakes! Can you imagine what it is like being on an island where every square meter hides up to 5 venomous snakes ready to bite? Yet the tourists strive to visit this very island to experience one of the most dangerous hikes in their life. The restrictions of Brazilian government prevent tourists from illegal visits without a doctor in the expedition group. Despite the warnings, some adventure seekers don’t think twice before making a decision. If you have just decided to be one of them, keep in mind that the poison of these snakes can actually melt human flesh. According to the scientists the lanceheads in Snake Island are even more dangerous, because their poison acts five times faster than that of their continental cousins. Seriously, what can make people visit this island where they will surely be not more than three feet away from death?
7. Villarrica Volcano
The Villarrica Volcano with an active lava lake on top is a fantastic travel destination for extreme lovers. If you are one, take a tour to the towns of Pucón or Villarica in Chile. Here you’ll find lots of travel agencies, which will offer any kind of trips to the nearby caves, lakes and hot springs. You can Hike in National Park Huerquehue, sunbathe and swim on Lake Villarrica beaches and ride horses through araucaria trees. But the most extraordinary of all the offers is, of course, hikes to the top of the volcano. Most of the tourists prefer to take such a hike in the summer, but the bravest ones double the risks climbing the mountain in winter, when crevasses and avalanches are the added bonus of diversity. And if this didn’t sound dangerous enough, there is also bungee jumping right above the crater full of bubbling lava. This may be the most memorable experience in your life, but don’t forget that such tours sometimes result in fatalities.
8. Palau’s Jellyfish Lake
Nearly 15,000 years ago a limestone cliff from the archipelago of Palau cut off an island from the ocean, and the result was a saltwater lake on this very island. A few jellyfish were locked inside the lake accidentally. Since there were virtually no predators, they began to multiply and grow. Today, more than 10 million jellyfish live in this wonderful lake. Their stinging tentacles became useless because there was no one to defend against. And now swimming with jellyfish in this lake is not risky. But there is another hidden danger to watch out: the lower level of the lake contains a deadly amount hydrogen sulfide. That is why scuba diving in this lake is not allowed. However, a swim on the surface is possible. This lake is unique because there is only one form of life dominant: the golden jellyfish (Mastigias Spain), the physiology of which is quite primitive. This jellyfish consists of the algae that lives within its cells. The algae needs sun in order to grow and develop. This very fact makes the jellyfish follow the sun rays in the lake all the time. Many travelers have beheld this spectacle – a jelly like mass of these creatures crosses saltwater lakes twice a day, following the sun.
9. Danakil Desert, Eritrea
Eritrea is definitely a travel no-go because of the military conflict with Ethiopia. A relatively peaceful place in this country is Asmara, the capital, which features some Art Deco buildings worth seeing. The Red Sea coast is another famous spot for tourists, due to the water sports available. But the real clincher for this country is Danakil desert. This place is also famous as Danakil Depression. The desert is not only the hottest in the world, but has also some tectonically active areas, which
feature otherworldly landscapes, wastelands of salt and volcanoes, which continually spew lava and noxious gases. No one can believe that a tribe has lived in this most inhospitable area for ages and continues living notwithstanding the severe conditions. If you wish, you can join one of the groups of scientists, who regularly visit this area to discover how people survive in this most extreme environment and to get to understand the community, where survival depends on working together.
Those, who want to test their endurance, will delve beneath the surface of this extraordinary land to unlock its secrets. This adventure will take you to the oldest wild salt mines and then to a village in the very heart of the hottest place on the Earth. But you should bear in mind that this will not be a mere excursion and many difficulties will await you on your way. To begin with, you will sleep under the stars, because the temperature will be too high for tents. This means there may also be unwelcome visitors, like seventeen species of scorpions. A part of the journey is made with a camel train, because any other vehicle will fail the expedition in this area. A two-week tour in this area will make you estimate every little trifle of the civilized life!
10. Tornado Chasing in the United States
Tornados are among the most dangerous natural phenomena in the world, and America’s Midwest is famous for these deadly swirling wind funnels, which believe it or not, have become a tourist attraction lately. Reasonable people try to avoid tornados by any means, but the crazy ones chase them. Well, it’s not a secret that people are ready to do everything possible to have a selfie on the backdrop of a tornado, but is it worth a human life? Most of the daredevils are ready for a ten-day chase to catch that fantastic moment, which by the way is not a cheap delight. The chase can cost up to $3000, so it’s clear that one should be extremely obsessed with hurricanes to spend that amount. Special companies like “Extreme Tornados” organize tornado chasing tours, which give tourists an opportunity to get as close to tornados as possible. The states of Oklahoma and Kansas are hot points for violent storms, which begin from March to June and most of the expeditions take place in these very states. Anyway, the companies and researchers take safety precautions to minimize the risk, but the thing is not the same with random thrill seekers, who just have their smartphone with them and nothing else to rely on in case of emergency. Before enjoying this life-changing experience, take into account the fact, that this may be less dangerous only for well-prepared pros. Are you one?