Worst Travel Destinations In The World – Negative Side Of Travel

Are you sick to death of posts about ‘The Best Places To Visit’ clogging up your news feed? Everyone already knows the best places to visit. We already know where to find the world’s best beaches, most beautiful cities and of course where to find the party. What we don’t know, and what we need to know, is the places to avoid. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a little heads up about that rat-infested hotel, ridiculously over priced bar or city that has as much character as a glass of water? We need to know about the worst travel destinations in the world, not the best.

Turns out I am not alone in this regard. I reached out to my family, friends, fellow travel bloggers and indeed some total strangers from an eclectic collection of Facebook groups I’m a member of to see if they had ever been somewhere they would never return. I asked if they had they ever traveled to a city and wished upon the north star that someone, anyone, had warned them to avoid it like the plague? The answers came flooding it like someone had opened up a sluice gate and this excellent list has been formed. For more suggestions, be sure to check out my ‘anti-bucket list’ of the Worst Places To Visit On This Planet. 

 It should be noted that these suggestions are based on the personal experiences of the 17 individual contributors and are not fact.
I have no doubt many people will have their own travel nightmare stories that are not mentioned on this list while others will disagree with the list entirely. If anything, I hope it opens up an interesting discussion on the negative sides of travel and prove that many destinations usually seen as ‘must see’ destinations aren’t always as great as you think.

18 Worst Travel Destinations


18. Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Suggested by Laura Nordberg 

Don’t be fooled by this pretty picture. Most things you’ll see in Sihanoukville aren’t as photogenic. These are mainly (1) sleazy old men with barely legal Cambodian girls on their arm (2) hoards of prostitutes invading crappy tourist bars (3) aggressive tuk-tuk drivers trying to sell you every drug under the sun. The only good reason to visit Sihanoukville is to use it as an access point for the beautiful islands nearby. But it’s best to wear a blindfold until you get on the ferry!


17. Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Haiti gained quite a bad reputation due to threats of kidnapping, violence, and social conflicts throughout the country. There is also a lack of necessities in several areas of Haiti, such as food, potable water, and fuel. And to add one more reason to the list to avoid Haiti – there are numerous outbreaks of serious diseases, such as the 2022 cholera outbreak. Haiti shares an island with Dominican Republic which is much more tourist-friendly in all aspects, from accommodation to infrastructure and safety!

Port-Au-Prince Haiti

16. Cunnamulla, Australia

Suggested by Wing Ng

While Australia has some beautiful scenery to offer in its great outback, there are certain places to avoid due to its social issues in the community.  Cunnamulla, a town in Queensland, Australia, is one of these towns to avoid.  The country has a dark history from its colonial era.  The native Aboriginal community has been massacred, kidnapped and driven into specified locations in the past.  Modern day Australian government offers aboriginals large amount of welfare as “an apology” for the past.  These welfare funds as I have seen only served to keep this ethnic group trapped in a limbo away from major cities.  The amount of drug and alcohol abuse is disheartening.  There is little to no true native culture in this town as the leisure activities are all westernized and mainly include sitting in front of a television set.  Parents are too busy gambling or drugged up to even provide food for their own children.  During the summer months, people steer clear of the outdoors due to the extreme heats and hordes of flies.  If you are looking to create social changes, this is a great place to start.  If not, I’d strongly advise others to stay away or simply pass the town.

worst place to visit australia

15. Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

Suggested by Jennifer Melroy

I wasn’t in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea by choice.  I told my employer I was willing to work anywhere.  Hence, why I was in Equatorial Guinea (EQG).  This small Africa nation is located about 4 degrees north of the Equator on the west coast of Africa. Many of the expats refer to Equational Guinea as being located in the armpit of Africa.   EQG has improved but is still very much a poor nation.  The sad part is that it has one the highest GDP’s in Africa.  The nation is oil rich, but the government corruption means that very little of the oil money goes back into local economy.  The hotels and restaurants cater to the oil industry and there is no tourism infrastructure. Food options are the hotels or Chinese.  Be forewarned that most of the Chinese restaurants are more than just a restaurant… Beyond that, cameras are a little problematic.  I could never get a straight answer on if I needed a permit or not.  I didn’t want to risk it so I didn’t take any pictures on the island except at the hotel.

Equatorial Guinea malabo

14.Naples, Italy

Suggested by Fit, Fab and Foreign

Maybe it was my mistake attempting to drive to Naples but garbage lined the streets. Literally LINED it. The people were aggressive and the buildings seemed to be falling apart entirely. I wasn’t even a solo traveler. I was with a college football player (and I am trained heavily in self defense and a very head strong independent, mostly fearless woman) but I constantly feared for my safety. We had booked four nights, but said ‘fuck it, we’re out of here’ and left after the first night. The best thing about Naples is how close it is to places far better than Naples.  The windshield on out car had streaky lines all over it due to a random man who randomly started washing our window at an intersection. He punched our window when we did not pay him. Looking for one of the most beautiful places in Italy? Try Puglia!


