Travellers tales of the places they just didn’t like.
Over the past year I’ve shared the stories from several travellers and the places they just didn’t like. As travellers, it’s hard to complain about anywhere we go, but just like anything else in this world, there’s always going to be things and places that just aren’t our cup of tea. Here are more stories from travellers and some of the places they didn’t like!
Straight off the plane there was a haze and a buzz, the solid wall of heat had hit me and after a short metro ride, stepping onto a busy Delhi street so did the dust… and the smell… and the hoard of rickshaw drivers. I’m accustomed to India, I love finding the beauty in it’s chaos but all I found here was insanity and not of the intriguing kind. The maze of streets gave the impression of no focal point and even the ‘respite’ areas such as temples and palaces left me feeling trapped and unable to breath. I missed the charm I’d found in other areas of India, but if piles of rubbish were compensation there was plenty to be found. I had to search for a returned smile, I worried the reports of Delhi being a female traveller ‘no go’ zone were true, certainly the leering stares and elbows to the ribs made it feel that way. Getting off the sleeper train and into the shower of the nearest guesthouse, I washed the suffocating dirt from my skin and took a deep breath, clean from Delhi at last.
Bekki of The Wandering If
I have never regretted going any place I’ve gone to, and even though I did enjoy learning about the country’s history and culture, I wasn’t dreading leaving Taiwan. Why? Ultimately, because of the people. Being raised Japanese-Canadian and living in Japan didn’t help, but during my trip, I saw very little consideration of others, including tourists.
In all my travels, it was the only time that I had a hand in my face pushing me away when I was hopelessly lost. It was the only time that a little grandmother, about a head shorter than I am, smacked me so hard between my shoulder blades with a backhand in a half-empty subway car that I jolted forward so she wouldn’t have to take an extra step to go around me. I’m not a small person, so that was no small accomplishment. It was the only time that a stranger who was supposed to help me actually abandoned me. When I was at Keelung train station, I couldn’t find the bus stop for the historical village, Jiufen. An employee guided me to the right stop and asked the crowd if anyone was going to the same place. An old fart in his mid-70s sporting a dark blue cap said he was going there, so both told me to follow him. Twenty minutes into the ride, he motioned for me to follow him. He crossed the street, went into a smelly produce market, went straight to the back and into the men’s bathroom. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. After waiting for a long time, I thought that the village could be nearby… nope! He just abandoned me there. Who does that?! I looked around to see if I could walk the rest of the way, but there was no way unless I had a death wish. I managed to catch another bus and it turned out that the old fart left me HALFWAY! Let’s just say that I was so glad to land back in Japan, and I had the urge to hug every single Japanese person.
Becky of Trekking with Becky
Yeah… call me crazy, but I just didn’t like Pompeii. A huge history nerd, I have imagined visiting Pompeii for quite a while. The bodies, the resilience, the mystery and erotica… the history of the site is so incredibly fascinating. The reality? Mind-numbingly dull. I think my first mistake was visiting on an organized tour. My second, insanely grand expectations. Sure, I learned a few intriguing details I didn’t know before, but the documentary I watched on TV a month later blew my mind far more than my very own visit. The complex is enormous and largely blocked-off, but everything you need to see can be seen in twenty minutes. Everything beyond that looks exactly the same – a massive labyrinth of stones and construction materials. Once I was tired of trying to imagine the city of Pompeii as it was pre-tragedy, I simply spent my time photographing the site because, if nothing else, it does make for some pretty pictures.
Am I glad I visited Pompeii? Absolutely. Would I visit again? Nope. Would I recommend it? I’d say yes because I believe everyone needs to form their own opinions and experience everything the world has to offer… just lower your expectations a tad.
Ashley of My Wanderlusty Life
Cape Cod, USA
To be clear, there’s a right way to do Cape Cod (champagne and yachts a la the Kennedys) and a wrong way (aka my nature trip of doom). If done correctly, it can be an utterly charming holiday destination, full of stunning scenery and delicious seafood. Sadly, that was not the Cape Cod I experienced…
After having hitchhiked to our middle-of-nowhere hostel due to a lack of public transportation and our failure to rent a car, my travel companion and I arrived to find a building resembling something out of Amityville Horror. After being informed that alcohol was strictly forbidden on site (*insert cries of despair here*) we dropped our bags and headed out for an afternoon swim. The beach was lovely but also dotted with signs warning us against heavy rip tides and possible sharks, seals and jellyfish. Not surprisingly, we decided to give swimming a miss. Later that evening we climbed the hillside hoping to enjoy the spectacular Blood Moon, only to end up being attacked by ravenous mosquitoes. During our mad dash down the hill, I managed to step in poison ivy.
Throw in a couple of lackluster nights spent hunched over cat puzzles in our spider-ridden accommodation, and it’s probably no surprise that I left Cape Cod feeling like it had well and truly kicked my butt. If I ever go back, I know exactly what I’ll do differently (B&Bs, mimosa brunches and a longer stay in charming Provincetown), but for now, I’m in no real rush to return.
Stacy of Adventure Stacy
Rancagua is an old mining town about 50 miles south from Santiago, the capital of Chile. It is known by tourists for its vineyards and largest underground copper mine in the world. It was the second stop on our four month long trip in South America and we were excited to check it out! We had the “fresh off the boat” enthusiasm with no expectations. We had a wonderful train ride from Santiago, but as soon as we stepped off the train we just looked at each other and knew we didn’t want to stay here. It’s so hard to explain why we felt that way. We decided to give it a chance and ventured into the downtown area to find a place to stay and a way to get out to the mine. After conflicting directions and information for both we settled on some lunch and a few snacks. We met a very nice lady selling empanadas, so good that if we would have stayed, that would have been why! I always believe that every town gives you a “feeling” and Rancagua just didn’t pull us in. We’ve never had that feeling come across so suddenly, before or since then. It was so weird. Later on during our trip we met a family from Rancagua so we asked them about their city and tried to learn about it. We felt bad we didn’t connect with the city but some places just don’t work out!
