We all have a huge travel bucket list, but in order to better pick the next destination, it's great to ask about the places travellers would never visit again. We rely on bloggers, photographers and globetrotters to tell us the stories we need to better tailor our future holidays and find out the most wonderful places worth visiting. But what happens when we ask travellers to tell us about the places we should avoid? How bad can a place really be? What factors do travellers take into consideration when they rate a place? What would cause someone to tell us that a particular destination transforms from paradise into a place travellers would never visit again? In this article, we unravel stories behind honeymooners, solo travellers and foodie backpackers.
Cairo, Egypt by While I'm Young
"I hate it when people warn me not to travel to certain destinations just because I'm a girl. I was determined to prove people wrong about Egypt, but unfortunately, my experience there means I can't.
I live in a Muslim country and am used to the laws however I found it really hard to adapt to the culture in Cairo. Men stared absolutely everywhere that my friend and I went - including the pyramids of Giza. We tried to laugh it off, joking about feeling famous, but it made us really uncomfortable. Teenage boys crowded us, trying to take selfies with us. We stuck with our guide all day but the next, we decided to go to Khan el-Khalili, a huge marketplace - unaccompanied. Walking through that market made me feel genuinely scared for my safety for the first time in all of my travels.
While I'm still glad I went to Cairo and wouldn't tell anybody not to go - I believe we should make up our minds about places for ourselves - I would warn other female travellers to be prepared. I have friends who have visited Egypt with a male and didn't have any trouble, so it seems that only solo females will suffer. Go, see the pyramids, then get out."
Koh Phi Phi Thailand by Getting Stamped
"Over the past few years there are only 2 places I've said "I will NEVER visit again." I use to go to a new destination with all these high hopes and expectations based on what I have heard from other, and then I get there to be let down. One of those places was Koh Phi Phi Thailand, most people know this famous island from the movie "The Beach" with Leonardo DiCaprio. When I was planning my Thailand honeymoon I saw this picture of Maya Bay and was instantly sold. I spent 4 nights on Koh Phi Phi to only be disappointed. This magical island was not so magical. It was so packed, there was barely any room for boats to pull up to Maya Bay to drop off passengers for that "iconic" picture. We put on a happy face for our picture. Oh and don't even think about laying down a beach towel, there definitely isn't any room for that. If you can look past all the traffic and commotion it is a gorgeous place, but not a place I recommend to other travels. Thailand is full of amazing islands to explore, I have found my slice of heaven on Koh Lipe. "
Jamaica by MJ Sailing
"One place I would never visit again, surprisingly, given it's lush beauty; is Port Antonio Jamaica. Arriving here after a long sail over from the Bahamas, every one of our senses were enticed, and we thought we'd just found paradise. Had the island been inhabited by the friendly Bahamians we'd left not long ago, this could have been very true. As soon as we left the marina ground though, we realized the culture here had taken a 180 degree turn for the worse.
Instead of friendly locals stopping us on the street to wish us a good day or to see if there was anything they could do to make our stay more pleasurable, we were instead stopped by the pushy locals, asking for handouts of money. "Look at these wealthy travelers", they must think to themselves, "They have plenty of money, and be able to spare some for me....and I deserve it.". Day after day we'd be harassed by the islanders almost demanding this money from us, and even tried to steal bottles of Red Stripe from the milk crate we carried them down the street in as we returned to our boat from the grocery store.
What should have been a landfall we would have had a hard time ripping ourselves away from as the end of our stay came near, we instead were constantly watching the weather to be able to make an escape out. Maybe the resorts are better tailored to guests, but in this small harbor we felt nothing but walking bank accounts to those whom called it home."
Barcelona by The Travelling Tom
"I'm not really sure why I chose Barcelona as the place to go and teach English, but I know I won't come back when I leave. Whenever I tell people I live in Barcelona, their eyes light up and the same response rolls off their tongues: "It must be amazing to live there!" Well, actually, no it's not! Apart from the main tourist areas, I find the city rather dull. It's like being stuck in a sea of concrete if you live in the centre. The same style apartment blocks make up the bulk of the city, there's no escape from the goldfish bowl of concrete! It's also important to remember that this is Catalunya and not Spain! The obsession with independence is everywhere and suffocating at times! No, when I leave here I definitely won't be back!"
Kuta Beach, Bali by My Adventures Across the World
"This picture is pretty much the only nice memory I have of Kuta Beach, in Bali. I don't think I have ever been more grossed out at a beach in my life. I literally found it disgusting to put my feet in the sand, let alone get in the water. The beach was packed with people, but more annoyingly so, there was an incredible quantity of garbage everywhere. I walked on it at night on my way back to the hotel once, and I even saw rats going around. It was simply too messy, too noisy, too flashy and too dirty and as far as possible from the idea of paradise that we've been fed whenever we hear the words Bali. I will never go back!"