13. Coron, Philippines 

Suggested by Andrea Stone

Dogs foaming at the mouth trying to eat you. Jellyfish ridden water and sand fly infested beaches. Ripped off literally every time you leave the hotel (who are also ripping you off!). You must love pork fat for every meal since they serve absolutely nothing else (despite the menus saying otherwise). Still want to add this to your magical Philippines itinerary? Who knows maybe they’re cleaned up their act!


12. Potosi, Bolivia

Suggested by The Aussie Flashpacker

We visited Potosi in Bolivia, one of the highest cities in the world at 4,090 metres on our South American adventures. As well as being at a high altitude, it is also a very dusty, dirty city in the middle of nowhere that backpackers flood to in order to visit the mines. We were advised that it would be okay unless you have severe claustrophobia and that there would be a few places where we would need to duck our heads. The mine tour was by far one of the worst travel experiences of my life. Dirty, dusty, cramped with collapsed tunnels that we had to crawl through, a guide who left us behind and sounds of dynamite being let off all around us. We also learnt when we were on our tour that the miners drink the strongest, cheapest type of alcohol available, eat coca leaves non stop and blow dynamite wherever they want as there is no central management system in the mines. The miners do work in some of the most abysmal conditions you could possibly imagine and it is heartbreaking to witness. Thanks to the tour I now have certain claustrophobia with members of our group getting injured and all of us suffering claustrophobia, with some even going into shock. It is the one place from all my travels I would not recommend taking the time to visit!

11. Flores, Indonesia

Suggested by The Sea Is My Cup Of Tea

Even though Flores is often described as the hidden gem of Indonesia, that definitely does not apply to all places in Flores. Labuan Bajo, the harbor city with amazing reefs for snorkeling, is a paradise compared to strict Christian city Ruteng in the mountains for example. But the absolute low point of our trip was harbour city Ende in the East. The city is a chaotic, dirty and old, and the people were not very helpful. The “highlight” of it all was finding an old shack on the beach where we hoped we could eat without getting sick (and where we had to write down the order ourselves and bring it to the counter because the staff were on their phone all the time) and watching the sun setting over the harbour (which consisted of one big old ship in front of the coast and a beach full of plastic). The good news was we left the day after and Moni village was the complete opposite!


10. Bratislava, Slovakia

Suggested by Olivia McDonald

Bratislava is probably the MOST boring place I’ve ever been to. The downtown core is so minuscule, and not well taken care of, the people weren’t overly friendly. The hostels were drab, their history is sad (used to rule a lot of the Eastern block and the land used to be all vineyards, then lost it all), but the food is AMAZING (only positive). The rest of the country I hear is incredible, but I won’t be rushing any time soon to check it out.


9. Bromo, Indonesia

Suggested by A World To Travel

Bromo Mount, in Indonesia, truly blew our minds as it showed us both the best and the worst in one place. It provided a stunning sight for all landscape addicts like ourselves, we were welcomed by a warm local community and there was a range of adventures and experiences to suit all tastes. However, it also showed us the worst aspects of a fast rising tourist destination; Dubious sustainability at tourist spots, where an overwhelming amount of visitors head every morning in order to catch sunrise just to find out there’s literally no room for everyone when they get to the top. There are very high health risks for the visitors (sulphur filled air that condenses and falls right in your face if you make it up the Bromo volcano in order to catch a glimpse of the crater from the best spot) and locals that work endless hours daily breathing it in, again, in very bad working conditions. Finally, animal abuse is rife and you can witness dozens of exhausted horses carrying tourists as they commute back and forth from the parking lot to the crater itself all day long, without being fed properly and in the same polluted conditions as everyone else.


8. Cairo, Egypt

Suggested by Anna Everywhere

Egypt was my dream destination and when I finally decided to go there straight after graduating high school, I was almost jumping out of excitement. I was finally about to see the famous pyramids of Giza, the enigmatic Sphinx, and the national museum in Cairo. After my visit however, I wished I hadn’t seen them. As a passionate art historian, I was fascinated by the amount of art I was going to see in Cairo, but my visit at the museum lasted no more than half an hour. Why? It was a very hot day with no AC and an ungodly amount of people inside the museum, making it impossible to enjoy the art the way I wanted to. The pyramids welcomed me with a crowd worse than Oxford Street in London on Boxing Day. For a high price I was able to get inside the pyramid for no more than 3 minutes and go out again. The worst part of my Giza trip was the Sphinx. Have you ever wondered what it’s looking at?  This is what it’s looking at (photo below) – a Pizza Hut! No wonder you see so many unhappy faces leaving the attraction as you wait in line to take a picture that you’ll have to cut the Pizza Hut out of.


7. Mandalay, Myanmar

Suggested by Stephanie Bonde

Mandalay, in Northern Myanmar was a dirty, crowded city filled with people constantly trying to get me to buy things or ride in their taxi – it’s one of the only places I’ve ever been where taxis flagged me down instead of the other way around! I hated it, especially after the feel of Bagan! It should also be noted that Mandalay is considered the worst cities in Myanmar to be gay, known to regularly detain and beat up both gay men and cross dressers for the crime of ‘dressing as a woman’.


