Thrill-seeking Brits visit world’s most dangerous holiday hotspots for ‘dark tourism’

Thrill-seeking Brits are hunting out the world’s most dangerous travel hotspots around the globe and risking their lives in conflict-riddled countries.

The spotlight was turned once again to so-called ‘dark tourism’ as British national Miles Routledge, 22, was evacuated after claiming he was at risk of being banged up in Afghanistan as the Taliban take control of the country.

Miles, from Birmingham, sought out the trip after googling ‘the most dangerous cities to visit’ after previously visiting Chernobyl – but admits he thought he had more time for the ‘dirt cheap’ trip.

The Loughborough physics student said he was hiding out at a United Nations safe house in Kabul, according to the Spectator, and documented his hazardous trip on message board site 4chan and on Twitch.

Brit Miles Routledge has been evacuated from Afghanistan

But the adrenaline junkie later updated followers to say he’d been ‘evacuated’ and after sleeping on a dirt road, described euphoric scenes of smiles and even ‘selfies’.

In a recent post he wrote: “Got Evacuated at 4ish (it’s 2am now) with 100 or so other civilians, couldn’t message as there were cars emitting signals that would set off bombs, it blocked my airpods from connecting so I think it blocked all wifi/data.

“The Taliban let us go through the airport and we met many of them, very long transition period but everyone was smiling and waving at one another, some took selfies with them.

“I slept on a dirt/gravel road and woke up as cars went by.

Australian bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin are reportedly being held in Evin prison in Tehran
Australian bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin were imprisoned in Tehran in 2019

“We’re in a new safe house and we’re all hydrated, happy and ready for a few hours of sleep.”

But for the Scottish academics who coined the phrase, ‘dark tourism’, there is a clear distinction between visiting historical sites such as Auschwitz and so-called ‘danger travel’.

British dark tourist Andy McGinlay, 40, became obsessed with extreme holidays and has visited more than 100 countries around the world – including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea – and feared he’d be kidnapped more than once.

Andy McGinlay in North Korea
Andy McGinlay in North Korea

He told Sun Online after visiting Yemen in 2004 he got a ‘taste for the thrill of it’ and his adventures have seen him threatened with knives and taken against his will by fake tour guides.

Andy, who runs a travel-based YouTube channel, found his motivation for the trips from Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler who visited the pariah states listed by George Bush in his infamous ‘Axis of Evil’ speech following 9/11.

He added: “But my ultimate ambition is to visit every country in the world – which is also driving me to take risks.”

And while some travellers have headed towards the danger, others have merely found themselves unwittingly caught up in it when abroad in politically unsafe countries.

Otto Warmbier made headlines when he was arrested on a trip to North Korea and fell into a coma while imprisoned, eventually dying shortly after his release in 2017.

Otto Frederick Warmbier
Otto Frederick Warmbier died in 2017 after he was imprisoned while visiting North Korea

Brit traveler Andrew Barber was one of them who innocently snapped a sunrise which happened to be near a power plant in Iran leading to his arrest accused of ‘spying’.

When police checked his belongings, they discovered that he had previously worked in Iraq – one of Iran’s bitter regional rivals – for logistics company DHL.

He was later thrown into hellish jail – Evin Prison – into a 14ft by 8ft cell with no access to the British Embassy.

The couple were jailed for flying a drone during their holiday
The couple were jailed for flying a drone during their holiday

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He said: “I had no furniture and almost no natural light. Only a bright fluorescent tube that stayed on 24/7, even when you were trying to sleep.

Fortunately, the charges against Andrew were eventually dropped because of zero evidence against him and he was handed over to the British embassy.

And British vlogger Jolie King and her Aussie partner Mark Firkin also experienced a hellish time when they were thrown into the same jail for flying a drone.

Brit charity worker Jolie was accused of being a spy and found herself in jail with inmates who claimed they have been electrocuted and raped by guards as well as being beaten so hard they vomit blood.

The pair were eventually freed and headed back to Australia after their ordeal.

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