My Bottom 5: Least Favorite Places To Visit After 140+ Countries – These Were Underwhelming

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My Bottom 5: Least Favorite Places To Visit - These Were Underwhelming

My Bottom 5: Least Favorite Places To Visit – These Were Underwhelming

After Zoe shared her experiences, I want to share my least favorite places to visit. For me, these places were underwhelming for various reasons. I’ve previously shared some travel horror stories, yet none of those places are actually on this list. Why are these my least favorite places to visit? Each has a specific reason, so here we go.

RELATED: My Top 5: Favorite Places To Visit After 140+ Countries – These Were Awesome

My Bottom 5: Least Favorite Places To Visit - These Were Underwhelming
Las Vegas Container Park

Las Vegas

Let’s start strong and get this out of the way. Las Vegas just isn’t for me.

Now that you’ve awoken after passing out and you’ve resumed reading the article, here’s my explanation.

First, I don’t drink alcohol. Neither does my wife. Most of our close friends don’t drink at all or ultra-rarely. So the party stuff has no attraction for me.

Second, I’m vegan, and so is my wife. Those fancy buffets that you can get with status match from the casinos don’t do a lot for me. If you eat meat, the surf & turf is probably exciting. Not for us.

Third, we don’t gamble.

Thus, I just eliminated the reasons why people go to Las Vegas. I get that there’s nature nearby, and I’ve hiked in Red Rock Canyon. I even went when friends were living in Vegas and thought “I’ll give it one more try.” It still didn’t do anything for me. There was nothing I liked that I couldn’t also find somewhere else (likely cheaper). Vegas just didn’t do anything for me.

My Bottom 5: Least Favorite Places To Visit - These Were Underwhelming
Broken & discarded paddle boats at the edge of Lake Titicaca in Puno, Peru

Puno, Peru

To this day, Puno remains the only place I’ve been to where I changed my ticket and left early. Puno sits at the edge of Lake Titicaca in Peru. Maybe I grew up watching too much Beavis & Butt-Head, so I thought Lake Titicaca would be cooler.

Instead, the edge of the lake is full of trash. The level of trash where the water smells awful. And just broken/abandoned stuff all around.

The city wasn’t any better in our experience. Imagine a city where no buildings are finished. The 1st floor is totally complete. The 2nd floor is nearly done. The 3rd floor is missing fixtures and windows. Nothing above that is close to finished. That’s our experience with the vast majority of buildings in Puno, and it’s not that they’re “in progress”. It seems like all buildings we passed were in this state, and it blew my mind. There’s no construction being done, and we stayed in the first floor while nothing above us was finished.

The roads were also very dusty, and we needed to cover our faces any time a car passed when we were walking somewhere. Otherwise, you’d get a bunch of dirt & dust in your nose, mouth & eyes. We just didn’t like Puno.

We loved other parts of Peru, though, and were happy to return to Cusco for extra time.

My Bottom 5: Least Favorite Places To Visit - These Were Underwhelming
Palace of Justice – Douala, Cameroon

Douala, Cameroon

Have you ever been somewhere and thought, “I’ve seen everything interesting, which wasn’t much, and it’s only lunch time on day 1”? And you start to wonder what you’ll do on the remaining days? That was my experience in Douala, Cameroon.

Funny enough, a friend who went there later asked for my input while planning his trip. I told him it’s not worth multiple days. Ignoring my advice, he scheduled 3 days in Douala. Day 1, he messaged me saying he now understood and agreed. He changed his ticket to leave early.

The people were fine. I liked them. There’s just…nothing interesting to do. That was my experience. After half a day into the city, I felt like I was already bored. It had nothing unique to set itself apart from anywhere else in the world. I was excited for Cameroon and found this visit very underwhelming.

Rules at hostel clearly came from a problem with public sex

Southern Bali

Yup, the tourist hotspot of Bali. I hated it. You know that saying “Maybe hate is too strong of a word”? Not here. This is exactly the type of place I try to avoid when traveling.

First, it was overrun with drunk Spring Breakers from Australia while I was there. From asking around at a few businesses, the “holiday to Bali to get wasted every night” is most times of the year in the Seminyak/Denpasar area of southern Bali. In fact, apparently the reputation for them puking and having sex everywhere is so bad that it’s now listed in some rules I had to sign at the hostel I stayed at. Other hostels had similar warnings & rules. If you’ve got to have people sign rules because of excessive puking and sex in the common areas that keeps other guests from sleeping at night, that’s not awesome.

