Worst travel experiences and places
Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
632Trip End Dec 31, 2011
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tourists and jaded travel writers can tell the awful truth about their
Doug Lansky's www.titanicawards.com invites
visitors to fill in a survey, send in pictures and videos, and vote for
the absolute worst the world of tourism has to offer.
are asked to name the world's worst beer, the dirtiest beach, the most
filthy toilet, the world's worst cruise ship and most nauseating food
among other horrors.
Worst food nominations include the raw
shrimp cocktail of Kathmandu (the travel writer was sick for three
weeks and lost 8kg); fried tarantulas (somewhere in Asia), stir-fried
grasshoppers in Indonesia and boiled fermented cow's nose in Bali.
Lanksy is a syndicated columnist in the US. He's annoyed by travel stories that read more like brochures.
see critical reviews of books, movies and plays in the media, but when
was the last time you saw someone say a destination was awful? Or that
they disliked a fancy new resort?" he asks on the site.
Titanic Awards seeks to take a different approach to these often
spectacular underachievements in the travel industry by celebrating
"Sometimes travel writers who try to convey less
flattering information find that the editors aren't interested or that
it takes so many words to cleverly craft the issue to keep it from
coming across as whiny that it no longer fits into the allotted space."
"website is not attempting to fulfil the accountability gap in the
travel industry; it's more like a shot across the bow", Lanksy says.
"Besides, some of the strange and unflattering aspects of travel can be the most interesting and entertaining."
Lanksy has drummed up heavyweight support.
Contributors include British-born Australian Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet publications.
lists the Saudis as the worst drivers in the world, India as the place
with the longest visa queue but Russia has the most absurd, Kafkaesque
"mind bogglingly stupid bureaucracy".
He also writes that the worst pizza he ever tasted was at a pub in Nimbin on the NSW north coast.
"How could the Australian centre for dope smoking, hippy free living produce something so bloody awful?"
Pauline Frommer, creator of the guidebooks bearing her name, says the
worst airline is Air Pakistan "with duct tape holding together seats,
cockroaches in the aisles".
Travel writer Johnny Jet - well known for his www.JohnnyJet.com site - lists a flight to Fiji on Sun Air as the worst flight he's ever taken.
"Everything was smooth on my puddle jump ride to Savusavu until we went over the mountain range," Jet says.
hit turbulence, an alarm went off, the plane dropped and I had to pound
my heart a couple of times to start that sucker back up once we
flattened out. When we landed I not only kissed the ground, I made out
The worst place he's ever visited is Tijuana: "Dirty, depressing and full of scam artists."
also cops a serve from another travel writer, for a donkey painted to
look like a zebra. The poor beast was lined up to be snapped by
tourists drunk on tequila.
Filthy toilets are a popular grievance.
travel writer Larry Habegger gives "a tower of filth" in Jogjakarta,
Java, his vote, while American award-winning travel photographer
Catherine Watson gives her vote to "The dank, filthy, unlighted ruin of
a public ladies room in central Bucharest, before Ceaucescu's horrid
government fell. No toilet paper, no soap, no feminine hygiene products
in the whole country, no nothing".
Tony Wheeler gives his
vote to Darchen, Tibet: "Australians talk of long drop outhouses. This
was the opposite, a vertical mountain of s**t, a long climb to the top."
traveller Robert Young Pelton, author of the The World's Most Dangerous
Places and Come Back Alive, says the least civilised militants he's
ever met were in Liberia.
"The Small Boys Unit I was with
in Liberia was run by a 15-year-old who had three or four girlfriends
and always smoked a huge spliff. These guys (mostly 10 - 12 year olds)
like to cut the enemy to pieces after they were dead. Not very sporting
chaps," he writes.
Tourism is one of the world's biggest businesses.
World Tourism Organisation says in 2008, international tourist arrivals
grew by two per cent, to reach 924 million, which is up 16 million from
International tourism generated $US856 billion in 2007, or 30 per cent of the world's exports of services.