Social Media Vs Reality: Famous Destinations That Don’t Live Up To Influencer Hype

By Aileen Dometita June 18, 2023

This article was originally published on travelerdoor

As countries continue to roll out vaccines and travel restrictions are gradually easing up, the travel industry is slowly but surely regaining momentum. With greater demand for travel, many people eagerly book trips to start exploring the world again, with most of these destinations being sourced online.

As you scroll through your Instagram feed, you often stumble upon incredible-looking travel destinations, one after another. Everyone’s raving about them. But should you really pack your bags and book a flight to these locations? Well, probably not.

Our article today cautions about being wary of Instaworthy locations. It’s a compilation of stunning edited pictures set side by side with what will greet you upon arrival at these destinations. You can’t always chalk it up to managing expectations!

Scooch Over

Tokyo is a city that’s famous for its incredible mix of modern and traditional architectural styles. But there’s one building in particular that stands out from the rest. Imagine riding down a set of escalators that gives you a stunning view of the city as you descend.

Image courtesy of Keilys Gonzalez / Facebook

The Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, thanks to its impressive panoramic views of the city. However, on certain days, the view can be obstructed by a thick fog, which only seems to draw even more people to the tower.

Needs Social Distancing

Walking the ruins of ancient Egypt is a dream come true for many history buffs and adventure seekers. The country is home to some of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites, from the world-famous pyramids to the vast Valley of the Kings.

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As you wander through the ruins, you’ll be struck by the sheer size and scale of these ancient structures. The temples are massive, with towering columns and intricate carvings that tell stories of the gods and the afterlife. But you’ll be more shocked by the number of people cramped into these massive spaces!

Long Lost

As the sun begins to set on the rolling hills, this traveler can be seen running toward a magnificent castle in the distance. With his eyes fixed on the towering structure ahead, he dashes through the open field and over the hills, driven by a sense of purpose and determination.

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Meters from the gates, he realizes that it wasn’t just a mere castle, but was once a great kingdom, lost to time. He sees evidence of its past glory from its ornate tapestries and medieval symbols. Frankly, it looks so much better from afar.

Stern View

The gentle lapping of waves against the hull, the salty tang of sea air, and the breathtaking vista of an endless expanse of water stretching out before you – there’s nothing quite like dining on a luxury boat with a view from the stern.

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You feel a sense of exhilaration. But as the boat gains more speed, the waves start to get wilder and enormous. The horizon seems to tilt at an alarming angle, and you struggle to keep your food down as the boat continues to buck and heave.

A Couple of Pigs

Imagine enjoying your vacation with pigs; yes, you read that right, wading around you. Their snouts break the surface of the water as they snuffle and snort with excitement. They seem to be enjoying this vacation more than you are!

Image courtesy of Keilys Gonzalez / Facebook

But when the woman on the right visited the beach, she chanced upon stray dogs. She bent to pet one, but the dog suddenly snarled and bared its teeth. She only had a split second to draw her hand back and keep her balance. Let’s hope she had fast reflexes.

Hot Springs

Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a stunning natural paradise, surrounded by hot springs and bubbling geysers. The air is thick with steam rising up from the earth, and the distant sound of rushing water fills your ears and makes you smile.

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As you approach the volcanic bath and sauna, you notice that there are quite a few people already there. The serene beauty that you witnessed before is now interrupted by the sounds of chatter, laughter, and splashing water. You grumble as you regret the fact that you paid extra for this!

Icy Betrayal

Sejlalandsfoss is a stunning waterfall located in southern Iceland. As you approach it, you can hear the sound of the rushing water before you even see it. The water cascades from a height of over 60 meters, creating a misty spray that can be felt from quite a distance away.

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It can be challenging walking here in the rainy season. The waterfall’s flow becomes stronger and more forceful, creating an even more intense mist and spray. This makes it difficult to see and navigate the path behind the falls, especially if you’re not wearing proper footwear.

Time Your Trip

Diamond Beach, located in southern Iceland, is a stunning and unique destination known for its otherworldly beauty. The beach is made up of black sand and is dotted with glittering icebergs that have broken off from a nearby glacier. The stark contrast makes for a surreal landscape.

