our top 5 disappointing travel sights and what we learnt

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Hmmm… this post may not go down well but heck, we’ll put it out there and see who else agrees or disagrees.

We read this article recently about the most disappointing travel destinations. And we thought it was a little harsh because we tend to try to see a place for more than just the “tourist”-hype and labels that it has been given.

But then it did get us thinking about how we have been underwhelmed at times during our travels. Our disappointments aren’t blanketed to an entire place but more to a few sights.

Our disappointment with buying what we thought was water only to discover it was sparkling water.
Our disappointment with buying what we thought was water only to discover it was sparkling water.

Here are our Top 5 Travel Disappointing Sights. But please read to the end before jumping to conclusions.

5) Pamukkale

Yes, we recently wrote about how we enjoyed our time there but when we first laid our eyes on it. Were we disappointed? Hell yeh! It wasn’t anywhere as inviting as the pictures we have seen of it. The colours were not as romantic (thanks to PhotoShop no doubt). The pictures that sell Pamukkale are WAY better – but it’s not to say that it’s not worth visiting because it certainly is!

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4) The Statue of Liberty

Really? That’s it? We were expecting something taller and bigger and a little more exciting. Maybe we have been brain washed by too many Hollywood flicks where the big scary apocalyptic wave crashes dramatically into the statue. Okay – so that is us being gullible.

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3) Sea Lions on Kangaroo Island

Sorry that we have to drag out a local tourist draw card. Let’s start by saying that the scenery is definitely spectacular and what we experienced was no doubt enjoyable on Kangaroo Island.

One thing, we were really looking forward to seeing were the sea lions, relaxing on the beach and we did but as tiny little specks out by the water’s edge. We can completely understand that we need to keep our distance for the protection of the wildlife as well as humans but the distance was so far, we could barely see a thing without our camera zoom.

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2) The Terracotta Warriors

Not that they weren’t impressive because they are. It’s just the atmosphere and ambience of the place does not exude significance or excitement. It didn’t stir any thrill inside or “pinch me I’m here” feelings. We can’t quite place our fingers on it but we found it a little anticlimactic. Fascinating but anticlimactic.

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And the MOST disappointing sight?

1) Spanish Steps

Hawkers hassling us to buy roses and bubble guns as we stand in front of stairs that are covered in people. So where are the steps? We can’t even see them because of the bodies scattered. All the while being harassed to buy a rose… yeh, it has to be the most over-rated and underwhelming place we have seen. We probably spent a total of 5 minutes there before we were literally chased away by a hawker … to pay for the rose that he threw at us which we didn’t even want!

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And anyway, to be fair and honest, we are to blame! We hype these things up in our heads only to be disappointed and then try to blame the place. Uh-uh *shaking head*…. The problem is ours not the sight itself!

Our solution to avoiding disappointment: Don’t have any expectations.

We have learnt to realise that an experience is more than just an impression. And what we describe above are just impressions. Because overall our experience in all these places were nothing short of unbelievable.

  • We loved Pamukkale… actually we loved very drop of Turkey.
  • We were dazzled by NYC … we want to go back.
  • We love how untainted Kangaroo Island is…. we would stay longer next time.
  • We were enchanted by Rome… we yearn to go back.
  • We were mystified by Xi’an… we remember it fondly.

So it just shows that a “disappointment” of an attraction does not necessarily equate to negative feelings on an entire place. What about the atmosphere, the culture, the people, the food and everything else beyond the well-renowned must-sees?

Go somewhere to experience it, not just to see it! 

Maybe we will need to have a follow up post on our top 5 least disappointing or our top 5 favourite sights 🙂

So do you agree with any of the places? Or do you have somewhere else you want to include? 

Feel free to comment here

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86 thoughts on “our top 5 disappointing travel sights and what we learnt

    lovetotrav said:
    May 14, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I think it is brilliant to have written such a post as I am always, as a travel obsessed person, wondering other’s favs and not so favs. I have been fairly open on my blog that my disappointing country was South Korea (thought I could live happily in any country for a year but I was wrong) and Fish River Canyon in Namibia. I remember driving there for hours and hours and then looking and thinking, Ok. this is it..?! I loved Namibia though… a lot and would return in a heart beat. I liked the Spanish Steps to sit on and people watch but not more or less than any other set of steps in a beautiful city. Happy travels, Cheryl

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      May 14, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      Hi Cheryl! Thanks so much for you lovely and insightful comment. We have never been to South Korea or Namibia but they are on our list to visit one day 🙂 People watching is an amazing thing to do about travelling, that is one of our favourite things to do! We will have to certainly check out your blog if you are travel obsessed and honest on there too!

