Travelers Tell All: The Most Overrated Destinations

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Most Overrated Destinations in the World

Overrated (adj): To be held in a higher opinion than is deserved.

We’ve all got a place in our past travels that just didn’t live up to the hype. We’d heard so many good things about it and when we finally got there, it was just completely underwhelming.

Maybe it was too crowded and touristy. Maybe its signature landmark wasn’t all you’d imagined or hoped it would be. Maybe you just have different tastes.

Or maybe the place just isn’t that special.

Case in Point: Bondi Beach, Australia

One that always leaps to mind for me in Sydney’s Bondi Beach, to which hundreds of thousands of people flock every year to get a tan, ogle impossibly attractive people, and ensure Bondi Rescue gets renewed by failing to appreciate just how unforgiving the Pacific Ocean can be.

When I hear from the legions of Brits who have made the suburb Little London, I can’t fathom what they see in the beach. It’s far from the nicest beach in Australia. Far from the nicest in NSW. Not even the nicest in Sydney.

Hell, Bronte Beach a short bus ride away is a nicer beach than Bondi.

Yet year after year, people flock to this comically small stretch of beach with its overpriced cafes and the inflated egos of its pseudo-famous lifesavers and worship at the shrine of sunscreen, sand, and the occasional blue bottle sting.

Alternative: In Sydney, you’ve got Freshwater or Shelly over near Manly. You’ve also got any of the beaches in the Cronulla region. Heading out of Sydney, Redhead, Newcastle, and Merewether (all in Newcastle) are infinitely superior as well.

Travel Bloggers Most Overrated Destinations

The Bondi thing got me thinking about what other destinations I’ve found overrated and what destinations others had been burned by. I put out the call, and some of the biggest and best travel bloggers out there have stepped in with their own suggestions.

Where possible I’ve also asked them to suggest an alternative – a place that offers a similar experience without the disappointment. You’ll find Europe, North America, and Asia were all represented – with poor South East Asia providing a lot of the places that disappointed.

Apparently Oceania, South America, and Africa aren’t quite as over hyped. Who knew?

Europe

Capri, Italy (Justin Plus Lauren) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

Don’t get me wrong: Capri is stunning. It’s a gorgeous island nestled in the Bay of Naples across from the famed Amalfi Coast. Tourists flock to the island daily to experience its rugged cliffs, the Blue Grotto, and shopping for upscale Italian goods. However, Capri was definitely an overrated destination.

First of all, it was very crowded. Of course, many places in Italy are crowded, but it felt as though the island was too small to accommodate everyone who visited.  And we visited in May…I couldn’t imagine what it would be like there in July!  Many visitors came for the day from cruise ships, so perhaps Capri would feel very different at night.

The boat tours for the Blue Grotto took on as many tourists as they possibly could, so we were left to wait, floating around on a small boat for two hours for our five minute canoe ride into the cavern. Once we were inside, it was really cool, but man, that was a long wait! Taking a bus around the island was a challenge as there were too many people and too few buses. There were very long lines for the buses, which forced us to take a taxi at one point (or else we would miss the ferry back to Sorrento!).

Speaking of prices…this was a very expensive place. It was our most expensive day in Italy, and we didn’t even buy anything! We took a ferry to Capri and back, we booked the Blue Grotto tour, we took a bus to Anacapri for the chair lift ride up the mountain, and then we shared a taxi ride back with some other tourists…that alone was enough to break the budget.

Alternative: I highly recommend that you explore some off the beaten path spots in Sorrento. Just a short walk out of the main downtown area, Bagni della Regina Giovanna was a beautiful place and there were hardly any people there.

We were able to stand on the rocky cliffs and gaze out to sea, just the two of us. There’s a really awesome cove there that you can swim inside during the summer months. It was a little bit too chilly for us to swim in May, but we were very content hiking around the rocks and enjoying the view. Sorrento itself is a really nice town with great restaurants and shops at a fraction of the price compared to Capri, and it definitely didn’t feel as crowded there.

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Dublin, Republic of Ireland (Don’t Stop Living) Facebook|Twitter|YouTube

The Republic of Ireland’s capital city of Dublin is somewhat of an over-rated city to myself and many travellers. If it wasn’t for Guinness and having the biggest airport on the island, this place would be nowhere near as popular as it is. I’ve passed through Dublin several times on my journey and with each visit I just think “what is all the hype about?”. You stop someone on the street to ask them directions. They don’t know what you mean. They’re strangers too. You walk up and down Grafton Street and O’Connell Street searching for inspiration. Then you realise: There is nothing to do in Dublin except drink Guinness and listen to Irish music! Oh and the Oscar Wilde statue.

