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WORLD TRAVEL WATCH

Visits to People's Republic of China Discouraged

August 06, 1989|LARRY HABEGGER and JAMES O'REILLY | Habegger and O'Reilly are free-lance writers living in Northern California .

World Travel Watch is a monthly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel throughout the world. Because conditions can change overnight, always make your own inquiries before you leave home. In the United States contact the nearest passport agency office; abroad, check in with the nearest American embassy .

Asia

--China: Due to continuing unstable security conditions, travel here is not advised.

--India: Kashmir's fabled Dal Lake, which for centuries has drawn Mogul princes, British colonialists and vacationers, is showing bad signs of environmental degradation. The lake has shrunk from 14 square miles to nine, weeds grow thick on the bottom and millions of gallons of raw sewage flow into the lake every day. New sewer systems need to be built, but state and national governments have been unable to provide the money for the sewers.

--Nepal: New visa regulations have become stabilized. People entering Nepal with a visa obtained before arrival can stay for one month, and can get two one-month extensions. To obtain an extension, travelers must show proof that they have spent at least $10 a day for every day requested in the extension.

After spending three months in Nepal, foreigners must leave the country for a minimum of one month before returning. Upon returning they will be able to remain in the country for only one more month, and then will be barred from returning for a year. Fifteen-day visas are available upon entry at a cost of $10. Travelers must prove they've spent at least $150.

Foreigners who wish to leave the country during their initial three-month stay can make arrangements with the immigration office to allow re-entry even if the trip is for less than a month.

--Sri Lanka: The government recently granted powers to the police and military to detain suspected leftist rebels in an attempt to quell the Sinhalese two-year-old drive to overthrow the government. Peace talks with the Tamil Tigers in the north and east and negotiations to send the Indian peacekeeping army home continue. Conditions remain unstable although most main tourist sites are relatively safe. Exercise caution, however.

--Tibet: Although Tibet was recently reopened to foreigners, Western Tibet and the sacred Mt. Kailash region remain off-limits. However, Eastern Tibet, a rugged region of big rivers, forested mountains and log houses in a Swiss chalet style, has been opened to tourism.

Africa

--Ghana: Ghana has strict laws governing currency exchange and the sale, purchase or possession of gold, diamonds and other natural resources. Currency transactions should take place at registered banks and foreign exchange bureaus. All natural-resource transactions are handled through official organizations; dealing in these commodities with individuals is illegal.

Wearing clothing that appears military in nature, such as camouflage jackets, is strictly prohibited. Authorities are slow to notify foreign embassies when detaining foreigners; jail conditions are harsh and the legal process can be lengthy. There is no bond posting. If you get into trouble, make every effort to contact the American Embassy. Assume your message has not been delivered if a consular officer doesn't contact you within 36 hours.

--Mozambique: Travel remains dangerous due to continuing insurgency. Guerrillas are active in all of the country's provinces, and have stepped up their attacks even as the government makes efforts through the Mozambican Christian Church to find a way to peace. Food shortages exist in rural areas and many district capitals. Street crime and car thefts in urban areas have increased dramatically in the last year. Avoid unnecessary travel, and exercise caution. Register with the U.S. Embassy on arrival.

--Sao Tome and Principe: A serious cholera outbreak is occurring. Travelers without valid vaccinations will be refused entry.

--Somalia: A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed recently in Mogadishu in response to religious disturbances in which protesters and police were killed. Defer non-essential travel at this time.

Mediterranean/Middle East

--Turkey: Exercise caution in Turkey's southeastern provinces, where sporadic separatist attacks against Turkish military, police and civilians continue to occur. Avoid travel off main highways in remote regions, and if possible, don't drive at night. Be sure to obtain a receipt and an official museum export certificate if buying antiquities or cultural artifacts. Unauthorized export is strictly prohibited and punishable by imprisonment.

Europe/Soviet Union

--Soviet Union: Ethnic disturbances continue in many areas of this vast country, most recently in the Abkhazi region of Georgia, causing officials to declare a state of emergency and a dusk-to-dawn curfew. The troubles disrupted transport and communications in and around the Black Sea resort of Sukhumi. Unrest is likely to continue. Exercise caution.

Southeast Asia

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