Landon of Uneven Sidewalks
Bali is not the paradise you think it should be. When I think of Bali I think of Eat, Pray, Love with tropical beaches. This is the case in other parts of Indonesia but not in Bali.
We started off our visit by getting ripped off while buying two bottles of water. Since this was a busy place we quickly paid for our items and got out of line. After counting our money we noticed that the cashier forgot to give us most of our change back, which equaled five US dollars. We quickly headed back to the cashier to point out her mistake. Once she saw us you could see the ‘oh no’ look on her face. She quickly pulled our money out of her pocket and smiled at us.
Within minutes of walking down the streets of Kuta I met my first local sitting on the street. Every local we came across would shout out at us; “Hey there mate’” in their fake Australian accent, “do you need needed a scooter, taxi, girls, marijuana, acid or Viagra?”. Most would not take no for an answer. It’s always lovely when the locals get pushy over if I need a taxi but do I really look like I need Viagra?
We decided to take in a romantic sunset on the resort strip in Kuta Beach. It was anything but romantic with hundreds of my new best friends asking my wife, Lina and me if we would like a massage. The beaches were crowded and trashy. There’s nothing like seeing the rare chip bag in the wild floating in the water.
I would use Bali as transit place to reach the real tropical sides of Indonesia like Lombok and the Gili’s Islands.
David of Divergent Travelers
I chose to visit Salzburg over Vienna on my recent solo backpacking trip. I was trying to stay away from overly touristy places and figured Salzburg was more ‘off the beaten path’. I visited in off-peak season and was one of four people staying in my hostel, I didn’t meet anyone and I saw all the sights in a day when I planned to stay for three. I wouldn’t say I hated Salzburg, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend visiting during off-peak season as a solo traveler.
Becca of B Travels Better
Quito is recognized as one of the most well preserved colonial centers in the world, but I found it underwhelming during my recent visit. There was nothing that screamed historic, colonial or culturally unique. The plazas and monuments were not as handsome as I had hoped they would be and overall I felt unimpressed. Quito’s most impressive feature was its natural terrain. Surrounded by lush green mountains and snowcapped volcanoes, I will also remember Quito for its vast and stunning landscape.
Danielle of The Thought Card
It all started as soon as I crossed the border to Uganda. My crumpled dollars were not good enough – I needed crisp notes or Ugandan shillings for my Visa. My Rwandan friend Claire came to the rescue. The bus was checked out by sniffer dogs and we walked across ‘no-mans land’ between the Rwanda – Uganda border.
The roads were so bumpy, and there was clear evidence of previous buses that had gone off the road. I literally had to hold on to my seat. We were supposed to arrive at Kampala at 4pm. We actually arrived at 9pm. It was pitch black, with people scuffling everywhere at Kampala bus station. A number of men seemed eager to get their hands on my bag. Claire grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye and said; “Amy, don’t loose!”. None of the buses were numbered, but thankfully, Claire knew which one to go for. We then boarded Motos to get to Claire’s cousins house. They lacked the safety helmets that I was used to in Rwanda. Several times, I thought I was going to come off my Moto. Thankfully, I didn’t.
The following day, I walked through dirty streets of Kampala, with mucky children trying to sell things at the side of the road. A disgusting man grabbed my arse without my permission and shouted ‘Mzungu!’ at me. I felt violated. Everywhere we went they were all shouting at me; “Mazungu buy bag!” I didn’t want a sodding bag, couldn’t they see that I already had one?! It was so hot I nearly fainted. I had to refresh myself in the back of a shop with a Fanta! Do I need to mention that a few of us were suffering from diarrhea?
On the last day, the taxi didn’t show up to get us back to the bus station, so we ordered another one. Then, the two taxis turned up at the same time, and almost had a fist fight over us! I lasted three days in that city!
Amy of Globetrotter Guru
San Francisco, California
By all means, don’t miss out San Francisco, but I certainly wasn’t bowled over by the city like a lot of people said they were. “Don’t spend too long in LA, spend a week in San Fran instead,” people said. Well, apart from Alcatraz (I didn’t get inside but the sight was enough – amazing) I was underwhelmed. The Golden Gate Bridge is just that – a bridge. The skyline is grey and cloudy and Chinatown wasn’t anything special.
Megan of Megs Wanderings
Oh the Pitons, oh the reefs, oh the rainforest… sorry (not sorry) but St Lucia just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was the rainy day, being harassed by two possible drug addicts in an empty church, the deplorable living conditions in the major towns or just not being able to find any place that was cooking food that day. I was also approached multiple times about purchasing a cheap souvenir necklace, every time with the same sales pitch about the colours and what they represent. I finally found a bit of sanctuary in the botanical garden. Very beautiful garden but even their restaurant was closed. My only food for the day ended up being a small overpriced package of nuts and seeds, which I ended up sharing with a small black bird that joined me at the table where I was seated. After leaving the botanical garden, I bought one of the stupid necklaces hoping the rest of the guys that were selling them would leave me be… I was wrong. The only redeeming part of the day was finding a small tent in a marketplace late in the day that was cooking food. FINALLY!!! I ended up with the curried goat… it was pretty amazing.
Rachael of Everywhere and Back
Share with me what your least favourite place was in the comments below!