A phrase enough to spread terror, woe and the occasional allergic reaction to seasoned travellers.
As much as you don’t like being classified as a tourist, there is not much you can do to avoid it. Visiting the main attractions of the city you are in is something you’ll eventually do, no matter how much you scoff at the camera-welding tourist hordes.
However, not all tourist attractions are the same: some of them are worthy of their reputation, while others will make you look for the nearest Starbucks. A little while back, we created a handy guide that ranked the world’s tourist attractions (from best to most overrated) based on a specific set of reliable data points, such as:
- Excellent and Very Good Tripadvisor reviews
- Google reviews average
- The average accommodation rating of nearby properties on Booking
- Ease of access based on Google Maps
- Safety and security, with data obtained by the World Economic Forum
Our little expedition into the world of tourism has not gone unnoticed by major TV networks and has not earned us any friends in Peru. But hey -we’re just the messenger! Let’s see which tourist attractions on our list fared the worst in terms of TripAdvisor reviews based on our research!
10. Grand Palace – Bangkok, Thailand
As one of Thailand’s must-visit attractions, the Grand Palace in Bangkok is usually crowded. However, tropical heat, people and confined spaces do not mix well. Add a generous dose of tourist trap gimmicks and a less-than-ideal staff, and you have a recipe for disaster in your hands.
Here’s what people have been saying about the Grand Palace in Bangkok:
- If you want to feel like a cow…
Bangkok journey tours–recommended by The Shangri-La Hotel took us here. First they said they would take us in an air conditioned van but they didn’t. Second it was a complete ripoff. It was like being a cow on it’s way to slaughter. It was absolutely awful.
- Expensive for a tourist.
The grand Palace should be the first stop on your trip to Bangkok. However after taking the bus to the grand Palace we found that the price to enter was very expensive compared to locals. We asked why we have to pay so much money and the lady said this is because we are tourists we have to pay more and this was 500 Baht to go in. So we moved on
- Rude staff!!
This sight is a must when in Bangkok but the 500 baht entrance fee is quite expensive and it’s very over crowded. My real problem with this place however is the rude staff we were allowed to buy a ticket and then i was refused entry to the palace. I was wearing a vest which i knew i needed to cover up so i wore a scarf over my shoulders and i was completely covered. However the rude staff told me this was not allowed and unless i bought a 200 baht t shirt i wouldn’t be allowed in. This happened to a lot of people but no locals it’s clearly a tourist scam to make more money. Such a shame as this then spoilt the day. I personally don’t see the problem as i was fully covered before wearing a scarf and of course no signs to inform you before you go in!! Daylight robbery at its best avoid!!!
9. Great Pyramid of Giza – Cairo, Egypt
Did you know that Cleopatra was born closer to the moon landing than the building of the Pyramids? The oldest -and only- one of the seven wonders of the wold still standing, the Great Pyramid of Giza has been a tourist trap since the 18th century. Although it would be interesting to read TripAdvisor reviews from that era, we imagine that many contemporaries of Nathaniel Davison would complaint about the same things as modern day travellers.
Here’s what people have been saying about the Great Pyramid of Giza:
- Great place around horrible people
The site is amazing. The people around selling, stealing, lying, name calling, and harassing in the name of culture make it a site that is better seen in postcards.
- Terrible animal abuse and tons of con-artists
We (a family of 3) recently visited Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza. We were very excited that we got to see these fantastic wonders of the world. Amazing heritage, really.
What was a really sad experience though were the amount of people at and around the site that were trying to con us and lure us into buying things from them. A lot of this people were even saying that they worked for the government, which was obviously not true.
The other thing that I’d like to bring to your attention is the extreme forms of animal abuse. Horses and camels were beaten and whipped until they were bleeding heavily. They were loaded with way too many tourists so that they actually slipped across the asphalt. Really a terrible sight that actually made our 6 year old boy cry out in tears. I am sure that you want tourists of your wonderful country to remember your legacy and heritage and not the extreme forms of animal abuse and con artists.
- Horrible surroundings and rip off dishonest people!
It is so unfortunate that this place is surrounded by the most dirty surrounding and served by a bunch of rip off and extremely dishonest people who would try to get money from you in every way for absolutely NO service whatsoever! This place which at one time WAS great, now is unfortunately one of the filthiest places on earth and looked after by the most worthless people.