    […] we’ve written a post about the top 5 places that underwhelmed us, then we wrote about the top 5 unexpected places and now is our top 5 that was everything plus more […]

    AnnaKristina said:
    February 6, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    I went to Xi’an in March 2014 while I was living in China, and I feel inclined to disagree with you about the Terracotta Warriors. However, I think I understand why you may have felt the way you did. The thing that made our trip to see the warriors was getting a tour guide. When we arrived, we were approached by one of the lovely Chinese ladies waiting outside the grounds who was offering her services as a tour guide (cheaper than the ones within the grounds. Her English was brilliant and I think we paid about ¥75 for the whole 3 hours we were walking round; it was 100% worth it. She gave us an insight that just looking at the artefacts couldn’t give us, and it made the whole thing way more impressive. Maybe that’s something you can recommend to your readers when they go? Our tour guide, “Linda”, also gave us a cheeky tip to use any ID card we had with our photograph on it and use it as student ID to get discount on the entry fee. I used my old student ID card which expired a few years ago, and my American travel buddy used her driver’s license. This little tactic got us discount on entry fees all over the place!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 7, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Hi Anna, Thanks for your comment! And a rather interesting tip about the ID card.

      We did have a very good tour guide around the site, but it wasn’t the tour itself that disappointed. We were just underwhelmed – but as we say in the post, it was our own expectations. We had seen and read so much about it that we had hyped it up in our own minds of what we would see and then it didn’t turn out that way. We live and we learn.

      Very glad to hear that your reactions were different to ours. Always refreshing to hear that it isn’t one in the same for everyone 🙂

    darklanternowen said:
    January 10, 2015 at 10:34 am

    IMO the trick to avoid disappointment is to read, research, understand before (& after) you visit places. Every place in the world has its story. And the people, speak to local people, if you can, you will remember the people experiences long after the photos have faded from memory. And learn about yourself sometimes. That’s what I’ve gained after 40yrs of (occasional) travel! Go well & learnl – Owen

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 10, 2015 at 10:53 am

      Interesting take on it – thanks for reading and sharing your insights 🙂

    The Sock Mistress said:
    January 9, 2015 at 8:16 am

    For me, it was Kbal Chhay Waterfall in Cambodia near Sihanoukville. We were told how beautiful it was and the photos looked lovely. But reality was it was nothing more than a rubbish dump with water flowing through it – litter was simply everywhere. So disappointing and heartbreaking.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 9, 2015 at 11:32 am

      Yikes!! Isn’t it crazy how things get so hyped up and then turns out to be not that great?! What a shame that it was littered… that can happen when tourism begins to boom in a place!
      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your disappointing travel experience!

    batrouney said:
    January 8, 2015 at 1:35 am

    I was surprised with the last 3 on your list but upon reflection and reading others comments I think it shows impact of popular tourism. As an example we first went to Kangaroo Island over 15 years ago before it was overly popular and were able to walk down among the seals. The beach was packed with seals and as we were the only ones there it was a very surreal experience.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 9, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Tourism can do these things to a place, huh? Changes the whole ambience of an experience. However – sometimes it is due to the buzz of tourism that can create a vibe of a place too.
      What you describe about Kangaroo Island is exactly what we experienced in the Galapagos. It is definitely a surreal experience.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts 🙂