Alternative: Dublin is drab, dreary and dull. The same cannot be said about Belfast, arguably the true gem on the island of Ireland. So for anyone heading to Ireland, get the Northern Irish capital of Belfast on your list and avoid the over-rated, boring, sleeping city of Dublin. Hyped up because everyone and their Granny has been there for a Guinness. Slainte! (Gaelic for cheers) Belfast offers more history, politics and local culture and is also the gateway to the Giant’s Causeway. DSCF9414

Florence, Italy (Max Globetrotter) Facebook|Twitter

I have never been keen on the herds of tourists anxiously clutching copies of “Let’s Go” or some other anodyne guidebook, and nowhere are these more apparent than Florence. Fair enough, Florence is a pretty darned nice place, but unless one has a burning desire to see the Uffizi with several thousand compadres, or pay silly money for “recommended” hotels, I highly advise staying on the train for another couple of hours and heading to Bologna. It is a very fine place; old, an ancient university (1088), a major centre for food, stunning medieval towers and a very well-preserved historical centre. Add to this some very modestly priced accommodation, and superb accommodation at very realistic prices, Bologna is a much, much better bet!

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Istanbul, Turkey (The Other F Word) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

From its placement on the border between Asia and Europe, to its cultural heritage, to the mouth-watering food and glamorous party scene, Istanbul lures millions of tourists on a yearly basis that live to tell the tale of this terrific destination. Or so I thought…

Seeking traces of the Byzantine culture and Greek heritage? Prepare to walk the slums of the Fener district that houses the Patriarchate. Now, I have not actually seen many slums in my life but I have seen war-torn Beirut and it looks palatial, in comparison.

Is it the Turkish influence that you wish to explore? Topkapi Palace’s living quarters can induce claustrophobia even in those that never had the condition and Dolmabahçe Palace brought to mind a poor man’s imitation of the opulent European castles, at best.

Surely strolling The Grand Bazaar is a good way to experience the ‘real Istanbul’? I found it reminiscent of a K-Mart, when you actually do pay attention to the merchandise: corridors upon corridors of small stalls, selling the same overpriced, generic, tourist-geared souvenirs.

To say I was underwhelmed with the city, would be an understatement. The city is filthy, crowded and has none of the ‘authentic’ charm you tend to aim for, when picking an unusual destination. The food is mediocre, unless you really know where you are going or are prepared to pay a premium, so no stumbling on ‘hidden gems’ there.

Perhaps, my only fond memory includes the Turkish Baths, although here, again, caution must be taken to align your expectations. Though great in theory, Istanbul did not deliver the awe and glamour I was expecting.

For those that have tried to change my mind by mentioning the luxurious night clubs, I have two things to say: 1. A night club is made by the company you are with and 2. Aforementioned Beirut. Enough said.

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Asia

Bali, Indonesia (One Travels Far) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

While many people like to rave about Bali, I simply can’t.  I consider it the most overrated destination I’ve ever visited, and probably wouldn’t go back. Sure, it may have been paradise ten years ago, but these days it’s just full of drunk Australians wearing Bintang singlets, guys on corners offering drugs, and police waiting for bribes.
Kuta may be great for cheap cocktails, but don’t be surprised if you’re robbed. And Ubud may be beautiful, but you’ll soon get tired of running into people “finding themselves”. Don’t get me wrong, if you get off the mainland you’ll have better luck.
Alternative: I would recommend Northern Thailand over Bali any day. Places like Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Pai offer excellent nightlife, gorgeous scenery, and an actual cultural experience-something you’d be hard pressed to find in Bali.
Editor’s Note: I intend to avoid Bali like the plague. If I wanted to deal with asshole Australians, I’d just stay home.

Bangkok, Thailand (One Weird Globe) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Pinterest

Bangkok is the hub of Southeast Asia, both in terms of flying in and as a place from which to venture around the country. Unfortunately, that also means the locals have had decades of practice and experience at separating tourists from their money. The famous ‘Grand Palace is closed’ scam is still working today, the streets and sidewalks are clogged with (typically illegal) street vendors, and the amount of corruption and safety issues throughout the city borders on legendary.

Alternative: I’d make a choice between Krabi and Chiang Mai. Krabi is in the south and has plenty of beaches, but isn’t as developed as Bangkok. Chiang Mai is in the north and has plenty of cultures, and has plenty of shopping and temples to enjoy. A flight to either one from Bangkok takes an hour or so, and both have more than enough tourist infrastructure in place for a great time.