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While it is true that the beach is dotted with icebergs that have broken off from the nearby glacier, it is important to note that the number of icebergs present can vary greatly depending on the time of year and other factors.

Lights, Camera, Action

As the man dangled from the cliff, his fingers gripping tightly onto the rocky edge, he felt his heart pounding in his chest. He looked up to see his girlfriend’s face, her hands clutching his hand as she halfheartedly pulled him to safety.

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Thanks to Trickshots, you can showcase your creativity, skill, and method acting. These are excellent at grabbing the attention of random scrollers on the Gram, so long as you keep your tricks secret! If that fails, you can always take your chances with Photoshop.

No Surprise There

As you walk along the shore of a white sandy beach, you feel the soft sand between your toes and the gentle breeze on your face. The crystal-clear water stretches out before you with shades of blue and green that seem almost unreal.

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Unfortunately, it’s no longer a solitary escape. The beach is now populated by a group of people, all enjoying the same scenery that you are. It could have maintained its natural beauty had it remained secluded, but we can’t always get what we want in life.

Temper your Expectations

If you’re hoping to enjoy Vietnam’s magical waterways, then hop into these twirling basket boats. These are made from woven bamboo and shaped like a bowl. They’ve been used by Vietnamese fishermen for centuries to navigate the shallow waters of the country’s coastal regions.

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But that’s just it. Expect the same number of tourists as there are fishermen to cast their nets during your travel. It’s only normal that they’ll look for food in these waters. You might want to temper your expectations during the ride, lest you fall into the river and wade to shore.

Rad Enough?

Dubai is known for many things, from its magnificent skyscrapers to the glamorous malls. Something else this popular city is known for is its impressive sand dunes. You can play a couple of tricks, including sandboarding down the shifting sand.

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Sadly, as you approach the Dubai dunes, you’ll notice a long line of people eagerly waiting for their turn to strap on a board and slide down the shifting sands. It’s a testament to the popularity of sandboarding in this desert city, and the disappointment in the air is palpable.

Bustling

There’s nothing quite like the sight of white sandy beaches and a calm blue ocean. It’s a view that instantly transports you to a place of relaxation and tranquility, where the stresses of daily life seem to melt away. And lucky for us, there are plenty of such places around the world.

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Unfortunately, there are just as many people who flock to these idyllic locations seeking some peace and calm as you. Of course, it’s best to consider your options – the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, or Boracay. Just prepare for the worst-case scenario, as can be seen above.

Hand of God

As you approach the Golden Bridge, you’ll be greeted by the lush green mountains of Ba Na Hills, shrouded in a mystical fog. This phenomenal Bridge, held up by giant hands, appears to float in the air and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

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Walking across it, with its shimmering golden surface and ornate design, is a true feast for the senses. If you remembered to say your prayers that morning, you might even see the rare and elusive horned dragon. But you’d be luckier if you visited the bridge with few people on it.

Stay Clean

Walking over several small hills is a strange yet invigorating experience. As you climb the gentle slopes, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the landscape around you. Just try to watch your step, and refrain from wearing white shoes. You’ll thank us later.

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Brightly colored shoes may not be the best option, especially if you’re traveling to a place with a lot of mud or dirt. While they may look stylish and fashionable, they are prone to getting dirty quickly, which can be disastrous for that Insta pic.

Always a Windy Day

When foam from the sea starts forming on your hair, it’s a different story. That sticky, salty substance can get on your last nerve because it finds a way to reach everywhere. That’s why it’s always best to tie your hair up when you’re heading to the beach.

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If that isn’t enough to persuade you, then maybe the strong winds might. They can whip your hair into a frenzied mess. So remember to bring a hair tie or a headband to keep your gorgeous mane in place. You don’t want to appear disheveled in your pictures.

Not So Terrifying

As you wade out into the ocean, the water feels cool and refreshing against your skin. You feel the sand slipping from under your feet and the waves washing over you, pulling you further out. If the water is clear and you can look down, you can see the terrifying depths you could dive to.

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But the reality is that at certain times of the year, you won’t be able to look into those depths with the same visibility. That shouldn’t keep you from exploring, though. You can still float on your back and enjoy the water cooling your skin.

