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25 Places That You Should Really Think Hard About Before Visiting

by Kim Boateng Last updated on August 26th, 2017,

The seasoned travelers among you will know that there are some places where you just don’t want to go unless you really know what it is that you’re getting into to. It may be the weather, the crime, or just the price but these are 25 places that you should really think hard about before visiting!

25

Somalia

mogadishu

Source: reddit, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mogadishu_Daily_Life_one_year_after_Al_Shabaab_05_(7731059058).jpg

For the past twenty years this has pretty much been no man’s land. What little semblance of government exists only has control of small parts of Mogadishu.

24

Snake Island

snakes

Source: reddit, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Black_Rat_Snake-.JPG

This Brazilian island is actually off limits to tourists. It has an average of 5 venomous snakes per square meter

23

North Sentinel Island

North Sentinel Island

Source: reddit, Image: google maps

This island in the Bay of Bengal is inhabited by extremely hostile indigenous tribes who have refused to make contact with the outside world. Today it is a protected region so if you go there you are not only violating the law, you are asking to get speared in the face.

22

East St. Louis

east st louis

Source: reddit, wikipedia, Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigdietrich/17326422741

If you do happen to accidentally end up here, lock your doors, don’t make eye contact, and whatever you do….don’t stop the car. The murder rate here in 2007 topped out at 101.9 people killed out of every 100,000. When compared to 2015 international statistics, this would make East St Louis the 5th most dangerous city in the world.

Note: East St Louis (across the river) in Illinois, should not be confused with St Louis (in Missouri). And while St Louis is still the most dangerous city in the US, its murder rate is significantly lower at 59.23 murders per 100,000 people.

Further note: violent crime in the US as a whole is decreasing and most of the crimes in cities like St Louis are constrained to only a few neighborhoods.

21

Venezuela

venezuela

Source: reddit, wikipedia, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marcha_hacia_el_Palacio_de_Justicia_de_Maracaibo_-_Venezuela_06.jpg

If there is one place in Latin America that you should avoid, this is it. 3 of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world are located here – Caracas (#1), Maturin (#5), and Valencia (#7). Furthermore, thanks to Hugo Chavez’s populist policies, Venezuela is one of the most unstable countries in the Americas both politically and economically.

20

North Korea

north korea

Source: reddit, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:North_Korea_(5015839378).jpg

Although most of the several thousand annual tourists enter and leave just fine, as the news has taught us, your exit is not guaranteed

19

The Islamic State

is

Source: reddit, bbc, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Territorial_control_of_the_ISIS.svg

So as of this writing, basically Syria and Iraq. And just in case you haven’t been watching the news, IS’s favorite method of dealing with outsiders is execution. Even humanitarian aid workers have been killed (Kayla Mueller), so an average tourist won’t stand much of a chance.

18

Any MLK Boulevard in the US

mlk

Source: reddit, wikipedia, Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ugod/5363954009

In the words of Chris Rock, “the saddest thing is that MLK stood for peace”

Note: in case you are not from the United States, many cities have boulevards named after Martin Luther King Jr. Unfortunately, these boulevards have historically run through higher crime neighborhoods.

Further note: this is obviously a broad over-generalization based more on the observations of comedians like Chris Rock than anything else. There are plenty of MLK Boulevards that run through perfectly fine neighborhoods.

17

Delhi, India

delhi

Source: reddit, bbc, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:India_-_Delhi_Jama_masjid_-_5142.jpg

There are other cities that will give you a less stereotypical view of India. We say this because India is an extremely rapidly developing country. While Delhi will give you a sense of history, Bangalore and Hyderabad are two of the fastest growing tech centers in Asia. They are cleaner, safer, and will introduce you to an India you may not have realized exists.

16

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

juarez

Source: reddit, wikipedia, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2008_Ciudad_Juarez_Mexico_3037730014.jpg

Don’t be fooled just because it’s close to the US border. It’s not a friendly place for tourists. Proximity to the border make this a popular drug trafficking corridor and from 2008 to 2012 there was an exceptionally bloody turf war between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels. This 4 year bloodbath led to Juarez being labeled by some as the “most dangerous place on Earth”.

Note: ever since the turf war ended, Ciudad Juarez has been considerably safer. But that doesn’t mean it’s still not dangerous. In 2013 its murder rate still ranked at #37 in the world with 38 people killed for every 100,000 inhabitants.

15

Gary, Indiana

gary

Source: reddit, wikipedia, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:City_Hall_and_Superior_Courthouse_in_Gary.jpg

The best phrase to describe this city might just be “post-apocalyptic”. Although once a very prosperous community built around the steel industry, the decline of the industry led to rapid population loss. Today, the Gary Department of Redevelopment estimates that 1/3 of all homes in the city are abandoned. Perhaps not surprisingly the loss of jobs and middle class families led to increasing crime and poverty.

14

Al-Hodeidah, Yemen

Yemen

Source: reddit, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sana.jpg

Possibly the most intense combination of heat and poverty you will ever encounter

13

Morocco

Morocco

Source: reddit, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MOROCCO_-_AIT_BEN_HADDOU_-.jpg

It’s a beautiful country with genuinely nice people but don’t think that just because it’s “touristy” it’s all fine and dandy. If you wander too far off the beaten path you might experience things you didn’t bargain for. Be safe.