6. Pisa, Italy

Suggested by Ruth Meade

When I arrived in Pisa (despite my friend advising me not to go there, but like everyone else I thought it would be worth seeing!) I went and stayed in a hostel on the main street. Pisa isnt that big. The hostel was fine but there wasn’t the same atmosphere there that I had experience in other hostels and when you’re traveling alone you want to meet people. I went for dinner by myself because I was starving but I couldn’t find anything open other than a really fancy restaurant. As I was hungry I just decided it would have to do. As I walked in and sat there in my polka dot green board shorts, all these Italian families just stared at me. The next day i walked up to the tower which was ridiculously crowded with tourists and involved way too much queuing. I said decided to go to the beach instead where I was told tourists weren’t very welcome but I wanted to go anyway and hoped (since a lot of people have thought I was Spanish or Italian growing up) that I might fit in a bit.  The beach was another disappointment, just stones or boulders to lie on. I love Italy…I’ve been there quite a bit, but Pisa is definitely NOT a “must” visit place.

5. Paris, France

Suggested by The Bonfire Dream

This one might be shocking, but I really didn’t like Paris. Perhaps it is because I idealized it or perhaps because I lived in a house of a friend in the suburbs so I didn’t see it as normal tourists do, but I hated that city. Sure the architecture is nice, but it is surrounded by trash, and dirt. I felt unsafe. Even Russia made me feel better than a place that was supposed to be ‘the city of love‘. Furthermore I am shocked about some of the old-fashioned systems that we were supposed to leave behind in the century of wars. There is still social and ethnic segregation causing a number of demonstrations which increase the dangers in the city. Furthermore, France being a secular country, one CANNOT wear signs of religion in certain public places, which I find very uncomfortable because it forces people to be somebody they are not. I personally don’t find that correct. So Paris is a no-go for me.

4. Langkawi, Malaysia

Suggested by A Wanderphile

Langkawi in Malaysia is synonymous with a tropical island and had been on my “places I really want to go” list for years. While it’s official name is Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah, my experience turned out to be more of a Cubic zirconia. Starting with the hideously overpriced, manic taxi driver that sideswiped a tree causing another car to run off the road on the way to my “resort”. I arrived to find a filthy room with excruciating loud air con and no sand or literally anything else within walking distance from my “resort”. This meant every time I wanted to go somewhere it was another endurance test with extortionate taxi drivers. At the very top of my list of things to see was the Langkawi Sky Bridge a 125m cable suspension bridge on the highest point of Langkawi that affords amazing, expansive views of the island 660m above sea level. Well, it would have if the weather had played nicely and the bridge was open rather than closed for repair!


3. Temple Bar, Ireland

Suggested by Greg Bowler

Temple Bar, for those not in the know, is that grotesque area in central Dublin known to have a higher concentration of (usually American) tourists per sq meter than any other location in Ireland.  The only way Temple Bar should feature on a bucket list is if it is a bucket for vomiting into after drinking fifteen overpriced pints of mediocre Guinness. If you want to pay €7.50 for a crap pint and €2 for a packet of crisps while watching scantily glad teenagers trip over themselves while attempting to walk across the cobbled streets, or if you fancy a night listening to songs that could not be further from traditional Irish, go ahead. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.


2. Saigon, Vietnam

Suggested by Donna Wanderlust

The taller the sky scrapers the darker the shadows, why is Saigon is my least favorite city in Vietnam?  It really had no charm. It is one of the only places in Vietnam I have felt unsafe. It is impossible to walk around. The motorbike congestion and air pollution made me physically sick on 2 occasions. Someone pushed me off my bike. I saw a man injecting drugs into his arm in the park. There are prostitutes everywhere.  I could go on??? but I​ think you get the drift. 


1. Pyongyang, North Korea

Suggested by There She Goes Again

One of the worst places you can travel to is North Korea. It typically costs over $1,000 for a very strict, very propaganda-heavy tour that shows you nothing of what’s really going on. NK’s track record of human rights issues, total abuse of power, and blatant lying should be enough to make you say, “Hello. No.” Your money will probably benefit some of the most corrupt leaders, you would be on one of the fakest trips ever, and not a single person with half a brain will be even remotely impressed with you. You’re not bravely adventuring into unknown territory, you’re being ignorant and selfish all in one go. It’s like someone traipsing around Nazi Germany and thinking it was a fantastic experience while ignoring the burning smells coming from the random camp a few miles down.


 Did you find this article useful?

Consider pinning it with the pin below! 🙂

17 Worst Travel Destinations In The World


56 thoughts on “Worst Travel Destinations In The World – Negative Side Of Travel”

  1. Good read and well written but it would probably be better titled ’17 Traveller’s Personal Experiences’ as opposed to ’17 Of The Worst Travel Destinations In The World’. Paris, Langkawi & Mandalay were awesome places when I visited!!