    Shelly Najjar @ The Goal List said:
    January 6, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Photoshop and camera filters can make a lot of difference in colors. Sometimes it seems like a lot of the photos of canyons and beaches are not what your eye would actually see. Plus, when it’s really sunny sometimes the excess light washes out the color.
    I thought the Grand Canyon and Mt Rushmore were both let downs, but I’ve heard it is because I didn’t do the hikes around/in them. I was happy to go to both, but I have enjoyed other locations much more. If I go back I will have to explore the area more and maybe get a better appreciation of what they are.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 6, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Interesting you say that about Grand Canyon and Mt Rushmore because we loved those two! The day we visited Mt Rushmore, there was snow… and we say chipmunks. We don’t get either in Sydney so it was a highlight. And Grand Canyon, we felt was unbelievable breath-takingly beautiful. We would like to definitely revisit Grand Canyon and hike around/in it 🙂

    top 5 unexpected travel gems « wise monkeys abroad said:
    January 6, 2015 at 11:45 am

    […] the end of last year, we wrote a piece about our most disappointing travel sites and to introduce this year, we are sharing our top 5 unexpected travel highlights – places […]

    Gypsy Bev said:
    December 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Like you, I tend to write about the things I enjoy about a place. Never thought of writing about the disappointments. Great idea.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

      Thanks Gypsy Bev 🙂 We were a little inspired by that article we read … and thought “disappointments” are really our own doing, right?

    janikaberridge said:
    December 19, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Hah, interesting post! In response to the first photo about the sparkling water – I like sparkling water :]

    With Lady Liberty in my backyard, I suppose I never had expectations for her. The grass is always greener, right? It’d be interesting to see which places exceeded your expectations!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts!! We actually have a posts about meeting expectations and exceeding expectations that we are yet to publish 🙂

      Have no or little expectations and now everything pretty much exceeds it!!

      Have a great weekend!

        janikaberridge said:
        December 20, 2014 at 4:10 am

        I look forward to reading it!

        Have a great weekend, as well :]

    unfinishedtravel said:
    December 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Interesting read! I would say the Taj Mahal was a bit of a disappointment because it was so crowded and noisy that I wanted to leave rather quickly. I had a “I can’t believe I’m actually here” moment when I first walked in, but after that, the crowd really got to me.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 19, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Yeah, it’s amazing how an external factor such as crowds or the weather can contribute to our impressions of a place. Sometimes we’ve just got to look past it. Thanks for reading and for sharing your experiences.

    Emily Ray (@emilyraylondon) said:
    December 17, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Love this! I had to chuckle when I read your remark about the Statue of Liberty – I said the same thing to my boyfriend when we were in New York…(“I thought it was…taller and more exciting?!”) And I felt the exact same way about the Spanish steps. I wasn’t at all impressed, especially after seeing pictures on Google of the steps completely void of bodies! 😛 Ah well, looking back on it, I guess it was brimming with life, and it was a good way of delving into Italian life 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 17, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Thanks Emily for stopping by and having a read of this post. We are glad to hear that a fair few people feel the same as us with some these 🙂
      But disappointing does not mean regret, right? We are still delighted to have experienced all of these!
      We have just learnt our lesson and are more wiser now, regarding expectations!
      Have a great week ahead.

    Antalya turkey said:
    December 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks a lot for an interesting review, I think it would useful for me.

    thebritishberliner said:
    December 16, 2014 at 4:27 am

    I don’t like sparkling water either, and don’t get me started on the basket of bread. Without any butter. Sigh! I live in Germany so my solution is to ask for non-sparkling water straight up or tap-water. And as for butter, unless it’s a fine dining place, it’s not going to happen LOL!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 16, 2014 at 8:39 am

      LOL – totally agree about the bread – what throws us off even more is having to pay for bread! But let’s not get into that… and although we are not fans of sparkling water, we wouldn’t really call it a disappointment.

      So has there been anywhere you have visited where you thought, “Gee, that was disappointing?”

    Red Nomad OZ said:
    December 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I was surprised to see the KI seals on your list – a few years ago they seemed MUCH closer! Maybe they were just having an ‘off’ day?? Sometimes just going on a different day can make the difference to the experience – but SO agree with not having any expectations as the key!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      In comparison to how close we can get to the wildlife in the Galapagos, the distance is very disappointing 🙂 But we blame only ourselves for the disappointment…
      Thanks for reading & for sharing!

    worldjourneysdiscover said:
    December 13, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    i loved the terracotta warriors. but I found being just one of thousands with idiots lining up for green screen photos and being herded around like cattle did take a lot of the gloss off.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      LOL – we didn’t take any photos amongst the Warriors, probably because we were deflated from our disappointment!
      The Terracotta Warriors are certainly fascinating and their history is very impressive but it was just not what we expected.