The other type of person I encountered was the pretentious art tourist. You know those people who go on a trip for the purpose of looking at art galleries and buying art? They could be anywhere, but it doesn’t matter where they are. Why? They aren’t “there”, they’re just at the galleries. They’re ignoring everything around them that makes this place different from home. Oh, and they’re rude to you because you’re clearly poorer than them.

These were the 2 types of people I kept running into in Southern Bali. Luckily, going further away to Ubud in the middle of the island made me really enjoy the island overall. The touristy part in the South, though? No thanks.

Scarlet Ibis along the river in Georgetown, Guyana

Georgetown, Guyana

I told my wife I was making a bottom 5 list, and she immediately asked if this would be on it. We both hated it that much.

First, Georgetown had trash everywhere we went. That in itself doesn’t bother me. I’ve been to dirty places. Kinshasa, Congo is pretty dirty, but I loved it there. However, all of the streets in Georgetown have little canals/run-off ditches at the side of the street. When you mix standing water in a ditch + tons of trash, you get a horrible smell. That smell was everywhere we went.

Second, my wife felt super uncomfortable at all times. Despite the fact we were clearly together, even holding hands, it didn’t matter. Guys would lean out the car window and whistle at my wife. Holler at her (they speak English in Guyana, FYI) saying disgusting things about her body. Disgusting “undress you with my eyes” types of glances while we were waiting to cross the street. Etc. At no point did my wife ever feel comfortable outside in Georgetown.

I’ll admit that if we’d gone to the rainforest in the interior, we might like Guyana. We only saw the capital, and we didn’t like it. The only part we liked was standing on the Demerara Bridge and seeing the flocks of Scarlet Ibis. Things weren’t helped by the fact that we stayed in an Airbnb and the people in the house next door were beating their dog every day. We were glad to leave.

Final Thoughts On Least Favorite Places To Visit

I’ve been to almost 150 countries at this point. Unfortunately, they can’t all be winners. These are my least favorite places to visit, and I think the reasons make sense. Travel is really subjective. Lots of people love Bali & Vegas, but these just don’t do anything for me.

I’m sure people will disagree with some of my list, and that’s fine. Let me know your least favorite places to visit. Maybe your bottom 5 is my top 5 or vice versa.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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  1. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of that part of Bali. I visited some 15-18 years ago. Loved my accommodations but I was expecting beauty and all I saw was garbage…everywhere. This was shortly after some bombings, so there werent any Australians or art snobs to be seen, in fact the galleries were empty. I couldnt wait to leave and with so many other places to visit, I know I will never go back

  2. I’ve been to Douala twice. I understand why you didn’t like Douala. It’s pretty ugly and not really for tourists. I was there 40 years ago, don’t know if it was worse, better, or about the same then. I was to be hitchhiking up to the Bamileke region to go walking and explore there.
    I got caught up in the local life in Douala, however. I walked around the town simply observing people. Met a couple people. They took me in the evening to their local nightspot. Dirt floor, partial (tin) roof. Locals were equally fascinated by me as I was by them. Spent 3 days and nights there with (luckily) find memories. Later on was in Yaounde, a very attractive city by African standards. Yet, it had a different soul to me. Less African and more European than Douala.
    Even though I’d had previous verbal assurances from Cameroonian immigration bureaucrats, the authorities in the bush country of central Cameroon had refused to renew my visa. That’s what had brought me to the Capital, Yaounde. I visited the Embassy in an attempt for assistance with my visa. No luck. But then the Embassy contacted me. When I met them again, they told me a warrant had been issued for my arrest for overstaying my visa. Turned out that the US government was being strict with visas to Cameroonian, so they were lashing back. An Embassy official got me a ride to Douala where policing was less strict. They put me in a safe house for 4 (boring) days till the weekly flight to Paris was departing. A US consular official went with me to the airport. When emigration noticed my visa was expired, the consular official dashed the emigration functionary some cash and got me on the plane. I hadn’t planned on leaving that part of Africa so soon, I was going to Bokassa’s Central African Empire next, but African jails are reputed to be hellholes, so I settled with leaving the continent, and returned to Africa (Morocco) by boat from Sete, France a couple months later.
    Anyways, I’ve found over the years that individuals experiences in different places can vary greatly. Can be based on people they’ve met, friends they’ve made, weather, luck or happenstance.
    Hell, having a mediocre or bad experience, makes the wonderful experiences even more sweet.

    • Bobby – interesting story, thanks for sharing! I agree that people can have very different experiences in the same place. Your experience in Cameroon hanging out with locals sounds like my experience in Nigeria, which gave me a very great experience. In Douala, I just didn’t find it very interesting unfortunately.

