Asia is home to some truly phenomenal places to visit, but travelers may want to think twice about 3 destinations with safety concerns.

This, of course, derives from the U.S. State Department, which has been dishing out travel advisories for multiple popular getaways in recent months.

These 3 new advisory updates are not quite as surprising, however, as there have been political rumblings regarding American tourists visiting here for quite some time.

That being said, we’ll stick to the facts as we know it and set aside the political chit-chat for the talking heads who love flapping their gums.

The U.S. State Department just issued new travel advisories for these 3 Asian destinations:

Mainland China – Level 3

A lot can be said about China, and to be frank, there’s more hearsay than a Johnny Depp lawsuit.

There’s no denying how historical and amazing China is as an epic vacation destination, but the question is, “can they be trusted?”.

Traditional buildings of Chengdu, China

While we live in a free country where, ironically, it seems everything is ‘made in China’, the opposite can be said for their citizens.

Tourists do not want to find themselves detained or treated wrongfully otherwise, which is the main concern of the State Department.

Tensions are running high politically and the fear is U.S. tourists can be used as pawns, facing risks of arbitrary enforcement of laws, wrongful detentions, and not allowing tourists to exit their borders.

As tempting as it may be now to visit now that the dark days of the pandemic are behind us, it’s fair warning, at the very least, to do your due diligence and understand the risks and differences between our cultures and governments.

Colorful ice structures at Harbin Ice Festival in China

So, before crossing off ‘The Great Wall’, the ‘Harbin Ice Festival’, or ‘seeing pandas in the wild’ off your travel bucket list, 2024 may not be the year.

Hong Kong – Level 2

China’s government has enacted some extreme changes in Hong Kong, and the U.S. State Department’s intelligence has picked up on further information, insinuating there will be even further action to “restrict civil liberties.”

So, how does this potentially affect Americans? Hong Kong is China’s top destination despite not being entirely ‘Chinese’, per se.

Elevated view of Kong Kong skyline

Typically, Hong Kong marches to its own beat as a ‘special administrative region’ (SAR), but China has laid down the hammer in recent years, and more so in recent months, hence the concern from the State Dept.

Despite being a draw for tourists, there is a reason it’s taken so long to make a comeback from a tourism perspective.

That would be because it’s teetering towards mirroring mainland China, where the same concerns now apply to tourists.

Tourist on festive street in Hong Kong

Specifically, the State Dept. outlined new concerns over arbitrary enforcement of laws and to be wary of publicly criticizing Hong Kong or China under the new directive.

Macau – Level 3

All things considered, if there is a surprising destination to make this list, it would have to be Macau.

The reason is that China’s other SAR has been on a fast track to becoming one of the region’s tourism hotspots.

However, the truth is that Macau has been designated ‘Level 3′ status by the State Dept., deeming it more risky for tourists than Hong Kong.

Tourists on gondola ride at The Ventetian Macau

The popular destination commonly referred to as the ‘Vegas of Asia’ is not all it’s cracked up to be right now.

They say, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, but what may happen in Macau is you being forced to stay wrongfully under the guise of cherry-picking which laws to enforce.

And should you ever need emergency assistance, due to China’s strict rules regarding U.S. personnel, you have very limited options where consular services may be delayed or completely off-limits depending on circumstances.

While Macau may be tempting to visit as one of the most entertaining cities on Earth, Las Vegas is a lot closer, a lot cheaper, and a lot safer, unless your name is Jimmy Hoffa.

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