    Shelley @Travel-Stained said:
    December 11, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Super interesting post! Lol…what’s with the fizzy water hate? I LOVE a little frizzante, especially in Italy. It’s so refreshing! 🙂 I actually enjoyed the Spanish Steps. Agree that there’s not much to see there, but after a full day of touring around, it was a great respite to just sit there with a gelato and enjoy all the people watching and goings-on. For disappointment, I’d say the Great Wall of China. It was amazing to think of all the work that went into it, and it’s huge length, but it’s awfully low. We remember thinking, how can this be the fortification wall for the country when hubby could literally step over parts of it! Didn’t feel so “great” after all… 😉

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 13, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Hey Shelley – Ah…. so maybe that is where we went wrong with the Spanish Steps. We needed to visit at the end of the day with a gelato 🙂 You were not harassed while sitting there?

      We have heard many people feel the same about the Great Wall, so maybe that’s why we went with little expectation there and ended up being pleasantly surprised 🙂

      Hope you are well! Thanks for reading.

    Vlad said:
    December 11, 2014 at 1:15 am

    I agree with you, high expectations are the worst! I have yet to travel somewhere and be disappointed by the place itself. I had disappointing experiences, yes, but I’ve always found something interesting to see or do. It always amuses me when someone recommends me to avoid a place just because they found it “boring”. 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 11, 2014 at 10:57 am

      Oh dear! We cannot stand it when someone tell us something is “boring” and it is not worth going to. Travel experiences and impressions are so subjective – how do people make a call for someone else about what they would or wouldn’t like. As one of our other readers commented, that is why travellers love to travel, so we can see it for ourselves 🙂

      We do have to confess we have probably described Los Angeles like that to our friends but we have only been there for 3 days without a car so that would be to blame.

      You are VERY fortunate to not be disappointed with any place yet – 🙂 Hope it stays that way!

    Browsing the Atlas said:
    December 11, 2014 at 12:38 am

    My travel disappointment was the Eiffel Tower. (And not for the reason I blogged about recently.) It’s beautiful to look at, but going up in it was a big disappointment to me. The first time was enough, but I’ve gone twice more with different groups of people and of course everyone feels they *have* to go up the Eiffel Tower. So I go, too, and pretty much hate it every time. I need to just stay on the ground and admire it from there next time.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 11, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Interesting you say that! And we are glad to read that.
      We visited Paris back in 2006 and had no desire to go up. Then went back to Paris this time on 3 separate occasions. Before arriving, we decided that we “really should” go up this time. So we saw the Eiffel Tower from different vantage points and when we went up Sacre Coeur (the 300-odd steps or so) we loved how Paris looked from up the top BUT only when the Eiffel Tower was in view. So we gathered that going up the Eiffel Tower meant we would’ve had a similar view but just without the most gorgeous aspect.
      Subsequently the decision to go up changed – there was no point because we wouldn’t get to see the iconic tower if we are on the tower. Plus the lines were so horrendous, it deterred us the day we standing underneath it.
      Thanks so much for sharing your disappointment 🙂

        Diana said:
        December 16, 2014 at 5:01 am

        This IS an interesting topic. I admit the view from the tower was not my fav. HOWEVER… I truly enjoyed going UP the tower…every time I go, I climb it….I love taking those stairs. First off…fewer lines….but the real pleasure is getting up close and personal with the structure. The nuts and bolts alone are pretty impressive. I like to feel one with the tower…hee, hee, hee…..no but seriously…it is a nice feeling to climb that tower….It is only to the first and maybe second level (can’t even remember now)..but it does feel like a little accomplishment.

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          December 16, 2014 at 8:35 am

          Well, we can’t comment too much as Eiffel Tower is not one of our disappointments – we actually enjoy it very much there. But we can certainly imagine it does feel like an achievement!

