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 From the British embassy

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davshaz
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PostSubject: From the British embassy    Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:09 am

Well this is doing us all a power of good, I know they have a duty to help those traveling anywhere in the world but I think this takes the biscuit.  

Safety and security

Crime

Tourists are targeted by thieves and pickpockets in Sunny Beach and other resorts. Don’t take valuables to the beach and be wary of poorly lit roads around the resort at night. There has been an increase in burglaries from hotel rooms in Sunny Beach. Make sure you lock your room (including windows and balcony doors) and keep your valuables locked in a safe. Don’t change money on the streets in Sunny Beach, only at licensed exchange points, banks or hotels.

Prostitution is not illegal in Bulgaria however we have received numerous reports of pickpocketing, muggings and assaults of British nationals by prostitutes and their minders. Avoid areas where prostitutes operate especially late at night, including car parks, badly lit areas and areas with bushes and trees. Stick to main routes and avoid alleys and short cuts in Sunny Beach

There have been reports of car tyres being deliberately punctured across Bulgaria. While investigating the puncture, someone distracts the driver and personal belongings and documents are stolen from the vehicle. Be vigilant if you have to stop in these circumstances and make sure your belongings are secure.

Break-ins have occurred in properties in the residential areas of cities and rural areas. Seek local advice on security for your home.

For all types of emergency (fire, ambulance, police) you can dial 112.

Local travel

Taxis are plentiful and cheap by UK standards, although vehicles may not be in very good condition. Most taxis are metered and yellow taxis are generally considered reliable. Avoid taxis parked outside hotels or in tourist areas. Ask your hotel to call a taxi or flag down a passing taxi with a green ‘available’ light in the window. Check the tariffs on the window before getting in as they can vary considerably.

At Sofia airport you should use a taxi from OK Supertrans at the official rank by booking at their desk in the arrivals hall.

Road travel

Take care when driving, particularly at night. Many roads are in poor condition and road works are often unlit or unmarked. Driving standards are generally poor. Avoid confrontations with aggressive drivers. Stick to the speed limit and make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. On the spot fines are charged for minor violations.

In 2012 there were 605 road deaths in Bulgaria (source: DfT). This equates to 8.3 road deaths per 100,000 of population compared to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2012.

If you enter Bulgaria in a private vehicle, you must have your driving licence, all original registration and ownership documents (including logbook) as well as evidence of insurance valid in Bulgaria. If you have hired a car you must have the original contract document, which should state that the vehicle can be brought into Bulgaria. Border officials will impound your vehicle if they are not satisfied that you own it or have permission to use it in Bulgaria.

You’ll need to buy a vignette (sticker) to drive on motorways and main roads outside towns.. You can buy one at the border, or from post offices, large petrol stations and DZI bank offices. Rates are much higher for freight vehicles and coaches carrying 8 or more passengers. You’ll be fined if you don’t have a vignette.

Under Bulgarian law, vehicles that are registered outside the EU are considered to be ‘temporarily imported’ when driven inside Bulgaria. If they are stolen on Bulgarian soil, the owners will be liable for import duty and related taxes. Cars registered in the Channel Islands and the Isles of Man are subject to this legislation.

You must drive with running lights or dipped beam headlights throughout the year, even during the daytime. It’s compulsory to carry the following equipment in your vehicle: fire extinguisher (not required for 2-wheeled vehicles), a first-aid kit and a warning triangle (not required for 2-wheeled vehicles). A reflective jacket must be used by anyone who steps on to the road in a breakdown or emergency. Snow chains must be carried from 1 November until 1 March and used when the relevant sign is displayed. Winter tyres are compulsory for vehicles registered in Bulgaria during wintry road conditions.

Take care when driving, particularly at night. Many roads are in poor condition and road works are often unlit or unmarked. Driving standards are generally poor. Avoid confrontations with aggressive drivers. Stick to the speed limit and make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. On the spot fines are charged for minor violations.

In 2012 there were 605 road deaths in Bulgaria [(source: DfT)] [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] This equates to 8.3 road deaths per 100,000 of population compared to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2012.

See the European Commission,AA and RAC guides on driving in Bulgaria.

Rail and bus travel

If you travel by train, check the availability of sleeping compartments and whether bicycles can be taken on board. This may vary between regions, and there may be additional charges. Thieves operate on trains, so take particular care that documents and other valuables are safe. The train system is very poor by European standards. There have been several fires on Bulgarian trains.

Inter-city buses are frequent, relatively fast and comfortable, but crashes do occur.

Stray Dogs

Stray dogs are common and dangerous. Avoid getting too close to stray dogs, especially if they are in a pack. Take any animal bites seriously and seek immediate medical advice as rabies and other animal borne diseases are present in Bulgaria.
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Thomas
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PostSubject: Re: From the British embassy    Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:18 am

I have to agree that it's not the place to be at night, crime is plentiful and innocent people being abused. It's not a nice place at night for families with young children a no go area for families. Yes there are police about but they really don't want to be bothered. But your right Dave this doesn't help us but then Bulgaria is known for not helping itself.
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Phil-H
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PostSubject: Re: From the British embassy    Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:03 pm

But that's just the FCO's stock information regardless of which country they are quoting. The problem is if they say nothing then people will say they were not warned of any possible problems, on the other the FCO now gets slated for giving BG (or any other country) bad press.

And lets face it, common sense should prevail by not taking valuables down to a beach when eventually (just for 2 minutes) they may be left unattended, or lost in the sand then claim they have been robbed.
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Noddy
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PostSubject: Re: From the British embassy    Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:13 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
But that's just the FCO's stock information regardless of which country they are quoting. The problem is if they say nothing then people will say they were not warned of any possible problems, on the other the FCO now gets slated for giving BG (or any other country) bad press.

And lets face it, common sense should prevail by not taking valuables down to a beach when eventually (just for 2 minutes) they may be left unattended, or lost in the sand then claim they have been robbed.

Good post and so right in so many ways Phil
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Fletch
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PostSubject: Re: From the British embassy    Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:04 am

is it any worse than what they say about Turkey

Crime

Generally crime levels are low, but street robbery and pick-pocketing are common in the major tourist areas of Istanbul. You should maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as in the UK. Alcohol and drugs can make you less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you are going to drink, know your limit. Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times so they are not spiked. Be wary of strangers approaching you offering food and drink (which may be drugged), to change money or to take you to a restaurant or nightclub.
Passports have been stolen from rented villas, even when they have been kept in the villa safe. This is a particular problem in Didim, Kas, Kalkan and the Fethiye/Hisaronu/Ovacik area.
In 2014, 14 cases of sexual assault, including rape, were reported to British consular staff in Turkey. Most of these cases occurred during the summer holiday period in coastal tourist areas. Most were committed late at night by someone the victim met during the evening. There have also been sexual attacks on minors visiting toilet facilities alone. You should be extra vigilant in these situations.
Never accept lifts from strangers. Find a registered yellow taxi and make a note of the registration number before getting in.
Very rarely counterfeit alcohol has been responsible for the death of some tourists. If you have any concerns, seek advice from your tour operator or the Turkish authorities

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From the British embassy

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