12 Cities So Bad, People Swear They’ll Never Go Back

Some cities leave such a strong negative impression on people that they swear never to set foot in them again. These cities may have certain aspects that make travelers reluctant to revisit, from safety concerns and overcrowding to cultural clashes and inadequate infrastructure.

While each city has its own unique characteristics and attractions, the experiences encountered by some individuals have resulted in a lasting aversion.

1. Detroit, Michigan, USA

View of abandoned downtown of Detroit, Michigan.
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Detroit, once known as the “Motor City,” has struggled with economic decline and urban decay in recent years. Visitors often mention the high crime rates, dilapidated buildings, and an overall feeling of desolation as reasons why they would avoid revisiting. Although efforts are being made to revitalize the city, Detroit’s negative reputation persists for many travelers.

2. Naples, Italy

Napoli (Naples) and mount Vesuvius in the background at sunset in a summer day, Italy, Campania/
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While Naples offers beautiful coastal views and historical sites, it is also infamous for its chaotic traffic, overwhelming crowds, and occasional incidents of petty crime. The city’s narrow, labyrinthine streets can be confusing to navigate, and tourists often express frustration with pushy street vendors.

For some, these factors overshadow the city’s charms, making it an undesirable destination for future trips.

3. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Happy woman at home in a poor house. Phnom Penh. Cambodia.
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Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is a city marked by its turbulent history, and it leaves a lasting impact on those who visit. The remnants of the Khmer Rouge regime are evident in places like the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields, which can be emotionally challenging for tourists. Additionally, the city’s traffic congestion and air pollution can be overwhelming for visitors, leading them to cross it off their travel lists.

4. Manila, Philippines

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Jan 23, 2022: A photo of a cityscape in the Philippines, showing social class division.
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Manila, the bustling capital of the Philippines, is often cited as a city that people do not wish to revisit. Heavy traffic, overcrowding, and a lack of urban planning are common grievances. Travelers also mention concerns about safety, particularly in certain areas of the city. While Manila has its share of cultural attractions and vibrant nightlife, these factors can overshadow the overall experience for many visitors.

5. Cairo, Egypt

Beautiful profile of the Great Sphinx including pyramids of Menkaure and Khafre in the background on a clear sunny, blue sky day in Giza, Cairo, Egypt.
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Cairo, with its ancient wonders such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum, draws countless tourists every year. However, the city’s chaotic traffic, persistent touts, and overwhelming pollution often leave a negative impression. Visitors frequently mention the hassle of dealing with constant haggling and scams as well. While Cairo’s historical significance cannot be denied, the city’s challenges can make it an undesirable destination for a return trip.

6. Tijuana, Mexico

Millennial Arch in Tijuana, Mexico.
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Located just across the border from San Diego, Tijuana has long been a popular destination for tourists seeking a taste of Mexican culture. However, a combination of safety concerns, aggressive street vendors, and excessive partying has led many visitors to swear off returning. While Tijuana has its share of vibrant markets and delicious street food, the city’s reputation for crime and excessive partying can deter future visits.

7. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Horse breeder with Mongolian horses 07.31.2017, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Traditional Mongolian competition.
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Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, is known for its extreme temperatures and heavy pollution, especially during the winter months. The city’s overcrowding, traffic congestion, and lack of infrastructure can be frustrating for tourists. Although Mongolia’s natural landscapes are stunning, Ulaanbaatar’s urban challenges often lead travelers to avoid revisiting the capital in favor of exploring the country’s vast countryside.

8. Mogadishu, Somalia

View of Mogadishu, people at the Mogadishu beach, Mogadishu is the Capital city of Somalia.
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Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, has faced years of political instability and conflict, which have greatly impacted the safety and infrastructure of the city. Travelers often express concerns about high crime rates, ongoing violence, and the risk of terrorism. These factors, combined with a lack of reliable amenities and services, make Mogadishu an extremely challenging destination that many tourists vow never to revisit.

9. Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Jacmel / Haiti - May 29 2015: Smiling Little Boy In Jacmel.
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Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, has struggled with poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and political unrest. Visitors often cite safety concerns as a major reason for not returning, with reports of theft, civil unrest, and high crime rates. The city’s overcrowded streets and lack of basic amenities further add to the frustration experienced by travelers, making them reluctant to revisit Port-au-Prince.

10. Karachi, Pakistan

An aerial view of Karachi's most populated area.
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Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, is known for its bustling streets and vibrant markets. However, the city’s rapid urbanization has led to issues such as overcrowding, heavy traffic, and air pollution. Travelers also express safety concerns due to occasional violence and political instability. While Karachi offers cultural richness and historical sites, these challenges often deter tourists from returning.

11. Lagos, Nigeria

Two ladies walk on a flooded road after the rain in Lagos, West of Nigeria on September 24, 2022.
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Lagos, the economic hub of Nigeria, is a city of contrasts. While it boasts a vibrant cultural scene and a thriving music industry, it also presents significant challenges for visitors. The city’s chaotic traffic, inadequate infrastructure, and high crime rates can make it an overwhelming and unsafe destination for many travelers. These factors, coupled with the sheer size and congestion of the city, contribute to Lagos being on the “never again” list for some tourists.

12. Pyongyang, North Korea

North Korea, Pyongyang - May 1, 2019: A group of North Korean children members of the Korean Childrens Union KCU, Young Pioneer Corps visit the Mangyongdae village, birthplace of Kim Il Sung.
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Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, is a city known for its isolation and strict government control. Visitors often feel closely monitored and restricted in their movements, which can be unsettling. The lack of access to reliable communication and limited interaction with locals can also make the city feel isolated and devoid of authentic experiences. Due to these factors, many travelers choose to avoid revisiting Pyongyang.

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.