Ten popular tourist attractions that can kill you

A cocktail, and some sunshine: for a certain type of traveller, that's all that's required for holiday happiness, for a satisfactory time away from the everyday. Just some time to relax, and a fruity drink.

But where's the fun in that? Other travellers need something more. They want excitement; they crave adrenalin. Getting away from home doesn't mean chilling out, it means diving in.

They're the type of people who would sign up for potential danger. They'd go against government warnings; they'd fail to heed sensible advice. I could get injured doing this? No worries. People have even died? I'm in.

If you want to find these people, start here.

Death Road, Bolivia

Aptly named, this one, because tourists have died, and continue to die, attempting to cycle down this mountain road just outside of La Paz. It's a thrill, pedaling down an Andean pathway that clings to a cliff, and an estimated 25,000 people a year give it a go – but given tourists and locals alike die on the road regularly, you'd have to question whether it's really worth it.

Mount Everest

You don't even have to attempt the summit, although if you do you'll find out that there's something like a one in 10 chance that you'll never return. Just trekking up to Base Camp has its dangers, with hikers needing evacuation or sometimes even dying from altitude sickness. That part is probably not on your bucket list.

San Fermin Festival


Who knew running around with angry, full-grown bulls in an enclosed space could be dangerous? Actually, everyone knows, but that doesn't stop them. They probably also know that 15 brave (or crazy) runners have died attempting the Pamplona charge. And it still doesn't stop them.

Kokoda Track, PNG

This perennially popular pilgrimage for Australians has claimed a few lives in its time as a tourist attraction – six travellers, to be exact, who've all toppled from natural causes. That's not to say it isn't a worthwhile trek, but it's definitely a good idea to check on your fitness before you sign up for the journey.

Skiing, anywhere

If the incredibly sad story of Michael Schumacher can teach us anything, it's that ski accidents can happen to pretty much anyone, on pretty much any part of the mountain. Deaths on ski fields are an unfortunately regular occurrence, and not just for those taking high risks. Why do we still take the chance? Because it's so much fun.

The Grand Canyon, USA

One of the wonders of the natural world has also claimed plenty of scalps – we're talking in the region of 600 fatalities. There are several ways to go: you could fall, or suffer from a medical condition while hiking, or get caught in a flood, or have a plane or helicopter crash ... or even get struck by lightning. You probably won't though.

Second Beach, Port St Johns, South Africa

One of the world's best surf beaches is also one of the world's sharkiest. If you fancy a nibble from one of our toothy maritime neighbours, just jump on a surfboard and paddle out at Second Beach. There have been 23 fatal shark attacks in the last 25 years. Gnarly.

Full Moon Party, Thailand

Let's not get crazy here – the vast majority of party animals head out to Koh Phangan for the full moon and return home completely unharmed. Some of them – stop me if I'm wrong – even have fun. But there's still a slim minority who take something they shouldn't, or wind up in a place they shouldn't, or are just extremely unlucky, and things go awry.

The Australian Outback

If it's not the snakes that get you, or the crocodiles... Actually, it'll probably be the snakes or the crocodiles. But it could also be the heat. Or a dopey attempt to climb Uluru. Or maybe a spider. Or a serial killer. Either way, Australians don't have to travel far for fear: there's plenty of danger lurking in our own backyard.

Kauai Volcano Tours, Hawaii

These helicopter joy flights over old volcanoes sound like great fun - until you find out that more than 30 people have died in fiery crashes since 1995. The last chopper crash - though not a fatal one - happened just over four months ago. Maybe try a hike.

Have you been to an attraction that can kill? What do you think is the appeal?

Email: b.groundwater@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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