          Thanks for your comment and hope you are well 🙂

    Ayla said:
    December 10, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    There are always going to be places that have less of a wow factor than others. I’m actually starting to worry that I’ve seen so many incredible places that I am becoming a bit of a travel snob and it now seems that I’m harder to please! Although I do think some places are so over hyped that we’re bound to sometimes be slightly disappointed.

    Great idea for a post – I won’t be doing one myself though as I’m actually slightly ashamed by some of my disappointments!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 11, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Ayla – we find it hard to believe that you could be a travel snob. We feel it is almost the opposite because we travel so much and have seen such incredible places, we can almost find the beauty in everything. It’s those “hidden gems” and “off-the-beaten-track” type of things that thrill us more, right?

      Now you have us totally intrigued about which were some of your disappointments that you are ashamed of?? Please share just one for us…. pretty please???

        Ayla said:
        December 11, 2014 at 7:57 pm

        Yeah I agree – I much prefer going to places that are not the norm. When someone suggests a holiday to Spain (which is the most usual holiday destination for us Brits) inside I’m screaming out for somewhere more exciting and less popular!

        Okay okay…the pyramids in Cairo were one of my disappointments. May have been because of all the touts trying to sell us things everywhere and we literally had things thrown in our faces and had no choice but to give them some money so they’d leave us alone. So that probably didn’t help! I’m still glad we saw them but I was just extremely underwhelmed.

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          December 12, 2014 at 9:14 am

          Yeh, we are the same here in Sydney when people suggest Bali or Fiji – we don’t find that really appealing BUT in saying that, we have become tempted to escape to Fiji because it is really affordable and so close 😉

          Aha – the Pyramids…. we hear that about this one being disappointing very often! So nothing to be embarrassed about, we have heard that the harassment to buy is pretty intense!

          Maybe we can convince you to share another disappointing place later 😉

            Ayla said:
            January 6, 2015 at 10:31 pm

            Oh Fiji is gorgeous you should really go! There are so many islands to choose from as well all offering something slightly different so you can just visit wherever suits you best.

            Yeah the Pyramids were pretty awful. Alex ended up just throwing money at this guy to get him away from me and we didn’t even want what they were selling!

    Pauline said:
    December 10, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I thought the same about the Statue of Liberty, I thought it was so small compared to what I imagined!! So now I just don’t expect anything, like you said, and it works pretty well 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Thanks Pauline – where do we get these ideas from about the size of things? 😉
      On this last trip, especially when we did the Camino – we refused to look at any photos or things about it because we didn’t want to be disappointed. It worked perfectly because everything was seen for the first time, none of this “That’s not what it looked like in the picture”.
      We sometimes set ourselves up for disappointment by “expecting” something.

    Melinda Lusmore said:
    December 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    That is so funny!! I remember working on South Neptune Island (quite close to Kangaroo Island) one day many years ago and noticing sea lions down on the beach. I was so excited I rang my kids – they were less than impressed – but for me it was an ‘I can’t believe they pay me to do this’ day. Maybe if I had gone there on a holiday and was expecting more, I might have been disappointed!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Melinda – it is always interesting to see/hear another perspective. And yes, sometimes as travellers we form these ideals in our head about what things should be and thus we have now learnt to keep expectations low or a minimal.

      You were very luck to be working with such a view 🙂

    Ulrike vom Bambooblog said:
    December 10, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Impressive list! I was overwhelmed by the Terracotta-Warriors, wehn I saw the first in 1987. Not too many visitors then. Some 20 years later I saw them again. And it was still overwhelming. Nothing mysterious about them, but I did not expect that. A close look on some warriors is possible at the Shaanxi Provincial Museum. Very impressive!
    On the top of my list of idsappointments is Mona Lisa. I expected the painting to be much bigger. I also think, that Mona Lisa is not really a beauty.
    Another disappointment to me was the famous Yu-Garden in Shanghai, too crowded, no place for quietness and contemplation.
    Best regards
    Ulrike

