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Day 36: What Countries Are on Your No-Go List?

Day 36: Off Limits

Day 36: Off Limits

Iraq. Sierra Leone. Sudan. These are not really places that I have a desire to visit. Ever. As one can expect.

Well, I wouldn’t say “never”… just not in the near future. It also might be worthwhile reading this post by Anil of Foxnomad — What It’s Like to Travel to Northern Iraq — since it actually makes me reconsider Iraq.

My list of countries I would like to travel to is better explained by listing the places that aren’t on it.

What countries are on your no-go list?

Sorry for the short post. We went to an engagement party last night on the hottest day of the year (it wiped us out).


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49 Responses to Day 36: What Countries Are on Your No-Go List?

  1. Anastasia February 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Honestly, there aren’t any countries I wouldn’t EVER visit, just some that I won’t (or can’t) visit now. For instance, I want to visit Cuba, but since I’m American it’s not allowed (and I don’t particularly want to break the law to go there). I don’t really want to go to North Korea right now, or Iraq/Iran/Sudan/Myanmar, but if things change sometime in the future I’d definitely go. 😀

    • Brooke February 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      Yep, good point. I think I put the “ever” part in my post out of sheer hungover-ness. 😉

    • Melvin February 9, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

      If you really want to go to Cuba… take a re-route via the Bahamas. I’ve met US citizens who did that. I loved Havan… It’s worth a reroute! 🙂

  2. Chris February 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    None leap out at me immediately, but I guess my short term no go list would include Iraq and Afghanistan for safety reasons.

    • Brooke February 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

      Are there any countries that just bore you with the idea of visiting? Bc I have a few of those 😉

  3. Anil February 6, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    There aren’t any countries I wouldn’t go to actually, but specific areas within each where I probably wouldn’t – if that makes any sense 🙂

    • Brooke February 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

      Sure, makes perfect sense 🙂

  4. Tijmen February 6, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    I agree with Anil, at first I would have mentioned Iraq as well, but after reading about his trip to the Northern Part of Iraq it doesn seem to be that bad. For some some countries you just need to limit yourself to visit only 1 small area. But if I would have to mention a few countires that don’t really attract me then that would be Sudan, Jemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.

  5. Kristian Godfrey February 7, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    I would say that not planning to ever see Sierra Leone would be a massive mistake – I had a wonderful week there back in ’09, and would recommend it to anyone with a thirst for adventure. It is indeed very poor and lacks any good infrastructure, but the people are lovely and the scenery is stunning. In Freetown you get green mountains meeting pristine beaches, and you are left to your own devices due to the complete lack of tourism there. The beach-side bars are fantastic for dancing the night away with some Star beer. Once the infrastructure is improved and flights are more accessible, Salone could easily be the new Gambia.

    I’d be intrigued to visit Iraq; the North (Kurdistan) sounds relatively safe and I would not say no to an opportunity to go. I cannot think of any place I would definitely not head to – apart from Somalia maybe. And I can’t imagine Chad having much going for it either.

    • Brooke February 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

      Hmm… perhaps I’ll reconsider. I just imagine there being a lot of dangerous locations there. But, I really haven’t researched much of Africa yet as it’s not on the radar. Hopefully in the future!

  6. Adam @ SitDownDisco February 7, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    I don’t have a no-go list as such but I wouldn’t visit anywhere in afghanistan right now. Yemen either. Somalia would probably be in the same category. There are a bunch of other countries that I have no desire to visit such as Lichtenstein.

    • Brooke February 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

      Haha, yeah no desire for Lichtenstein either… or Canada. oops did I just say that?

    • Tony February 7, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

      Yemen is amazing and the tourist office in Sana’a won’t give you a permit for anywhere too dangerous. Shouldn’t be on anyone’s no-go list 😉

      • Adam @ SitDownDisco February 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

        I thought I remembered seeing that you had been there. Just goes to show that there aren’t too many places in the world that should be on a no-go list!

      • Brooke February 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

        I actually think I’d like to visit Yemen. I was trying to get Pat interested last year, but I’m sure you can imagine how that’d go 🙂

        • Tony February 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

          If you tell him they have similar gun-handling skills over there as he does on Buck Hunter, you’re a chance 🙂

          • Brooke February 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

            Hahaha, told him… he laughed, but I don’t think it worked 😉

  7. Tony February 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    I also don’t have a no-go list but instead can we say a wide berth list? I’d like to give a wide berth to Thailand 😉

  8. Neil February 8, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    I don’t think there’s any countries that I would never, under any circumstances, want to visit. The current situation in a few would prevent me from going there: Iraq, Afghanistan and DRC for sure. Maybe Pakistan, too…I’d have to do more research.

