Australia & Melanesia | New Zealand & Polynesia | Central America | Caribbean | South America | North America | Southern Asia | Northern Asia | South East Asia | Indochina | North Africa | East Africa | Southern Africa | West Africa | The CIS (Russia & Central Asia | Middle/Near East | France/Swiss/UK | Antarctica | Guides & Other Books
Country summaries? Country reviews. Country snapshots.
Call them what you like, here you can find basic information and tips in a country specific
context. This includes all the basic advice you need in the travel/backpacking
planning stage or if simply deciding where you want to go next.
It is information that is not sanitized and normally requires ploughing
through guidebooks, websites and/or asking endless questions on Internet forums.
By necessity we have kept information brief and to the essentials - consider this the equivalent to an 'elevator speech' for the following [almost] 100 countries. Where something is important or note worthy we had added our badges or honour. Look out for recommendations and warnings. No other travel website covers this many counties (Wikitravel aside).
So many opinions and and so much advice is given in the Internet these days without any comparative context or basis. Here you will find praise, criticise and indifference - we are not always right -, but give an honest opinion based not just on travel to one country, region or continent, rather to over 150 (not all featured here and shared between several well travelled contributors). The result we hope is worthwhile.
Developing these pages has been one of the most time consuming processes in the construction
of this site and relies the most on input from visitors to the site. However
it is considered as essential to give actual practical information in a direct
Below to the right is a summary of the basic layout of each of the country summaries that you can view by following the region links to the left.
Information is fairly constantly updated, by us and e-mailed comments (several of the summaries are written by readers, and more are always sought - please email any updates/comments).
If you understand how we put these summaries together, you will get the most out of them.
The actual country index is listed to the left, underneath is an example of information and advice layout. It is well worth looking at exactly what each heading means, before viewing the specific country info. Without taking a quick once over of this info you will, in many cases, misunderstand the context of information given in the actual summaries.
Intro: A quick low down on the country
Highlights: A few things that should not be missed or make it a great destination - take a look at some of the world's highlights. Watch out for: - either for just one place a region or the whole country. These are not places to miss.
Lowlights: A few not so wonderful things and anything overrated.
Visa strategy: Visa requirements and the best way
to go about getting your visa. This is normally written from
the point of view of a European Union passport holder, but requirements
are normally the same for most Australian and USA holders.
Visa information changes regularly and it is a pain to get up to-date information - always confirm it for yourself. For more details on general visa strategy, see the discourse in the before you go section.
Typical tourist trail: The normal route people head around.
Dangers: Any particular things to watch out for.
Hot/cold, wet and dry: The general weather situation.
Costs: Roughly what it costs on an average budget
per day in USD, taking into account any must dos - take a
look at overall travelling costs.
This is for reasonably comfortable travel (but far from luxurious - you can always cut costs), food (average restaurant or self catering depending on cost/destination) and a place to stay (basic-ish but not shitty double room shared between two). It reflects the normal way most budget travellers travel. Watch out for:
Warning many of these quotes are rough and given in USD and it should be noted note that exchange rate factors can and do make a significant difference in how 'affordable' a trip can be. travelling on a strong currency somewhere with a weak one is bliss, the converse is often very painful. In addition inflation (currently running near to or over 10% in some parts of the developing world) will have a knock-on effect to most day-to-day travel costs.
Money: How to carry and get hold of your money - read more on getting hold of and carrying funds on the road.
What to take: Any special things worth taking, outside of the What to Pack section.
What to buy: Any special things worth allowing room/money to pick up.
Getting around: Transport choices and the best of them - see an overview of options in the On the Road section. Watch out for:
Guide book: The best guidebook and if you can pick it up there or on the way. You can, and hopefully will, click through links to buy or view books with Amazon in the UK or USA/Canada. Remember if you have found the site useful and follow the Amazon link and then eventually buy something you are helping to keep it going since the site receives about 4% commission. Take a look at general choices and get an overview.
Locals: what they will be like
Other travellers: what sort you are likely to meet
Tourist factor: How touristy the destination is and how hard it is to get off the beaten track.
Accommodation: What Accommodation normally consists of - see an overview of the sort of choices you will have .
Hot water & Wi-Fi: if this is normally comes as standard or ever a problem
Average cost: for a basic double room, normally with a bathroom; so cheaper will always be possible
Health: General health problems to watch out for - read more about getting ill and staying healthy
Food: What it is like and how easy it is to eat well
Vegetarians: Situation for vegetarians - if there is no problem mentioned assumes this is for less-strict vegetarians. Read more about vegetarianism while travelling
Hassle and annoyance factor: What it is like at the worst for hassle and annoyance like sleepless nights, touts and beggars - get some tips on dealing with beggars and hassle
Women alone: How much hassle you will have as a female with no male company - read more on travelling alone
Local poisons for the body: The things you should not do, but want to know about anyway - read the guide and warnings about illegal drugs abroad, in the On the Road section. These are not recommendations, just the response to an awful lot of e-mails received on the subject. Reports are normally based on conversations with other travellers and meagre experiences.
Rating: A quick highly, subjective rating out of ten rating - five being strictly average. Based on range and status of sights and activities, ease of getting around, attitude of locals & fellow travellers and value for money.
Please don't think overviews or ratings are too critical: remember
there are many countries to compare and without being at least a
little subjective this guide would be no different to a holiday
Any country, or in fact all countries will have hidden depth, but for a backpacker huge amounts of time are rarely available to truly discover what lies deep beneath the surface. So unfortunately, ratings and summaries do tend to reflect how much of this you can discover in a typical two to three week stay, or longer in the case of bigger countries like India. Costs, accessibility, commercialisation, local friendliness etc., will almost always be reflected.
Please note: Selected are mainly major backpacker destinations and only those that authors have recent and widespread experience in, although opinions are subjective to individual experiences and therefore should be used as a guideline for preparation or destination choices only. A number of summaries have been written by reader contributions.
South Africa and Chile updates mid-year
Limited Europe (there's too much, but we have added the UK, Switzerland and France)
Limited Polynesia and no Micronesia (the region is just too remote and tough for us to get around right now)
Please, if you would like to make any corrections based on your experiences or even add a whole new country, then get in touch. Every bit of information supplied helps keep this free-to-all resource growing and up to date. Your comments are very much appreciated.
"In the middle ages people were tourists because of their religion, whereas now they are tourists because tourism is their religion."