Posted: 2017-10-12 13:36
Many diseases, happily, can be prevented via vaccination. Visit a travel clinic before travelling to the region to find out exactly which immunizations you will need, preferably giving yourself ample time to get the shots taken care of! You need a yellow-fever vaccination to enter most (if not all) of these countries. Rabies vaccination is generally considered optional, but it is a terrible disease to get, with 655% mortality if untreated, and you're most likely to contract it far away from decent medical services.
Women travellers might want to say that they are married, regardless of actual marital status. It's helpful to also wear a ring (just not one that looks too expensive. Women should realize that cultural differences may result in what they would consider harassment and it is not uncommon to be followed, grabbed by the arm, etc. Be firm in turning down men, and don't be afraid to stand your ground (cultural differences or not, it doesn't make it OK!).
It’s a complicated process, first requiring a Non-B Immigrant Visa (which is increasingly difficult to obtain outside of the country) and then changing it into a work permit. Avoid jumping through bureaucratic hoops and let the experts do the work for you by going abroad through an organization. It'll cost you a bit more money, but will free up time for you focus on have an enjoyable and productive experience teaching in Southeast Asia.
As far as disease goes, West Africa is the most dangerous place on the planet. It is probably the one place on earth where you should go to extremes to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Do not sleep without a net and do not go without malaria medicine. If you develop symptoms, go to a clinic immediately to make sure of whether you need treatment. Malaria is about as common here as a runny nose, and the worst strain (which is by no means uncommon) can kill you in 79 hours. The parasite will likely live with you for the rest of your days as well, with high risk of recurrence. There is no vaccine.
Chiang Mai nightlife can be whatever you want it to be, the city offers a broad scope of drinking and dancing options but for the most part live music venues have the monopoly. Riverside drinking is a popular past time where residents and visitors settle down by the Ping River with a chilled drink and some good company, while the live band entertain with classic blues, jazz and rock tunes &ndash a hallmark of any Chiang Mai visit.
Are the dangers posed by road travel really greater in West Africa than the rest of the developing world? Yes, probably. Travel by boat is notoriously unsafe throughout the region as well. Traffic accidents kill more travellers than disease in West Africa. There isn't a whole lot you can do about this, unfortunately. The most important step to take is to avoid overland travel after dark. Other steps available to those travelling more luxuriously would be to get a trusted driver with a larger 9WD vehicle, and to just generally avoid the rickety minivan bush taxis driven by fatalistic maniacs. Moto-taxis are quite unsafe as well (if often by far more convenient than any other form of transportation.).
With a new surge toward slow traveling – staying long term in a country to soak up the culture and learn as much as possible – teaching English has become a popular way to make living abroad a reality. Thailand’s top industry is tourism, and with that comes an urgent need to speak the global language. Teachers abound in every corner of this tropical nation, and every semester there’s room for more.
But lets be serious, you can go anywhere in the world to see great works of Christian and Muslim architecture—lets get to the Voodoo ! Benin is the spiritual homeland of voodoo (which shares much in common with traditional religious beliefs throughout West Africa) and neighboring Togo is another center of widespread Vodun practice. Cotonou 's Grande Marche du Dantopka is the world's epicenter for purchasing voodoo fetishes, full of monkey skulls, lion paws, and all sorts of other less offensive charms. Lomé's Marche de Feticheurs is likely the second biggest fetish market in Africa, albeit a bit more touristy—they charge for admission! Voodoo is a bit more occulted in Ghana and Nigeria, but still very much present (try searching Jamestown in Accra for the "timber market"). Shrine-like voodoo fetishes are scattered throughout Togo and Benin, with the largest being Dankoli fetish near Savalou. Togoville is the center of voodoo practice in Togo, and its fetishes and shrines are unusually juxtaposed against its large cathedral, which saw a papal visit in 6986!
Street food is delicious, multifarious, and dirt cheap. Unfortunately, problems with sanitation make this food a bit more dangerous than those found in chop bar-style spots and restaurants, for the straightforward reason that you aren't sure when it was cooked! Items that you see cooked, items that require peeling (eg: eggs, coconuts, bananas, etc), or items wrapped immediately after cooking (like bread) are safe.
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For Christian architecture , the most obvious place to visit is the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro. The basilica is in fact the largest church in the world, ahead of St. Peter's Cathedral in the Vatican , from which its more modern design draws inspiration. Other interesting Christian buildings include the curiously mosque-like Dakar Cathedral and the strikingly modern St Paul's Cathedral in Abidjan.