    But these things are transitory. I would have gone to Iraq in the ’90s, but wouldn’t have gone to Croatia or Serbia at the time. Just a couple years ago, I wouldn’t have planned a trip to Georgia…but it’s back on my list now, and I hope to visit sometime in the next 5 years.

    They’re also driven a lot by perception. I know a lot of people who are afraid of going to Mexico right now. But Mexico isn’t particularly dangerous for foreign tourists – no more so than most other developing countries. On the flip side, lots of people go to India despite it having a very high rate of violence against visitors.

    • Brooke February 9, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

      I definitely agree that it depends on the time. Things change quickly in this world.

  9. ayngelina February 8, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    The one that comes to mind most for me because it’s close is Venezuela, it’s just not worth the risk right now.

    • Brooke February 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

      What’s going on in Venezuela right now? I haven’t been following world news like I should.

  10. Rebecca February 8, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Gotta say, there are few countries that I wouldn’t visit. Even with countries like Iraq and Afghanistan there are parts of the country that are saf(er) than others, but you just need to be sensible and well-prepared and do your research. Plus, I’d need a male companion I think – and for my boyfriend, all these countries are definitely on the no-go list!! Was also totally inspired by Earl and Anil’s posts on Northern Iraq.

    • Brooke February 9, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

      Ha, yeah I think I’m more adventurous than my boyfriend. i’d love to check out some countries but I just don’t think my boyfriend could handle the news.

    • Neil February 10, 2011 at 1:52 am #

      I have the opposite problem. There’s lots of countries that I’d be happy to go to, and being a buy, probably wouldn’t have much trouble.

      But if I started planning such a trip, my wife would kill me.

      • Brooke February 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

        Hehe 🙂 They worry about us, Neil, at least…

  11. Earl February 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    As with some of the others, there isn’t a single country that I would consider avoiding right now. I might have to do some additional research before traveling to certain regions, but as was the case with Northern Iraq, as well as my visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan, rarely do these places live up to their ‘dangerous’ labels, especially if you have some travel experience under your belt.

  12. Nellie February 9, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    Like everyone else, I don’t think there’s any country that I would never go to. Like Rebecca said, there are always certain parts of the country that are safe and possible to visit. I went to Eastern Africa where the political riots broke out but I still enjoyed the region very much. I basically avoided the dangerous parts and had a great time doing some voluntary work there. I remember as a spoilt teenager, I said I’d never ever visit India – I went there last year and loved it!

  13. Andy February 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Been to 2 of your 3 off-limit countries – Sierra Leone probably 6 or 7 times and Sudan just the once.

    Sierra Leone – I would recommend it. Get beyond the recent troubles and some of the many shocking war-related sights and there is plenty to see and do with some great beaches. There is also a vibrancy about Freetown that you don’t always get in West African countries. I’ve not been out of Freetown, but others who have rave on about it. It is not a travellers paradise, that is for sure, but it shouldn’t just be written off. It is not quite a Rwanda success story, but it is making slow progress – albeit very very very slow progress.

    Sudan – I was in Khartoum and it was okay. Again, there is stuff to do and it is probably not the place to just write off. Not sure what impact the South Sudan vote will have – only time will tell I guess!!

    Places I wouldn’t rush to would include DRC and Somalia. Not really thought much beyond these at the moment.

    • Brooke February 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      Is it bad that I can’t think of anything about Sierra Leone besides Lord of War? Ok, fine, I’ll consider it… now I just need to get myself to West Africa 🙂

  14. Monica February 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    Never say never but I recently flew into Java, intending to spend a week there but flew out again the next day. I was ripped off at every possible place and had almost everything of any value stolen (except my passport, thank God!).

    For the time being, I’d say I’d never go back.

    • Brooke February 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      Ugh, that sounds awful 🙁 Experiences like those can definitely paint a negative picture of a place, so I don’t blame you for not wanting to go back!

  15. The Turkish Life February 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    I’ve heard wonderful things about Sudan, actually, especially the people. I briefly went to northern Afghanistan in 2004 and thought it was amazing — the shrine of Hazrat Ali in Mazar-e Sharif has got to be one of the most stunning places I’ve seen in my life. I’d really love to explore more of the country, but am sad to say I’m not brave enough to do it right now. Syria and Iran are totally on the wish list, though — it they’ll let this American in.

