The Ugly Truth About Visiting These Countries Most People Won’t Tell You

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There is that bit people deliberately leave out whenever they narrate their experience traveling to another country. A lot of times, the experience in the country was so great that travelers decided to overlook one horrible thing to keep the story upbeat. What is that thing for you? 

One online forum user made a post on a popular subreddit asking travelers what they choose not to say about the country they visited to keep the story positive, and here are some of the top responses. 

1. The Pickpockets of Rome, Italy 

Rome, Italy
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/Anton Aleksenko

While pickpocketing is rampant in most big Western European cities, it can be incredibly baffling in Rome.  

Unsuspecting tourists often lose their valuables to sly pickpockets. As one user said, “The train stations in Rome are filled with teenage pickpockets. Two different groups made attempts at us in five minutes. It was fun to watch once we realized their strategy.”

2. The Stray Dogs of Peru 

Stray Dogs of Peru 
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/DoraDalton

Other than being a traffic nuisance in major urban centers, stray dogs can be responsible for transmitting infections and diseases. It is even more disheartening to see dogs not having a chance to live in safe and loving households. 

Unfortunately, this is a big issue in Lima, Peru as one user said, “There’s a lot of stray dogs in Peru. I’ve heard that stray dogs are the norm in Latin American countries, and most of the ones I encountered didn’t want anything to do with anyone passing by.”

3. Cities Choking in Trash and Sewage, India

Trash and Sewage
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/Balaji Srinivasan

A city sinking in filth can be such a turn-off for tourists. People have had good times in different destinations but would never return only due to the trash, and India is one of those destinations.  

One commenter who has experienced this firsthand said, “India was spectacularly bad in littering. At one point, I asked our tour guide if he knew the location of a trash can, and he responded with, “I’ll take care of that,” and threw an empty water bottle over the wall into someone’s front yard. Twenty meters from a UNESCO heritage site. Let us not get started on the trash, open sewers, and wastewater in the cities.”

4.  The Carefree Attitude Towards Road Safety in Vietnam 

Carefree Attitude Towards Road Safety
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/futurewalk

Seeing how risky people’s way of life can be can be disheartening. One great example is the experience tourists have had in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam, where civilians and even the police do not care about traffic safety. 

One user said, “When you go to South-East Asia, you are struck by their carefree approach to road safety. From your tuk-tuk, it’s typical to see a whole family on a single motorbike, none wearing helmets, zipping through congested traffic without a worry in the world.”

And it is not just for transporting people. Surprisingly, huge items are moved around on motorcycles, too, as one user said, “I lived in Vietnam. They delivered my fridge and washing machine on the same motorbike. And when I say ‘they,’ I mean the two people also on the motorbike.”

5. The Stinky Parisian Attitude – France

pretty woman inn Paris -
Image Credit: Victoria Chudinova/Shutterstock

Everyone that has been to Paris would most likely hate the trash, the dog poop on the streets, the pickpockets and the pestering hawkers. But there is one almost constant thing people don’t mention: the stinky Parisian attitude. 

They seem to hate everyone, and even other French non-Parisians will tell you how much they cannot stand Parisians’ attitudes, especially in the service industry. 

One user, bewildered by this, said, “I enjoyed my (brief) visit to Paris. However, I did have a couple of times when I’d visit a shop, and the workers would be rude. I speak French ok, but I’m a bit slow, and I’d try to talk in French, and the shopkeepers would laugh in my face/talk about me to each other when I was standing in front of them.”

6. Children Hawkers in Peru 

Children Hawkers
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/Cheryl Ramalho

Enjoying a peaceful time in popular tourist spots is not always a guarantee. There will always be hawkers forcing you to buy things you don’t want to. 

But isn’t it heartbreaking to have children hawkers trying to convince you to get a selfie stick you do not need at a tourist attraction? Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm in tourist attractions in Lima, Peru. 

One commenter disheartened by this said, “The number of children selling you stuff in the streets of Lima, Peru. At any one point, you could have five different kids competing with each other to sell you the same Keychain. Seeing poverty at that level shatters your perspective.”

7. Animal Cruelty in Greece 

Animal Cruelty in Greece 
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/leighcol

One of the everyday things to do in Santorini is ride up the village steps on a donkey’s back. It can be heartbreaking to see worn-out animals pass out or die for the sheer financial gain of their owners. 

One commenter who experienced this said, “I have never seen a group of people partake in and enjoy animal cruelty as much as the Greeks. I lived in Greece for a few years; it’s part of their culture. You will see the real thing once you get away from the nice hotels and beaches.”

Although new regulations safeguarding the welfare of animals seem to have been put in place, this was still such a bad thing for both animal owners and tourists to engage in. 

8. The Obvious Xenophobia in Japan

kyoto japan man and woman
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

A section of commenters have experienced xenophobia in Japan, which seemingly targets other non-Japanese Asians. 

One said, “Japan is awesome, but they have “Only Japanese Allowed” clubs. It was in a shady area of Gotanda, Tokyo.”

Another user added, “Japan hates other Asians. Loves white/European people. I never had dramas about not being allowed to go places (white girl with blonde hair), but the number of things I saw happen to Asian people was astounding. To simplify – A white person orders a beer in Japanese – wow, your Japanese is amazing (even when it’s not), etc. An Asian orders a beer – why aren’t you fluent in Japanese?”

9. The Noxious Air Pollution in China

Noxious Air Pollution
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/TomasSereda

With all the industrialization in China, the major cities are expected to be polluted. 

But how bad can the air pollution get? A few tourists in the comment section were shocked at how bad the air in the major cities was. 

One commenter said, “Been to Beijing and a few other big cities in China. The air was unbreathable – I felt like I needed a gas mask. And while I knew about the air quality beforehand, I was surprised by how strongly I felt it.”

Another user with an even worse experience said, “Adopted my daughter from China. Spent 22 days there and took over 5500 pictures. Only about 50 of the photos have blue skies. On the 10th day, I started coughing up blood. Smog, pollution, heat… China was terrible.”

10. The Homelessness Crisis in the United States

Homelessness Crisis
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/400tmax

Although homelessness is such a big problem in many major cities, tourists visiting the United States have had a problem processing how high the homeless population is. 

One user who chooses to leave out this part about their US trip said, “The insane number of homeless people in San Francisco struck me. The juxtaposition of incredible wealth next to absolute poverty is pretty sickening.”

“I’m a Brit currently living in the San Francisco area, and I’m always sure never to mention to people back home the overwhelming number of homeless people around here. It makes me so sad that people in one of the wealthiest cities in the wealthiest country on the planet have to live in a soiled sleeping bag under a freeway.” Added another user. 

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Demi Michele is a seasoned traveler, turned freelance writer. Having explored most states and ventured internationally, her love for outdoor cafes, new cuisines, and cultural immersion shines through her wide range of articles. Based in Texas with her family and two Scottish Terriers, Demi turns her adventures into captivating travel narratives to share with readers.