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Friday, June 21, 2024
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The Worst Cities in the World

I was scolded by a reader in my post, Hyatt Regency Miami: You’re Not Staying Here Anyway, about trashing one of the most overrated cities in the world: Miami.

I think as an author, you should make sure what you are writing about before trashing a city in one sentence. Did you try the areas fantastic restaurants scene? Did you visit Brickell City Center which is a cross the bridge from the Hyatt? Did you visit Bayside Market place which is within walking distance of the Hyatt? Did you visit the artistic Wynwood area which is not to far? Did you visit the wharf on the river which is also within walking distance?..and many more areas you could have gone to. I think your writing is extremely one minded and very damaging to a cities reputation given the power they gave you to write about fact I’m going further..I’m gonna write an e-mail to the points guy about this article. Very insulting.

I addressed his inaccuracies in the comments section, specifically how my posts put “People’s livelihoods are in jepody [sic]”. Given my power as a menacing travel blogger, I thought I would rank the worst cities I’ve been to. I’m going to qualify my definition of worst by specifically designating what makes the place irredeemable. Interestingly, out of the 113 countries and territories I have been to (see Where I’ve Been), I have enjoyed the overwhelming majority of cities (see TPOL’s Travels: The Best Big Cities in the World). This demonstrates two things: 1) I’m not the curmudgeon that many think I am. 2) Not liking every place demonstrates authenticity. Would you trust me if I described everything as roses and daisies?

With that out of the way, I present to you TPOL’s ‘Worst Cities in the World’.

Worst City in the World for Traffic: Jakarta, Indonesia 

Jakarta’s traffic is so bad that it warrants being included in this list.


Most Overrated City in the United States: Miami, Florida

Terrible customer service, overpriced everything, and people buying into the myth that they are important. Unless you’re Mike Lowery, stop acting like you’re somebody. You call this vibrant?

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Worst Big City in the United States: Los Angeles, California

When it comes to 2pac vs. Biggie, I’ll take 2pac all day. When it comes to NY, a city I am not enamored with, vs. LA, I’ll take the Big Apple. From the Lakers to the beaches, LA sucks. #DetroitBasketball

This stooge couldn't find his same same shirt.
Appropriate star

Blandest City in the United States: Dallas, Texas

Everything is Bigger in Texas? Dallas may be a large city, but that doesn’t make it boring. The only entertainment is watching Dallas disappoint its fans every year (see Dallas, Texas: Food & Drink Party Guide).

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Most Overrated City in the World: Beirut, Lebanon

One of the few places in the world that I really wanted to visit was Beirut. Upon arriving, I was not impressed. In my grandma’s day, it might have been the Paris of the Middle East. Now, it’s Uncle Rico (see Guns & Butter: (Overrated) Beirut Travel Guide).

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Most Disgusting Place in the World: Phuket, Thailand

As I wrote in the post, Places NOT to Visit, “Perhaps one of the most disgusting places on earth is Phuket. Here, like Bangkok, you will find a town riddled with LBH’s (losers back home) who make the journey to Asia to pay a young girl for her company during their stay. TPOL is a staunch advocate against sex tourism.”


Most Disappointing City in the World: Macau

I had the wrong expectations when I went to Macau. I thought it would be like Vegas. It’s the opposite. The SAR of China has the world’s biggest casino where Chinese millionaires drop tens of thousands of dollars without showing any emotion. The casinos are eerily quiet and the nightlife consists of brothels posing as nightclubs.

Shaken not stirred

Most Likely to Never Return to City in the World: Kathmandu, Nepal

I’m happy I made it to Monkey Temple, the highlight of my time in Kathmandu, before going to Pokhara (see Guns & Butter: Kathmandu Travel Guide (Bargaining Edition)). Had I missed it, I would be hard-pressed to return to this chaotic, overwhelming city.

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The only moment of zen in Kathmandu.

Most Tourist Overrun City in the World: Corfu, Greece

What happened to the Corfu from my childhood? The answer: tourists (see Make Corfu Greek Again! How Tourism Ruined an Island).

Most Annoying Tourists in the World: Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan was one of the best places I have been (see Guns & Butter: Bagan Travel Guide). Unfortunately, the secret is out and annoying tourists are aplenty (see Are You a Naive Traveler?).

Atop the Sunrise Pagoda

Most Unwelcoming City in the World: Istanbul, Turkey

Many of my friends love Istanbul. I do not. I have been there twice and both times have found it to be an unwelcoming place. From the taxis that curse me out (see “Taxi my friend?” The Worst Places to Hail a Cab) to merchants upset that I don’t speak Turkish on account of my Alexander The Great good looks, I don’t feel the love in that city. Add in the Turkish food which I snobbishly say is inferior to Arabic cuisine and perhaps you can understand why I am not a fan.

the best kebab
I blend in.