  2. I would like to reply to the review of Cunnamulla, Australia. I have lived and worked here all my life and we have had our ups and downs as does all townships. Cunnamulla has so many nice attractions that only the very interested would take time out to find information on these and take a look. The reviewer however seems to have only come out to find the negative things in our town. Our local council works extremely hard to keep our town looking nice and clean. Cunnamulla is known for its friendlyness! Does the reviewer realise the drought devastation going on in the west? I think that the reviewer should come back out and actually have a proper look around before broadcasting this on public media. Small towns are battlig enough and this type of review is very damaging to us. How can a handful of people make these reviews????????

  3. We stayed 3 months in Prague. Yes, there are a lot of tourists – but it’s the same stretch, from the Powder gate to Old Town Square, across Charles Bridge, and up to Prague Castle. Walk a few blocks away and it isn’t run-over at all. If you’re going to see the top 3, 4 tourist sights in Prague you have to do it early. But there are many other things to visit in Prague, it’s one of our favorite cities.

  4. I understand that feeling since that happened to me with Budapest. I hated the first time, the second time I shouted “I sweat I’ll never come to this damn place again”, I had to go 2 more times and at some point my view about the city changed and I’ve been there more than 20 times! I hope something like that happens to you.

    I enjoyed Paris and people were nice to me (It was nothing special though), but Lyon is better for sure.

  5. I would have to disagree with saigon, I live there as an expat and it has a undeniable charm. I’m a young lone female and feel safer here than I did back in Toronto, Canada. Some of the points made have merit but totally ignore all the amazing things about the city. The traffic is crazy but crossing the street isn’t hard once you discover the ‘walk across the street and count on the bikes to move around you method’. It even seems lately the police are getting better at enforcing traffic laws.

  6. I would have to disagree. I don’t think the writer was ‘throwing garbage on a nice place’. Photos don’t lie and if people want to share their opinion and personal experience with a place online, be it positive OR negative, than they should do so. It’s about time people stopped sugar coating certain destinations. Not everywhere is paradise, why can’t people accept that?!

  7. Haven’t been to other places on the list, but Coron, Philippines is actually really great and such notes about it are just stupid and exaggerated. Check out this video from Coron we made (https://vimeo.com/131960248) and tell me that the place sucks.

    I get the point that author tried to write a controversial article that gets a lot of reactions, but it’s not fair to throw garbage on a nice place that doesn’t deserve it just for the sake of your views and shares.

  8. Michael James

    I have visited more than half of the places on the list and lived in a couple of them. I came away with many positive AND negative memories. No place is perfect and there are certainly many other places in the world which are far worse. “How are you gonna keep them down on the farm, now that they’ve seen Pyongyang?”

  9. Also, I should point at that Laicism is at the core of the French constitution, meaning that religion cannot have *any* influence of any sort on the gouvernent’s organisation, functioning or on the elaboration of the Law.

    We are very proud of that, actually, as it guaranties true equality between people, regardless of their personal beliefs and religious background (which does not violate the right to religious freedom by any means–that old “Liberty and Equality” French thing, you know).

    It is a *good* thing (and more sensible than ever considering how cosmopolitan France has become).

    I would really be happy to get your views on all that more in details, as a foreigner. I might not like it (so far, I don’t ^^), but that’s interesting to see how others can perceive us as a nation (also, Parisians are the worst, French people all agree on that ^^).

  10. I love how you’re honest. Obviously everyone has different experiences and it’s good to recognize that. When you’re deciding where to travel and you read blogs like your own it gives us an idea of what to expect.
    I personally didn’t like Paris either, but soo many people love it. Whenever someone asks me about it, I say I didn’t like it (Because as you said, very dirty and at night I also felt un-safe) but I always tell people they should go and experience it for themselves. It’s one of those places you have to tick off your bucket list anyways.

  11. Hey there,

    I’m French and I’m genuinely wondering what you mean by “segregation”. Integration has always been a primary focus for the past 30 years or so, and though I would totally agree in saying that, sadly, it doesn’t work very well and that racism is on the rise, I do not understand your comment. We have getthos, true, but that’s (sadly again) not a French distinction I believe.

    Could you elaborate on what you meant by that?

  12. I read someone comment above that this list comes off as judgmental and privileged bashing — and I completely agree. If this post’s goal was to provide an “honest” review, then I feel sad for the person who changes his or her mind about going to Coron because one tourist focused on dogs and looked down so much on the locals that she couldn’t pay them what their service was worth and couldn’t ask them where the good restaurants were.

    Bashing certainly attracts traffic, but at what cost?

  13. I’ve been to a few of these places and can see why the comments have been made. But I do have to disagree about Pisa and Naples. Pisa is full of tourists around the tower, but walk a hundred yards or so and you’re in a medieval Italian town with plenty to see and do. And as for Naples, I always felt safe there, even when we wandered into a tiny back alley. I loved the historic centre too. (But I do have to agree about the rubbish!)