8. Gold Museum – Bogota, Colombia
Not all that glitters is gold. And not all that is gold is exciting. At least that’s what underwhelmed visitors to the Gold Museum in Bogota are saying! This museum is one of the most visited attractions of Bogota, featuring a wide selection of indigenous gold artefacts and exhibits. Although this is a golden opportunity (pun intended) for an archaeology lesson, many visitors left disappointed from this museum.
Here’s what people have been saying about the Gold Museum:
We (4 females 18-25) found this really boring, and not one of the best things to do in Bogotá. If you are interested in metal or archeology then you would probably enjoy it, but I would not recommend!
- You had better really like gold
I have no existing appreciation for gold. This was one of the most boring museums I’ve ever visited.
- Too much gold for me
Yes it is in the name and it is the whole subject of the museum. The museum shows a lot of beautiful gold products but for me personally it was just a bit boring. Probably this only has to do with personal preferences. The museum looks beautiful and is located well! If you are into gold and the history behind, I am sure it is definitely worth it.
7. Lotte World – Seoul, South Korea
Lotte World is one of the world’s largest recreational areas, including an indoor theme park, shopping malls, hotels, movie theaters and sports facilities. As you can imagine, the area gets quite crowded on an average day: each year, the park receives more than 7 million visitors. Combined with the inflated prices, this has lead many people to believe that Lotte World is, in fact, one of the most overrated attractions on the planet.
Here’s what people have been saying about Lotte World:
- Worst park ever
We went there on a Monday, in the morning. But the amount of people queuing was unbelievable. The waiting time was at least one hour, up to 3hours. The most popular rides have longer waiting time, ofc. During 6 hours spend there we took 3 rides total. You can buy a magic pass, but that costs extra 100k and you can’t use it on all rides. And let’s be honest, 50$ for the regular ticket is not so cheap. Also, you have to pay extra for some of the rides/attractions. To sum up, I don’t recommend it neither will I go there again.
- Very average!
Unless you’re really desperate to spend money on any average theme park, don’t go. The rides and premises feels old and tattered. The crowds are packed and the queues are crazy long (2 hours) for a short unexciting roller coaster ride. It’s also small with limited attractions. We were bored stiff despite spending a fortune on the entrance fee.
- Very disappointing
Went there with my family of 4 and most of the outdoor rides were closed because of winter time and a lot of indoor rides were under inspection hence closed. They didn’t even tell the patrons when we bought the tickets! The rest of the rides were either too kiddy even for my 6 years old or the queue was like 2 hours. We ended up spending only 2 hours there and took 1 ride which is the merry go-round. Totally a bad experience. Cannot go during winter time. This place is also meant for toddlers. Far far from disney standard!
6. Great Wall of China – China
Spanning well over 20,000km in length, the Great Wall of China is one of the most impressive architectural feats in human history. Although the structure is not actually visible from space (not even low orbit), the crowds visiting definitely are. Or so we think, based on the reviews we read on TripAdvisor. Maybe Karl Pilkington was right all along and the Great Wall of China isn’t so great after all.
Here’s what people have been saying about the Alright Wall of China:
- Awful, horrible, traumatic, evil – it’s the only way to describe this place
We were SCAMMED and MISLED about this section of the Great Wall:
1) You will WALK almost 2 miles UPHILL. Be prepared. They lied to us and said our ‘private car’ would take us to the cable lift car. NOT TRUE.
2) LONG LINES – another lie. They told us Mutianyu would have very little lines. LINES WERE EVERYWHERE. Lines to ride the shuttle bus to the lift. Lines to take the cable car up and lines to walk up the stairs to the Great Wall. LONG LINES of thousands of people.
3) Loud, screaming little brats everywhere – like mice – screaming Chinese and bumping into you all day long – I literally had bruises from these little uncontrollable, hyperactive, screaming brats.
AVOID GOING HERE AT ALL COSTS. If you ‘must’ see the Great Wall, take a helicopter – it’s worth the hundreds more. You only live once. Or maybe just say you went to Beijing, but didn’t have time to go to the Great Wall.
- SKIP IT
As a Chinese reviewer previously said, It’s a bit of “China-grandiose-achievement meet Disneyland”. This area of the wall is totally a 20th Century copy, nothing original. The crowds are oppressive. While the views are nice, you do not need to go to wall to get these in China. It is not worth taking the time (1 1/2 to 2 hours each way) while in Beijing. There are better things to do.