San Jose, Costa Rica by Travel Monkey
"Do not get me wrong, Costa Rica is a beautiful country, rich in culture, nature, and adventurous experiences. However, you are better off staying elsewhere in Costa Rica and skipping the capital altogether.
Why am I saying that? Because San Jose is the opposite of everything that you came to Costa Rica for - it has no beautiful scenery, it is rather dirty and unattractive, but most of all, it just lacks the vibe that rest of Costa Rica gives out. That chill out ‘pura vida’ vibe. You know what I mean?
People here are too busy and tired to give you a smile and, frankly, this has been the most depressing place in the whole of Costa Rica I have seen. Aside from visiting several local food places, I have struggled to find something interesting to do or see in San Jose.
Therefore, I would skip San Jose from my itinerary in Costa Rica and rather spend it on the beach or in the lush rainforest that this amazing country is known for. "
Berlin by Travel Photo Discovery
"I should have known not to visit Berlin early spring when the weather would still be iffy and not much happening around the city with events and other fun activities that draw people worldwide to visit the city. But I was on a tour of the region and tried to incorporate a visit as late in spring as possible. Arriving on a cold and wet day did little to uplift my spirits along with a little difficulty in trying to find my hotel location which was a little confusing.
I found that the chilly weather also kept out the locals in droves while visiting popular hangout spots including the Kruezberg, Neukölln and trendy hangouts like Gorlitzer Park and Mauer Park turned out to be dreary and empty venues - I didn't even bother to try and stay up at night to find some fun alternatives. The touristy venues were mildy okay and grey everywhere - I think it really dampened my spirits in visiting the city, not to mention the cold and unfriendly faces of people just looking at the ground or into a cell phone and not at your face. It seems like spring time is not the best time to visit Berlin especially when it is still freezing cold, but I may have to visit again to give the city another shot."
Jakarta, Indonesia by Foodie Flashpacker
"I had heard lots of not great things about Jakarta when I was planning my trip to Indonesia. Big, dirty, polluted, nothing to see or do. I (wisely) decided not to leave the airport on my way into the country. Instead I headed directly to Bali, the Gili Islands, Kanwawa— places in Indonesia that I fell in love with.
On the way out of the country I would not be so lucky. Two days in Jakarta on the way out. “It’s probably not as bad as everyone says” I told myself. I was wrong. They were right.
I could find no redeeming qualities about Jakarta. In fairness, when you’ve spent your time on the countries small islands the huge capital city is a huge change. I had been on islands so small cars weren’t allowed- now I found myself in a city of nearly ten million people.
Traffic, pollution, incessant honking- definitely not how I wanted to end my time in one of my new favorite countries.
I killed time in the hotel room waiting for my flight, telling myself I would make it a point not to return to this city. And, funnily enough, as I write this I find myself back in Indonesia. And this time, I flew direct to Bali. "
Macau by Eat Sleep Breathe Travel
"I recently spent a few days in Hong Kong, and knowing that Macau, a whole other country, was just an hour away, I knew I’d have to go for a day trip. As I arrived in Macau and boarded the hop on hop off bus I felt the excitement of being in a new country…but it didn’t last long. I rode on the open air bus through the entire route and saw hotel after hotel, casino after casino, and almost no people in the streets.
But isn’t there an old town? I thought to myself. On round two I disembarked at one of the stops (a department store- really?)and wandered to find something that wasn’t shiny, new, and demanding money. I did find old town but even it was a letdown. The famous egg tarts tasted like a lumpy, sweet quiche, the streets were packed with tourists that seemed more intent on elbowing me in the face than taking proper photos, and the historical sites, well perhaps it was the crowds but they left me unimpressed. I usually feel a pang of sadness when I leave a country, wondering if I will ever get the chance to return. But I can guarantee, unless someone pays me, I won’t step foot in Macau again. "
Poprad by The Crowded Planet
"During the summer of 2015 we spent seven weeks on a wonderful Interrail adventure around Central and Eastern Europe, from Poland to the Balkans. We had been to most of the main cities already, and so we decided to focus on smaller cities and lesser-known places. In Slovakia, one of the destinations we wanted to visit were the Tatra mountains, but accommodation in the mountain villages was very expensive, so we decided to stay in Poprad, a nearby town, where we found a small hotel that only cost €20 per night. As soon as we got off the train, we knew we had made a mistake. We found the town really depressing.
