And always wear a buttplate

There’s a new travel warning out on the Philippines from the US government.

This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for the Philippines issued April 27, 2007. U.S. citizens contemplating travel to the Philippines should carefully consider the risks to their safety and security while there, including those due to terrorism. While travelers may encounter such threats anywhere in the Philippines , the southern island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago are of particular concern. Travelers should exercise extreme caution in both central and western Mindanao as well as in the Sulu Archipelago.

As usual, most of it is just common sense. All countries put out these warnings, including the ones who think that other peoples’ travel warnings are stupid or, worse, could cause tourists to pause. And the targets of the warnings complain and whine about it.

Of course the truth is that terrorist and travel warnings are usually just bureaucratic butt-covers: If something happens, the government can say, “Well, we warned them.” But they also contain excellent pointers and tips that travellers should take into account. Or, as every travel advisory issued by the Australian government says: Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

Some of the better informed travel warnings, at least for Asia travel, are by the United States and Australia and Canada. Many people swear by the British ones. Here’s what the Brits say about one of the countries in the Asian section:

There is a high threat from terrorism in Thailand. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. There were a number of bomb explosions in Bangkok in 2007.

The political situation in Thailand is uncertain. You should exercise caution and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people.

If you are considering travel to, or through, the far southern provinces of Thailand, you should seriously reflect on whether or not your journey is absolutely necessary.

To say nothing of the rush-hour traffic, eh?

So please bear all that in mind.


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