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 11, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Had to chuckle at your comment. It is funny you mention the Mona Lisa because that almost made the cut but is probably sitting in the top 10. We were the same. We actually thought it would be bigger so when we went to the Louvre and there are hundreds of people milling around and we were like 50 rows back. It begins to look nothing bigger than a postage stamp.
      Another one of those “hyped” up things to see. But how can you go to Paris and NOT see the Louvre and not see the Mona Lisa.
      Thanks Ulrike for reading and sharing your disappointment 🙂

    quirkywanderer said:
    December 10, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    loved this one. An interesting read 🙂
    Completely agree with this: Go somewhere to experience it, not just to see it!
    I always feel ‘touristy’ places are often hyped and the road lesser taken turns out to be an experience in itself 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 11, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Beautifully said! We don’t mind the “touristy” places too much but you are right, the golden gems are the ones that not many people visit or the ones that people don’t seem as fussed about.
      Thanks for reading. Glad you enjoyed this post 🙂

    Mabel Kwong said:
    December 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    What’s wrong with sparkling water? I don’t mind it and don’t mind drinking the plain one when I’m thirsty. David does NOT look happy at all in the photo. Great capture 😀

    You are right. Post-processing and software like Photoshop can convincingly give us false impressions of places. I remember going up the Batu Caves in Malaysia and was hassled by a lot of peddlars and hawkers selling garlands and jewelry from the entrance right to the bottom of the steps. Annoying. When I was climbing up the steps to the higher echelons of the caves, monkeys would not stop following me. At that moment I really wished I had a banana… 😀

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 11, 2014 at 10:38 am

      Mabel – we are just not fans of fizz full stop 🙂 David was totally unimpressed when we went into a shop and specifically asked for no gas in English (this was when we were still young and naive and thought bottled water was mainly still so didn’t learn how to say “no gas” in the local language). Amongst hello, thank you and goodbye, no gas is the other words we learn! LOL

      Batu Caves looks incredible so at least now we know that we will need to fend the pedlars off if we go….

      PS – hey… what’s wrong with hassling monkeys? 😉

        Mabel Kwong said:
        December 11, 2014 at 10:30 pm

        I actually like fizz myself – but only a couple of gulps at most. Still bottled water is always the to-go drink in my opinion when traveling. None of that sugar liquid stuff to stress our tired traveling bodies.

        Nothing wrong with hassling monkeys…you just don’t know how they’ll react. Of of my life’s goals is to meet a bunch of wild monkeys with bananas in my hands… 😉

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          December 12, 2014 at 9:16 am

          Ahh… then head to the Amazon! We were on Monkey Island and our guide had a bunch of bananas.. that is how the monkey jumped onto David’s head (Exhibit A: https://wisemonkeysabroad.com/2014/04/18/weekly-photo-challenge-on-top/)
          The monkeys were just scrambling to get some – let’s just say, Le was WAY out of her comfort zone here 😉

            Mabel Kwong said:
            December 12, 2014 at 10:43 pm

            Thanks for the tip. David looks very happy…and there is some guy behind him that wants to take a shot, lol

            Monkey Island. MONKEY ISLAND. You have no idea how happy I am to hear that, on a Friday night too 😀 Poor Le, no love from the monkeys 😉 ❤

            wisemonkeysabroad responded:
            December 13, 2014 at 8:25 am

            🙂 🙂

    renxkyoko said:
    December 10, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Spanish Steps… I was disappointed, too… maybe it was the horde of tourists or people just sitting there. I thought, are we supposed to sit, too ?

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 11, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Glad to hear that it wasn’t just us with those steps. Yeah, we didn’t even think to sit because when we turned up, it was a case of “So what are we looking at?” We couldn’t bare to sit on the steps if standing caused that much hawker harassment – sitting down would’ve indicated that we were staying awhile. We sat in front of the Trevi Fountain and couldn’t even cut a break with 2 minutes to ourselves. We don’t mind the crowds or tourists, it’s the hassling from vendors that really turns us off.

