Rarely do I agree with the travel “experts” and their suggestions to stay away from specific and troubled destinations. I fell victim to this, as recently as last October, when I was told to stay away from my visit to Istanbul. Both the State Department and many of my well-traveled friends said to stay away. Well, enough said, I should have gone. I was within an hour of Istanbul by air when I was in Budapest!
Here are a few more of their “suggestions” that I find curious and dubious at best.
Myanmar has become a fascinating place, mostly for their limited contact with the rest of the world. Mike and I were there three years ago. It is a surprisingly rich and vibrant culture, somewhat different than the rest of SE Asia. We found the people to be friendly, the food inexpensive, and the sights both unique and well preserved. But in the middle of their famous golden temples, like Shwedagon, comes the ugly persecution of an ethnic minority, the Rohingya. And where exactly is their Nobel laureate, Aung Sang, and what is she doing about it? Bottom line: I would go!
I have always skipped the Galapagos for obvious reasons. I think any human contact or trace is damaging to the islands. It is a unique place in the world and should be preserved, at all cost. I had several chances, on previous trips to South America, and we always said NO! So, we are in agreement here.
The crime rate in Honduras gets most of the headlines. Plus, it is rather simple to find similar places to visit in Central America. Safer places like Costa Rica offer similar experiences and culture. Again, I agree with the experts.
The Great Wall of China has been extolled by many over the years. When China first opened, I couldn’t wait to visit. Now, I realize it has become both a tourist trap, and poorly treated by tourists and locals alike. I would be happy to fly over it and avoid the ground. Many other treasures await in this big country. Why be part of the problem?
I place the Taj Mahal in the same category as the Wall. I wanted to go, but as I found out more, I have stayed away. Enough said.
Fidel, Fidel!!! I was as anxious as anyone to visit, and came within an eyelash of booking a trip to Cuba. As many have found out, it was a “tourist grab” by any estimation. Not just the poor infrastructure, but the pricing of hotels and meals, make it troublesome. Perhaps someday? For every one who says it is a must go, there are five who say “nix” on Cuba.
Never one of my favorite places, Venice may soon disappear whether you visit or not. It remains one my least favorite places to have experienced. I said never again, and have kept my word. Was it the terrible garbage in the canals, or the plethora of gypsies harassing everyone?
I went to Machu Picchu hoping to see something magnificent. All I saw were hordes of tourists and touts. The place is overrun with people and animals. Perhaps it is time to limit tourists to about a hundred a day. Restoration and preservation are not enough. I would never recommend this to you as a must see destination.
So, where should you go? My suggestions are New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Canada, and South Africa. And our great National Parks, of course!