Worst Tourist Trap in the World: Capri, Italy

I would have said that the whole country of Italy is the worst tourist trap in the world.  However, since this list is comprised of cities, I will go with Capri, the apex of tourist traps within the green zone of tourist traps, the Amalfi Coast (see A Beautiful Tourist Trap).

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*Dishonorable mention in this category goes to Rome.

Worst Big City in the World: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

If you like the rats of NYC, you’ll love the vermin of Kuala Lumpur. Besides the pest problem, there’s literally nothing to do here but take a photo of the Petronas Towers (see Lord of the Bling: The 10 Tallest Towers). I have been to KL more than anywhere else in SE Asia only because it is the hub of my favorite discount carrier, AirAsia.

a two tall buildings with Petronas Towers

Most Reason for Optimism: Marrakech, Morocco

There are two reasons I am ending this post with Marrakech. First, because I would like to make it clear that didn’t fall in love with Marrakech like so many doe-eyed tourists do (see How I Almost Left Marrakech After One Night). Second, because I need to end this post on a positive note. While every city can’t be one of my favorites (see Shanghai & Cape Town), each city does have something that makes it worth seeing at least once. In Marrakech, that was taking a walk on the wild side of the Medina (see The Definitive Guide To Lamb Brain, Tongue, Eyeballs & More Food & Lost in the Labyrinth) and enjoying the tranquility of sobriety (see The Detox Juice Bar).

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There’s always money in the banana stand!


Go out, see the world. Make your own conclusions. Just don’t try to convince me that Miami doesn’t suck.



  1. Interesting list. I do agree that many times we have visited places with high or low expectations and been surprised in either direction or, our own wants, needs or general comfort is just different than the majority. We visited a few cities in Germany like Hamburg, Berlin, Munich and kind of left saying we would most likely not hurry back. On the same trip we went to Prague and had the greatest time there. Madrid is another city I feel we should have loved and just did not love it. Tokyo, no speaking Japanese, with a wife that is not an adventurous eater, was the hardest city we’ve visited, but loved it at the same time.

    • I feel the same about Madrid. I think there’s something there and I haven’t found it yet. I lived in Prague for b school so that was awesome. I like Tokyo but prefer Osaka.

  2. Miami has it’s beautiful places and gorgeous weather, but the people there are brutal. Lots of scam artists and it’s a great place to have your credit card skimmed. That said, it’s hardly the “worst”. Honestly, the US city I despise going to is one that’s overrated as well: New York! It is dirty, Manhattan smells like a mix of pizza and raw sewage, the traffic and congestion are horrendous, it’s outrageously expensive, hotels are uber-pricey yet old and vermin infested, and everything is generally a total PITA there. Avoid it like the plague.

    Meanwhile, for all it’s faults, LA doesn’t belong on your list. The thing about LA is that you have a lot of choices of what you’d like to see. Hollywood itself is seedy as hell, but the whole city isn’t like that. There are nice areas and terrible ones. And you can find reasonably priced, yet nice accommodations all over the area.

    So, in general, I disagree with your views as far as US cities go. Much of my international travel has involved Latin America, so my “worst” city would inevitably be Caracas. But sadly, that’s not much of a contest these days.

    • I’m not a huge fan of NY. I go for work and within minutes want to leave. However, there’s something about ‘going there for work’ that makes it cool.

      I’ve been all over LA. My disdain for LA comes from sports first. And then from living in Scottsdale where everyone’s dream was to move to LA. Last, Hermosa and Redondo beach are overrated.

      I appreciate your viewpoints nonetheless.

      • I would add that I see your point about Dallas being nothing special (Houston as well), but my most “overrated” US city is definitely Atlanta. It’s not nice, the traffic is horrid, it has all the personality of the above-mentioned “nothing special” cities but with more crime and grime.

        True that LA is not a good sports town, but it’s nice to visit. Had a friend who lived in Redondo and it was pretty cool if you’re single. Wouldn’t want to live around LA though. Scottsdale, OTOH would be seem to be a cool place to live!

  3. I made the mistake of reading a few of your blog posts because I was bored, and while I know you’ll snark back at me, I don’t care because I’ll never click on one of your posts again or see your response. I wish I could block you from showing up on boardingarea. You are just so bitter, like you need to show someone on the doll where the bad person touched you bitter. I’m not sure why you even bother to blog as everything seems to be so beneath you, but I guess you think you’re doing the world a favor? A better favor would be to just stop blogging altogether.

  4. Most southern euro countries, Spain, Italy are effed. So many thieves and traps. Tourists waiting in lines outside police office in Milan train station try to file report. I talked to a couple of locals why government let thieves ruin the tourism? There’s no government.

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