Can’t Get A Hint

Eating breakfast on a pool overlooking the ocean is an experience that is hard to match. The sun is shyly but brilliantly shining, and before you is a tray of a hearty meal. The saltwater breeze and the sound of the water create an idyllic ambiance.

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It should be a moment of pure relaxation if only the strangers around you would take the hint and get out of the pool. But instead, they awkwardly dodge your gaze and engage in meaningless chatter to ease the tension.

Ancient World

The Jordan Heritage Site is a mesmerizing historical gem located in the Middle East. It boasts a wealth of ancient ruins and architectural wonders that are steeped in history and culture. The popular ancient city presents a chance to witness the grandeur of the ancient world.

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But that’s it. It only boasts of wealth long gone. The weather can be hot and dry, so you should plan accordingly and bring sunscreen, hats, and other protective gear. Sadly, you can’t do anything about the mob of tourists that visit the place every day.

Playful Creatures

You carefully position yourself behind a massive elephant while your friend snaps a photo of you with the majestic animal. As you look at the photo later, you realize how small you are compared to these gentle giants and feel grateful for the unforgettable experience.

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Just be warned that baby elephants can take a fascination to you too. They’re incredibly playful, and they might just pin your skirt down to see how well you crawl on the floor. Fortunately for this woman, she was wearing something underneath, but that didn’t stop the cameraman from filming!

Trekking

As this woman made her way through the canyons, she felt small and insignificant compared to the towering walls of rock on either side of her. The narrow passageways and winding paths seemed to lead her deeper and deeper into the heart of this wonder.

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But if you’re looking up at the path this woman took, you can’t help but feel underwhelmed. The ground is littered with rocks and dust, and there are tourists everywhere. Maybe it’s better to look down if you wish to experience the wonder of the location.

Green foliage

Despite the difficult terrain, this woman could not help but marvel at the unlikely beauty of the swamp. The orange hue of the shallow water contrasted brilliantly against the green foliage and bright blue sky, creating a stunning visual display.

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Contrastingly, the man took a deep breath and then dove into the water. He had expected it to be orange, just as he had seen in the pictures, but it was a dull shade of green. The surrounding foliage was lush and dense with tangled vines, and he couldn’t help but feel weary of gators!

Unkempt

This lady breathed in the fresh sea air as she cycled along the winding path, taking in the beautiful surroundings around her. It was midday, and the waters of the ocean were calm. She could feel the growing anticipation as she approached her destination: a stunning villa.

Image courtesy of Keilys Gonzalez / Facebook

Whereas in the before photo, the water was pristine, now it was littered with debris and garbage. If you are lucky, you might even chance upon a couple of abandoned bicycles floating around the villa’s base. It is disappointing, really.

Still Cold and Uninviting

The crisp morning air nipped at his skin as he stood outside his cabin, toothbrush in hand. He looked out at the body of water in front of him, its glassy surface reflecting an icy blue demeanor. The water looked cold and uninviting.

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If you arrive at this destination at the wrong time of the year, you’ll see your breath in the frigid air as you pull your coat tightly around you. Whereas before, you might have felt sure about taking a dip in the water, now you’re definitely certain about backing out.

Listen to the Horn

The Maeklong Railway Market presents quite a unique grocery shopping experience. Located in the Samut Songkhram province, it is a beloved attraction for visitors. What sets the Maeklong Railway Market apart from others is that it is located right on a railway track.

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While shopping here can be an exciting and memorable experience, it is not without its dangers. Trains frequently pass through at high speeds, and visitors, as well as vendors, need to be vigilant of their surroundings to avoid any accidents.

Crisp to Dull

Autumn is a magical time of year when the air is crisp, and the leaves on the trees turn from green to brilliant shades of red, yellow, and orange. Nowhere is this more evident than in Japan, where the leaves on the trees transform into a kaleidoscope of colors.

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But as the season progresses and the cold weather sets in, the vibrant colors of autumn begin to fade away. The once fiery red and orange leaves that lit up the streets and parks now start to turn a dull yellow hue, signaling the end of the season. Timing is everything.

