Indian Sub Continent 3rd February 2017

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. Burma has really opened up to tourism although many areas are still off limits (due to regional conflicts). Aung San Suu Kyri NLD party won November's election and the country continues to move towards as functioning democracy.  The standard of food hygiene is poor. However its a highly rewarding country to visit and our favourite in SE Asia.

Terrorism remains an ongoing problem in some areas of India, the threat stems from Islamist terrorism Pakistan and 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. Red 24 advise against all non-essential travel to the rural and remote areas of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa states in eastern India. 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. From mid July 2016 the secruity situation worsened with civilian deaths following clashes with security forces.   An attack in Kashmir on 18 Sept 2016 kills 18 security forces & has led to increaeed tension between Pakistan & India. Whilst concerns over security are of a concern in some parts, its worth remembering that approx 275 people die in India every day from road traffic accidents - that is the greatest threat to travellers. Smog is causing health problems in Delhi and other majour cities.  A car restriction plan is starting in Delhi in Jan 2016. Much of India is suffering from severe drough after 2 years of poor rains. However, heavy monsoon rains arrived in mid July 2016 causing flooding in many states. Delhi is currently experiencing a significant outbreak of Chikungunya Fever. Many Indian cities are currently experiencing high levels of pollution, likely to continue throughout the winter. In Mid Nov 2016 the Indian government withdrew old 500 & 100 rupees notes and restricted the amount that can be taken from ATMs.The limit of cast withdrawals at ATM has recently been raised to R2,500 and since the turn of the year the situation is getting much better.

Sri Lanka is experiencing a significant rise in cases of Dengue Fever, caused by day biting mosquitos.  

Visiting Sri Lanka prior to India is a terrific, less frantic introduction to the wonderful Indian sub continent. Have a look at the Safety Net as Alicia Fellowes has added some useuful travel ideas. In Mid May 2016 the seasonal rains arrived causing some localised flooding. 

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. Heavy monsoon rains at end of July 2016 cause extensive flooding.

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