  14. interesting to see how no any other country in the world has caused so many wars and deaths around the world such as USA and its European allies. and North Korea is the bad one… yet everyone goes on holidays to California, NYC, Paris or London.

    Funny double standards.

    How can you actually evaluate a whole country and it’s people based on their political direction?

    Pyongyang, for a city totally destroyed to the ground by US bombs back in the 50’s actually looks pretty amazing (even despite of continuing sanctions).

    I think that their military and regime paranoia and the way they treat their people comes from the fact that we the west wants to invade them, like we invade dozens of countries regularly. interesting in the west, we chose our own dictators. Saudi Arabia is wonderful, yet North Korea is bad… etc etc.

    Are they starving or have lack of medicament’s? well, also all the countries that we the west impose sanction on: see Cuba, see Iraq, see Haiti etc. North Korea is a result of awful west colonial interests. North Korea just didn’t bend. If from the beginning, we would not attack DPRK, destroy their country and sanction them, today, North Korea would be as similar as… China. Do we say anything about China? not to talk about NATO atrocities in many parts of the world… I wonder who killed more people in the world, North Korea regime, or, our regimes in the west.

    Also funny how you also evaluated a 5000 years old archaeological complex – one of the wonders of the old world, based on a: Pizza Hut.

    Pizza hut shouldn’t take your attention from the pyramids girl… I mean… you went inside pizza hut to take a photo or eat a pizza or whatever, but did you go inside the pyramids catacombs, the museums?
    The historical importance of these buildings overcome any possible restaurant in the area. Personally, I didn’t even notice them. I was overwhelmed with being in the place, enjoying such a moment, instead of prejudice and evaluating things externally.

    also, Cairo is more than just pyramids, the old mosques and the amazing Islamic district of Khan i Khalili and the city of the death also… etc etc.

    Definitely a nice article that makes people dispute. despite that i’m not in favor of some of your chosen destinations, i do agree you made a point of creating such a nice article where people actually interact. cheers!

  15. Thanks for your reply and those articles – I will definitely give them a read. I know about North Korea and the tours a tourist has to be part of in order to get in. I am still not sure about the parameters of this list here – personal experience or things like human rights abuse and such. It seemed more of the former and so I guess I find it odd to see a country bashed ( and probably rightfully so!) that you haven’t been to.
    I think the problem I had with comparing it with Nazi Germany was more that you judged travelers who would go to NK. I understand your reasoning why you don’t want to go, me neither actually, but to compare someone who does go to someone who would enjoy Nazi Germany I really find unfair.

  16. To be completely honest, this post feels like a list of places that are actually overflowing with culture and in fact more interesting because of it. Your slow food service in Flores, Indonesia doesn’t make the entire island a disgrace. The fact that one town there is entirely Christian, might be a reason in itslef to visit. To see new things, experience the far fetched and get outside of our comfort zone is WHY we travel isn’t it? Super disappointed.

  17. I love this post! I think it’s great to hear about others’ experiences – be it good OR bad. People can always visit and see for themselves, but for many – a place might be tarnished due to one bad experience. I’ve certainly had bad experiences in different places; they have not prevented me from visiting them again, but it’s nice to share these tales to people to prevent them from experiencing the same misfortune.

    I agree with Paris. Also with Dublin – you have to be weary of petty thieves around Temple Bar, as well as the inevitable number of stags around. Plenty of inebriated, naked guys expected. One that might chase you along the cobbled streets with their penis, for example.

  18. postcardsfromivi

    Wow I was really surprised by some of the destinations, specially the pyramids! I’m going to Paris for the first time this February and I’m already loving it, hope I still do when I get there! Great post, congrats.

  19. I’ve been playing around the thought of writing this for a long time, but I didn’t get a chance to until now. The reason? I felt I would be biased. Afterall, everything that involves feelings and opinions is biased, so I might as well contribute with my opinion. I have given the city not one, but two times both for a course of a week, I studied French language, culture and politics (which, of course, includes Paris as well) and I even have many French friends who have agreed with me on all points themselves. I am not saying the culture, history and architecture is not great. I am just saying that the city made ME feel unsafe, that French people were rude to me in a way that I didn’t enjoy at all, that I didn’t like policies that they had implemented that definitely didn’t belong to 21st century. Ethnic and social segregation, really? And that secularism isn’t much better – people are forbidden from wearing signs of their religion in public. There are waaay too many pickpockets and demonstrations. Should that make me feel safe? Of course, all of this is entirely MY opinion and if you don’t share it, fair enough. But I just wanted to clear it out 😉

  20. I agree!!!! And its not boring at all (if you know what to look at – thus do your research – thus if you don’t, it’s your fault for not enjoying the city). Bratislava is small, that’s true. But it has very interesting history, from Roman times to the modern age, food is amazing. From the more exciting things, we have aqua parks, “rooms” (an activity for group of people where you have to solve puzzles – it is usually thematic, so you can solve a murder or pretend you are Indiana Jones and have to find something), there are many opportunities for water rafting, we have many shooting centers, lazer shows, paint ball, 5D cinema, horse riding, etc. Not even mentioning the night life. I feel like there is always something to do, whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation 😉

