Other Countries A US President Has Never Visited

President

President Barack Obama will land in Myanmar (aka Burma) this week, a first-time visit for any President of the United States. Never mind that Myanmar is best known as a brutal dictatorship, not exactly in line with U.S. foreign policy. Disregard any political or geographically strategic reasons for befriending Myanmar. Today, this is all about the President being the first to visit Myanmar and the trip begs the question: “So are there other countries that no sitting U.S. President has ever visited?”

Out of the 190+ countries in the world, just 113 of them have been visited by a President of the United States, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Historian.

Countries not visited include close-by neighbor the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, St Kitts, St Lucia and assorted tiny island-nations. Understandable, we would probably view a visit to the harmless Seychelles as a taxpayer-paid vacation anyway.

On the continent of Africa, more nations have not been visited than have been by a U.S. President. Again, probably not a lot of strategic reasons to stop by.But some big-name countries we might think that some President, somewhere along the way, might have visited; not one has.

  • Monaco, the second smallest country/monarchy in the world and the most densely populated country in the world boasts the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino.
  • Algeria, in northern Africa, famous for its vast Sahara in the south..
  • Nepal- famous for eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains. No visit.

Armenia is a country one might think worthy of a trip by any standards. Bordered by Turkey to the west, Azerbaijan to the east, Georgia to the north and Iran to the south, Armenia does seem to have a strategic location. Still, no visit.

Presidential travel takes any given sitting head of the free world to countries all over the planet on visits of good will. Meeting face to face with world leaders, attending meetings and spreading good old American spirit around when they can, Presidents are a big ticket when they come to town, along with Air Force One and more as we see in this video


Oh, and that trip to Myanmar? While President Obama is the first U.S. President to visit, he’s not the first Obama. The president’s grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was a cook in World War II for a British army captain stationed in what was then called Burma.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user 0ystercatcher]

Off-Course Airplane Gets Shot At By Cambodian Troops

airplane And most people get jumpy when their flight hits turbulence. Passengers of a Bangkok Airways airplane were in for a unnerving surprise when Cambodian troops opened fire at the them. The airplane was supposed to land in Siem Reap Airport; however, due to bad weather, the plane was forced to fly off course.

The shooting was a misunderstanding, as troops believed the passenger airliner to be a spy plane. This border is where, just last year, deadly clashes over territory had taken place between neighboring countries. Typically, commercial airlines do not fly around the Cambodian border, while Bangkok Airways had been six miles over it.

Luckily, nobody was hurt during the incident.

“It was dark so we could not see what type of plane it was. But it was circling many times and then our soldiers fired 18 shots from a machine gun, but it missed the plane because it was flying very high,” Commander Seng Phearin said.

[Image via Big Stock]

The Vine Retreat: An Eco-Friendly Escape In Kep, Cambodia

eco-friendly hotel cambodia

Sometimes you just need a hammock and a view. At least that’s how I felt after six weeks of life as an ex-pat in the loud, congested capital city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

I found respite at The Vine Retreat, a rustic eco-friendly hotel in the southeastern Cambodian province of Kep. There, simplicity is the name of the game. With little to do but relax, read, and enjoy the scenery, The Vine offers a peaceful getaway from inland Phnom Penh, without the drunken beach bum backpacker scene of nearby Sihanoukville.

Tucked away in the rice paddies near the Phnom Vor mountains, The Vine Retreat is constructed from natural, locally sourced materials and powered by an off-grid, low-carbon power system. A highlight of the property is the recently completed naturally filtered swimming pool – a great way to escape the mid-afternoon heat. Meals are taken at a communal table with a revolving menu that includes organic produce from the garden and fresh seafood from the nearby Bay of Thailand. Kampot pepper, widely said to be the best in the world and grown in a small plantation on-site, is always on the table.

%Gallery-158764%The Vine’s rooms are simple, but well-appointed, with canopy beds and handwoven textiles. Hot water is provided by a solar heating system, and the provided coconut-scented soap is handmade by a local women’s cooperative. The guesthouse is also committed to economic development in the surrounding villages. In partnership with a local non-profit, they offer sustainable tourism excursions, including trekking, biking and tours of nearby Chamcar Bei village, and they reinvest all excursion fees into community education and training. I opted for a bicycle tour of Chamcar Bei’s craft cooperatives, which create home and lifestyle items out of coconut shells and recycled plastic bags.

Rooms start from $25/night for basic accommodations, but off-season Facebook specials offer deals as low as $10 (yes, you read that right). To arrive at The Vine Retreat, hire a tuk-tuk (about $8) from nearby Kep or Kampot, or a car from any of Cambodia’s major cities.

Top 5 Things to Do in Cambodia

Photo of the Day: Cambodian Sunset

This Photo of the Day comes from Gadling Flickr pool member James Wheeler who captured this image titled Cambodian Sunset.

Upload your best shots to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. Several times a week we choose our favorite images from the pool as Photos of the Day.

Tips for getting featured: in your Flickr account, check “Privacy and Permissions,” and check “yes” on “Allow others to share your stuff.” Adding information about your image does not hurt your chances either.

Photo Of The Day: Biking In Cambodia

Today’s Photo Of The Day was taken by Luke Destefano, and depicts a cyclist at the water’s edge in Siem Riep, Cambodia. I love the way this photograph simultaneously captures a perfect silhouette (complete with a bike basket, a relaxed hand and flowing, long hair) and a background blurred by the mist rising from the water. Capturing the essence of biking in Cambodia, this photo is titled “take your time” on Flickr. Have you spent time in Cambodia? Do you have photos from your travels? If you’d like to share your images with us, upload your photos to the Gadling Flickr Pool.

Volunteering in Cambodia