10 Most Difficult Countries to Visit
Regardless of your travel experience, there are some countries can’t enter easily. Your passport, budget, and logistics have to be out of this world before you can gain access to those countries, as a journalist, researcher, or tourist. Before I tell you some of those countries difficult to visit, here are the roadblocks on your way to those countries. Security situations of some countries will make visiting them risky and difficult even if their borders are thrown open. To obtain a visa to some other of them is a herculean task. Now let’s get to the 10 most difficult countries to visit.
Let me quickly state this: The facts presented here about the 10 most difficult countries to visit are just my personal opinion formed out of my own careful research and experiences in travels and from inputs of experienced travelers. I respect the rights of others to express their own opinion.
Kiribati is an island republic, a sovereign state in the Micronesia subregion, in the west-central Pacific Ocean. This is one of the 10 most difficult countries to visit. It’s tough to reach Kiribati because of its sheer remoteness. The country comprising just over 30 atolls and coral reefs islands is dispersed over a vast area of 2.2 million square miles.
It’s listed as a difficult country to travel to because it is both isolated and almost inaccessible. The only means of gateway to and from Kiribati is Bonriki International Airport on Tarawa, the country’s capital, where flights connect to Brisbane, Fiji, and a few other destinations in the country.
Many Kiribatians live on the narrow bits of land surrounding a beautiful tropical lagoon. The scarcity of land makes it a difficult area for tourism even though it’s one of the remote and welcoming under-radar destinations.
If you have your ears on the news, it will not be difficult for you to agree that Sudan is one of the most difficult countries to visit, if not the most difficult country to travel to. The issue with Sudan is the visa. Experiences of those who have made attempts show that Sudan’s visa is difficult to get. As revealed by reliable online sources, it’s only easier to obtain if you’re applying from Egypt. Even then, you need up to apply 5 weeks before your trip if you will have any chance of success.
This is a small island country in the Pacific where journalists are almost not welcome. Visa complications add Nauru to my list of the 10 most difficult countries to visit. Only a few tourists get to visit Nauru. You can be granted a visa only if you apply in any diplomatic missions in Bangkok, Suva, Taipei, or Brisbane.
Trying to conceal negative situations in the Australian refugee camp on the island, Nauru is discouraging journalists’ visits by increasing the visa application fee to AUD8,000. Yet, this nonrefundable fee doesn’t guarantee you a successful application. Some journalists have disguised as tourists in the past but the authorities have known better. Thus, the process is ridiculously slow now, taking up to 8 weeks.
This, together with expensive flights, makes Nauru, a small member of the UN by population and size, one of the 10 most difficult countries to visit.
Visiting Eritrea is complicated by tripartite issues of visa, transportation, and press freedom. Very little is known about this country. For that reason, you’ll find it tough to understand the requirement for a visa into the State of Eritrea. Although it has achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1993, it was after the 20-year long war that the country’s borders were opened.
It’s not certain if you’ll be able to enter through Its border with Ethiopia which is littered with landmines. And only locals can use the border with Sudan while odds are against your gamble if you attempt to enter Djibouti. However, you have a slim chance of flying into Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea and apply for a visa upon entry. After spending so much on the scarce flight, you may still be turned away from this country nicknamed “the North Korea of Africa” even as an aid worker.
This Central Asian country is a republic at the east of the Caspian Sea, south of Kazakhstan, north of Iran. It’s a nice place to visit for an outstanding travel experience. However, it’s a difficult country to visit. A tourist visa is tough to obtain. Even if you can get by with a 5-day transit visa, it’ll still require a visa from your country of origin and your country of destination with other stringent conditions. While Turkmenistan has huge tourism potential, it’s for now, one of the 10 most difficult countries to visit.
This southwestern African country on the Atlantic Ocean has much to offer the outside world. Unfortunately, you have to be approved by an Angolan embassy or consulate after a 30-day wait before you can begin processing your visa. Even US passport holders get tourist visas often for just 30 days and must be used within 60 days of issue.
Your passport must have a validity of, at least, 9 months and, at least, two blank pages. But a 5-day transit visa can be obtained in some Angolan diplomatic missions so that you can move to different destinations and get out within 5 days. Until Angola starts participating in the KAZA UniVisa program which will allow KAZA visa holders to travel between Angola and countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, the country will remain one of the 10 most difficult countries to travel to.
- Equatorial Guinea
Similar to Angola, this beautiful country is one of the 10 most difficult to visit for Europeans. On the other hand, holders of US passports are free to travel to Equatorial Guinea without a visa. The West African country, officially known as the Republic of Equatorial Guinea will require a visa from a European traveling even from Nigeria, a very influential country in the subcontinent. To do so, its Consulate in Lagos requires a lot of information about you on an A4 page before the Equatorial Guinea ambassador will consider your request.
If you feel like attempting a visa to this difficult tourist destination from London, its embassy will require that you have at least, £2000 in your bank account and obtain a police report clearing you of a recent crime.
Libya, a country in North Africa, should ordinarily be off this list due to its being a major exporter of petroleum. But the leadership issue and suspicion of Westerners are making the country difficult to visit. Libyans are among the world’s friendliest people if you can get a visa to visit them. But the country currently doesn’t issue tourist visas.
The country’s land borders with Algeria, Chad, Niger, and Sudan are closed. This member state of the UN, the Arab League, OIC, and OPEC only grants business visas. That’s the only loophole, and you know how many people can afford that. Hence, I rank Libya as one of the 10 most difficult countries to visit.
Yemenis want to meet people from the outside world to have some respite from the political unrest. But hostilities in the Republic of Yemen, a country on the southwestern shores of the Arabian Peninsula on the Indian Ocean, make it one of the 10 most difficult countries to visit. These days, if you can’t find a local fixer, it’s almost impossible to visit Yemen.
While the security situation brings Yemen to the list of most difficult countries to visit, the small Yemeni island of Socotra, which is 230 miles off the southern coast, is ironically peaceful. Nevertheless, you won’t want to take the risk if you’re not a war reporter.
We finally land in Syria, the country no tourist will love to visit now. Immigration will be shocked to stamp you in if you wriggle your way through the visa application process. But based on the experience of journalists covering the civil crises in the country, getting a visa is always not all there is to get into this country.
You will have to be alert for the next available flight as not many carriers would put their planes on the air to the turbulent nation. Therefore, being a day-tripper is not the challenge, it’d be foolhardy to head to this land I list as one of the 10 most difficult countries to visit, even on your private jet.
You will agree that the 10 countries mentioned here are the most difficult to visit. If you know other countries that should have been included or excluded, please don’t hesitate to let me know.