  21. Hey Rachel! As I said I was in Paris twice and I did everything that you suggested. I am not saying that the architecture is not great, but I am saying that Paris, all in all is a city that I didn’t like at all. You are fully entitled to your opinion and I don’t want you to feel pressured to change it. But let me try to explain my point of view in rather different way. The first time I went to Paris, I was completely excited – it has been my dream for years! I arrived in dark, the place was beautiful, full of color and very lively. Could’t wait for the next day. As I started exploring the city, I got annoyed of the masses, of course, but I decided to ignore it. After all, I didn’t come to complain but to enjoy the city of love and fashion. I really enjoyed visiting a chocolate museum, walking between the artists at the mount of Sacre Coeur or trying the culinary treasures. I found my passions for snails and chocolate fondue! And, of course, I can’t even explain how much I enjoyed learning about the history, especially as a history student who wanted to be archaeologist and professional historian for a long time. But because I am not superficial and like to get into details, I got to know some ugly truth about this city that appalled me. Yes, Paris was dirty and yes there were many beggars, homeless people and thieves. Once I was in metro, waiting and so I had time to watch what was going on. There was a group of children who, in the rush hour, would pretend to hurry up in the metro. As they were doing it, they were picking pockets and then, before the metro left, they managed to get out where they looked at their pray. Not even mentioning all those demonstrations for human rights that were there. Reason? Social segregation. And now also religion secularism (but extreme one, where you cannot wear ANY signs of religion in public). I won’t get into details, you can look up what it means if you are interested 😛 I have not been treated well by Parisians, I had the impression that they looked down on me only because I was a tourist. Once I was walking out of the building where I was living when one Parisian whom I didn’t know, started shouting at me and when I said that I didn’t speak French (although I did somewhat, but I was too stressed to try and speak French), he shouted even more. From what I understood, he was insulting stupid tourists. Very nice. Then I was waiting near cashier of a supermarket for the rest of my family who was visiting Paris with me and I was told to go out and not wait inside although it was raining. Not very kind, especially as a potential customer also not very business efficient. I am not saying that everything in Paris is bad and everyone in Paris is awful. I am just saying that I had bad experiences. But I gave it another chance, a trip where I got only more persuaded that my reasoning is correct. Furthermore, I am a French student which means I learn lots about the culture and I will have to visit Paris again this year. Once again, I will try to give it chance. Hope it will persuade me.

    PS.: I have many French friends. After I came from Paris, I talked with one of them saying that I didn’t like Paris at all. His reaction? “Why did you go to Paris? It’s probably the ugliest place in France. Go to Lyon, go to the beach and only then you can see the real beauty of our country.”

  22. GREAT POST! I was with Inma of A World to Travel and the experience on Mount Bromo was shocking, to say the least. Same for Flores. You get the pretty view from the window of your hotel, then get down to the beach and realize you can’t walk around, as there is so much garbage. And what about Bali? Congested, polluted, dirty – so dirty it made me sick. I haven’t been to Naples but the garbage situation is a big issue in Italy – it’s been for years.

    It’s great to find honest posts like this! Thank you for putting it together – more bloggers should be so honest!

  23. Often times it can be only metres that separates a terrible area from an amazing one. Although many of these made me laugh (the shot with a field full of people trying to hold up the leaning tower of Pisa almost killed me!) some of the perspectives made me a bit sad that you had missed out on some of the amazing opportunities that these places offer (Yes, even Pyongyang!)

  24. Ok cool! Nice post agree with Shinookville! Its a shit hole! But you missed Pattya, Thailand, a place I think is worse than shinookville. I was so excited, my first time to a beach in thailand, I put on my bathing suit, walked out of my hotel and down the street lined prostitute filled bars towards the beach, once I got there, I said “hell no!” And left, the beach was disgusting, Ive never seen a beach so dirty…
    Oh and another place not to visit is Busan in South Korea… unless you want to swim in dirty water and sunbath through smog…

  25. Thanks! I keep up with a lot of refugee stories, so it definitely makes me passionate against tourism there, especially when I used to try to read reviews about it.

  26. Some, but not all of these reviews seem rather pithy, short and very subjective – I know nothing about the individual reviewers but feel it is too easy to write negatively about a place – but it takes a very bit stretch to only write negatively about Paris or even Temple Bar – I hope some of the other reviewers are not so subjective …. these two reviews could have been written by Donal Trump for example … I like the concept, i partly like the execution, but i wonder at the consistent quality of the individual reviews – thanks Janet though for giving us something different and mostly interesting to read! Rory

  27. You could try Raqqa or perhaps the DRC. They’re both pretty ‘exciting’ places where you can peer at poor and ruined people like zoo animals. Assuming they don;t kill you.
    Also you should be able to do this in the arse end of Edmonton as well, the way it’s all going. That’ll save some cash.

