Vang Vieng, 'Shagaluf', Corfu: The cool destinations that aren't hip anymore

It's like anything in fashion: one day you're in, and the next day you're out. There's very often no good reason for this fall from grace. People move on. They look for something new.

This happens to travel destinations as much as it happens to clothing designers or restaurant fads. Today's super-cool, on-trend holiday spot is tomorrow's daggy destination. That doesn't make the experience there any less enjoyable – but if you're the sort of person who wants to be cool, then you'll need to pay attention.

The following destinations were once the places to go. Now, however, they're just the same as anywhere else.

Vang Vieng, Laos

You only had to spend time in any hostel in South-East Asia to have known about Vang Vieng, since everyone was wearing those "In the tubing" singlets and talking about the death slide into the river at this Laotian hotspot. While tubing was a thing, everyone wanted to go to Vang Vieng. Now, however, tubing is not a thing, which means the crowds have dwindled. That's not so bad though.

'In the Tubing' at Vang Vieng: The party is officially over.

'In the Tubing' at Vang Vieng: The party is officially over. Photo: iStock

See: Party's over for backpacker mecca

Mallorca, Spain

Here's how it seems to work for southern European islands. First, you've got an untouched paradise that no one has heard of. Then, word spreads and everyone wants to go there. And suddenly, everyone does go there, and it doesn't seem so appealing anymore. Suddenly there are budget flights coming in from England seven or eight times a day, and Magaluf has been nicknamed "Shagaluf", and it's become hell on Earth.

'Shagaluf': Hell on Earth.

'Shagaluf': Hell on Earth. Photo: AP

See: Debauched hotspot Magaluf to become 'mature' resort town



This is a sad tale. Back in the 1940s and 50s, Haiti was a genuine tourism hotspot, a beachy paradise that Americans would dream about one day visiting. In the 1970s it was similarly popular. Bill and Hillary Clinton even had their honeymoon in Haiti. But political turmoil and the threat of violent crime have unfortunately set Haiti's tourism industry back many, many years.

Haiti: A sad tale.

Haiti: A sad tale. Photo: iStock

See: Travelling the Haiti border

Ibiza, Spain

Like Mallorca, Ibiza is a victim of its own success. Back in the 90s and early 2000s it was the party hub that everyone wanted to go to – Ground Zero on the European clubbing scene. But people move on, and the crowds that Ibiza was attracting made it reason enough for some party-goers to want to look for somewhere new. People still visit Ibiza, of course – but it ain't what it used to be.

Hey Ibiza: The 90s are over.

Hey Ibiza: The 90s are over. Photo: iStock

See: The best location to stay in Ibiza


Stay with me here. I know Cuba is cool right now. In fact it might never have been cooler. But it's cool for different reasons than it used to be. Cuba was once the place that Americans would go to to let loose, to drink alcohol during the prohibition era, to dance and smoke cigars and have a good time. Mojitos were invented. Ernest Hemingway went to live there. And then Fidel Castro and Che Guevara came along and changed everything… Until now.

Hey Cuban woman, smoking a large cigar - you look familiar.

Hey Cuban lady, smoking a large cigar - you look familiar. Photo: iStock

See: 10 things you need to know before visiting Cuba

Goa, India

When Men At Work sang about "Lying in a den in Bombay", there's little doubt the song's fictional character was either on his way to or back from Goa. Goa was once a hippie paradise, a place of both spirituality and lax laws, where alternative types could go to an isolated beach and be among their own. Inevitably though, as India's middle class boomed and mass international tourism evolved, everyone else found out about Goa. Now it's packed.

Candolim, Goa: Nopety nope nope nope

Candolim, Goa: Nopety nope nope nope     Photo: Alamy

See: Goa bans dance clubs

Corfu, Greece

Corfu is lovely. It's quiet, it's affordable, and it's beautiful. But it's not cool. It used to be cool. It used to be a place that celebrities would flock to and the rest of Europe would fantasise about. Now, however, it has to compete with all of those other Greek islands, and Croatian islands, and many more. Really, it's good news for anyone who still wants to go to Corfu.

Visit a quiet, secluded beach with 1000 of your close friends in Corfu.

Corfu: Passe.    Photo: Alamy

See: Six of the best islands in Europe

Koh Pha-Ngan

This infamous Thai island still hosts its Full Moon Parties, but they don't have the almost mythical edge that they once possessed. Backpackers would whisper about Koh Pha-Ngan to one another. When you got there you felt like you were making a discovery, despite the hundreds of others you'd be sharing the experience with. Only trouble is, now it's not hundreds of others, it's thousands of others.

Koh Pha-Ngan, Thailand: Hold on to that bucket: you might need it later.

Koh Pha-Ngan, Thailand: Hold on to that bucket: you might need it later.    Photo: Getty Images

See also: Old enough to know better: Infamous Full Moon party turns 25

St Tropez, France

St Tropez was in its prime in the 70s, when movie stars were holidaying there and everyone dreamed of one day hitting the Riviera alongside them. But then the Balearic Islands came along, and Croatia appeared, and Cannes became popular, and Sardinia became a thing, and now St Tropez – while still being just as beautiful as it ever was – has lost some of the fantasy factor.

St Tropez: Togs for lady celebs were optional in the 70s.

St Tropez: Togs for lady celebs were pretty much optional during the 70s, hence we present this more family-oriented beach shot. Photo: Getty Images

Kathmandu, Nepal

Like Goa, Kathmandu was once a major stop on the "Hippie Trail", an exotic, mystical citadel that travellers would call into on their way overland from London towards the beaches of India. But as the Hippie Trail faded into insignificance, so Kathmandu became less of an alternative hangout, and more of a standard tourism base for hikers and mountain-climbers. It's still a great city, but its appeal has changed.

Not so cool: Tourist in Kathmandu.

Not so cool: Tourist in Kathmandu. Photo: iStock

See: Nepal: Tourists welcomed back after the earthquake

What do you think are the formerly cool destinations that aren't anymore?



See also: The 13 best cities you've never been to

See also: No, it's not Thailand - the world's latest party destinations