As I stood in the pouring rain waiting for a bus in a remote town in NW Vietnam I thought to myself - I am never going to come here again. This view may have been primarily driven by the weather and boredom, rather than the location, but it made me interested in where other people had visited and vowed never to go again - for whatever reason. Any opinions welcome!
Hmm... I'm not sure if there are any places that I would avoid. Your story reminded me of when my sister and I were dropped off with our packs in the middle of nowhere near Trat and it was hosing down with rain. We didn't have a clue where we were and we literally ended up in hysterical laughter at our predicament. We eventually made our way into Trat and found the town to be fine. We ended up enjoying ourselves.
We also had a bad experience in Surat Thani while waiting for the night ferry - my sister suddenly became violently ill at about 10pm at night and I had to wander the empty streets to find somewhere to stay. There was no way I was taking her on an overnight ferry when you was that sick. I found a fairly grotty room to crash for the night. Needless to say, our memories of Surat Thani weren't the best.
Back in Thailand this year on my own, I stayed in Surat Thani for a night, twice. I ended up finding it really wasn't a bad town. A better choice of room and not having to look after someone that was heaving every 5 mins helped.
My point? I guess that you can have bad memories of a place based on an experience there. But visit them again, and the experience might be quite different.
OK - having rambled on about all of that, once place just came to mind. Maumere in Flores did absolutely nothing for me! The plan was to stay one night when we flew in, and make our way to the next town the next day. The town was devastated by tsunamis a few years ago and was never really rebuilt. It's covered in graffiti and rats were everywhere, and almost had an abandoned feel about it. No one spoke English - nor did they speak Indonesian, which I'm relatively capable of speaking. Communication was near impossible as they only seem to speak a local dialects. (It was the only place in two months in Indo that I couldn't make myself understood). Our accommodation left everything to be desired. Then we were badly misled about public transportation options the next day - and had to sit around for hours in a cramped mini-bus before they would depart.
I suppose if I were to ever go back to Maumere and stay in a different side of town, the experience might be completely different. But at this stage, I'm not exactly itching to get back!
Busylizzy - your response made me laugh because Flores is definitely the king of "hurry up and wait"! Actually all of Nusa Dua is like that, I finally figured out they realize that Westerners want to have an answer when they they ask "what time does the ferry/bus/plane leave and usually Westerners are in a hurry so they just tell them "come at 6 am, it leaves for sure." Then when you have hauled your sweet ass there at the crack of dawn, they look at you slightly bemused and simply wait till enough reasonable people stroll up to fill the ferry/bus/plane. I don't remember which island I was on but this went on for days - we would turn up at the scheduled departure time for a flight and sit around for hours till we were told there was "mechanical difficulty" and to come back tomorrow. Finally enough people had amassed after 3 days of wait and see to fill every seat and we took off. This was for a plane, not a shared tuk tuk!
I am sorry to hear it is in such a state now, Flores was one of my favorite islands with a glorious, absolutely empty beautiful beach.
#3 momof4 has been a member since 16/3/2010. Posts: 12
Don't get me wrong - I loved Flores, even though it was more challenging than travelling in other areas. It was just Maumere that was a bit of a dump. And I really only saw one area, which was near the port, so it may have been that we just picked the wrong side of town.
Your story about waiting for filling up the plane for days made ME laugh. That just might explain why our flight out of Labuanbaju was mysteriously delayed by a couple of days! We filled up the time while waiting at Kanawa Island rather than in Labuanbaju - and it was the most bizarre place I have stayed.
It was like living in an abandoned ghost town. We were the only one there, most of the bungalows had their doors and windows wide open, and I swear there was tumbleweed blowing along the path. There was a lone deer that wandered around. We had a young staff of 3or 4, who pretty much ignored us and they just did their own thing. Which was bugger all. Everything we ordered at the restaurant had run out. It was fried rice or fried rice. We knew we had been there for 4 days because there were 4 empty beer bottles lined up along the wall in the restaurant. My partner drank one each night - and each night they were placed along the wall. Kanawa had some pretty good snorkelling though - which is how the place redeemed itself! Thank goodness we had plenty of reading material because there wasn't much else to do!
The rest of Flores was beautiful - I particularly enjoyed Moni. Not for any touristic reason, but just because of the nice experiences I had meeting the locals.
Though now I'm realizing I was in Ende, Flores, not Maumere....
Can't remember what I did, think just went to the beach. Yep, ya got to love those sudden enforced "vacations"!
#6 momof4 has been a member since 16/3/2010. Posts: 12
Sedalia Missouri, USA. Spent the day in jail. I've never went back.
#7 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
About 40 years ago now. A friend and I were traveling through one night. Both drunk. We were awakened the next morning by the local Police Chief for sleeping in the parking lot of the Holliday Inn. When he asked me how I liked my stay at the local Inn , I told him the pillows suck and the mattress was hard. Needless to say he failed to see the humor in that. When he let us out that evening I told him that next time I would come straight to the jail as he had better mattress's. LOL He told us to never come back. So I thought it was better to take that advice.
#9 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
There are actually a number of little industrial towns in central China that are the true fly-over provinces. For close to SE Asia - I'd say Manghai in Xishuanbanna is a good example of such.
Actually I do miss Somalia - and I went back once of my own accord in 99. It's strange how when I was there from 92-94 I just wanted to go home. Now, I just want to go back. If it weren't for my little daughter, I'd be there right now for sure.
I do understand that. I felt the same way about Viet Nam. Now ... in a week and a half, actually ... I am going for the third time.
Poor Somalia, though. Such dysfunction and tragedy.
A long road, and precious little help to get there.
Back to the thread topic, though:
A place I would not go back to: Matamoros, Mexico (incredibly trashy and few redeeming qualities).
A place I would avoid if at all possible: Dulles Airport (because of an incredibly mis-managed security checkpoint that caused us to miss a flight).
..... Gorakpur, India. Not really the town's fault, I didn't see much of it. But it came after crossing back from Nepal at Sonauli, having a traffic accident that our driver sped away from, taking a massive detour to avoid the main road and angry villagers and then a night in the grottiest room I've ever slept in - no window, blood stains on the walls and sheets, rampant cockroaches and a host of mosquitos. Couldn't wait to get on the train the next day and get out of Dodge!
Chau Doc, Vietnam
A town LP described as lovely and quaint, was kinda of a dump and more than a bit shady. After we got off the ferry from Cambodia and politely refused a tuk tuk ride to the center of town we could throw a rock to, we were followed by about 10 guys who weren't exactly the town's welcome party. No one would tell us how to get to Phu Quoc, we finally gave up, and went to Saigon (awesome city)
But besides that I had at least one really good memory or event happen in every place I stopped in through SE Asia.
Worst places I have ever been to were Reno, Sacramento, and Las Vegas.
jnelson232 - I'm with you on Chau Doc. I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about either. Though it was grey and rainy when we were there, which never helps. Plus we had an accident on the way to Phnom Penh so it always brings back bad memories. Stayed in a really nice hotel though.
Why are people down n Phuket? I can understand because it's a major tourist center it's not for everyone. But it still has some nice, out of the way, beaches, some good nightlife and quality restaraunts. I could understand it not being what you like SBE - but worst place you've ever been? Clearly you haven't been to Gode, Ethiopia.