    • Brooke February 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

      Syria is definitely on my list, and Iran is a thought (I’ll go to Syria first). I think it’s tough to choose to go to a place that is known for violence because if something were to happen then everyone would be like, “Oh, well you’re the dumbass who decided to travel there in the first place.” Ya know?

  16. Rebecca February 10, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Just have to say, love the picture you associated with this post!!!

    I know I am going to get slammed, but Spain holds no interest for me. I blame all the C. Spanish I was forced to take in school (and never passed) and found the class totally pointless. Why do I need to learn C. Spanish when Mexico is right there? Teach us LAS!

    I always said, if I “accidentally” ended up in Spain, whatevs, but I will never actually make an effort to go. Maybe I’ll change my mind someday, but at this point, it is way way way far down on the list.

    • Brooke February 11, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

      HAhah! Don’t worry, I don’t care for NZ… ooops! And Canada. We all have our own likes and dislikes.

  17. Rick February 13, 2011 at 12:18 am #

    I dream of returning to India… absolutely Brilliant!

    However, political unrest makes the Kashmir region very dangerous for Westerners. It’s unfortunate for us, and for those who used to earn a good living welcoming tourists to one of the most beautiful places on earth.

  18. Kelsey February 15, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Personally, I don’t think I’d consider any place off limits. All that would change is the amount of research and preparation, and probably my packing list. There are certainly countries I would never travel in unarmed, but assuming the ability to arm myself (not difficult in most countries where it would be necessary), there’s not really anywhere I wouldn’t go.

    • Brooke February 18, 2011 at 10:38 am #

      Haha Kelsey – your comment made me laugh. You are such a badass! 🙂

      • Kelsey February 18, 2011 at 10:57 am #

        I’ve always said that the way I travel is QUITE different from the way most folks travel! This is what happens when most of your friends work in the military and intelligence fields. 😉

        When I do start updating The Mongolian Experiment again, one of the posts I have halfway done is a post about how I will likely be traveling armed for a good chunk of that particular expedition, both for my own safety but mainly so that if one of my horses injures itself beyond help, I have to be able to painlessly kill it.

  19. Rhys February 15, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Probably top for me is Saudi Arabia. Nothing about the country appeals to me!

    • Kelsey February 18, 2011 at 10:57 am #

      If I had different plumbing, I’d go!

  20. Kristin March 11, 2011 at 1:34 am #

    On the list: North Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Myanmar
    On my Mom’s list: Everywhere outside of Europe
    Places I really want to visit on other people’s lists: Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran.

  21. Nicole April 14, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    Much to my Mum’s worry, most of the countries which are on peoples no-go list are close to the top of mine (North Korea, Afghanistan, Cuba, Russia, Tibet…)

    I’m not sure if it’s a journalist thing (I think most journos crave some sort of thrill and travelling to such countries would provide it to me!) but the country I least want to re-visit (and never really wanted to visit in the beginning) is the UK, most parts of the US (except New York… love that place!) and New Zealand (though zorbing and cave climbing there sounds amazing!)

    But in the end, maybe I’m just trying to find the adventure that my family holidays lacked. The most exciting place we went was Hong Kong or China… and we only ate western food when we went there!

  22. Kim May 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    Six months ago I watched a documentary on Iraq and have been obsessed with visiting ever since. The documentary explored the wetlands region of Iraq and the lives of the traditional land owners who have been able to claim their land back since the Iraq Invasion. It was fascinating. Also, a friend was married in Iraq late last year. It was the first time she has visited the country since moving to Australia in the 90’s. By all accounts the country was beautiful, the people lovely and she felt relatively safe. Although I’m not rushing out to book flights to Baghdad tomorrow, I look forward to do so in the coming years. Remember, there was a time when you wouldn’t dream of visiting Vietnam; now even cruise ships dock in Ho Chi Minh City.

  23. Lisa June 6, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    I’m a little late to this, but I’ll chime in. The only two places in the world I absolutely would not go to at this time are Somalia and Israel. Somalia because it scares me and Israel because I don’t support the state and it would also prevent me from visiting a ton of different countries I’d love to travel, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.

  24. Matt June 16, 2011 at 5:04 am #

    Yeah Somolia definitely not, and probably Japan due to the radiation and the fact that they eat dolphins.


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