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Like Eurovision and synchronised swimming, some things are just so bad they’re good. They become guilty pleasures, something you would recommend just for the pure experience of their hideous mediocrity.
You find these things all the time when you travel – attractions that locals and guidebooks get all worked up about, but which you soon realise are pretty woeful. Still, some are just so woeful, so incredibly unimpressive, that they become good again.
There’s only one word for them: craptastic.
So here are eight of the most craptastic man-made, tourist-focused “attractions” I’ve found around with world. Do visit them – just don’t expect them to be any good.
The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, Shanghai
Sightseeing? In a tunnel? It’s an oxymoron, surely. Um, not in China. As there are limited options for tourists trying to cross the river between the Bund area and Pudong, the tunnel has a captive audience. It exploits this by charging a lot of money, then putting tourists into little rail cars and sending them through a tunnel that is supposed to represent the formation of the earth (or something like that). Anyway, what you get is a few flashing neon lights, and words like “Magma!” booming out over a loud speaker. Weird.
Disney World is great. However, a day at Epcot Centre – DW's "educational" neighbour – is as exciting as watching paint grow. It is kind of funny though – with its pavilions themed by country, Epcot is basically a view of the world designed for American tourists who have no intention of actually seeing the world. Welcome to Stereotype Land.
Mini Bangladesh, Chittagong
A truly colossal achievement in the art of craptastic theme-parkery, Mini Bangladesh is a space filled with miniature versions of Bangladesh’s most famous buildings. Like, um… Yeah. And, er… Right. So, you’ve never heard of any of the buildings. And they’re not even mini! They’re quite large! That the mini train that runs around the park had been derailed when I was there tells you all you need to know. And the mini monorail looked frankly terrifying. Awesome in its craptacularity.
In case you didn’t feel dirty enough wandering around the Red Light District, there’s an entire museum on the Damrak dedicated to sleaze. Trouble is, what may sound like a slightly titillating display actually gets kinda tiring by the end. Still, it’s dirt cheap, and the big wheel with the plastic tongues on it just has to been seen.
Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Blackpool
About the saddest thing about Louis Tussaud’s is that it’s about to get better. This has long been Britain’s bastion of mediocrity, a living testament to the belief that if you’re not very good at something, you should just give it a red hot go anyway. Louis, the great-grandson of the much more talented Marie “Madam” Tussaud, has a similar waxworks museum in Blackpool, although this one’s famous for its models of celebrities that don’t look anything like those celebrities. And now the council’s going to bugger everything up.
Love Land, Jeju Island, South Korea
Think the Koreans are a shy lot? Pay Love Land, at the popular honeymooners’ destination of Jeju Island, a visit. There, you’ll find two football fields’ worth of giant sexualised sculptures that would make Ron Jeremy blush. It’s at once frightening, hilarious, and kind of educational. Plans were afoot to build one in China until, well, they figured out what it was about.
The Creation Museum, Kentucky
Well, it was hardly going to be in Oregon, was it? Here, true believers can learn about how the Earth was formed by the big man upstairs, who manages to explain away such potential roadblocks as dinosaurs, billion-year-old fossils, and that whole science thing with room after room of ultra-religious tackiness. There’s actually been a lot of money poured into this, and it’s anything but half-arsed. Misguided, maybe – but not half-arsed.
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, New Delhi
Another one that’s not “half-arsed” – indeed, the full arse has gone into this. (No more toilet jokes? Okay.) Anyway, the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets does exactly what it says on the box, providing visitors with a fascinating insight into the evolution of the humble dunny. From imperial poopers to the good old-fashioned squatty, they’re all here for your viewing pleasure. It’s a must doo-doo. Oh, sorry.
Photos: World's crappiest attractions
What’s the most craptastic tourist attraction you’ve found on your travels?
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