It was just full of concrete buildings and industrial warehouses - at least in the area where we stayed, that was also nowhere near the city centre, despite what hotel reviews said! The hotel itself was horrible, with a courtyard full of broken glass and chicken bones, a really scary dog and owner! We had planned to stay 5 nights but we left after two. We also visited the centre of Poprad and there were a couple of nice cafes, and an ok square, but generally speaking Poprad for us was a big NO. Locals please don't hate me! The Tatra mountains were really amazing, just don't stay in Poprad! "
Vang Vieng, Laos by Make Time To See The World
"Vang Vieng in Laos is categorically the worst place I have ever been to. After entering Laos from the North of Thailand, we stayed in Luang Prabang, which was just beautiful. The whole town is a UNESCO heritage site and its easy to see why – amazing temples, uncrowded un-touristy streets, stunning scenery and beautiful people living a simple life. Just incredible…
…Then you get to Vang Vieng. It’s a small town in the middle of the country, made famous because people could float down the Mekong river in a rubber tube, peacefully taken by the current as you gaze at the lush green mountain landscape. Unfortunately it became the most unlikely party town in Asia when ramshackle bars popped up along the banks of the river offering cheap drinks, rope swings and thumping music form lunchtime to the early hours of the evening.
Backpackers (mostly western) flocked to this tiny town and taking the tubes would spend all day going from bar to bar on the lure of cheep – or even free- drinks at every riverside bar they passed by. Queue a stream of drunken backpackers falling about in the streets every afternoon, and cafes throughout the town practically refusing to serve Asian cuisine in favor of burgers, chips, pizza and pasta – all the while replaying episodes of Friends, all day and night. These cafes were decked out with ‘relaxation areas’ – think loads of cushions laid out like day beds – the problem was that not only were they grotty and stained but they absorbed the smell of the sweat of the hundreds of people before you who have laid sprawled out detoxing after the night or nights before. Eeww.
Following multiple deaths (from dodgy rope swings across the river, with a little help from drink & drugs) the Laos government stepped in and dismantled a lot of the bars on the river. I've heard things are much better now but, for me, the damage has been done. I LOVED Loas, but I wouldn't ever go back to Vang Vieng"
Morocco by P.S I'm On My Way
"I traveled Morocco for 90 days and even if I found it to be one of the most beautiful countries I've ever been to, half of that trip was challenging because my romantic relationship failed. I was devastated and almost lost my mind. I incorporated Morocco to be the country I will hate the most forever because of that unfortunate event.
Today, I am no longer identifying myself with that event anymore but looking back, I think I'd like to have a single story about Morocco. Whether it was good or bad, it was for the best! By the way, that experience encouraged me to go backpacking South America so it wasn't bad at all!"
Rome by LooknWalk
"Why would I not go back to Rome? Ah, where should I start?!
First trip was in 2012. I managed to get some super affordable flights to Rome and from there to Athens, so was extremely excited to see two very important cities with their ancient sites.
That was ...until I got to Rome. I have read a lot about potential scams but even as a savvy traveler I walked right into one. Those people dressed in Roman soldiers who just happen to jump into your frame when you take pics? Yup, that one.
Moving on to the historical sites. While the Forum was amazing (and thankfully not crowded in March), the Colosseum gave me a shock: why, oh why, do you allow people to smoke inside a historical site?! And, unless you get a guided tour, you won’t understand much cause they seem to lack any booklets (the kind they have at Pompeii and Herculaneum).
I didn’t have time for the rest of the sites so I thought I’d give Rome another try. I did. In September 2014 when I arrived there in time for EVERYTHING to be under reconstruction (see the Fontana di Trevi photo). I get it that these need to be maintained but, excuse me, that’s why you have the off season for. And even so, everything was crowded.
The crowds, the lack of detailed information at the sites, the continuous reconstruction, the scammers...I swore off visiting the city again. On the other hand, I loved Naples and Bari."
Cuba by Birdgehls
"Maybe it's not Cuba, maybe it was more me, but I didn't enjoy my time there, due to a bunch of different factors.
It's just not an easy country to backpack around in general - there was road block after road block thrown in my path. Issues getting ahold of money, weird stomach reactions to the food, getting charged an arm and a leg for activities and one notorious ride (with sad looking horses) to a very underwhelming waterfall, didn't help change my opinion. The icing on the cake was the two week long stomach bug, which caused me to spend more time seeing the walls of my casa bedroom, rather than the country itself.
Cuba is changing rapidly and is already a place that I would describe as being quite touristy - which seems to be benefitting a small amount of the general population.
Although I'm glad I went, it was a trip I was really looking forward to, so the disappointment cut deep. "
Fes, Morocco by Eternal Arrival
"I’ve heard that Morocco is one of those countries you either love or hate. How I feel about it in retrospect depends on the day, but I’m usually not racing to its defenses. One city I definitely was not a fan of, however, was Fes. Marrakech was chaotic but somehow it felt more navigable. In Fes, I felt lost nearly all of the time, and there was a slight menacing air to the city, not helped at all by numerous riad owners telling us not to walk alone in Fes or risk being robbed.