  28. I liked Naples even though I was pick pocketed. I was there by myself and walked down an interesting shopping street to the archeological museum, which was wonderful. The food was great.

  29. Perspective is everything! While each had their own reasons for disliking something, it is very subjective. But Pisa? Really? It is a small Italian town, known primarily for the tower and the universities. So not sure what the expectation was. That is another thing – traveling with expectations is not traveling. Naples is often looked upon badly and with good reason but with the right guide/group it is an amazingly beautiful city. Like any part of the world, you just need to be a little bit careful to avoid certain areas and not look like a tourist. It may have its issues but it is a city worth giving a shot. One just needs to get over the initial impact of the place.

  30. I’ve been to Saigon twice this year for a total of 20 days and didn’t see any of that.. Felt safer there than in sydney Australia … Loved the place .. Mabee I was in right place right time ….

  31. I’d add Prague, one of the most over-rated destinations in my book. Totally over-run with tourists, even in November. You can’t even get close to the Charles Bridge after 10am without feeling like a sardine.

  32. I have to disagree with you on Naples. Admittedly visiting it in the middle of one of their frequent garbage-men-strikes, must be a smelly experience. I loved Naples and found 4 days much too short to explore it. Funnily enough I was especially taken with the warmth people showed us compared to big cities in the north like Milan or Bologna. It probably helped that I speak a bit of Italian.
    The architecture is stunning, with an old town the size of Manhattan, there are lots of galleries and museums to get lost in, there’s excellent food nd shopping to be had and there’s a bloody volcano photobombing every other shot. Of course not all is well; there is extreme poverty, organized crime and a crumbling infrastructure, but I will definitely visit again.

  33. Disagree for Flores. But would have added Mount Batur Bali, where you queue behind 500 other people to see the sunrise at the crater.

  34. This article is huge bullshit !!!
    You can not judge a place from a shallow tourist point of view.
    You’re maybe a tourist but not a traveler.

  35. I adore Naples, Pisa and Paris. Naples is one of the most fascinating cities I’ve been to, I can’t believe there are visitors who don’t see this, you sense the history and the strong attachment to tradition that’s still very much alive while many places have sadly lost it. I look forward to traveling to Myanmar and North Korea, many people I talked to have loved both.

  36. As I’ve lived and travelled in most of the places on this list, I have to say I find these reviews very biased. We all find savory and unsavory things about each place and I don’t mind a negative perspective every now and again. That being said, some of these reviews seem like they are coming from people who either didn’t give the place a chance, or hasn’t traveled very much. Comments like “dogs foaming at the mouth” in Coron, or “Prostitutes everywhere” in Saigon are simply grandiose, untrue, derogatory statements.

    A lot of these places are located in very much developing countries that are eagerly trying to increase sustainable tourism. If you’re going to share the “real side” of things it should be based in fact, not just the sour opinion of a single individual.

  37. agree with some, disagree with others, but THANK YOU for pyongyang. that was perfectly put. this kind of ‘tourism’ makes me vomit.

  38. While I liked the idea of this list in concept, I realized that in the end it is highly personal and once you put it on a list it can sound quite judgemental and priveleged. Cairo was crap because the museum was crowded? Shame! You went into a working mine where people are exploited and you didn’t like it? What a surprise! I think one need to be really careful not to generalize and to seperate a country from it’s government when it comes to responsible tourism. I don’t know about North Korea but the author – has she actually been?- doesn’t know where her money is going to but then dares to compare a traveler there to someone going into Nazi Germany?! Sorry, but I find that comparison really offensive!
    Obviously everyone is entitled to there opinions and I honestly appreciate honest reviews like this. However, some of them remind me a bit of the infamous tripadvisor comment ‘there was too much sand on the beach’ for me to take it seriously.

  39. I hate Paris too. It’s totally overrated in my opinion. I liked Saigon in small doses but completely agree about the motorbikes being a nightmare!

  40. Really surprised by the hating on Bratislava. I thought it was an amazing find full of charming architecture, history, and culture. I only had a day there but would love to go back.

  41. I agree with you on Naples and Saigon but am glad I visited both. I have been to Bratislava several times and while its not the friendliest place on earth I would not have listed it here. Paris would most certainly not be on my list – I rented an apartment there one spring and absolutely loved it. I never felt unsafe and no one was rude. I also think you were unfair on poor old Langkawi – I stayed here for 2 weeks in the off season a few years ago and loved it. There is lots of charm, daily roving markets that pop up in areas off the tourist strip, a lot of really good local food and it’s so affordable – its just not the island paradise some people expect when they visit Asia.

  42. Yup, I agree with you too. Giving readers a glimpse of the bad side of a destination is as important as promoting the place as a travel destination. At least, readers can get a more balanced view.

  43. Amandas_Wanderlust

    A couple of surprises on here. I’ve always felt pretty safe in Paris for example, but in all cities it depends which bits of it you are exposed to I guess and what you are looking for from your travel experience.