Editor’s Note: I love Chiang Mai. Sure, it’s getting more touristy as more people discover how wonderful it is – but it’s still such a peaceful, beautiful city.

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Battambang, Cambodia (Contented Traveller) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Pinterest

Battambang is located in the far northwest of Cambodia. It seemed a good idea at the time to see something a bit different and taking the boat from Siem Reap along the Tonle Sap River would be an experience. What was supposed to be a 3-hour trip turned out to be a 10 hours of getting bogged and boats sinking, so Battambang did not have a good start.

When we eventually arrived it was an utterly depressing place and something felt wrong about it. It had a bad vibe. We went to a café for dinner and then a car came careening around a corner and slammed into the cars parked next to where Gordon was sitting, showering him with glass. They were the Battambang gangsters, and not one person would go near them. There was not one thing that was redeeming about Battambang, and we got the hell out of there the next day and headed, by bus to Phnom Penh, which is place that is totally worth going to.

Paula McInerney of Contented Traveller likes nearly every place that she has visited and can generally see the good in them, but unfortunately, not Battambang.

battambang, cambodia

Boracay, Philippines (Don’t Worry Just Travel) Facebook|Twitter|Pinterest

When I heard about Boracay in the Philippines, I was told and also read, that it has pristine beaches, a vibrant nightlife and is just a cool place to visit.

I stayed in the island’s centre in the station two area. If you’re unwilling to spend 100 USD a night for a beautiful hotel in the north of the island you’ll end up in a place in a back road with sewage smell issues. White beach is indeed beautiful except for these green algae, that made the place a little appalling. Let me guess: Too much sewage again? At night-time, wherever at white beach you finally decide to sit down and have your meal and drinks, you will hear a mix of loud music from different sources trying to drown each other out. The only really cool thing to watch were the fire shows.

If you like a decent mix of nightlife and stunning beauty, go to El Nido in Palawan, also in the Philippines, instead. It is cheaper with better options for all price ranges from wealthy to backpackers. I’ve been at both places, but don’t remember feeling ripped off in El Nido as I did in Boracay. Don’t believe me? Check out the El Nido article on my website.

Editor’s Note: I went to Boracay expecting noise, clubs, crowds, and food – so I wasn’t as disappointed by my own visit. It was a fun place to be with a group of people who just wanted to drink, swim, and eat good food – so it hit the spot. I must have missed algae season too, thank God!

El Nido is lovely, though. My group and I loved our time there. It hasn’t got much of a night life in comparison to Boracay, but it’s so peaceful that you won’t mind.

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Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates (Meet Megan Lee) Twitter

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, ultimately stood for disappointment. After being shuffled, pushed, and prodded up the elevator, you were quickly shuffled, pushed, and prodded onto the 126th floor. Despite the skyscraper’s efforts for crowd control, it still took a few good elbow throws to get to the edge of the platform and see the vistas. It was a constant battle against selfie sticks and the sea of people. The dusty atmosphere of the city meant the view lacked clarity. And to be honest, what’s so cool about seeing endless expanse of flat desert, peppered with a few airplane landings and some other big buildings…?

Thumbs down Burj Khalifa. Thumbs DOWN.

Alternative: Eat dinner at a restaurant with a terrace at the Dubai Mall next door near sundown and enjoy the transition to the sparkly lights from there.

Editor’s Note: You’re making me glad I decided to give the Burj Khalifa a miss during my recent visit to Dubai. I settled for room service and watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in my underpants. Winning.

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Bemused Backpacker) Facebook|Twitter|Google Plus & (breathedreamgo) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

Bemused Backpacker writes: For me Dubai is the single most overrated destination in the world. I hate it. The entire cultural paradigm of Dubai is money, money money and nothing else. It is like it is one big, glitzy airport shopping mall. It has no soul beyond the glitz and glamour, no depth to its culture beyond having the biggest, best and most expensive of everything, and I need to have more than that from a destination. Simply head over the border to Oman, the UAE or Saudi Arabia for an infinitely more interesting destination.

Breathe Dream Go writes: The three days I was in Dubai, I had a nasty head cold. Now, I never get head colds, so I was pretty miserable. Let that fact inform my impressions of the Golden City. I call it “golden” not because of the sand, the gleam off the improbable towers, sticking straight out of the aforementioned sand, the untold oil-wealth of the Emiratis, the splendour of the royal family … but because of the malls.

