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5 Most Dangerous Countries for Backpackers

Fancy a rush?

Let’s face it, danger is a turn on.

Here are my Top 5 locations for a dance with danger.

If you are considering visiting any of the places below I recommend you read my WAR ZONE SAFETY GUIDE.

5. Iraq

Needless to say, parts of Iraq are pretty unstable due to the war. That said, any backpacker can cruise into Kurdistan in the North from Turkey without any hassle. Ethnic tensions remain high, but it’s the only option for backpackers. It’s supposedly dangerous but I have a friend who travelled there earlier this year (2010). Mosul is the place to be, but venturing south can get you in serious shit. If you are American, maybe you should avoid this country.

4. Tribal Areas, Pakistan

The swat valley and surrounding areas are currently experiencing an insurgency. Extremists allied to the Taliban and Al-Qeada are not exactly pro-western and backpacking is not recommended. That said, a cunning disguise and some words of the local language could provide you with safe passage. As of March 2010, the dramatic Khyber border pass to Afghanistan is closed. Buy hey, it’s not all bad – Why not check to an open arms bazaar and get yourself a Bazooka? It would make a great Facebook pic!

3. Kivu, D.R Congo

The UN classify Kivu as a major conflict zone. Guerillas, gang rape and volcanoes await. The Hutus, the LRA, the Congolese army and other rebel groups make for a great welcoming party. I went here in 2007 and it was the most thrilling experience of my life. But my tales from the Congo are for another time. A bit of French or Swahili is helpful. Bring cash.

2. Southern Provinces, Afghanistan

Similar to Pakistan, anti- western sentiment remains high. Many Taliban strongholds exist in the south. The roads from Herat to Kandahar and similarly Kandahar to Baghdad are said to be the most dangerous on earth. Sounds like good fun! I recommend Pashtun attire, growing a beard and learning Dari. Visas are easily obtains in Mashhad, Iran.


1. Somalia & Puntland

Puntland is not so bad. Privacy, kidnapping and corruption is rife but parts are relatively safe and accessible from Somali-land. South Somalia is a controlled by various factions from warlords,forces loyal to the intern “government” and Al-Shabab. This is the number one place in world to go if you want to get killed or held to random. Zoom in on the capital Mogadishu in Google Earth and you will see what I’m talking about. If you want to visit, I recommend learning Arabic or Somali, learning about Islam and pretending you are there for Jihad.  KILL THOSE FUCKING INFIDELS!

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6 Responses to 5 Most Dangerous Countries for Backpackers

  1. Markzoni July 17, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    what does your family think about all your adventures abroad? from the reactions of outrage and disbelief i get, i think i might start telling people i just went to london and paris instead 🙂

  2. Full Metal Jacket Traveler July 18, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    Old Africa… no money for food but always money for guns!

    I heard some islands of the Phillipines are no-go areas due to islamist insurgencies.

    Colombia is now reasonably safe to visit. Unless you enter slums or wander into small towns way out in the boonies, where guerrillas, army and paramilitaries still shoot each other and leave minefields behind.

    Nice vid on the Paki arms bazaar:

  3. Blunt_Twistin October 10, 2010 at 12:41 am #

    That was one WILD video!

  4. Nasibah August 15, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Interesting! Thanks for separating out Somaliland from Somalia! They’re really different from each other. If you’re the typical tourist, then Somaliland won’t be the best destination for you but if you want to see something different, then Hargeysa’s the place to be 🙂 wonderful city!

  5. Drew August 12, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    As someone who has been to Iraq and currently works in Afghanistan, I can tell you this, Iraq would be a much safer bet. You would be almost completely safe in the Kurdish region of Iraq (Mosul, Irbil). Southern Afghanistan is definitely the most dangerous, I’m sure you’ve heard of Helmand. Herat Province is out west, bordering Iran. It is dangerous. I used to travel from Herat city to Adraskan on a weekly basis. The roads are nice. Once you get south of Adraskan it is indian country, especially down south of Shouz/Shindand area entering Farah province. Mostly there you have to worry about criminals, not so much the Talibs, but they are there.
    Dari and Pashtu would be nice to learn, but let me tell you, they are hard to pick up. Unless you are saying “Hello (Asalamalakum),” Arabic is useless in Afghanistan. I drive around Kabul(capital city) on a daily basis, it is actually fairly safe here. I’ll say this, worst traffic in the world, bar none. I’ve heard of the traffic in other Asian countries… it may be on par, but no way can it be worse. It is fun though. Never a dull moment.
    Anyways, that’s some info on Afghanistan. I’d say more about Iraq but the last time I was there was in 2010 before the war ended, and I was in the Marine Corps, so I only got a view of my battlespace, which happened to be in the “Triangle of Death.” I may go to work there in a year or so though, oil companies need protection from the baddies.

    If you are entering Afghan for any personal reasons, hopefully I’ve helped you a bit. My suggestions, stay the fuck out, and definitely stay out of the South.

  6. Skins December 11, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    I have zero interest in the middle east. Why the FUCK would anyone go there? Even Dubai they lock you up if you take a picture of the wrong building.

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