  3. I had a very different experience in Puno, but again it can be a matter of perspective. I don’t recall the buildings or the trash in the lake, but it might be that I didn’t look closely. But in the lake we visit two islands, one made out of the totora reeds and the other an actual island on the lake named Taquile. In both they explained their way of living in a very instructive and fun way. The woman in the reed island was very funny. The were selling stuff but i felt under no pressure (I can say we felt uncomfortable pressure in Antigua, Guatemala and Cartagena, Colombia). Taquile island is in my eyes one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen, pristine and it’s like traveling back in time.

  4. Haast, New Zealand
    Warri, Nigeria
    Nassau, Bahamas
    Novorossisk, Russia
    Beatty, Nevada
    Songkhla, Thailand

    These are just the ones that come to mind quickly

  5. If they had the funds in Puno, the buildings would be complete. When you leave the developed world, you mostly leave zoning laws. That enables people to buy a plot of land and add to the house when they have funds. It is a hulluva lot better plan than having people homeless. I believe you comment was ugly American speech.

    • I think you are making some big assumptions here: you’re assuming I’ve never been to anywhere without zoning laws, assuming I’ve never left the US, never enjoyed places without a lot of money, etc. Those couldn’t be further from the truth. Considering that hotels have been operating with “top floor incomplete” for years now, saying this is from a lack of funds doesn’t sound viable.

  6. I’ll add one. Ushuaia in Patagonia Argentina. We hiked in El Chalten & saw the Perito Merino Glacier in El Calafate. We were so close, we thought we should visit the most southerly town, Ushuaia, plus I wanted to see the penguins. There was a big park that we ‘hiked’ which was really just a walk in the woods. There was a tourist train which was packed with bus loads of tourists. The viewing of the penguins was also a big tourist attraction but was highly regulated, thank goodness. We wished we had flown in, seen the penguins, & got right back out. I gather it’s a take-off point for cruises. No thanks.

    • Oh wow. I was in Ushuaia last March, only a week or so before everything shut down, and I loved it. I thought that Tierra del Fuego National Park was very beautiful. The big disappointment for me in Argentina was Bariloche, which reminded me of Queenstown, NZ in many ways but was inferior in almost all of those comparisons. But I know that was also partly because Bariloche was dry and dusty in March — I think I’d have enjoyed it a lot more if I’d been there two month earlier.

      • We are considering Bariloche, if open, for something at the end of June for snowboarding. We have a ton of Marriott certs that expire the first week of Aug, and this is basically the only option for snowboarding in South America that has a Marriott property close by. The comparison to Queenstown doesn’t excite me, since I wasn’t impressed by Queenstown.

  7. In Puno, I only rode in the car from the airport to the lake, where we got into a boat and went out to one of the “floating islands” of the Uros people. These are a little touristy, to be sure, but the stars look amazing at that altitude away from civilization — I’ve never seen the Milky Way quite like that. And it was also great to see the endangered titicaca grebe and other wildlife such as the giant coot. It was chilly out on the lake, but otherwise a perfect one-night excursion.

  8. It’s good when people point out bad things. Sometimes, all you hear is how wonderful things are, and then, it’s not so true. I travelled extensively in philippines on budget mode, and there were dogs barking EVERYWHERE. It was horrible. Non stop horrible. In rural Leyte, crazy drivers making for another horrible experience. Never peaceful on the road, always apprehensive. If not for the dogs and driving, then there were the roosters. Going to natural landmarks that were ruined by poorly poured concrete or obscured my some human desecration. Dont get me wrong, the country is flat out beautiful, with beautiful and wonderful people, but it sure wasnt very welcoming. So it’s good to get a good dose of reality sometimes! Thank you!

  9. I’ve never been to Georgetown Guyana but from your description, that sounds like most cities everywhere before indoor plumbing became the norm.

  10. Another interesting article. The only place that I’m familiar with that you mention is southern Bali and I disagree with you there. I’ve been to Bali about a half dozen times, including once for a couple of weeks in Kuta for cheap dental work. While the area is not overflowing with charm, I didn’t see puking drunk people having sex everywhere or anything like that. I did experience some nice warungs, a number of pleasant (and mostly sober) Australians of various ages, and a fairly chill environment. As to the pretentious artsy types, I’m glad to say that I must have missed them. While Ubud has a fair bit of charm I could see the artsy types trying to out-snooty each other there. At any rate I’ll take a night anywhere in Bali over a night at home – except for the place that had what my wife calls my nemesis the chicken.


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