    nancy1 said:
    December 10, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Nancy Says:Yes and definitely no! Our first 2 visit in Autumn 2010 was a little underwhelming, but the fist(Spring 1973) and the last in Spring 2013, the Steps looked wonderful. Just like the postcard, covered in various shades of Azaleas, ranging from reddish-pink through to white. It was spectacular. Not too crowded either and not really bothered by hawkers too much, probably thought we were too old for “red roses’! As we were leaving from the top to come back down it started to rain lightly and a sea of multicoloured umbrellas appeared below us. Wonderful! the flowers make the difference as that what we have come to expect from photos. But the aspect and experience is much better if you make the effort to climb to the top.
    If you are in Rome in Springtime, go back its quite different.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 11, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Ahhh – sounds a like a story tale with all the umbrellas popping up. We can almost picture the background music that would go with 🙂
      So it sounds like the flowers that we were missing! Oh well, calls for another trip to Rome then!
      Not that we need one but thanks for giving us another excuse to have to visit Europe again 😉

    Jess Carey said:
    December 10, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Hahaha my husband was SO let down by the Spanish Steps too – I have no idea what people expect of it, but I guess their loft expectations aren’t quite met! I think it’s great to get excited and look forward to something, but the ridiculous expectations some people have when they travel, and their sense of entitlement that everything should be perfect, is the perfect set-up for a miserable time! You just have to take things for what they actually are, not what you want them to be!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 10, 2014 at 10:09 am

      SO very true! A “sense of entitlement that everything should be perfect” – such wise words. We have learnt that the more we travel, the more we accept things for what they are. The more we see that we are the “outsiders” and that we can’t be critical of what we see. That’s why this post, we wanted to share that there really is no one else to blame when it comes to being disappointed when travelling. No one promises anything to us about what we will see when go anywhere – it is us that forms the images in our own heads and then feel cheated!
      Thanks Jess for sharing your thoughts 🙂

    BerLinda said:
    December 10, 2014 at 4:22 am

    I didn’t warm to Rome, but then I probably went at the wrong time of year. Do not go in July 😉
    And Barcelona, for me, is probably the most overrated city I’ve been to. But then again, there’s so much hype, I don’t know what city could measure up to it!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 10, 2014 at 10:05 am

      Ahhhh – Barcelona was our most disappointing European city ever. But as we have responded to the other readers, other factors do play a part in our opinion to. Someone broke into our hotel room and took some of our “souvenirs” that we had purchased from our time in Europe. So we resented that place. Totally unrelated to the city itself but it does dampen the mood a little.
      While in Italy, everyone had hyped it up SOOOO much for us that when we went, we were a little disappointed with some of what we saw. We saw some amazing stuff but also witnessed things like the Spanish Steps where we felt so deflated after seeing them.
      Times have changed though and we are willing to give Italy another go 🙂

        BerLinda said:
        December 10, 2014 at 9:05 pm

        I much preferred Florence – you should go there!

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          December 11, 2014 at 10:30 am

          Ahhh – yes! Dreamy Florence. We have been there on the same trip but that seems like a lifetime ago now. We are certainly due back in Italy, that’s for sure 🙂

    Geraldine K. said:
    December 10, 2014 at 3:11 am

    I had to smile when you mentioned the Spanish Steps because they were crowded when I was there too (when are they not?!). As a result, I felt I never really got a good look at them and so, I couldn’t remember them at all. Good thing you included a picture or I’d still be feeling clueless!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

      LOL – We still are not quite sure what we were meant to look at?! Were we meant to have our jaws drop in awe? We were probably jaded by that part in our trip of Italy. So after writing this post, we actually talked about how much we do want to go back to Italy and see more.

      Glad we were able to “jog” you memory on what you were meant to see. 😉

    My Wanderlusty Life said:
    December 10, 2014 at 1:41 am

    When I was living in Italy I had no idea what the Spanish Steps were. It wasn’t until we were wandering around Rome and someone mentioned it was a “thing” … otherwise it just looked like another Roman block to me. Covered in butts as well. Also I go to NYC at least once a year and have never seen Lady Liberty but was going to this next time. Did you climb to the crown?
    I have a few disappointments of my own I might share at some point… 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 10, 2014 at 9:59 am

      No we didn’t climb to the crown. We have a confession, we went on the Staten Island free ferry to look at it first and when we passed it, we decided it looked a little disappointing so because our impression of it had changed, we weren’t in the mood to then make a trip out there. But in saying that, we are older and wiser and will be definitely making a trip out there if we go back to NYC. We have also learnt to give everything a second chance 🙂
      Thanks for sharing and we look forward to reading your own disappointments if you make a list!