One mall, specifically, the world’s biggest, The Dubai Mall. It was here I spent an instructive afternoon and evening, traipsing along the richly carpeted Fashion Avenue, where all the high end stores are located like Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Pucci, Nina Ricci and Versace. Groups of young women in black, and young men in white, sail up and down the air-conned corridors like dhows on the Arabian Sea. I watched a beautiful woman swathed in black buying $10,000 jewel-encrusted shoes. Later, I watched a spectacular sound-and-light show in the vast water park that connects The Dubai Mall with the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

By the end I was blinded by all the glittering gold. I went back to my five-star hotel, headed straight for the sushi bar, commiserated with the lonely chef from Tokyo, a city I lived in once, and got drunk on several different types of imported sake. I sort of remember the last bottle had gold dust sprinkled in it. But maybe that was just a dream.

Alternative: The alternative would be to head straight to the desert. I hear the golden sands are starkly beautiful, with nary a shoe store in sight.

Editor’s Note: I was similarly unimpressed by the malls and shopping precincts of Dubai, but found that the city had a lot to like once you scratched beneath the surface.

My work with the Hidden Dubai campaign introduced me to a whole range of more exciting and/or authentic experiences a little off the beaten track. From the city’s laid back and emerging surf culture to the adventurous activities to be found in and around the city, there was certainly more to the city than malls, motels, and millionaires.

Dubai 1 Breathedreamgo

Golden Rock, Myanmar (Grand Escapades) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

This enormous bolder, coated with gold, dangerously balancing atop Mount Kyaiktiyo, is supposedly a major pilgrimage site where Myanmar Buddhists want to come for a day of prayer and worship. Since not only the Lonely Planet, but also several blogs promised an experience full of spirituality, I thought it was worth the 5 hour bus trip south of Yangon… I even considered staying at one of the grossly overpriced hotels on top of the mountain (no less than 100 USD a night, for a basic room) to enjoy this spirituality at sunset and have the best light for stunning pictures. I finally ruled it out: simply too expensive for a few nice pictures… What a great decision it was!

In the late afternoon, large groups of foreign tourists check into those totally exorbitant hotels. Though so many, they are vastly outnumbered by local visitors, who come by the hundreds… But most bothering are not the masses of people, both Western and local tourists alike, but the complete lack of spirituality. True, a few monks were praying close from the Rock. But the vast majority are families coming here for a little excursion, a pick nick with a nice view and… a few hundred pictures, in groups or selfies, in front of the Golden Rock. Basically, there is nothing to see here, but for this big gold-ish bolder!

The gut-wrenching drive up and down (20 USD for a completely overloaded truck, round trip) is interrupted by many stops for donations to monks who create kinds of road-blocks and look in utter shock if you dare not giving them a few Kyats, even if you already did 10 times on each leg… Disappointing as well is the fact that the last truck leaves at 06:00 pm, so before sunset. If you want to stay on top, you must book one of those overpriced hotels…

Alternative: Just skip this place, especially since you cannot stay longer than 28 days on a tourist visa. Plan instead more time further south in Hpa An, with stunning surroundings and caves, or up north, with a few extra days in Bagan or Mandalay or Inle, which has so much to offer.

Golden Rock, Mount kyaiktiyo, Myanmar

Koh Samui, Thailand (Travelling Colognian) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

Lush green palms, white sandy beaches and turquoise crystal clear water – that’s what crosses many people’s mind when thinking of Koh Samui, an island in the Gulf of Thailand and that’s probably how it was in the early 1990s. I have been to Koh Samui twice, in 2005 and in 2013.

The first time I spent a week there, together with my family after exploring Luang Prabang in Laos and the temples of Angkor in Cambodia. I  was happy to spend a few relaxing days at the beach. In 2013 I returned by myself after a three-week all across Eastern China tour and this time I didn’t really enjoy it. I found it noisy and overcrowded with western tourists.

Koh Samui has its nice spots and you can still encounter local life there but you have to search more to find it. It is not the hidden gem that it was in the early 1990s, it’s nothing special anymore. In the past few years it has just become another mass tourism spot especially since there are hourly flights to and from Bangkok.

Alternative: In the past few years I am more and more into travelling off the beaten past especially after travelling along the Silk Road of China last October. Sure, it’s not easy in a touristy destination like Thailand, but that there are still lesser touristy islands in the Gulf of Thailand like Koh Mak and Koh Kut as well as further south at the Andaman Coast like Koh Jum, Koh Lipe et cetera.

Editor’s Note: Koh Samui has definitely gone the way of the tourist hot-spot. Our few day visit was a nice way to get some nice food and enjoy a bit of pampering after roughing it backpacker style on Koh Phangan, but I found the island to be totally without character. Just a bland tourist trap. I’ll have to check out your recommendations!

koh samui

Koh Tao, Thailand (Nomadic Boys) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|YouTube

We love scuba diving and snorkelling. We went to Koh Tao in Thailand in early 2012 to get our PADI Open Water certification. We returned 3 years later to get our advanced certification and do lots of snorkelling trips, but were so disappointed. Koh Tao has been ruined from over development, the coral dying if not dead already and the place generally became so over commercialised over those 3 years.

