Bucket List Or Give It A Miss?

We’ve all been there I’m sure. Your friends and family have raved about some awesome travel destination, cultural or heritage sight, but you just didn’t get the vibe or understand the hype.

Tell us about somewhere that fell well short on expectations.

  1. Name one place you’d never visit again and why?
  2. Name one place you’ve visited you’d never recommend to your worst enemy
  3. Where in the world did not meet your expectations?
  4. Is there anywhere you’ve visited in the world that’s disappointed you?

Images are not indicative of any team choices …


Halong Bay, Vietnam. I had seen pictures and imagined a gorgeous natural landscape but what I didn’t realize was the very touristy town that now surrounds it. I had an overnight trip through the bay which was really beautiful, but there were dozens of other boats just like mine which formed a little chain going to the same stops . It was rare that you were ever in a spot where you didn’t see another boat. The weather there is also very finicky- since I spent 2 days I had some sunny times, some foggy times. Another time I went back and I did find a local town that seemed less touristy but I was only exploring it because the weather was again super cloudy and rainy.

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"Standing majestically on the banks of River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal is synonymous to love and romance. The name “Taj Mahal” was derived from the name of Shah Jahan’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and means “Crown Palace”.

This majestic monument stands on the banks of one of the most polluted rivers in India and some years ago the Indian Gov had to shut down the tanneries on the banks of the Yamuna because the pollution was so bad it was destroying the marble. As stunningly beautiful as it is the town of Agra is sadly typical of many parts of India and living there for 6 years I should not have been surprised but had hoped to see the revenue generated by this Wonder Of The Modern World benefit the people of Agra.

Visiting anywhere is about the whole experience and my lasting memory is not of the monument but where it stands and what surrounds it.

Having backpacked for long periods we became aware that our view of a place was heavily influenced by the weather and the hotel/hostel we had booked and its location. Obviously these are not fair things to base our opinion on.
Also the more we travelled, the more it became about experiences rather than attractions which can’t be given to anyone else.
When we tell people we housesit we say we’ve seen all sorts of places we’d not usually think of going, but if we can’t find enough to keep us occupied anywhere for a month or so, then we are just not trying?

One piece of travel advice I can think of is don’t believe the hype, you don’t need to be up at 04.00 to get the bus up to Machu Picchu!

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I was quite underwhelmed by Vienna. I somehow found it “too perfect” and pretty soulless.
Wasn’t overly impressed by Bordeaux either, but that might’ve been because of the area we stayed in and the fact that is was pouring out of the heavens for 3 days!

Will both have to give them another chance, sometimes circumstances play a massive role in 1st impressions…

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Everyone’s experience is different. I try not to recommend places to go or not to go unless I know the person really well.
I can’t think of anywhere I would definitely say never go there as I’ve always tried to find some positive thing out of a place.
New Providence in the Bahamas might be the closest but I’m sure there are people out there that love it. To me it was dirty, squallied and I didn’t feel safe. However (told you I’d find a positive), after sailing in the Out Islands for four months I loved their ice cream.

We try and stick to authentic unscripted travel experiences that generally involve some challenges but always leave us with happy memories overall. Slow travel is usually less disappointing and housesitting has helped with that immensely.

We absolutely loved Mexico, but we were both very underwhelmed by Chichén Itzá. We were, however, mesmerised by Teotihuacan - the vast site northeast of Mexico City. We got a local bus from the city centre to arrive as the gates opened and were just a handful of people wandering the ruins. The museum is fantastic. By the time the tourist buses rolled in we’d done out sightseeing and were on our way out.

Here are some contrasting pics of the two sites.

It’s funny though when I look back today at photos, I feel both did have their positives and negatives :slight_smile: Being able to climb the pyramides at Teotihuacan is not going to preserve them long term whereas Chichén Itzá is protected. Which is better I wonder?


We do visit some of the ‘touristy’ sites in major cities, but for the most part, I’ve found them disappointing - too crowded, too commercialized, too expensive etc. The Vatican is one example. I guess I’m glad I’ve been, but for the most part, I felt like I was being herded like cattle.

Another one, and I’m sure this will be controversial, was the Louvre. It was just too overwhelming and there’s no way I could appreciate it in one afternoon. I think if I lived in a Paris for a year, I’d go once a week and see one room each week.

That being said, I would never tell people to give anything “a miss” because everyone is different.


@Kelownagurl We were lucky enough to be in Rome in December so visited the Vatican. The security man told us we were tourists numbers 37/38 for the day …In normal times they would expect up to 30,000 a day! - A once in a lifetime experience. We were in Athens in November and did the same when visiting the Acropolis - An amazing experience!


Oh wow, that really would be amazing!


I agree with you on the Louvre. Way too crowded for my tastes.


That is cool! Of course, the reason for the lack of tourists is sad. Looks like you had amazing experiences!