  44. Out of the seventeen destinations I’ve visited four – and enjoyed all of them 😉
    I guess it’s all because of the attitude or people’s expectations and constant comparison to other, ‘better’ places that there’s so much disappointment.
    Almost all the places have their good and bad sides and it’s absolutely up to you to decide which one you want to see 🙂

  45. Pisa is one of the worst travel destinations in the world because someone went there, realized it was quite busy, then went to a fancy restaurant inappropriately dressed and people looked at her? Get over yourself.

    Don’t blame an entire city because you didn’t do enough research to know that Pisa is a busy place or because you can’t dress appropriately or find a casual restaurant.

  46. So zero insight on the gay bit, but I totally disagree with Mandalay being crap. Was it different than Bagan? Absolutely. But Bagan was a pretty touristy place for an ‘undiscovered’ country. Mandalay wasn’t the prettiest place I’ve been but the locals were amazing and I found it offered a more authentic look at the real Myanmar- which I loved.

  47. I guess, deep down, I would agree with that way of thinking!! It is good to give people a heads up about some of the worldly (dream) bucket list destinations though, such as the crazy crowds one encounters at Angkor Wat and the horrible Pizza Hut by the Pyramids!

  48. I’m not really sure if there are any “perfect” travel destinations. Each has its own character, each has its own good and bad side. I see the bad side of a travel destination as a unique character flaw rather than a “you-must-not-visit-here-because-of-this” factor.

  49. I have to agree with you on Naples, but I actually really like Cairo and Saigon and Pisa…. Cairo because we had a brilliant guide who took us away from the tourist areas and showed us “his” city and Pisa because after a few visits and being Italian, I know to stay away from the bloody tower!

    I am surprised about Saigon, too – I didn’t feel at all unsafe there, I thought it had a manic charm (which, granted, isn’t for everyone), and the food was amazing! I’m even going back for another visit this year! That sucks you had such a crappy time there 🙁

  50. Thanks for the great list! I’ve been to some of these places, so I know where the authors are coming from. I also am not a fan of Saigon, due to the traffic and difficulty crossing streets. With Langkawi, I was lucky to be staying at a wonderful resort, which mainly made up for the grey haze (thanks, Indonesia for the forest fires!) And with Flores I only went to Labuan Bajo, then on a boat, so didn’t experience Ende, but saw it in other parts of Indonesia, such as Kuta Beach in Lombok.

    I’m sure many people will still visit these places even after reading the article (except for the salt mines in Bolivia!), but it’s good to have realistic expectation, e.g. yes by visiting Cairo you get to see the Pyramids, but it’s right next to the city and a Pizza Hut.

  51. I don’t really think that’s fair to say. All reviews don’t have to be positive ones. I like to hear from people about places they didn’t like and why….maybe the reasons they didn’t like it are the same reasons I tend not to like a place and it helps me plan better. Often places that are well known or heavily visited aren’t my cup of tea but sometimes it’s hard to find that out. If faced with a choice between A and B, I would like to have as much information on a place as I can, the good and bad. If you are a regular reader, you would know Janet is not a “relaxing vacations on beaches” only travel blogger and she does go to dirty and dangerous places. You are welcome to your own opinion just as she is.

  52. These lists are great and very valuable! Gotta know where not to go as well. I am sure I won’t be the only one to say this but I have to wholeheartedly disagree about Paris! Je t’aime Paris! Paris is my favorite European city…been there 4 times and have never not fallen head over heels in love. And I am American so that’s saying a lot, ha! I think you need to give it another go and stay in the city center near the Seine, take a stroll while eating a fresh crepe on the Ile Saint Louis, visit the Musee D’Orsay, climb the steps through Montmarte to the Sacre Coeur, and listen to the street music in the Latin Quarter and then tell me if you hate it 😉 I would also have to disagree with Saigon….though my least favorite city in Vietnam, visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels and War Crimes Museum made the visit worthwhile- I didn’t feel like the museums were as good in Hanoi, which I really liked. For my own list I would add: Uyuni, Bolivia (though you have to go there if you go to the Salt Flats) because it’s just terrible, not much else to say- Bolivia is my least favorite country anyway (made it to Potosi, so I guess I should be glad). And Maputo, Mozambique: Maputo was so talked up when we were planning our African trip and maybe our expectations were too high, but as backpacking tourists I felt like there was nothing for us to do, very limited options for budget/hostel accommodations, and the city was nothing to speak of….it looked like it was still recovering from civil war (which it is). It’s pretty interesting how people who have been to the same place can have such drastically different opinions…that’s why there is chocolate and vanilla they say!

  53. There’s nothing like disparaging travelers and locals alike to get eyes on the page. Not everyone wants to spend their vacations relaxing on beautiful beaches. Some of us want to understand what life is like for others, even if that means exploring dirty or dangerous places. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll be able to travel to all of these places someday and judge for myself.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top