Alternative: The scuba packages offered in Koh Tao are cheap cheap but you’d be better off going to Palawan in the Philippines. Palawan is certainly touristy, but far more untouched then Koh Tao and for the same price, you’ll get a much better diving and snorkelling experience.

Editor’s Note: I can whole-heartedly vouch for the scuba scene in Palawan. El Nido is surrounded by stunning dive sites, and it’s not yet reached that point of tourism saturation where it feels tacky.

I did like Koh Tao for what it was, but I came there straight after the ultra-touristy Koh Samui, so it didn’t feel quite so commercial and cheesy.

scuba koh tao

Maya Beach, Thailand (Keep Calm & Travel) Facebook|Twitter|Google Plus

Maya beach would still be a paradise if it hadn’t been completely ruined by mass tourism after the release of the popular movie starring Di Caprio. If you are familiar with the film and you still expect to see a pristine beach enclosed by rocks and wild vegetation, I’m sorry to say that you are going to be deeply disappointed.

Since images speak louder than words, I decided to show you why it’s so disappointing rather than giving you the (literally) dirty details. in addition to this, the movie presents a completely secluded beach, whilst in reality Maya Beach is only partially hidden by the rocks.

Alternative: In the homonymous book ” The Beach” the perfect place mentioned by the author is actually not even in Thailand but in El Nido in the Philippines.

I visited “Hidden Beach” on a local fisherman’s boat avoiding the daily trips packed with tourists (not nearly as crowded as the ones for Maya Beach anyway)and I was swept away by its beauty.

Now, THAT is a place that lives up to its reputation as it’s totally secluded and totally awesome! I can’t recommend it enough!

Editor’s Note: Agree wholeheartedly. Maya Beach is undoubtedly pretty, but there’s precious little serenity to be found with 10-12 boats anchored at any given time and hundreds of tourists posing for selfies or surreptitiously peeing in the suspiciously warm water.

El Nido and its surrounding islands are infinitely superior in my opinion. Even with tourism on the rise there, I found myself swept away by the serenity of some of the isolated lagoons we were taken to.

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Shanghai, China (Teacake Travels) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|LinkedIn

Embracing the elegant white cup of creamy café latte in my hands, I breathe in the comforting smell of fresh, crusty bread which slowly seeps through the room. I take my time, gazing out of the window into the leafy green world outside. The iPhone-guzzling hipsters, babbling yummy mummies, and pristine moneymaking go-getters tuck into their lunch around me.

Am I in London? Am I in Paris? How did I get here, how did I become so numbingly comfortable? What have I done?! I shake my head, trying to rid myself of the disappointment I feel every time I realise I am in Shanghai but could in fact, be anywhere which has trendy coffee shops, unlimited Western food, skyscrapers, endless shopping malls, and a hell of a lot of expats.

I swiftly pay the bill, throw myself onto my bicycle, and furiously head for the tiniest shreds of what genuine Shanghainese history is left in old town. I slowly pedal through the narrow streets and desperately breathe in the smell of dumplings, fresh laundry hanging outside, cheap Chinese cigarettes, and the remnants of firecrackers as the bulldozers tear down the houses slowly but surely, one by one. There’s only so much coffee, food and shopping adventurous hippies like me can consume here.

See the Bund, throw your head back at the sheer monstrous size of the architecture, eat some food, party on down then get the hell out of here.

Alternative: Go anywhere but here if you want to see the real China. There are far more genuine, fulfilling and traditional places than this.

Editor’s Note: Yes! My sentiments exactly. I adored Shanghai as a place to escape from China when I called the country home. It has a fantastic night life and so many food options it’s exhausting, but it could be any city in the world. When the Jade Buddha is your greatest cultural draw card, you’re not exactly blowing my skirt up.

The Bund is lovely, as is the French Concession – but if I wanted to see colonial architecture I’d go to London or Paris! Shanghai is a great city, but it’s totally overrated as a tourist destination.

shanghai bund

North America

Miami, USA (Savoir There) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

Let’s face it Miami isn’t the worst place to holiday – but for me it is the most overrated. Often mentioned in the same breath as the world’s biggest and best destinations – there’s even an anthemic song whose chorus places it amongst the greats ‘London, Paris, Munich, Rome, Ibiza, New York, Miami, Rio’ – it will always be, to me, the most roach-ridden place in the USA, and until a recent trip to Texas, the only place I’ve been awoken by gunshots.