Note: according to the UK government’s travel website you should avoid quiet areas, especially at night. Knife attacks against tourists are a problem in major cities and along the beaches.

12

Vladivostok, Russia

russia

Source: reddit, bbc, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:VladivostokStation.jpg

Prepare to be robbed…by the police. It’s true, law enforcement in Russia is so corrupt that some rogue groups have taken to randomly killing police officers. One such group did just that in Vladivostok and to the horror of Russian authorities a lot of people in the country actually supported the killing. One sailor even told the BBC that the police deserved it. According to the Levada Centre, Russia’s leading polling organization, two thirds of Russians fear the police.

11

Cairo, Egypt

giza

Source: reddit, tripadvisor, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giza-pyramids.JPG

Some parts are nice, but Giza is not among them. It’s not because of any physical issues with the locality, but rather the people who congregate around it. In the last few years the governments of the UK and US have issued travel warnings related to mobs of people accosting tourists near the pyramids. Typically the goal of these groups is to convince tourists to take a tour on their camels. Many times they accomplish this by convincing people that they are required to have a guide. However, not only is the pricing extortionate, many times they will require extra fees to take you back to the entrance. That’s right. They’ll leave you out in the desert unless you pay another fee for the return trip. 

10

Lagos, Nigeria

lagos

Source: reddit, tripadvisor, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2008_Lagos_Nigeria_2655736268.jpg

Traffic is just on another level of crazy, but if you are a foreigner, that may be the only way for you to get around. Although crime is lower than it has been in the past many expats suggest not walking around on the streets unless you are accompanied by a local (primarily due to the risk of petty crime and mugging). 

Note: the situation is rapidly changing so this advice may be out of date by the time you read this. Also, violent crime is higher in other African cities, like Johannesburg.

9

Dubai

dubai

Source: reddit, wikipedia, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dubai_skyline_2015.jpg

It’s kind of like Vegas but without any of the fun. Some people say that “soulless” is the best word to describe it. Everything is meticulously designed to be showy but it can come across as being contrived or artificial. If you want to see what a city looks like when it catches a serious case of the Napoleon complex, this place may be for you.

Note: human rights in UAE is a hugely contentious topic, especially with the release of documentaries like “Slaves of Dubai”. It discusses how a majority of the population consists of foreign workers, many of which are from Asia and live in slavery-level conditions. Moreover, UAE’s legal system is very strict and provides little recourse for non-Emiratis.

8

Rio de Janeiro

rio

Source: reddit, Image: https://pixabay.com/en/rio-de-janeiro-brasil-mountain-809756/

Even people who live in São Paulo are scared of going to Rio. The city is known for it’s vast economic disparities (many slums skirt the city) and this leads to high levels of crime. It’s not the most dangerous city in the world, and the beaches are definitely worth seeing, but consider staying in São Paulo. In spite of being a bigger city, it’s the safer of the two and is often considered to be the economic capital of the country.

7

Southern Europe in summer

rome

Source: reddit, Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mararie/3313582639

Whether it’s Rome, Athens, or Madrid, the combination of tourists and heat will make your experience less than optimal. Go in winter. It’s cheaper and less crowded.

6

Indonesia

jakarta

Source: reddit, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_Dutch_building_in_Jakarta_(6934830177).jpg

Unlike other developing countries, street vendors and beggars won’t eventually leave you alone. They will follow you and follow you and follow you some more. Their persistence can be quite exhausting.

5

Johannesburg, South Africa

south africa

Source: reddit, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Johannesburg_CBD.jpg

The combined crime, corruption, and poverty can be quite overwhelming. Also, don’t stop at red lights at night. Stoplight crime can be quite high (being robbed at gunpoint while sitting in your car).

4

Naples, Italy

naples

Source: reddit, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spanish_Quarter_seen_from_Renaissance_Mediterraneo_-_Naples_-_Italy_2015.JPG

If you thought Rome is crazy, Naples is a different world. In many ways southern Italy isn’t even very European in terms of lifestyle and culture. Just expect something more in line with Asian or African cities when you visit. The streets are far more chaotic and dirtier than their more northern European counterparts. People yell at each other, traffic rules are ignored, and the city is more run down. 

3

Nassau, Bahamas

nassau

Source: reddit, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nassau,_Bahamas_welcome_gateway.JPG

It’s not too hard to believe that this place started off as a stopover for pirates. If anything goes wrong don’t expect the police to care. And cruises never take you to the “real” parts of this country.

2

Brunei

no taxi

Source: reddit, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:New_York_Taxi.JPG

It doesn’t have taxis so if you’re there in summer…be prepared.

1

Beijing

Beijing

Source: reddit, chinahighlights,com, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wangfujing_street,_Beijing.JPG

There is perhaps no place in the world where you will be the victim of more attempted scams. Popular scams include having both a local menu and a tourist menu (the tourist menu has extortionate prices), black taxis (basically they’re fake taxis that target foreigners), and returning counterfeit cash to foreigners when exchanging money due to their unfamiliarity with local bank notes. 

Author

Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

Staff Writer
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