The new Fodor’s Travel guide has a list of places tourists should shun. Just one recommendation for Thailand: ‘overwhelmed, littered’ Phang-Nga National Park. (Creative Commons, Flickr.com)
As you contemplate all those “where to go in 2018” lists, here’s a twist: a list of places to avoid in the new year.
The where not to go list is from Fodor’s, the travel guidebook publisher. Fodor’s “no list” includes places plagued by over-tourism and destinations with safety issues. They range from a US state to bucket-list wonders of the world.
Too many tourists in places like Venice and Amsterdam have resulted in a local backlash against visitors. Fodor’s says we should just stay away.
Here are the 10 places Fodor’s suggests we avoid.
PHANG NGA PARK, Thailand: Fodor’s says “the rush to paradise has overwhelmed” some of Thailand’s beaches with pollution and overuse. Successful recovery initiatives are in progress, but Fodor’s recommends taking “the road less littered and enjoy a tropical vacay away from the fray.”
MYANMAR: The whole country. Just a few years ago Myanmar was on every globetrotter’s list, having opened up to tourism after years of isolation. Now Myanmar is one of the world’s pariahs because of a violent campaign against the ethnic Rohingya minority. Fodor’s noted that the United Nations labelled the atrocities “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
THE GALAPAGOS: Ecuador heavily regulates tourism in the Galapagos as part of its environmental conservation policies, but Fodor’s says the islands’ fragile ecosystems remain vulnerable.
TAJ MAHAL: In 2018, the Taj Mahal’s dome will get its first thorough cleaning since the monument was built 369 years ago. A mud paste has been used to clean other parts of the monument, and Fodor’s says “unless your dream Taj Mahal visit involves being photographed standing in front of a mud-caked and be-scaffolded dome, maybe give it until 2019 at the earliest.”
MOUNT EVEREST: Fodor’s says the pursuit of bragging rights from a trip up Mount Everest just isn’t worth the danger (six people died climbing there in 2017) and the cost ($25,000 to $45,000).
MISSOURI: Fodor’s put Missouri on its no-go list because of an NAACP travel advisory for the state, citing reports that African-Americans were more likely than whites to be stopped by law enforcement officers there, as well as other incidents and policies that raise questions about various types of discrimination.
HONDURAS: The murder rate in Honduras has dropped in the last several years but it’s still among the deadliest places on earth. Fodor’s says travellers should stay safe and spend their money elsewhere.
GREAT WALL and BEIJING: Fodor’s cites the deterioration of sections of the Great Wall of China and air pollution in Beijing as reasons to stay away.
CUBA: Americans are still permitted to visit Cuba, but new rules from the Trump administration are complicated and the mysterious illness reported among American embassy workers in Havana is worrisome. Fodor’s urges caution.