- Great Wall at BAD-aling
Chinese New Year definitely a crazy time to visit the Great Wall at Badaling, but our hotel concierge said it would be fine. We went in a taxi, sat in a traffic jam to get in the main gate for at least an hour and on reaching the main entrance the driver disappeared instead of waiting as promised. From there it was at least a mile and a half walk to get to the wall with crowds of other people on a road (no foot path) with big tour buses thundering up and down it. On reaching the wall there were throngs of people pushing and shoving to buy tickets and the huge queues to get on the wall itself. Giving up on any hope of setting foot on the wall, we settled for a couple of photos and the hope of a snack.
After one hour in a Subway (yes, that fine Chinese food outlet, but only because we were hangry) we managed to get a train ticket to Beijing, along with about 3000 other people (no kidding) and finally arrived back at our hotel 4 hours after cramming onto the train and then the subway. All this in -6 degrees Celsius. I’m not saying don’t go to the great wall, but plan well ahead, dress very warm in winter and look at locations other than Badaling; if all you want is a quick walk on the wall and some snaps, there are easier places to go – don’t make our mistakes.
5. Tate Modern – London, United Kingdom
What is art? How can we define it? Even though the permanent exhibition at the Tate Modern offers is free, it seems like the masses are still not convinced by the artwork featured inside. Enter at your own risk!
Here’s what people have been saying about the Tate Modern:
- Is this really art?
The stuff contained within this awful looking building cannot be described as art, surely? How is a block of white material considered art? Some exhibition descriptions within the Tate really are intriguing and pull you in to the rooms, however when you get inside you’re met with disappointment. The view at the top of the building is it’s only redeeming feature, even if you spend most of the time on the observatory checking out the flats the Tate peers into.
- What the hell is that, it isnt art.
The most interesting things are the lumps of ice outside, the view from the 10th floor, especially of the Neo buildings behind, and the building itself which is incredible, there is nothing inside except a load of self indulgent nonsense.
- Who commisions this rubbish
I have been in construction my whole working life and have seen stacks of bricks and piles of wood. Seriously! The building it is housed in is more interesting and that is just a square box. That is time I will never get back
4. Disneyland – Paris, France
The Paris Disneyland was first the first Disney theme park in Europe (following the one in Orlando and Tokyo) in 1992 as EuroDisney. Since then, over 300 million people have visited it, making it a pipeline dream for children all over the world. Disneyland is notorious worldwide for its long waiting lines, bad service, spoiled kids and exorbitant pricing. This certainly sounds like all the things we hate as adults.
Here’s what people have been saying about Disneyland:
- Disgraceful, overpriced, poor maintenance, insufficient staff, dreadful customer service, BUYER BEWARE! Waste of holiday
Disgraceful corporate greed dressed up in the empty promise of a fun family day out.
Paid 500euros for day tickets for a family of 6 on Sunday 24th March and managed to only get on 1 ride over 5 hours. Waited 2.5hrs for Thunder Mountain for the ride to be cancelled. Poor maintenance. Lack of staff. Dreadful crowd management. No entertainment of toilets in queues. Worst day ever, most expensive ride ever. Poorest customer service ever when we complained.Too many people and not enough attractions. Disgusted and WOULD NOT RECOMMEND Visiting to anyone. A wasted day of holiday.
- Not fun at all
Came to have a Disney weekend. Stayed at a hotel nearby and enjoy their free shutte.
As usual, minimum queue is 60mins-90mins for each attraction that last at 2mins max.
Disney have to find a solution to shorten this time lost everytime you visit the park so that people who bought ticket “2park/1day” can actually visit properly these park within their day limit
3. Grand Bazaar – Istanbul, Turkey
Just the phrase “Grand Bazaar” is enough to make you think about Turkish delights and the smell of spices, incense and essential oils. However, since we no longer live in the 19th century and the Ottoman Empire has ceased to exist, be prepared to enter the biggest tourist trap in Istanbul. The area is indeed impressive, but in terms of actual haggling with the local traders, you are always going to lose, as prices care over-inflated, and the products are all the same.
Here’s what people have been saying about the Grand Bazaar:
- Deception at the bazaar
I found this to be the most disappointing visit of all Istanbul. Totally overated and they are building a new luxory store lined avenue leading up to the Bazaar. Well built of course, but out of place and ridiculous. Keep the customs and history rather than make the place look like everywhere else.
Go visit anywhere else but here. Just walk around Istanbul and the feeling for the city will be more worth it!
- Too aggressive, overpriced and lots of fake merchandise
While it might seem fascinating in its sheer size and there are indeed also quality products / authentic ones, it is mostly aggressive owners, huge crowds and fake branded products that make this a terrible experience.
