Change is unavoidable, and in some cases, change can be a threat to the ideal concepts and visuals we have of other countries. Whether it is by melting glaciers, diplomatic changes, commercial intensification or rising seas, some countries are being forced to evolve or have seen a real threat that could mean the end of their history as we know it. Here are five countries you should consider visiting before they change their well-known character or disappear completely from the map.
For decades, Myanmar secluded itself from the rest of Southeast Asia and the world. This created a bubble that not only slowed down the country’s economic development but also preserved certain cultural aspects that have already been lost in neighboring countries. But, in the past decade, Myanmar has reopened its doors and welcomed more tourism and economic trade at an exponential rate.
Unfortunately, Myanmar does not have the infrastructure that can handle this increase in tourism or the rapid economic change. This, unavoidably, is forcing the country to change and adapt to a "modern era."
It is possible that in the near future, popular sites like Bagan will start restricting tourism to control the increasing crows, and with the ease of commerce more locals might opt to wear Western clothes, instead of the local longyis, diminishing the local dressing traditions. If you want to see the mysterious and unique Myanmar, you should go now.
Cuba is like the Myanmar of the Caribbean but with a different social and political environment. Due to a mix of US embargo and socialism, Cuba has practically halted its economic development since the late 50’s. But, after Fidel Castro stepped down from power in 2006, Cuba’s development has moved forward and at a faster pace – now more than ever.
With the US easing travel restrictions and with the reestablishment of diplomatic relationships, Cuba will see an influx of travelers not only from the US but from all around the world. Today you can already see Coca-Cola cans and a few imported American products. This is just the beginning of the massive cultural change that Cuba will see in the next few years.
Unlike the previous two countries, Greenland’s change is happening due to climate change – specifically, global warming. Greenland is still an emerging tourist destination, but what makes is an interesting destination is what’s in danger – the ice. Wide sections of ice are deteriorating due to rivers and sinkholes undermining the surface. Popular hiking and climbing trails are either disappearing or changing dramatically every year since the icy topography is constantly changing.
Another victim of climate change is Bangladesh. The country is set in the low-lying Ganges–Brahmaputra River Delta, which is not an ideal location to be during the monsoon season, or if the sea rises due to climatic changes. It is estimated that about 50% of the Delta region will be flooded if the sea level were to rise by one meter. This is 50% of the country that could disappear!
Still, on a yearly basis Bangladesh is hit by tropical cyclones, monsoon floods, tornadoes and more, devastating a country that is already known for its lack of economic resources.
Maldives is one of the first countries expected to disappear if the sea rises due to climate change. Maldives is known to be the lowest-lying country in the world, with an average natural height of only 4 feet and 11 inches (1.5 meters) above mean sea level, and a maximum of 7 feet and 7 inches (2.3 meters).
It is possible that these beautiful atolls will disappear in the next few decades, so the Maldivian government has already made plans to relocate its population to Australia should the islands meet the fate of being engulfed by the ocean.
What are you waiting for? Make your plans, pack your bags and visit these destinations before it is too late!
Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at globotreks.com, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
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