Fortunately, travel in China is very safe and still largely free of the major banes of travel in other parts of Asia
: theft and begging. It’s never a bad idea to stay as safe as you can and there are ways to ensure your trip is as enjoyable and trouble free as possible.
Bar the odd bag snatching, petty crime is not commonplace in western China
. However, it’s always best to exercise the usual precautions and avoid having valuables on show.
One of the most dangerous things you can do in China is cross a road
: most motorists pay little attention to pedestrian crossings and a green light for you to cross still means that cars are permitted to turn in to or out of the road. Add to this bicycles, rickshaws and loads of other people and you have dangerous combination – keep your wits about you.
Turkmenistan is heavily policed and generally safe;
incidents of mugging, theft and pick pocketing are rare, but take sensible precautions and keep valuables out of sight.
There have been occasional incidents of mugging and petty crime in Uzbekistan, but the streets are well policed
. Policemen, or sometimes those pretending to be policemen, may seek to impose an on the spot fines for seemingly bizarre reasons. If you are any doubt you should ask for ID and pay any fines at the nearest police station.
Politics is a very sensitive issue in Central Asia
and it’s advisable not to involve yourself in conversations about or speak out against the government as it is considered a crime.
Homosexuality is illegal in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan
and is punishable by up to two years in prison. It’s advisable that same sex couples act discreetly at all times.
For further information on health and safety along the Silk Road, please visit the FCO or the CDC websites.