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Top 10 Tourist Traps to Beware Of

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
So many sights and so little time - here are the destinations that you might just want to skip. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Tourist Traps to Beware Of. For this list we’re including both overrated attractions and ones that might be interesting, but are either unpleasantly inaccessible or of real interest only to smaller subsets of travelers.

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Top 10 Tourist Traps to Beware Of

So many sights and so little time - here are the destinations that you might just want to skip. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Tourist Traps to Beware Of..

For this list we’re including both overrated attractions and ones that might be interesting, but are either unpleasantly inaccessible or of real interest only to smaller subsets of travelers.

#10: The Little Mermaid

Copenhagen, Denmark

What can we say about this attraction? It’s a statue of a mermaid. Inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale upon which the Disney film is also based, this statue sits on a rock along the waterfront on Copenhagen’s Langelinie promenade. About 4 and half feet tall, the statue was unveiled in 1913, but has since been removed and replaced with a replica, perhaps because it’s been the subject of numerous acts of vandalism over the years, including multiple decapitations. Considering the fact that there are numerous copies around the world, this little mermaid simply doesn’t have that much inherent magic to her - a quick glance is good enough.

#9: Pyramids of Giza

Giza Plateau, Egypt

The legendary Great Pyramids of Giza are among some of the most iconic structures in existence and the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing today. For many, they are a bucket list item, an attraction that needs to be seen at least once. When you consider the limited technology available at the time of their construction, the pyramids are staggeringly impressive and a crucial part of human history. But here’s the thing… for those who don’t have a passion for history or the imagination to project themselves into the past to witness their construction, these wonders might just feel like a pile of old stones too crowded to be enjoyed. Blasphemy, we know.

#8: Manneken Pis

Brussels, Belgium

Not to take the, uh, piss out of of this famous attraction, but a statue of a little boy peeing in fountain is, well, just about as interesting as it sounds. In other words, not much. Though its historical context might make it of interest (some version of this statue has been there for hundreds of years), the fact that it’s only 2 feet tall makes for a rather underwhelming sight. Yes, it’s funny, especially when you consider that this fountain was once an important source of water for the locals, but when you take the statue’s diminutive size and add to it the fact that this statue isn’t even the original (this one was installed in 1965), it loses much of its historical appeal.

#7: Prague Astronomical Clock

Prague, Czech Republic

Do you have a passion for astronomy? Not just a passing interest in meteor showers or other major space-related events… we mean a real passion. Chances are that the answer is no, and if that’s the case, then you probably might not want to bother with this particular attraction. It’s not that Prague’s famous astronomical clock isn’t interesting, it’s actually a rather fascinating and beautiful piece of technology which dates all the way back to 1410. The thing is, we doubt most people would bother to seek it out if its reputation didn’t proceed it as a noted attraction. Standing in a crowd to look up at this clock and its procession of apostolic statues might not be the best use of your . . . travel time.

#6: The Equator

Quito, Ecuador

Straddling the equator is a lot like standing with one foot on either side of any border shared by two states or countries: it’s cool and novel in concept, but that’s about it - the novelty wears off real quick. The equator, of course, is the line that runs around the globe equidistant from the two poles. As such, it can be crossed in numerous countries, but few cities or towns have attempted to capitalize on the equator quite like Quito, where an entire park has been constructed in honor of this line and the man who did significant research on it there, Charles-Marie de La Condamine. Hilariously, their painted line isn’t the real equator, it’s off by about 780 feet.

#5: Hollywood Walk of Fame

Los Angeles, California, USA

After checking out this attraction for yourself, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve been duped by the allure of celebrity culture. The city of Los Angeles has a lot to offer the savvy traveler, but it’s also riddled with tourist traps, and The Walk of Fame feels like the linchpin in the oh-so-unsatisfying buffet of sights and sounds that Hollywood Boulevard has to offer. The draw? A bunch of celebrity names etched in the sidewalk. It’s an under-whelming way to try and feel a close connection to your favorite stars; but don’t worry, you’re sure to feel over-whelmed by the street performers, souvenir shops, vendors and tour guides who’ve set up shop there.

#4: Leaning Tower of Pisa

Pisa, Italy

This off-kilter structure really puts the city of Pisa on the tourism map, but is it really worth your time? It certainly makes for an interesting photo op; or rather it would if it were, say, a structure you randomly came across while exploring the countryside. Given the tower’s popularity however, every angle feels like it’s been photographed to death, and the posed “we’re holding it up” photos are more than a little cheesy. Do yourself a favor… skip Pisa altogether and add Bologna to your itinerary instead. Not only is it the food capital of Italy, but it’s also home to not one, but two leaning towers that, although more modest, are way less crowded.

#3: The Forbidden City

Beijing, China

The Forbidden City served as the home of China’s Emperors from the Ming to Qing dynasties, during which time it earned its name by being strictly off-limits to the general population, unless invited. Unfortunately, what awaits visitors nowadays feels anything but “forbidden”. It is now one of China’s biggest draws and attractions, and as such, the Forbidden City is usually very crowded, making it difficult to really soak in or appreciate the majesty of the the Imperial Palace and the surrounding complex. Don’t get us wrong, there’s plenty to see, but you need to get there early if you like personal space, and the various souvenir stalls and shops that dot the Forbidden City kind of kill the vibe.

#2: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Ratchaburi Province, Thailand

The concept of a floating market is fascinating, and once upon a time, you could have gone and had a genuine experience on the man-made channel connecting the Tha Chin and Mae Klong rivers. For roughly 100 years, the Damnoen Saduak canal was home to numerous water-based markets and served as a central hub of commercial trade. Sadly, Damnoen Saduak is not what it once was. The need for water-based trade dried up in the late 1960s, and since the early ‘70s it’s been replaced by a market aimed explicitly at tourists. From a boat rental to the offerings of local vendors, everything is overpriced. The market is overcrowded and the entire experience, kinda meh.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Dunn’s River Falls

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, Canada

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

#1: The Blarney Stone

Blarney, Ireland

Ireland is an island rich in culture and history, with a breathtaking landscape to explore, and numerous sights to see. But for generations, this particular stone has been treated as a must-see, or rather must-kiss attraction, with very little justification. Yes, according to legend it bequeaths those who kiss it with the gift of gab, but talk to anyone who’s puckered up in Castle Blarney and you’re unlikely to be blown away by their eloquence. To be fair, Castle Blarney, which dates back to the 15th century, is an interesting landmark, but the stone with which it shares a name means long lines and a disappointingly underwhelming experience. Also... consider the germs. Seriously.


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