It can be interesting to explore a place you’re not familiar with, but it’s important to do your research before going. How? By reading up on the area or location, asking friends who have been there, etc., you can help ensure that your trip is fun and safe. However, if you don’t take extra precautions for things like this in an unfamiliar place, you might find yourself in a tourist trap! A tourist trap refers to any sort of bad situation or generally unfavorable “bad” experience. Perhaps they aren’t what they seem, maybe they were poorly researched by someone else beforehand – whatever the reason may be, these places are not what they appear to be. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite tourist traps from all around the world and some general tips on avoiding them yourself.
1) The Lincoln Memorial – Washington D.C., U.S.A.
Filled with marble sculptures of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions from his speeches, the Lincoln Memorial is a very culturally significant landmark in America’s capital city, Washington D.C. Designed by Henry Bacon, it was built between 1914-1922. It has been host to many famous speakers from Martin Luther King Jr., who delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech there, to Pope John Paul II. It also served as a central location for protests during the Vietnam War era. However, this wonderful memorial represents all that is good about America – including its racist past. The Confederate flag is prominently featured on the memorial, and Lincoln’s famous “Four score and seven years ago” speech, while including emancipating black slaves as a goal to be achieved, also refers to American colonization of Mexico and Native Americans as positive achievements. While it might seem like we’re overreacting, this becomes more disturbing when considering that Lincoln believed in repatriation – or sending freed slaves back to Africa.
2) Patpong Night Market – Bangkok, Thailand
Located in central Bangkok, Patpong night market is one of the most well-known red-light districts in the city. Boasting many different street foods alongside bars and clubs that line either side of two narrow alleys, a visit here is never boring. However, it’s important to be careful when visiting Patpong, as tourists can sometimes find themselves in dangerous situations. One example of this is the scam involving ping pong shows. Patrons are charged a fee for entry and given a ticket; they will then be told to wait at a table. Eventually, an attractive woman will appear and begin performing tricks with balls and other objects on stage (e.g., bouncing them off her body). The victim is asked to take part in some sort of stunt – usually playing catch with the girl – if he succeeds, he wins money; if not, he has to pay up. It may seem like harmless entertainment, but it’s actually quite sexist – women are objectified by being made to play a sport that really has nothing to do with their profession.
3) The Australian Outback – Australia
The Australian outback is a wonderful place, filled with unique wildlife and interesting people. However, it’s important to do your research before heading there; otherwise, you might end up at Leaning Tree Sanctuary. This “sanctuary” is meant to be home to the oldest tree in the region (hence its name), however, this is simply not true. In actuality, this land was once occupied by Aboriginal Australians but now exists as an animal sanctuary. While the owners are trying not to cause any harm, they’ve done so anyway by uprooting ancient trees and replacing them with roads for cars.
4) The Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
One of the most iconic landmarks in all of Europe, the Eiffel Tower can be found in the center of Paris. Featuring an iron lattice construction, it has become famous for its design and use as a radio tower. Since its opening in 1889, it has attracted roughly 250 million visitors. However, some people think that there’s more to this famous site than meets the eye. Supposedly, there is a secret underground facility beneath the structure – filled with UFOs! While this may seem ridiculous at first glance, there are accounts from three separate individuals who have claimed to have seen alien spacecraft near or hovering around the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps these crafts were attempting to make contact with one of the most famous landmarks in the world.
5) The Taj Mahal – Agra, India
Located on the south bank of river Yamuna, this white marble mausoleum is a shining example of Mughal architecture and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his favorite wife – Mumtaz Mahal – who died during childbirth. However, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to this beautiful site. While we can’t be certain that this isn’t just an elaborate hoax, there are some people out there who believe that it might be haunted. Many witnesses have claimed to see ghosts wandering around at night, while some people say that you can even hear the sounds of a woman wailing for her dead child.
6) Stonehenge – Wiltshire, UK
Stonehenge is one of the most famous megalithic structures in Europe – featuring many large stones arranged to form a circle. Thought by many to have been built around 5,000 years ago by ancient peoples with the purpose of worshiping pagan deities, it’s actually believed that this was used as an astronomical observatory. However, if this is true then why are there legends that talk about witchcraft surrounding its construction? Supposedly, strange rituals were conducted here at night – involving human sacrifice and black magic. Local folklore even claims that witches would fly out to this location on broomsticks in order to conduct their diabolical practices.