- Overpriced tourist trap
The Grand Bazaar is an interesting building architecturally, but that is the only reason I would recommend going there.
It is a tourist trap, with prices deliberately inflated to catch tourists. Don’t get caught out and if you do go there with the intention of buying, make sure you know the prices of the items in regular shops.
Want spices? Go to a supermarket. Want Turkish Delight? Go to Independence Avenue.
Don’t fall for the tricks of the Grand Bazaar merchants!
2. Machu Picchu – Cuzco, Peru
There is no denying that Machu Picchu is one of the most impressive places on Earth. However, getting there is by no means easy, as you have to spend a lot of time (and money) to reach it. The ranking of Machu Picchu in our research elicited an angry response from Peruvians, but in our defense, we’re just the messenger.
Here’s what people have been saying about Machu Picchu:
- Most over rated place on Earth
Founded in 1470 you can see only stones. Literally nothing else. Not a statue, a painting, a ceiling, a mosaic, a floor, a writing. Nothing. It has been founded in 1470 so not so long ago. The place is a rip off for tourists but even so it is overcrowded.
We had to wait in line for 3 hours until we could get in the bus to take us from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. The alternative was to walk 1800 steps (which wasn’t an option for us because we had an injured traveller with us). So it had to be the bus. Getting up at 3.30 A.M. and arriving at 7 A.M. speaks for itself. Aguas Calientes is a nightmare. Thankfully the Machu Picchu itself was a nice experience. After out visit we had to wait again for almost an hour until we could get in the bus to take us back to Aguas Calientes. How to get back to Cusco? We had to take the overprized train – because there is no other option you could choose from! I love Peru, but THIS was a horrible trip.
Our tipp instead: walk the Salkantay-Track on your own and stay the 4th night at the Camping on top of Llactapata to watch the Machu Picchu from there! THAT is a great experience!
- Nice ruins, true racket
Ok, let’s be clear. The site is nice, we were there in march, so there were not much people. We had a nice weather. The visit was ok.Now, I give a 1* because Peru seems to consider tourists as walking wallets: Let’s calculate. 3,5 soles = 1 euro = 1,1 dollars
- Entrance to MP: 200 soles (if you take the montana or the Huana)
- Train to Aguas Calientes: 2*60$ (and we had the cheapest of the day)
- Bus to the site (We walked, but if you don’t want to climb 500m, then you must take the bus)=24$
- Bed in Aguas which is much more expensive than the rest of Peru = 40 soles
- Food = 30 soles = 234$
And it is only for a 1 day visit. I understand that it could be considered the best in Peru, but frankly I found the commercial attitude disgusting. If you are a fan of stones, I strongly advice you to prefer Cambodia and go see Angkor. For half the price, you will have dozens of temples (2 days visit), and a touk touk for the day. Moreover, in MP, we couldn’t sit, or jump to take pictures, and when a guard finds you doing something theyr don’t like, you get wheestled (as if you were a dog). My opinion: it is NOT worth the price.
1. Hollywood Walk of Fame – Los Angeles, USA
The Hollywood Walk of Fame was ranked as the most overrated tourist attraction in the world based on our research. Or, as Jimmy Kimmel puts it “the only place in the world where you can look at celebrities’ names… on the ground!”
According to the TripAdvisor review, going to the Hollywood Walk of Fame will take you through the full spectrum of human emotion. Namely, fear, disgust and dissapointment.
Here’s what people have been saying about the Hollywood Walk of Fame:
- Just Gross!!!!
Like visiting a landfill!!! Don’t waste your time or money!!!! Shame on LA and Hollywood!!!! Homeless Everywhere, Street Hustlers in the malls looking to rip you off, crackheads sleeping on the sidewalk….. It’s all just gross!!!
- Get me outta here!
Between the religious zealot groups screaming in your ears, to the spray paint artists, to the dudes trying to shove CDs in your hands, horrible!
- Tawdry, Tasteless, Crowded and Creepy
Necessity brought us to the neighborhood, otherwise we normally steer clear. The headline says it all —almost. It is also dirty, noisy and expensive. It is a blight on Los Angeles.
If you enjoy the smell of urine and marijuana and like seeing homeless people everywhere- then this is the place for you. Unfortunately this place is trying to hold onto the fame and fortune of yesteryear and a must see location. I was so excited to visit this area on a recent trip and was disgusted on how terrible it was. It was dirty and the stars were damaged, no maintenance seems to occur. Something needs to be done! Disgraceful!