World Travel Watch: Tube Strikes Looming in London, China’s Epic Traffic Jam and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
08.25.10 | 11:59 AM ET
World Travel Watch is a weekly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Conditions can change overnight, so always make your own inquiries before you leave home. The U.S. State Department and embassies or consulates are good places to start.
China: New UNESCO Site to Limit Tourists; 60-Mile Traffic Jam to Last for Weeks
Officials in Henan province plan to restrict tourists visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Historic Monuments of Dengfeng, which comprises several structures including the renowned Shaolin Monastery and was added to UNESCO’s list on Aug. 1. During peak times tourist numbers will be held down to reduce damage from burning incense, carbon dioxide and humidity. In other news, a massive 60-mile traffic jam on the highway that links Inner Mongolia to Beijing entered its second week and will likely last another three. The jam was blamed on the opening of coal mines in the region, which put more trucks on the road, and road construction that will continue until Sept. 17. In some stretches, vehicles were moving less than a mile a day.
Germany: Tourists Disturbing the Local Harmony in Berlin’s Kreuzberg
Young tourists who have found “authentic” Berlin are proving to be too much for local residents who are seeing their well being disturbed by visitors loving their neighborhood too much. The Admiralsbruecke in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, a 19th-century cobblestoned bridge over a canal, has become a nightly gathering place for young foreigners who have been playing music and drinking long into the night with the usual consequences: drunken behavior, broken bottles, garbage tossed about and the occasional prank. Many of them learn about the site through the travelers’ grapevine and online, but locals are fed up. Professional mediators and even Berlin’s mayor so far have failed to find a solution.
Indonesia: Women-Only Rail Cars Rolling in Jakarta
Authorities for the state-run train system have established women-only rail cars in Jakarta in an attempt to prevent sexual harassment on crowded trains. So far two new carriages have been added to the busy commuter line between Jakarta and Bogor, and more will be added if the trial is effective. Women have complained that men often purposely push up against them in jammed rail cars and buses.
Thailand: State of Emergency Lifted in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ubon Ratchathani
Thai authorities lifted the state of emergency in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Ubon Ratchathani that had been in place since “Red Shirt” demonstrations paralyzed the center of Bangkok for several weeks beginning in March. The Red Shirts remain active throughout the region and have called for demonstrations to protest what they consider the government’s double standard in cracking down on dissent. In the past they have gathered near Tha Pae Gate in the center of Chiang Mai city. Such demonstrations have the potential to escalate into violence.
United Kingdom: London Tube Strike Planned for Sept. 7
London Underground workers plan to hold monthly 24-hour strikes beginning Sept. 7 to protest plans to reduce ticket window hours and eliminate 800 jobs. They plan to continue their strikes until management withdraws its plans. The strikes could cause significant disruption on London’s Tube system.