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I am writing to let you know how much I enjoyed the recent trip to the Magara secondary school project in Tanzania and how wonderful the World Expeditions staff were. Our guide was a fantastic source of information and really helped us a great deal but also allowed us a lot of freedom to work things out for ourselves. The group was great and we hope to keep in contact as much as possible. The staff at the secondary school and the students were memorable and I wish them all the best and also to the people who attend the project next year.
Japan Update: 22 November 2016
A 6.9 magnitude earthquake off north-eastern Japan near Fukushima prefecture has prompted a tsunami warning of possible 3m waves; small tsunamis have been observed in coastal areas. The quake struck this morning at about 06:00 local time with an estimated depth of around 25km. Damage from the quake remains unclear, but there are some reports of minor injuries. Tremors were felt in Tokyo and residents have been urged to evacuate some coastal areas - a Tsunami warning has been issued for Fukushima prefecture and Miyagi prefecture..
World Expeditions presently has a group of travellers on our Backroads of the Japan trip who are now in Nara and are safe and well; their itinerary will continue as planned unless changes become necessary. The safety of our travellers is our foremost priority.
We will continue to monitor the situation and further updates will be provided if required. Those in Japan should follow all instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders and should expect aftershocks. Our thoughts are with those affected by this event.
India Update: 18 November 2016
Currency restrictions remain in place across India. No more than 2000 Indian rupees (around AUD 40) may be exchanged over-the-counter at one time. The current ATM withdrawal limit is 2,500 rupees (around AUD 50). Indian authorities recently announced that all 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes were to be withdrawn from circulation, as part of a crackdown on corruption and counterfeit currency. Please do not rely on ATM's or the bank to withdraw money in India at this time. We suggest all travellers bring foreign currency to e=xchange upon arrival in India. Please also use ATM's at the airport on arrival.
Thailand Update: 23 October 2016
World Expeditions joins the people of Thailand and people all over the world in offering our deepest condolences and respect upon the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. The dedication of His Majesty to the well-being of the nation and its people is unparalleled.
Thailand is entering a period of mourning that will last for one year commencing 14 October 2016. During the first 30 days of the mourning period, all public festivities are cancelled. In the initial period, some entertainment venues may decide to close or operate with restricted hours. Major sites, with the exception of Wat Pra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace in Bangkok, are open as usual, as are restaurants and shops. The general atmosphere is, as expected, subdued.
Travellers should exercise special sensitivity as Thailand mourns the passing of its monarch. The Tourism Authority of Thailand encourages visitors to continue with their travel plans as normal and has created a list of recommendations regarding the Mourning Period for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The recommendations should be adhered to as a mark of respect and solidarity with the Thai people.
• Many Thai people will be wearing black or white clothing as a sign of mourning. This is not required of visitors but if possible, they should wear sombre and respectful clothing when in public and avoid colourful, eye-catching dress.
• Visitors should refrain from conducting any inappropriate or disrespectful behaviour.
• Most of the traditional and cultural events will be taking place as usual, although the celebrations may be changed for appropriateness as a mark of respect, or the events may be dedicated to the memory of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
• All transport, banks, hospitals and other public services will be operating as usual.
• The related authorities have stepped up safety and security measures for all Thais and visitors to facilitate their travelling around the country.
All World Expeditions trips are operating as normal and do so with the utmost respect for the remarkable King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his people.
Vietnam Update: 18 October 2016
Vietnam has been struck by severe flooding from a tropical low pressure event that brought rains of up to 900mm to central parts of the country in recent days. Reports indicate that at least 25 people have died and four are missing, with these numbers expected, unfortunately, to rise. Our thoughts are with those affected by this event. The regions affected (at present) are four provinces in the central north of Vietnam (Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Vinh and Ha Tinh). All World Expeditions travellers are safe and accounted for.
The country is bracing for the prospect of more floods and landslides to come as Typhoon Sarika regroups over the South China Sea. Winds are forecast to be up to 150 km per hour, with the storm expected to be in striking distance of Vietnam’s northern coast by tomorrow morning or possibly this evening. All cruises in Halong Bay will be cancelled for the next few days at least.
