There are plenty of pristine, idyllic landmarks for you to visit, and then there are the entries on this list. Hey, maybe germs don’t bother you. Maybe they’re your thing. Don’t let us stop you from being adventurous, by any means. But if there’s a chance you’ll get grossed out by human remains, creepy animals, or exposure to undue amounts of bodily waste, then you may want to think twice before visiting any of these tourist ‘attractions’.
When someone utters the phrase ‘historic New York hotel’, a myriad of Salinger-esque images typically springs to mind. But this joint is a far cry from the Waldorf Astoria. Although the Hotel Carter is located less than a block from Times Square and continues to receive its fair share of guests, the establishment has long been regarded as the Big Apple’s filthiest stopover. Numerous reports of mice, cockroaches and, most recently, bedbugs have plagued the Carter’s good name over the years. TripAdvisor survey findings have been particularly unkind.
Karni Mata Temple
The last thing we at Pacsafe want to do is insult anyone’s religious beliefs, no matter how different they might be from our own. But that being said, anyone who has a phobia — or even passing dislike — of rats should stay far, far away from the Karni Mata Temple, an ornate Hindu place of worship located in Rajastan, India. More than 20,000 rats reside in the temple; pilgrims travel from all over the world to pay their respects to the furry denizens — particularly the white ones, which are considered direct reincarnations of sage Karni Mata herself.
Oscar Wilde’s Tomb
Say what you will about the Blarney Stone, that celebrated chunk of Irish bluestone that receives thousands of tourist kisses every year. Unhygienic, sure, but at least there isn’t a dead body buried beneath it. The same can’t be said for the tomb of Oscar Wilde, which is found in the Pere Lachaise cemetery of Paris. Fans who visit the perpetually quotable Englishman’s final resting place customarily plant a soft, wet one on the tomb’s surface. Although the practice was outlawed in 2011 after years of smooches left the tomb “irreparably damaged” and a glass panel was installed to deter would-be lawbreakers, French authorities admit the rule is “tough to enforce.”
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Located near the Balinese cultural capital of Ubud, this jungle preserve allows visitors to get very close to dozens of long-tailed macaques, which make their home in the lush surrounding foliage. Now, let’s discuss monkeys for a second. Their appeal is endless, their cuteness undeniable, and no one will doubt their unmistakable ‘human’ characteristics. But they also happen to be some of the most disgusting animals on the planet — an entire sub-species defined by fecal acrobatics, head lice, and murderous rage. With that in mind, the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary allows visitors to to physically interact with the resident primates. You can even feed them bananas (which are sold at the park’s entrance). And if one of them claws at, climbs on, or shats upon your person, it’s all part of the experience, right? Seriously, you’d have to be a jackass to think this is a good idea.
Seattle Gum Wall
If you’ve ever wondered what a 750-square-foot brick wall covered in masticated gum looks like, then obviously you have never visited Seattle’s celebrated Pike Place Market. Just a few yards from the iconic ‘fish throwers’ stands this eye-popping monument to ABC, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year — though the official dedication date is a bit ambiguous, since employees of nearby businesses attempted to keep the wall clean for a few years before giving up completely. If you’d like to contribute to the sticky mosaic, several concessions stands are located nearby.
Don’t get me wrong, this sacred medievel site located on in the Czech region of Bohemia is fundamentally awesome. The Sedlec Ossuary, also known as the Church of Bones, is literally decorated with the skeletal remains of anywhere from 40,000 to 70,000 late Bohemians. The church’s eye-popping interior decor includes several garlands of skulls and a chandelier comprised of every bone in the body. Make all the Metallica video jokes you want. At the end of the day, once you set foot inside the ossuary, you’re completely surrounded by dead people. And there’s something at least a little gross about that — but certainly not gross enough to keep away 200,000 visitors every year.
The Battle of Trafalgar, a crippling defeat suffered by French and Spanish forces at the hands of the British Royal Navy in 1805, was a major turning point of the Napoleonic Wars. So, it seemed only right to name a prominent thoroughfare in London after the monumental triumph. Unfortunately, the subsequent two centuries have been… well, poopy. Local pigeons have made an excremental mess of every square inch of the Square, including (and especially) a statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson, who commanded the British to victory during the eponymous battle. The problem got so bad that the Westminister City Council eventually passed an ordinance forbidding passersby from feeding the pigeons; this violation is punishable up to £500.
The Venetian Canals
The canals of Venice are one of Europe’s most recognizable landmarks. They are also completely and utterly stank, as we might presume any sediment-clogged, sewage-filled body of water to be. Swimming in the canals is strongly discouraged; in addition to massive accumulation of human waste matter, the water is also choked with manmade chemicals like laundry detergent and motor oil. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the majesty of Venice from the pristine comfort of a gondola.
By Brad Nehring