From time to time travel conditions in the countries we operate in can and do change. The safety and well being of our clients and staff is always of paramount importance to us and there are times when we are called upon to consider either cancelling trips or making changes to our itineraries to avoid problem areas.
• Peregrine makes these decisions based on information obtained from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) travel advisory and our own Local Operators, who are able to provide us with up to the minute information on the mood and feel within Country. Other important sources of information we consider include travel advisories from other foreign government websites including:
• Peregrine will not operate tours when the Australian Government travel advisory reaches level 5 ‘Do Not Travel’.
• Where possible and safe to do so, Peregrine will reroute itineraries to avoid the areas concerned and additional costs may be incurred.
• Decisions to cancel or re-route upcoming tours are made on a rolling basis, as situations and DFAT advice can change at any time. Where the advice is temporarily at ‘Do Not Travel’, we will review the status of our tours approximately 2 weeks prior to departure.
Since the start of November 2013, there have been a number of political demonstrations that have taken place in locations around Bangkok and other parts of Thailand. The main protest area was along Rachadamnoen Avenue including Democracy Monument in Bangkok, however this has also expanded to a number of government buildings in central Bangkok. There is an arrest warrant for the Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban and in the event that he is arrested this may increase the protest numbers and locations.
As of 9 Dec, there are daily protests between the Democracy Monument and the nearby Sanam Luang park on Ratchadamnoen Road. To date the protests have been relatively peaceful though there have been some acts of violence in recent days. As a safety precaution we recommend that travellers stay away from this area and any protests in and around Bangkok. If planning to visit the nearby Wat Po or Grand Palace we recommend that you take a taxi ferry from Pra Arthit Pier rather than walking or using road transport. Our trips have not been effected by the protests to date and we expect to continue to operate all of our trips without any interruptions.
In conjunction with our local office in Bangkok, we will continue to monitor the situation carefully.
Updated 9 December.
Elections were held in Nepal on 19-Nov, leading to disruptions to local travel, strikes, border closures and increased security measures. Several itineraries have been rerouted on ground to enable crossing in or out of Nepal outside of the border closure periods.
A bomb exploded near a polling station in Kathmandu on 19-Nov, injuring three children. No Peregrine groups were in the vicinity at the time.
Our local staff are continuing to monitor the situation on the ground and ensure that Peregrine groups avoid any areas of tension.
Last updated 20 Nov 2013, 9:29am
Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on Friday 8 November 2013 causing a significant number of casualties and widespread damage in parts of the Leyte and Eastern Samar areas. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes and have been displaced. There was also damage reported in other parts of the central Philippines however the big centres of Manila and Cebu City were not badly affected by the typhoon.
After passing through the Philippines, the typhoon hit the north of Vietnam on Monday 11th November by which time it had decreased in strength wand was downgraded it to a Category One storm. Vietnam is a country that is well used to tropical storms and typhoons with this being the 14th storm of the season. Destruction in Vietnam was not a severe as initially expected.
Peregrine and Geckos had some trip running in Vietnam over this time and we have rearranged itineraries and moved our groups out of the potential danger areas. Most interruptions have been to the Halong Bay area where we have had to cancel or delay boat excursions in Halong Bay and instead organise alternate travel arrangements to unaffected areas. As of Tuesday 12th November, local authorities have allowed boats to continue normal operation in Halong Bay and all itineraries from this date onwards will resume as per normal.
Last updated 12 November 2013, 4pm
On 16 October 2013 an aeroplane operated by Lao Airlines crashed near Pakse in southern Laos, resulting in multiple fatalities of both Laotian and foreign nationals. At this stage the exact cause of the crash is unknown but early reports indicate extreme bad weather may have been a contributing factor.
We can confirm that all Peregrine passengers and staff are safe and accounted for. Our thoughts are with those involved in this incident together with their family and friends.
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates if necessary. At this stage all trips will continue to run as scheduled. Please contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns.
Last updated 18 Oct 2013, 11:00am
On 14 October 2013, a small bomb explosion in a room at the Traders Hotel in Yangon resulted in minor injuries to a foreign national. This is not a hotel we use on any of our trips in Myanmar (Burma). Bomb attacks have taken place in major cities across Myanmar, including in Yangon, Mandalay,and Nay Pyi Taw. While we do not feel this is a currently a direct threat to our travellers, we feel it is important to keep you up to date on developments such as this as you may have family or friends that could be concerned. We will continue to monitor the situation through relevant government travel advices and the media, as well as maintaining close contact with local authorities and suppliers to ensure we have the most up to date information possible. At this stage no changes to our Myanmar (Burma) itineraries are planned, but will make any amendments necessary to ensure your safety should it be required.
Last updated: 16 Oct 2013
Due to the unrest in Egypt in early July and subsequent demonstrations, we decided to cancel trips through to 31 October over concerns for the potential safety of our groups. We have continued to closely monitor the situation in conjunction with our local operations team based in Cairo and have seen the situation steadily improve to the point that over recent weeks the country has been predominantly settled. Although the government has maintained a state of emergency they have relaxed aspects of this including the overnight curfew which now is only in place between midnight and 5am (and from 7pm to 5am on Fridays).
The mood on the streets has returned to one of calm, and the Egyptian people in general want a return to normal life. There remain some occasional protests but these are small in scale and occur in limited areas and are easily avoided. The overnight trains we use on some tours are expected to resume normal operations soon.
In light of the current situation we believe that it is safe for us to resume operating trips from 1 November onwards.
The safety of our clients is always our highest priority and we will of course continue to monitor events in Egypt to ensure that our trips operate as smoothly as possible and any potential risks are minimised. We would also like to stress that the Egyptian people are very welcoming of visitors and we are certain you will thoroughly enjoy your time in their fabulous country.
Last updated: 3 October 2013, 10:00am
Papua New Guinea
On 10th September a group of Australian and New Zealander trekkers and their porters were attacked while undertaking the Black Cat Track in Papua New Guinea which resulted in the deaths of two PNG nationals who were porters for the group.
The Black Cat Track is the second most popular trail in PNG, after the Kokoda track. Peregrine, Gecko’s and Intrepid do not run any trips on the Black Cat Track, we operate only on the Kokoda track, which is regulated by the Kokoda Track Authority – a PNG Special Purpose Authority commissioned to promote and manage the Kokoda Track for tourists, while improving the way of life for communities living along the track.
The advice for Australians travelling to PNG is to exercise a high level of caution in the region. Foreign Affairs recommends trekkers avoid the Black Cat Track until investigations have been completed however there has been no change of advice for those on other popular trails such as the Kokoda Track in PNG.
Last updated at 11:06am 11 September 2013