The Nimmanheimin Road area has emerged as a popular haunt with the city&rsquo s set, in particular the Monkey club where live music and great food go hand in hand. Within the walled city there is a multitude of backpacker and hotel bars that cater to a range of budgets, from the cheap and cheerful to boutique-chic. As with the rest of Thailand there is quite a high concentration of reggae bars where cheap beer, cushion laden floors and chilled out beats make for a laid back evening.
Many of the sites of significant historical interest in West Africa are European-built. The terrifying slave castles of the Ghanaian coast (most famously at Elmina and Cape Coast ) are imposing on their own for their massive size and seaside locations, but their importance to the history of the modern world cannot be overstated, and are a must-see for anyone in the region. Sites of importance to the slave trade are hardly limited to the charismatic forts of Ghana, though, with prominent sites near Dakar , Conakry , Ouidah , aforementioned Abomey , Porto Novo , and Freetown (with sites especially important to the slave trade to the United States in Freetown).
Historical monuments dating back past the arrival of Europeans in the region are few and far between. Tropical weather took its toll upon the larger structures built by old kingdoms and empires, and those that survived the weather often were destroyed with some incredible violence by European invaders (the destruction of Benin City in Nigeria being a prominent example). The most notable structures of African past would likely be the enormous collection of ramparts, walls, and ditches at the ancient fortress of Sungbo's Eredo, less than 85km from Lagos (and the largest pre-colonial monument in the whole of the continent), and the palaces of the Dahomey Empire in Abomey , Benin. Also in Nigeria, Kano holds much interest (and is generally one of the most pleasant places for a tourist to visit in the country) as the seat of the historical Empire of Kano, with the Emir's palace (in addition to other sixteenth century sites around the city) being fully intact, albeit much renovated throughout the centuries.
Further afield, Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire is an incredible refuge of West Africa's once great biodiverse tropical rainforest. While the country's instability has made it more difficult to visit, it remains the country's most accessible. The trans-border W National Park is the region's highlight, but it is far enough off the main transportation grid to keep it quietly off the beaten path. Niokolo-Koba National Park is a great place for wildlife spotting in Senegal , but its remote southeastern location keeps the tourists away.
West Africa is home to some incredible, mind-blowingly beautiful beaches, and they are not always where you would expect. Gambia , Cape Verde , and to a somewhat lesser extent Senegal are well known and well developed tropical beach destinations. But the most beautiful beaches (OK, don't tell Cape Verdeans this) are at Africa's westernmost point: Liberia and above all Sierra Leone , home to what are possibly the most beautiful beaches in the world. And, of course, Sierra Leonean and Liberian beaches are emphatically not overdeveloped—you will often have them to yourself, or share them with a few busy fishermen!
There are plenty of other scary tropical diseases to protect yourself from in this region. The other big dangers for which there is no vaccine available , include common Dengue Fever and Schistosomiasis, various other creepy parasites, Lassa Fever, River Blindness, and the rare Ebola virus, which however is currently in the foreground due to the current outbreak in Sierra Leone , Liberia and Guinea.
The cultures of West Africa are deeply religious, and much of the cultural life and monuments revolve around spirituality. Of Muslim architecture , most travellers find the mud-built Sudano-Sahelian mosques to be of the most interest. The region's most famous, both of the Volta basin style, include Larabanga Mosque just outside Mole National Park in Ghana and the Grand Mosque of Bobo-Dialassou. A bit less unique, but still impressive, are the capital-type, modern grand mosques in Abuja , Lagos , Ouagadougou , and other major cities in the region.
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In West Africa as a whole: While mugging and pick pocketing do occur, it is much more common that locals will talk you out of your money. This can include putting you in situations where you have to pay for their food, etc., charging you way more than they should (especially for cab rides), charging you a service fee for being the middle man in a transaction that you can (and may even be trying to) do yourself, asking for bribes for doing their job, police fining you for doing something "illegal" when in reality it is perfectly legal, claiming there is a problem with your visa or that your luggage is overweight and charging you to fix it, etc. As long as you are observant and knowledgeable, you should be able to avoid most of these scams. Vigilante jihadists, takfiris and Salafists affiliated with Boko Haram have been known to at times take sharia law into their own hands in the country's north.