Beyond the all-too-slight sum of its Art Deco shopping street on South Beach and much-lauded yet underwhelming art scene, I discovered a downtown core, which like so many American cities was scary and barren, while the fabled Coral Gables district felt more like a cautionary tale after I’d spanked $50 on a cab ride to what turned out to be a dull, unremarkable and sprawling suburb.

Miami has beaches and bars, but so do umpteen other places, and the best thing I found was an outlet mall with a big Bloomingdales – and I’d sooner have gone to the Mother Ship in New York.

Editor’s Note: I spent 4th of July in Miami (South Beach) back in 2012 and found it an intriguing city. I dug the architecture and the great Cuban food, but found it to be quite pricey for what it was. I mean, it has pretty beaches but those are a dime a dozen back home.

Worth a visit? Sure, but it’s not some world city begging to be explored.

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New York City, USA (Drink Tea Travel) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Pinterest

New York lures in travelers with its iconic sights and attractions, but for me it has failed to deliver time and time again. When I lived in Toronto, NYC was an easy weekend getaway, yet I never seemed to enjoy my time in Manhattan. The prices are astronomical (good luck finding a room for less than $200/night), the streets and main attractions are packed with tourists, the subway is packed with locals and the taxis are impossible to catch. You end up spending half of your time just lining up for things and fighting to get through the crowds of often obnoxious unhappy people. Where is the joy in that?

Alternative: If you are looking for a more pleasant New York experience, head straight to Brooklyn, it’s cheaper, more spacious, and is filled with awesome restaurants, boutiques, markets, museums and beautiful parks.

Editor’s Note: My ex-girlfriend and I did a hit and run, NYC in 24 hours style visit back in 2012 and I quite liked it. Staying across the river in New Jersey, we were able to avoid the worst of the costs and just enjoy Manhattan as day trippers. I dread to think what we’d have spent if we’d stayed in the city proper!

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Readers Say

Not content with simply polling fellow travel bloggers, I also put the question to my readers on Facebook. I’ve compiled a few of the more interesting responses below for your reading pleasure.

Don’t forget you can join the conversation by liking Aussie on the Road on Facebook.

London, United Kingdom (Karin)

I lived there for 2 years and it’s just a big dirty city with some iconic buildings. The London Eye is one of the biggest rip offs. Everything is overpriced, bad food, bad service, usually bad weather, the tube is overcrowd and polluted.

New York, USA(Daniel)

New York, just a shit hole, full of people from new york.

Las Vegas, USA (Marisa)

The bright light city certainly didn’t set my soul on fire. Was only there 2 days, with one of those days spent at the Grand Canyon. Couldn’t leave quick enough.

Istanbul, Turkey (Esther)

Everyone told us we had to get off the ship there it’s amazing and I hated it, the people are rude and obnoxious, every single nice piece of architecture is religious, and even the market which is usually my favourite thing was just too big and unfriendly, the little one in Ephesus was so much better. I will also second Venice, which I actually was looking forward to unlike Istanbul, but we couldn’t even find a gondola for an overpriced ride and the locals didn’t know how to navigate their own city.

Hong Kong, Hong Kong (Tateusz)

I was so excited when I booked a flight to visit that city, but whole experience was rather disappointing! The city is so crawded, dirty, and damn expensive with nothing extraordinary to see. Definitely overrated.

Manly Beach, Australia (Travel Outback Australia)

Like SERIOUSLY?? It’s tiny and you can’t get away from people development and noise. Cronulla’s beaches, from Bass and Flinders Point to Boat Harbour are 12km long, full of natural splendour and so much easier to find a place to relax – oh, and you can catch a TRAIN there!

The Amazon, South America (Dianne)

Hardly any wildlife but we did see herons, cane toads and 157 million mosquitoes.

Berlin, Germany (Nikki)

Everyone told me “best city in Europe” and unless I missed every single thing good about it, I found it not all it was cracked up to be.

Buones Aires, Argentina (Keturah)

Dirty, showy and a lot of lechy men.

Machu Picchu, Peru (Dan)

Not because I did or did not like it, but because they lie to you in your face! did you know that 70% of what you see today is rebuilt? (only 20% original and 10% still destroyed).

Waikiki, USA (Kiri and Liz)

Kiri says: A bigger dirtier more expensive version of the Gold Coast.

Liz says: Soo many people on that side of the island and diamond head. The north side is like the west of Sydney and I’m talking about the malls.. It’s rough and you don’t want to stay long. Lol but totally worth a visit.