Below is the status in relation to current and forthcoming trips (until the end of October). As always, the safety of our travellers is our foremost concern. If required, contingencies will be implemented. Naturally the situation is fluid and we are receiving regular updates from Vietnam as the situation unfolds.
Best of Vietnam and Cambodia - 1/10/16 - The group have left Vietnam and are doing well in Cambodia.
Vietnam by Bike - 15/10/2016 - Travelling to Hue by train tonight (18 October). The railway routes from the north to the centre of Vietnam are operating normally. The group completed the overnight cruise in Halong bay as normal last night but this morning for safety reasons all the cruises returned to shore earlier than scheduled by about 2 hours; the trip continues to follow the itinerary as normal.
Mekong Delta Cycle - 15/10/2016 - Trip runs in Southern Vietnam, no impact at present.
Waters Vietnam Adventure - 17/10/2016 - Halong bay cruise is cancelled today, remaining in Hanoi tonight and will continue as normal tomorrow.
The forthcoming trips below are expected to operate as normal however the situation is fluid and contingencies will be implemented if needed.
Ho Chi Minh City to Angkor Wat Cycle - 29/10/2016
Mekong Explorer River Cruise - 29/10/2016
Bike, Hike and Kayak Northern Vietnam - 31/10/2016
Myanmar Update: 14 October
The government has imposed a state of emergency in the majority of Rakhine State (except Sittwe and resort areas at Ngapali Beach) in response to armed clashes. World Expeditions does not offer trips in this area and all forthcoming World Expeditions trips are operational. The rest of the country is calm; the affected area is in the most Northern part of Rakhine State and it is business as usual in the rest of the country. The people of Myanmar look forward to welcoming travellers as always.
China Typhoon Meranti Update: 19 September 2016
Typhoon Meranti made landfall early Thursday September 15 in Fujian province. The strongest typhoon to hit China this year has left 28 people dead and 15 others missing in the east of the country. Reportedly the worst hit area is Xiamen (or Amoy) and Fuzhou has been flood affected. World Expeditions trips do not go to any of these places so none of our trips have been impacted, however naturally we are watchful as ever during Typhoon season. Chinese authorities on Saturday warned of high waves and strong winds from a new storm, Malakas, which was bearing down on the east coast of the Chinese mainland after skirting Taiwan; we will monitor the impacts of this new storm however it is likely to affect the same region as Meranti. Our thoughts are with those affected by these storms. All trips in China are operational as normal and as always we are carefully monitoring conditions, with trip changes implemented where necessary to ensure the safety of travellers.
Myanmar Earthquake Update: 28 August 2016
On the 24th of August a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck 19 km from Seikphyu (south of Bagan) in Myanmar, resulting in the deaths of three and damage to some 187 pagodas and temples. All World Expeditions travellers and staff on the ground are safe and all trips have continued to run as normal. After an earthquake struck Bagan in 1975, more than 600 pagodas were poorly renovated. The parts of the pagodas that were renewed after the 1975 earthquake have been damaged but the ancient bricks have not collapsed. We will continue to monitor conditions locally and if necessary amendments to itineraries will be implemented however at this stage no significant changes are expected. As always the safety of our travellers is our foremost priority.
Zika Virus: Updated 18 November 2016
The Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne disease, which is transmitted by some species of Aedes mosquito which bite in the day, particularly around dawn and dusk. The Zika virus is present in a number of countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean, the Pacific and parts of Asia. Click here for list of affected countries, in order of prevalence of the disease. Travellers are advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellents and wearing long sleeves and long pants, especially during daylight when the mosquitoes tend to be most active. The virus has been identified as a particular concern for pregnant women and they are being urged to reconsider or postpone their trips to countries affected by the virus. For more information see the World Health Organisation (WHO) website here. We will be monitoring the situation and provide updates if there are any further developments warranting concern. For now, all of our trips remain operational.