A lot of the countries on this list will not surprise: Iceland, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan are all very obviously safe travel destinations due to their global prowess, strong financial centers and polite traditions. Some of these countries may surprise: martial arts movies, for example, take root on the dark streets of Hong Kong, and if Malta has a reputation, it’s for the flashy nightlife and scorching sun. Some travelers don’t pay any heed to any countries safety record because they’re slick as butter and exercise common sense; some travelers do because they’re with their family or tend to go on blacked out rampages when they’ve imbibed too much magic juice. Either way, the countries on this list are pretty safe bets, and fun too! If you’re in the market for some place new and exciting but want almost full assurance of your personal safety, check out the 10 safest countries for travelers.
Singapore is a little country with a huge economy is positively blooming with culture and diversity. A magnet for business travelers and expats, Singapore boasts the world’s highest percentage of millionaires, the world’s fourth leading financial center, a historically high rate of import and export, as well as tons of ethnic pockets where visitors and residents can delve into traditional Chinese, Malaysian and Thai street food. On a global scale, Singapore is the 10th safest country to live in, with an exceedingly low crime rate, few quiet neighborhood sprawls for violence to languish and as a result, the crime rate is tremendously low, there’s a 0.1% rate of assault and 1.1% rate of reported theft.
Cities in Taiwan are round-the-clock: citizens flock to the night markets well after the sun goes down, some shopping plazas are open 24 hours and 99% of convenient stores never close. Despite its dusk-till-dawn culture or perhaps because of it, there’s remarkably low violent crime and most citizens feel safe walking around at night. If crime comes out at night, the large metropoli in Taiwan shine a flashlight on all the darker corners, leaving all manner of travelers and citizens to revel safely through the night.
The media and martial arts movies like to play up the presence of the Triads and the shady dealings in Kowloon, but by now, Hong Kong has established itself as one of the safest cities in the world and a mecca for international luxury travelers. Police patrol the streets at all hours and even pickpocketing is an increasingly rare occurrence. The city goes years between armed robberies and gun control is remarkably tight.
Japan has a long-built reputation as a super-civilized, quiet and traditional country. Neon bulbs flash across Tokyo and other large cities and in the more sedate, quiet areas, nuclear families, researchers and two-parent households thrive in peaceful community. Throughout, the law remains extremely tight on gun control and drugs. Japan has an extremely low violent crime rate, nearly nonexistent robberies and designated watchdog groups. Though the country has received some criticism for leaving some incidents unreported, and the high number of clubs and bars in Tokyo contribute to safety concerns, Japan still places quite high on the list, particularly for travelers.
Another country where guns are extremely illegal gets a pretty bad rap because of its northern brother with the bad haircut. Seoul might have soul, but violent crime, it does not have – especially not when it comes to foreigners. Unlike a lot of other busy cities in the world, visitors don’t have to worry about muggings, beatings, kidnappings or any of the like, especially not in the touristy neighborhoods; and theft and robbery are very rare. The most fearsome thing that foreigners immediately notice is aggressive drivers, but a rail pass and looking right and left before crossing the street should do the trick.
Everybody knows that Dubai is the kind of world-class, economically thriving city where the only way to lose one’s money is at the shopping mall, but this type of climate extends to the rest of the United Arab Emirates. The society, comprising mostly expats and the minority Emirati citizens, is an extremely civil and generous one which mixes all of the urban amenities of any other leading financial centers and some elements of traditional Muslim customs, particularly pertaining to dress. While the crime rate is extremely low in the United Arab Emirates, visitors are encouraged to dress modestly, obey alcohol laws and otherwise respect the culture.
The island of Malta is replete with ancient megalithic temples, warm sun-dappled beaches, unique cuisine, tons of art and music events and a thriving nightlife. Unlike a lot of other European countries that are comparatively just as safe, like Denmark, Norway and Luxembourg, Malta is a party-ready Mediterranean getaway that people of all ages and most financial levels can enjoy, either chilling beachside or nursing a local Cisk beer in Paceville, the main nightlife cluster. Malta is considered one of the safest countries in the world, with a very low crime rate (most of the crime in the country is related to scams, like overcharging and, minimally, some alcohol and drug-fueled violence). The only real health risk that visitors should be aware of is sunstroke in the summer – those who apply sunblock liberally and keep hydrated should escape unscathed.
Iceland might just be the safest country in the world. In general, there’s virtually no chance of getting robbed or harassed in Iceland. However, visitors to Iceland typically go for the unparalleled outdoor activities like glacier hiking, whale watching, white water rafting, and checking out the Aurora Borealis, which are all safe if hikers exercise common sense, like reading signs and avoiding glacier fronts, overwhelming waves or waterfalls. Even the tap water is among the cleanest in the world.
Luxembourg is an extremely small country that is known for its peaceful and civil way of life. The buildings in the capital, Luxembourg City are diversely beautiful, with hints of German and French architecture; town fortifications located close to the Gothic Revival Cathedral, Notre Dame. Several chunks of the old town are registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and typically, those who visit are either finance and banking buffs (hotels in central Luxembourg, therefore, might be on the expensive side) and history seekers, leaving little room for rowdy drunken teenage backpackers or unruly tourists. While pickpocketing and panhandling can be experienced in the main train stations, most other crime is easily avoidable and virtually nonexistent.
It’s rich 5,000 year old history rooted in the Dilmun period through the Islamic era mixed with an advanced metropolitan petroleum industry makes Bahrain a great destination for all kinds of travelers. Pockets of desert land with diverse plant life and ruins of ancient forts are located not far from the cosmopolitan glass buildings of downtown Manama. The shopping is some of the best in the world, and so are the museums. Unlike many of its strong Islamic neighbors, Bahrain has developed a more relaxed culture when it comes to the non-Muslim minority – alcohol is legal, bikinis and shorts are acceptable in hotels and beach clubs, and tons of social activities otherwise rarely found in the Middle East. The issue of safety is a complicated one: while the ordinary social crime rate in Bahrain is low, protests, riots and demonstrations are not unheard of.