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Tourist Destinations That Are More Dangerous Than You Think

A group of twenty travelers were arrested by Chinese authorities last week in Mongolia on suspicion of having links to a terrorist organization.

The wealthy, mostly retired group of tourists, who are British, Indian and South African, were part of a 47-day organized tour of “Ancient China,” and were arrested on Friday morning as they boarded a plane in the city of Ordos.

They had been visiting a nearby mausoleum dedicated to Ghengis Khan.

While Mongolia is known for its petty street crime towards tourists there has been little reason in recent years for travelers to avoid the region due to security concerns. Especially when on a guided tour.

The US currently has five citizens being detained abroad with dozens of others held without proper legal justification in the past decade. In many cases, the prisoners were merely tourists in the country where they have been held captive, whether by police or extremist groups.

While some places are unsurprisingly dangerous for tourists to venture, many high-risk countries may surprise you.

Dominican Republic

Stunning white sand beaches and warm crystal clear waters attracts thousands of tourists to this Caribbean paradise each year. However the Dominican Republic can be a very dangerous place for visitors. Foreigners are frequently targeted in criminal acts with reports of as many as 39 tourists being murdered over the past three years. The US State Department warns that the levels of professionalism within the local police is likely to vary wildly from that of the US, with common attempts to solicit bribes being reported along with incidents of them using excessive force.


This beautiful, tropical and historically rich country is located on the Caribbean coastline of central America. It is a big draw to American tourists due to its white sand beaches, turquoise waters, lush jungles and ancient ruins, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from the US each year. But the country has incredibly high crime rates with 50 percent of the population (around 3.5 million people) living below the poverty line. In 2012, the UN office on Drugs and Crime rated Honduras as the country with the world’s highest per capita murder rate. Just last year, a Canadian tourist and his stepson were shot and killed while visiting the country.

Related: 5 Caribbean Destinations You’ve Never Visited


Despite Egypt’s long standing reputation as a popular tourist destination,largely due to its spectacular ancient landmarks, the country has become more and more dangerous in recent years for visitors. With the high threat of terrorism and political instability leading to frequent violent protests, the country’s main cities have become unsafe for locals and tourists alike. It has become illegal to photograph police stations, military facilities and other public buildings and law enforcement is indiscriminate during times of protest regarding who they arrest. In November 2011, three American study abroad students, were arrested and accused of being involved in the protests. The three young men were detained in an Egyptian jail for over a week before their release and deportation back to the US. The US State Department advises against travel outside of the city of Cairo.

Related: Egypt Is Waiting for You: What It’s Like to Visit Right Now


Almost 40 million tourists head to Mexico each year for it’s year-round warm climate, spectacular beaches, turquoise water and ancient landmarks. But the country is one of the worst on earth for kidnappings. Violent, organized crime groups operating throughout the country have been responsible for multiple car jackings, kidnappings, robberies and even murders—many of which have involved US citizens. In May this year the US State Department issued a Travel Warning to tourists contemplating a trip south of the border, advising them to be extremely cautious when traveling within the country. Last year almost 1600 kidnapping cases were reported to authorities.

Related: 10 Best Places to Go in Mexico


With it’s spectacular savannas, snow-capped mountains and unrivaled wildlife, Kenya draws visitors, especially safari seekers, from all over the globe. In January, the US Government issued a worldwide caution about the continued threat of terrorist attacks from Islamic extremists across the globe and Kenya was one of the countries highlighted. Terrorists in Kenya have been responsible for bombings and kidnappings involving US citizens in the past couple of years and visitors are advised to be extra cautious when traveling to the country. In April 2014, ISIS militants attacked a convoy in an attempt to kidnap a foreign humanitarian worker and in 2011, two European tourists were kidnapped and another killed within a month of each other.


Tourists to India are expected to abide by strict local customs and etiquette. As a visitor you are at risk from aggressive retaliation if these guidelines are not followed, especially in more rural areas. The country also struggles with anti-western terrorist activity that targets tourists. Past attacks have targeted public places and tourist attractions. In February 2013, a bus bombing in a commercial area of Bangalore killed 17 and injured 119 bystanders included many foreign nationals. Frequent reports of sexual assault on foreigners have plagued the country and the US State department strongly advises against its female citizens traveling alone there. “Western women, particularly those of African descent, continue to report incidents of verbal and physical harassment by individuals and groups of men,” reads the State Department advisory. “Known locally as ‘eve-testing’, these incidents of sexual harassment can be quite frightening and quickly cross the line from verbal to physical.” 

—Sophie Forbes

This article was originally published by Yahoo! Travel under the headline Tourist Destinations That Are More Dangerous Than You Think. It is reprinted here with permission.

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