    Jen, Your Fellow Traveler said:
    December 10, 2014 at 1:23 am

    I enjoyed the Terracotta Warriors, but I had almost no expectations going in! I think you’re right that if you have a very specific image in mind, you’re bound to be disappointed when you see it in person.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 10, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Ahhh – see?! This is the perfect example of how little or no expectations has a different outcome. Until we can shake that “specific image” as you say, we will always think, “Is that it?” or “I thought it would be… this that and the other.”
      But in saying that, our impressions are all subjective and what you say is great, another may say is not. And it is due to many more reasons than just the attraction itself 🙂
      Thanks for sharing!

    backpackerlee said:
    December 10, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Nice list. I thought the Terracotta Warriors were *slightly* overrated, but I still enjoyed them when in Xi’an. I am surprised you didn’t like the Statue of Liberty though. Seems like a good attraction to me.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 10, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Yes, as we say, one component of a place shouldn’t wipe the entire place as disappointing. Our Terracotta Warrior experience didn’t taint the way we saw Xi’an! We loved it there.
      The Statue of Liberty was smaller than we excepted. It was kind of a … “that’s it?” moment. Definitely cool to see still though. As we said in response to some other readers, sometimes it is other external factors that contribute to our “disappointment”. So not ruling out that we might change our minds in future.
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

    andthreetogo said:
    December 10, 2014 at 12:21 am

    It is very true that first impressions can be a killer to travel. It is hard not to have expectations, but I think it is important to be flexible in your expectations. And learn from everything you experience along the way as much as you can.
    Great post! And don’t worry, I still want to go to these places, just am more aware of what to expect now. 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 10, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Yeh, that’s a really clever way of putting it: “flexible expectations” is good. As we responded to CrazyChineseFamily, sometimes it is not just our expectations but it’s a multitude of things too. So we turn up at something but it isn’t quite what we pictured, and normally we can deal with it… but if we are tired, hot, impatient…. it can make the disappointment seem a gazillion times worse.
      Guess our purpose with this post was to say that to label an entire place as disappointing is harsh. Sometimes and usually it is only components of our expectation that results in it being that way.
      Thanks so much reading and your insights were great 🙂

    CrazyChineseFamily said:
    December 9, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    I think it is impossible to avoid disappointment when traveling as you always have some kind of expectation beforehand.

    When I visited the Terracotta Warriors I was also very disappointed. It was just so….underwhelming. A huge hall with them inside, nothing mysterious or the like 🙂
    I think the incredible hot weather didn’t help either as I just wanted to finish the round and get into a room with AC…

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 10, 2014 at 9:46 am

      You are right – it is not possible to have NO expectation. But having a little expectation is possible. And also not to let the hype take over. How we each react to something is different and sometimes it is the external factors like the humidity or lack of AC that makes us not truly enjoy a place. If we think “Gosh, get me out of here because it is hot or stinky,” then chances are that experience at that point in time is tainted.
      Our attitude now is to give everything a second chance as well – it’s amazing how different circumstance and situation can really change the way we feel about something 🙂

    Compass&Camera said:
    December 9, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    I agree with Pamukkale. I was there in 2001. It was unique, and a fun place to spend the day in the water, but not amazing like we expected. I was actually more intrigued by the massive amphitheater behind Pamukkale that hadn’t been entirely dug up yet (like a lot of ruins in Turkey). But overall, we found turkey fascinating, friendly, and had an incredible time. I agree with your post — sometimes the well-known sites underwhelm, and sometimes the little known sites are the most amazing highlights. And that’s why we travel, right? To see for ourselves. 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 10, 2014 at 9:41 am

      That is exactly why we travel! Travel experiences and reactions are entirely up the individual – if we all felt the same about everything, the world would be BOOOORING! 😉
      So travel to experience and make your own judgments but also giving things a second chance and more often then not, we are pleasantly surprised 🙂
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Have a great day.

    trablog said:
    December 9, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    That is an interesting post. Yes, sometimes photoshopped images can fool us 😀 And over crowded touristy spots too. Anyway you got to experience the place! That is the best part

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

      So true!! Although we were disappointed with what we saw – we weren’t disappointed to be there 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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