Wanderlust tugs at the heartstrings of many, and we love being washed over with the new and the exotic. While traveling, we do come across tourist traps. They pierce that little magic bubble being in a strange new place creates. Tourist traps. Those noisy, crowded, expensive, commercial places that make your head spin, leave you with a lighter wallet, and a bad aftertaste.
Here is a list of some of the worst tourist traps in and around the world; over-crowded, over-priced, and some may say overrated and misrepresented.
Dunn's River Falls, Jamaica
Don't expect to see this sight when you're there. Imagine, spread generously across the falls, hundreds of wet tourists scrambling over each other. Although beautiful to behold, the Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica are ruined by crowds of tourists being...well, tourists, and tour guides heckling you.
Niagara Falls, North America
Naturally breathtaking, what ruins the Niagara Falls is the blatant exploitation by commercialism. The view of the falls is shattered by dozens of tourist boats, gangplanks, hotels and restaurants. Join the herd as you peer over the shoulders of the man in front of you to catch a glimpse of the magnificent tragedy.
Stonehenge, United Kingdom
An aura of mystery and magic is said to envelop this unexplained structure, but the sad truth is, that it stands forlornly crammed between two busy roads. The aura is ruined by traffic and tourists as they click away, from the preset distance of course; you're not allowed to get too close to the stones. Like a display at the zoo, gaze at this ancient wonder from the fence.
Forbidden City, Beijing, China
Notorious for dozens of scams, The Forbidden City, contrary to its name, is packed with tourists and con-artists. Try to get there earlier than opening hours (and politely refuse the polite people who altruistically sidle up to you), in order to avoid the extremely long wait and being scammed out of your money.
Taj Mahal, India
Ridiculously expensive, costing about 1000 rupees if you're a tourist (it's Rs. 20 for locals) (excluding vehicle fees and photograph/camera fees) the Taj Mahal's architectural elegance is ruined by ugly pollution monitors and crowds of milling tourists, haranguing tour guides who pester you with a "historically accurate" story and photographers who harass you into taking undignified and expensive pictures of holding the top of the dome.
* Prices provided here were accurate at the time of publication.