Stubborn and not wanting a male chaperone my entire stay, I tried to navigate the streets on my own (during the daytime, of course). Nothing terrible happened, but there was a frightening moment where I asked a group of construction workers for directions (in French, I might add) and they talked amongst themselves before deciding one of them would escort me back. The one who did escort me, however, was carrying an enormous piece of wood that easily could have knocked a girl out – not exactly the stuff that puts you at ease. While he did safely bring me back to my riad, it was not without me nearly having a heart attack along the way.
Walking around the medinas with a friend was also an incredibly stressful experience. People constantly shouting at us, coupled with the overpowering smell of the ancient leather tanneries that permeated the medina, created an experience so unpleasant we opted for a tour the following day. The tour guide ended up walking us from overpriced store to overpriced store, trying to get us to pay $20 USD for argan oil that cost $4 or $5 elsewhere. Needless to say, when I finally left Fes for the blue city of Chefchaouen, it was a huge weight off my shoulders – and a relief for my suffering nostrils."
Florence by Alternative Travelers
"Most people dream of visiting Italy one day, especially romantic Tuscany and its capital, Florence, the heart of the Italian Renaissance. Needless to say, we were surprised when we didn't like the city, despite spending a week there trying to uncover interesting and local spots. But Florence seemed to be a place just for tourists, a kind of Disney-theme park version of an old city. The amount of history that the city streets have seen is incredible and the Duomo was certainly impressive, but Florence’s past did not lead in any way to an “authentic” experience. Touristy and expensive shops lined the streets and try as we might, we could not find any alternative or local spaces that were more our scene. The city does not share its treasures with just anyone and anything of cultural interest had a high entrance fee. We tried to wander outside of the historic center but found nothing besides residential buildings. In addition, Florence is a surprisingly loud city due to the extensive off-season construction work and high amount of traffic due to poor public transportation – and this is coming from two New Yorkers currently living in Madrid. Yet in Florence, the small streets made it impossible to get away from the din. All in all, we were disappointed and a bit perplexed as to city’s popularity, but of course everywhere is not for everyone. "
Las Vegas by Two Scots Abroad
"Las Vegas was so underwhelming. It really is not often that I bash destinations, I can
usually find some positives to sell but Vegas’s bright lights just did not sparkle for me.
Hollywood really has a lot to answer for; the movies lied. I just don’t get why people
would go to town with lots of hotels and shops and not much else? We did what
everyone does in Vegas; we took a party bus to the sign and fought the crowds to get a
snap, mingled with the party-goers at a high rise club (the men were obnoxious),
played the slot machines (bored within two minutes). Luckily I was only there for two
nights then moved onto the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley and then one of
America’s true party places, New Orleans! Needless to say I lost two nights sleep to
that hot mess of a city. 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ as the saying goes. Well,
personally I am pretty happy with that, as I won’t be rushing back."
Orlando by Ginger on the Go
"I had a work conference in Orlando, and decided to make the most of my free time in the city by trying out a few restaurants and taking a day trip to the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. The restaurant I tried out was called The Whiskey, yet several of the whiskeys I tried to taste off the menu were unavailable. The food was decent, but nothing spectacular. The restaurant did have a live band which was better than the 9pm lightshow at the resort. While I knew I wasn't a huge Disney fan, I do like food and wine. I decided to give the festival a chance. I had read several good reviews about this festival online, prior to my trip. At over $100 to get into the theme park, and more for each item purchased, I was incredibly disappointed. Some of the food was so bad I threw it away without finishing. I suppose that festival might be exciting for someone who hasn't traveled much or doesn't live in a major city full of cultural diversity. It left me unimpressed, and if you consider yourself a foodie, I highly encourage skipping the festival. I don't plan on going back to Orlando anytime soon. "
Antananarivo, Madagascar by Gabriela Here and There
"I had one of the worst travel experiences in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. From the day one, everything just went wrong and even though I still want to visit Madagascar again, I’ll never return to Antananarivo.
I was traveling in Comoros before flying to Madagascar, and the locals were telling me that Madagascar is very dangerous country and Antananarivo is one of the most dangerous cities in Africa. They told me stories of how people have gotten mugged and robbed.
I didn’t want to take any risks, so I didn’t go outside after dark, I only walked on busy streets where there were other people around me, and I hardly carried any valuables with me. One afternoon I was walking towards the center, carrying my phone and a little bit of cash with me, when it happened. I could only see a guy coming from the side and grabbing my bag. He grabbed it so hard that I fell to my knees and he started dragging me because the bag was still slung across my body. Finally, he got the bag and started running up the hill. My knees and elbows were bleeding, but I started to run after him. There was one guy who was trying to help me, but he got punched in the face.
Besides the robbery, I also got threatened, catcalled on the streets and learned that you couldn't even trust the police in Madagascar."
Do you have a story about a place which you would never visit again? Tell us all about your experience in the comments section below.