Macau, China (Julio)

It’s like Vegas… Without the fun

Paris, France (A whopping 10 people!)

Marco says: Paris is wonderful but has a big problem: it’s full of French people.

Dimitris says: I hated it 10 years ago. I visited it again a few days ago and still have the same feeling. It is nice but not extraordinary as people tend to say. Overpriced, overcrowded! They call it the city of lights. When I went up to the Eiffel tower the city view was dark though lol

Marrakech, Morocco (Vira)

Because after having been to many other cities in Morocco, this one was just a wild, overwhelming mess.

Thailand, Thailand (Toni)

The party reputation tainted my experience because everyone I met just wanted to get drunk. You have to really try and find the quiet beautiful places.

Your Say

What’s been the most overrated place you’ve visited? Did our experts and readers get it right, or have they just not seen the right side of your favourite place?

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  • Robert Lee

    Exactly. Can depend on who you meet, the restaurants/clubs you happen to choose, even the weather. Writing off a city after a short visit is arrogant.

  • Pingback: Philippines' Boracay Island is voted the ‘world’s best island’, but is it worth the hype? - Travel Wire Asia()

  • I would highly recommend the Giant’s Causeway if you guys are ever in Northern Ireland!

  • Chris

    El Nido a nice alternative to Borocay? It may be an alternative but it is anything but nice. There is not ONE decent beach to go swimming in El Nido. Sandflies, crowded, expensive (compared to much nicer places i’ve visited on my trip), full of rocks in shallow water – NOONE is swimming here, want me to post pictures of full beaches and empty water?! The only way you get your toes wet is by booking tours to sourrounding islands which take place from 9am to 4pm. Is that what you would imagine your vacation in paradise? NO! I want to walk into the water from my Bungalow not being stuffed in a small boat with other tourists all day. If you re on a budget expect to lower your standards drastically below what you are used to in SEA. Also from March to April (high season) you will only enter the water with full clothes on. The jellyfishes are highly poisonous. People die here regularly during jellyfish season. The next hospital is a 6hours drive away. Stay away from this place. Its only good for diving.

    • You mustn’t have looked especially hard for good beaches to swim at, considering we spent entire days at two nearby beaches in El Nido where the swimming was fantastic.

      Nacpan Beach is a short tuk-tuk (or scenic motorbike ride) away and was great for swimming. Clear water, no rocks, and no crowds.

      Closer to El Nido town is Las Cabanas, which was also perfectly fine for swimming. A couple of rocks here and there, but nothing to worry about.

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  • Graham Askey

    Whilst many of these places would be vastly improved by a spot of carpet bombing from the US air force, lets be honnest – the main gripes are based on the fact that these places are popular and all us cool travellers cant be seen mixing with the riff raff. Popularity always starts for a good reason but inevitably leads to higher prices, rip offs, hassle and above all, more of us tourists – the death knell for holier than thou travelers. Instead of moaning about about these places why not look a bit harder to find the aspects of interest which always lurk down less trodden alley ways, get to know some locals to find out what they like and spend more time than a quick whizz round the tourist sites before condeming it. When that fails you can call in the B52s with a clean conscience.

    • CWBush

      Ha! I’m not sure I would suggest such extreme measures, but it’s certainly one way to drive tourists away :-p

      It is an inevitability that a place’s popularity eventually poisons people against it. That level of saturation either triggers decline or demands innovation. Sadly, a lot of the places above have yet to reinvent themselves, so they’re likely to continue stagnating.

      Of course, some aren’t as bad as others.

  • Thank you so much for including my contribution about Koh Samui in your post, Chris. I shared it on Facebook and on Twitter. It’s interesting to read what other Bloggers think. I totally agree with Clelia from about Maya Beach and with Alice about Shanghai. Furthermore I found Western Malaysia quite overrated, but it’s true what another commentator, Claudia Luxembourg, wrote. A lot depends on the people you travel with and in Western Malaysia I didn’t travel with the right ones.

    • CWBush

      The company can definitely make or break a trip. Despite what others have said, I had a wonderful time visiting Boracay with my brothers last year. We went there expecting good food and late nights, and we got what we wanted haha.

      Conversely, I’ll always view Shanghai with a bit of negative bias because I was there with an ex-girlfriend who made me miserable 😛

  • Claudia Luxembourg

    I think a lot of what people consider overrated is based on their personal experience and perhaps even the people they were travelling with. I would never dare say that places such as Florence, Machu Picchu, the Amazon or even Buenos Aires are overrated. One of the biggest warnings I got before visiting the Amazon was that I may or may not see animals. It is not like they wait for tourists to show up and wave at them. Florence is simply a work of art, and it takes a refined “palate” to be able to fully enjoy it. Machu Picchu is not “rebuilt” but “restored” – that means, it has not been abandoned to the course of nature and it is extremely well kept. I actually find it brilliant that thanks to the work of archeologists and researchers we are now able to see what it would look like when it first was built.

