Travel is an activity you spend on that makes you richer. The discoveries we find and the experiences we gain when traveling are incomparable to the amount of money we spend on them. However, it does not always have to be expensive to travel. If you plan ahead and plan well, you can skimp on certain things and still have the same level of enjoyment with every trip.
Traveling in countries foreign to you can lead you to major tourist traps. If you did not research well for the trip, you might end up spending a ton of money in these tourist traps without even noticing it. Hence, it is important to be careful when traveling. There may be attractions that are well advertised but might just turn out to be boring misrepresentations of the spots that you should be visiting.
Aside from money, tourist traps can take away your precious time. You could have spent that time doing more meaningful activities but you ended up stuck in major tourist traps. To avoid these, we will let you in on some travel destinations that turned out to be major tourist traps. If you can, just avoid this places and look for other areas to explore. You are better off without going these places anyway.
In no particular order, here are some tourist traps to avoid.
20. Patpong, Bangkok, Thailand
Patpong is a popular street in Bangkok that comes alive at night. It is dubbed as the red light district of the city, which is often flocked by many expats and tourists. It is lined with many nightclubs and bars. Outside of these establishments, girls who are there to “entertain” await customers. However, Patpong is considered as a tourist trap because of the scams that you might experience when you are not careful in this street. Moreover, food and drinks here are expensive but without the guarantee that they will be good. Plus, riding a “tuktuk” (a local means of transportation in Thailand) is also pricey because most drivers know that people here are not locals. You can walk around but it is not a place to spend too much time (and money) in.
19. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Bangkok
Floating markets are aplenty in Bangkok, Thailand. Still, there is one floating market that many tourists want to visit and that is the Damnoen Saduak. This floating market used to be a legit place for locals to have some boat noodles or to buy some produce, but it has completely changed since tourists started pouring in. Sadly, the goods that can be found here are no longer different to the stuff sold on Khao San Road.
18. Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong
The Avenue of Stars is a popular tourist destination in Hong Kong that was built in 2004. They built it to get tourists to visit this area. Hence, if you go here, you can see many flag-toting tour guides followed by a long line of tourists. An iconic part of Avenue of Stars is Bruce Lee’s statue where many tourists try to take selfies with. Surrounding the area are small speakers that blast out music. The Avenue of Stars lacks a few fixtures that could have made visiting this place comfortable. There are more photo areas in this place than resting areas.
17. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A tourist trap, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil may have been a good place to visit to get amazed with the gigantic statue of Christ the Redeemer. However, the number of tourists going here continues to balloon and there are no contingency plans to address this. Hence, the ticketing to this place has become chaotic. You will spend hours waiting to get up close to the giant statue. Some of the longest lines are experienced during the weekends when there is an outpouring of travelers in the city.
16. Times Square, New York City
Times Square is a busy intersection in New York City filled with locals rushing to go to work and tourists trying to get a taste of the Big Apple. It has a huge TV and a bunch of screens for outdoor advertising. Surrounding it are either offices or shopping centers that you can also find anywhere else in the US. Although iconic, it is a tourist trap that even locals try to avoid when they can. It is a place that is easy to get stuck in, it is filled with traffic jams, and the food here is surely expensive.
15. Costa del Sol, Spain
To many travelers in Europe, the sun is something they chase, and Costa del Sol in Spain is a quick fix. It is a beach that resembles a quaint fishing village that has been filled with bikini-wearing tourists and sunscreen. Apparently, this place just offers a change of view but not a change of culture. Costa del Sol has some of the ridiculous prices to almost anything. It is polluted, surrounded by concrete, and filled with traffic jams. There are other better places to visit rather than just bathe in the sun in this tourist trap.
14. Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Historically a famous landmark, the Stonehenge in Wiltshire is a tourist trap. The destination is said to be overpriced and underwhelming. You can only get right up to it on solstices. It is better to simply drive by it and marvel from afar while on the road. Then, drive ahead to Avebury. In Avebury, you will find a much more accessible ancient stone circle where the stones are a bit smaller than the ones at Stonehenge. Still, it is the biggest in Europe in terms of diameter.
13. Nanjing Dong Lu, Shanghai
This tourist destination is dubbed as the “best shopping street in China” but it fails to deliver just that. Some 150 years ago, Nanjing Dong Lu was popular as “number one commercial street in China”. Although most travel books recommend that you visit this place when in China, you are better off checking out other shopping districts.
History in Nanjing Dong Lu has been long gone. There are still a few old stores but everything else is new and you can find most shops even in other places. You will rarely see locals in this place. Most of the remaining stores here are from brands that are just too common.
12. Killarney, Ireland
This would have been a beautiful place to visit if you could go here alone. Unfortunately, Killarney in Ireland is one of the few places on Earth where you will see a lot of people wearing name tags. The area is commonplace for traffic jams caused by tour buses. If unfortunately, you spend the night in Killarney, you will dread it even more. This tourist destination has lots of hotels and malls that are packed with shoppers searching from unimportant souvenirs.
11. Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica
Dunn’s River Falls is a stunning series of waterfalls located in Jamaica. It would have been a nice place to visit if not for the overabundance of people visiting this place. Taking photos of the falls would have been nice but it is difficult to get one perfectly with no traveler taking a dip in the background.
Tourists crowd Dunn’s River Falls almost all year round. Some even walk hand in hand like ants walking hillside with a secret mission. Since there are tourists, there are also a lot of guides in the place. What makes it more of a tourist trap is the high chance that you can get ripped off here.
10. Winston Churchill’s Britain at War Experience, London
Winston Churchill’s Britain at War Experience is a heavily advertised tourist spot in London. Apparently, it is the place to go to “experience” wartime London. The place has a few decent artifacts. Unfortunately, most displays that tourists can see are from department store mannequins slathered with fake blood to mimic Blitz carnage. Those who have visited Winston Churchill’s Britain at War Experience will most likely advise against going here. It is just not worth it.
9. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
An iconic piece of history, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a must-visit according to many travel books but it is not really worth it. There are not a lot of things to see in this area or a lot to say about it except that it is a tower that leans. If you visit, after a few seconds of marveling at its bad architecture, there is nothing left to do except climb the tower. Unfortunately, to do so, you need to fall in a long line of tourists who wish to do the same. Moreover, you need to pay 15 euros to go up it’s nauseating 300 spiral steps within a set time slot. You can skip all this and just take a picture from afar as if the tower is going to fall on you.
8. Space Needle, Seattle
In Seattle, the Space Needle is possibly the most interesting tourist destination. However, if you talk to locals, they would tell you to go elsewhere. Going up the Space Needle to have a great view of the city is expensive. Hence, if you want the view but do not want to spend a lot, then the Space Needle is not the option for you. For a better view that is less expensive, you should go to the Columbia Tower. Although the observation deck on the 73rd floor has an admission fee, it is still way cheaper than what you will spend on the Space Needle.
7. Land’s End, England
The Land’s End is the westernmost point of England. Initially, it looks rugged as if it can truly get you up close with nature. However, it is actually a tacky tourist trap that businesses have destroyed. They took every bit of charm or authenticity from this place that it once had. If you visit Land’s End, you will see an endless barrage of “the last” everything from hotels, shops, postal boxes, and more. To come here is simply to just say that you have been at the Land’s End and nothing more.
6. Moulin Rouge, Paris
The Moulin Rouge in Paris is so very popular that it earned a sparkly Hollywood movie. However, some people will suggest going elsewhere to see dancing girls. The cancan might have been invented here but that was a long time in the past. Today, Moulin Rouge is mostly for tourists. Hence, it has become a trap. If you are traveling in this city and want to go to a cabaret, a better choice is the Le Crazy Horse. It has better shows with stars like Arielle Dombasle or Dita von Teese.
5. Sydney Fish Market, Sydney
The Sydney Fish Market is a nice place to visit and chill but only if you cover your nose and you ignore the pollution. In some cases, people describe a visit in this place as being as deadly to the person as it is to the fish. There are many plastic seats on metal stands in this area that overlook the dirty and aptly named Blackwattle Bay.
History is also not apparent at the Sydney Fish Market. The harbor’s shore has many iron railings and there is no access to the foreshore. There are two large cement factories in the area that contribute to the pollution on this fish market.
4. Flower Market, Amsterdam
Holland is popular for tulips but the flower market is a tourist trap in Amsterdam. For an authentic experience, the flower market should be placed on boats. Even if there are a few on boats, you can hardly notice that. Moreover, there is only a few selection of flowers that are sold to tourists and most of the shops sell mostly flower bulbs to tourists. Unfortunately, if you buy flower bulbs, you will find out later on at the airport that you cannot bring them home.
3. Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal in India is an iconic tourist destination and a symbol of love to the one who built it. However, it has become a victim of its own purpose and perfection. Due to its beauty, magnificence, and meaning, it draws a lot of crowds, which has transformed it into a tourist trap. It may be a good place to take a photo or two if you can just shrug off the mess and pollution surrounding it. People, even locals, flock more in this place during autumn festival of Diwali. Best to avoid it then if you are not into crowds.
2. Central Tokyo
This is just a concrete jungle. Central Tokyo is filled with tall skyscrapers and salary men rushing to work. It has lost the essence of Japan’s past. Moreover, it is filled with outdoor advertising. Plus, the Tokyo Tower is just a massive structure that is unoriginal and a waste of time.
If you want to see historical Japan then you will not find it in Central Tokyo. On top of that, everything is expensive in this busy city from food to accommodation to transportation. Shopping here is common but is also very pricey.
1. Empire State Building, New York
Although it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in New York, traveling to the top of the Empire State Building is a waste of time and money. The building used to be the tallest building in the world for quite some time, however now it is only a tourist trap. To go up the Empire State Building, you need to purchase a ticket. The price of the ticket is pretty steep. Moreover, the top of the building was not designed to handle huge crowds so you have to wait in long lines in order to climb up. This wait can get uncomfortable. If you want an amazing view of the city, a better alternative is the Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
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