7) The Pyramids – Giza, Egypt
The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the largest structures ever built by man – with its grand size being noted by Napoleon Bonaparte. Thought to have been created around 2560 BC, it’s an Egyptian wonder that still exists today – despite many people believing that it may soon collapse. What most people don’t know about the pyramids, however, is that they are actually haunted. According to witnesses, apparitions can be seen inside these ancient structures – while some visitors have even claimed to hear the sounds of an invisible presence following them around. While paranormal experts believe that there may be an alternate explanation to these stories, many people agree that – at the very least – they may have something to do with high levels of electromagnetic energy.
8) The Leaning Tower of Pisa – Pisa, Italy
Perhaps one of the most famous towers in all of Europe is this Italian beauty: the Leaning Tower of Pisa. While it’s not entirely clear how and why it’s started to lean, we do know that its foundation was compromised shortly after it was built. What causes this tower to lean? Some experts believe that there must not have been proper soil analysis when building the structure, while others think that it’s due to a slow deformation in its structure (over time). Unfortunately, there’s no real way to know for sure except by building another one like it – which is something that experts will never be able to do.
9) The Forbidden City – Beijing, China
Built-in the early 1400s, this grand palace (made with an estimated 1 million bricks) is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful structures ever created. However, there seems to be more than meets the eye when it comes to this popular site. Many people believe that there are ghosts surrounding certain areas of this complex; including areas where numerous executions took place. There’s also a rumor involving human sacrifice, with some claiming that animals were sacrificed here in order for workers to appease the spirits they believed were living in these structures.
10) The Tower of London – London, England
Built around 1078, this historical place is one of the most haunted places in all of England. There are dozens upon dozens of ghosts that can be seen here – with some even claiming to have been attacked by these spirits. At least a dozen people have also claimed to have been possessed by ghosts while visiting this site. One particular ghost is Anne Boleyn, who was known for being one of Henry VIII’s six wives as well as the Queen Consort between 1533 and 1536. Other notable residents include two young princes Edward V and his younger brother Richard who were held here before they disappeared from history (supposedly murdered). Some people believe that Princess Elizabeth (who became Queen Elizabeth I) is also seen here – though this hasn’t been confirmed by anybody else.
11) The Island of Dolls – Mexico City, Mexico
Located in a small lake known as the Xochimilco, this floating island is considered to be one of the most haunted places in all of Latin America. It’s said that numerous spirits have been living among these trees for years – including those who drowned here during various floods. In recent decades, however, some people have claimed that they’ve witnessed dolls with human features moving around on their own. In fact, many people who visit this area have even reported having strange nightmares involving these dolls following them around and even attacking them. Some claim that it’s because these dolls are filled with dark spirits, while others believe it’s due to the fact that they become very hot during the summertime.
12) The Paris Catacombs – Paris, France
Paris is known for being one of the most haunted places in all of Europe – and now you can find out why! There are numerous stories about ghosts, ghouls, and even goblins living inside a massive network of underground tunnels that were created centuries ago. Some of these tunnels have been lost forever, but those that remain open often include bones from six million people who died here. Even though this area hasn’t been used as a burial ground since 1959, many visitors claim to have heard strange noises coming from this darkness – including the voices of children and even the sounds of a guillotine.
13) The Tower Bridge – London, England
Many people have claimed to have seen a ghostly crown on top of this bridge for over 50 years now. Some claim that it’s due to Queen Elizabeth I being crowned here while others believe it could be because a man named Joseph Clark was killed after falling from the structure in 1894. Another theory is that there was some sort of ritual performed here by an occult group known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Regardless, many people continue to see this crown floating on top of this bridge – which seems to remain standing despite strong winds blowing across its surface.
14) Lake Kaindy – Kazakhstan
At over 400 feet tall, this amazing site is the only natural lake in all of Central Asia – even though it’s filled with saltwater, rather than fresh. There are also numerous sinkholes located around here – which has caused some people to believe that this place may be connected to hell. It’s said that a man known as Khan Kaindy once owned these lands back in the 1700s, and had numerous trees planted here in order to make it easier for him and his family to travel across this region. However, he did not realize that shortly after planting these trees, they would start sinking into these depressions due to underground caves collapsing. At least half of them turned into large mounds while others