    • CWBush

      Very good points, Claudia. I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear/read the likes of Machu Picchu, Florence, and the Amazon on here. They’re still very much on my to do list, and especially the South American duo.

      Do you have a destination you do think of as overrated yourself?

      • Claudia Luxembourg

        I couldn’t see what the fuss was all about for Panama – in particular Bocas del Toro and San Blas. I still think it has a lot to do with me and my perspective on things. Of course I will hardly be impressed with beaches when I come from Sardinia, where we have the most amazing sea and beaches on the planet! I also wasn’t in very good company there, to enjoy the place fully.

        • CWBush

          I have the same problem at every beach destination I visit. After growing up with access to Aussie beaches, every beach I visit is either too calm or not pretty enough. I’ve found prettier beaches, for sure, but it’s not a beach if it’s as calm as a bath :-p

          • Claudia Luxembourg

            Most of all, what I need is a CLEAN spotless beach. Clean beach with no garbage on it, clean water where I can see through. I like the sea when it is calm, as I am a swimmer. But Sardinia offers a bit of everything, depending on the weather though!

            • CWBush

              You’re making Sardinia sound very tempting, Claudia!

              • Claudia Luxembourg

                Hahahahaha I don’t mean to brag, but hey… it is gorgeous 🙂 You can check some pictures on my instagram 🙂

  • Jonny Blair

    Thanks for including my contribution Chris and a great list. I’ve actually been to almost all of these places and have to agree they are mostly over rated. However, it’s still an each to their own with travel and no doubt people will disagree.

    • CWBush

      Even I found myself in disagreement with a few of them. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with Boracay if you’re looking to party and dine out – which is basically the only reason you’d choose to go there over someplace like El Nido.

      I have friends who adore Paris, yet when I asked readers – the majority of the responses were quick to say Paris was overrated, dirty, and expensive haha. To each their own!

  • I agree with Bali being a big let down but instead of heading to Thailand go and visit Lombok, its beautiful. How Bali was before tourism and all that.
    I mean look at this…

    https://theeighthours.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/visting-the-waterfalls-in-lombok/

    • CWBush

      I still need to make it to Indonesia. My desire to go there is somewhat tempered by the number of Australians there and the fact they occasional kill my compatriots.

      • In that case avoid Kuta, Bali at all costs.
        I was so disappointed with Bali that I judged other places the same, big mistake, there are some gorgeous places.

        https://theeighthours.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/the-secret-gili-islands/

        • CWBush

          Hehe, will do! I do need to get to Indonesia someday. There’s a lot there I’d like to see. I’ll just avoid Bali much as I avoided the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan.

            • CWBush

              For sure. I’m not a big fan of date rape heavy raves. I wrote about my disdain for the whole affair in my piece comparing Koh Tao, Koh Samui, and Koh Phangan.

              • I’d worry for anyone that is.
                Will have a look for that piece now.

                • CWBush

                  You’d be surprised by how many people from all over the world go. Some of the most intelligent people I know even made a bee line for it because of its fame.

  • Man, I hate Boracay – if I wanted to see white people get drunk on a beach i’d go to Bondi… oh, wait, I don’t want to go to Bondi because its covered in douchebros – I’d rather go to Shelley Beach in Manly or the Fairy Bower. Or in the Phils – go to Davao!

    • CWBush

      Shelley shits upon Bondi from on high. Freshwater is better too.

      I don’t hate Boracay. It is what it is. If you go there expecting to party, it’s great. If you’re looking for serenity, maybe Google two pages deep.

      Davao is very much on my list for my next Philippines trip. I’d love to be on Palawan right now, come to think of it.

  • Thanks for featuring my choice of Dubai. I really tried a number of times to see any hint of culture or anything real behind all the fake glitz and glamour, I tried so hard, but Dubai just wouldn’t let me see it!

    • Jaillan Yehia

      I completely agree with you on Dubai, I tried hard too but came to the conclusion that you can’t find what isn’t there. Some people like fake places, I acutually think Miami despite having more of a a real side, is generally admired for the fakery, glitz and glamour too. Neither was for me.

    • CWBush

      As I said in my email, I was lucky enough to get a local perspective through my partnership with Emirates & Dubai Tourism Board. It got me out of the malls and off the busy beaches so I could see some more interesting stuff.

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