Unnatural Wonder

You step inside a remarkable structure that seems to have been shaped by the wind over time. The exterior is made entirely of stone, with deep orange hues that seem to glow in the sunlight. The wind seems to have carved out intricate patterns on the surface, creating a mesmerizing effect.

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But the reality is that this was made entirely by man. It hadn’t been there for a thousand years, standing testament to the victories and losses of kingdoms. Rather, construction had been done just a few months before to serve as a studio.

Death-defying

The air was heavy with the scent of sulfur and ash, and this brave woman could feel the heat rising from the ground. The sky was dark, the clouds heavy with ash and smoke, and the world felt ominous and dangerous.

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On the other hand, the appearance of solidified magma can be very underwhelming. It looks like an expanse of black or dark gray rock. But throw in a gigantic rock, and you just might break the outer core and find a pool of lava within.

Business Partners

Meet this couple with a love for all things unique. When they stumbled upon an abandoned airplane in a scrap yard, they knew they had to do something special with it. We don’t know who or why, but someone came up with the idea to renovate the plane and turn it into a shop.

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They spent countless hours repairing the exterior, installing new flooring and walls, and transforming the cockpit into a checkout counter. The reality is that it’s not meant to be posted on Instagram. But the end result is a fully functional store that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Wish Not Granted

The Trevi Fountain is one of the most iconic and beautiful fountains in the world. Located in Rome, Italy, it is known for its stunning Baroque design and the legend that throwing a coin into it ensures a return trip to the city.

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However, for some visitors, the crowds and noise can be overwhelming, making the experience unenjoyable. The sound of clicking cameras and chatter can drown out the peaceful trickle of the fountain, making it difficult to truly appreciate the beauty of the fountain.

Learn How to Swim

There is something magical about waterfalls – the roar of the water, the mist in the air, the way the light glitters and dances through the spray. And when you add in a skilled and confident model, the result is pure magic.

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But just because someone looks good drenched on land doesn’t mean they’ll look just as good in water. You may even end up floundering like a fish, gasping for air! Maybe next time, try wearing a life vest to enjoy a swim.

Angle Matters

The Expo 2020 in Dubai is a marvel of modern architecture, and one of the highlights of the event is the surreal water feature. The structure is composed of a series of cascading pools that are lit up with vibrant colors, creating an otherworldly atmosphere that is both calming and energizing.

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Instead of the grand spectacle that had been promised, these visitors were met with a small, lackluster fountain that failed to capture their attention. It was a far cry from the awe-inspiring water feature that had been advertised, and many were left feeling let down.

Just That Second

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” and in this case, that couldn’t be more true. A man is seen hanging out by the side of the pool, posing for a picture with a big grin on his face. The flash goes off, and in that moment, everything looks perfect.

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But then, a second picture is taken – this time, without the flash – and the scene looks completely different. The sky is dark and ominous, with heavy rains pouring down and thunder rumbling in the distance. The pool is now overflowing with water, and the deck chairs are all submerged!

Sharp Fall

Have you ever considered hanging from a cliff? It might sound crazy, but for adrenaline junkies and rock climbers, it’s the ultimate thrill! But of course, it’s not for everyone, and safety is only a secondary priority, the first being a gorgeous pic!

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But for those who are not up for the challenge, you can just fake the shot using a low angle. That way, should your grip on your partner become slippery, she can always rely on safe ground to cushion her fall.

Underwater Waterfall

Mauritius, a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean, is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking natural beauty. Among the island’s many wonders is a unique underwater waterfall. It looks like sand is plunging toward the ocean floor.

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The underwater waterfall isn’t actually a real waterfall. It’s an optical illusion created by the way the sand and silt on the ocean floor are pushed and pulled by underwater currents. When viewed from above, the swirling patterns of sand create the illusion of a cascading waterfall.

Nice View

The woman woke up with a jolt, her heart racing as she took in the incredible view before her. The glittering skyline of New York City stretched out before her, the towering skyscrapers reaching up to touch the clouds. It was like something out of a dream.

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But as she sat up in bed and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, the reality of the situation started to sink in. She wasn’t actually in a luxurious hotel room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city. They had just laid mattresses on the floor and then covered them with bedsheets!

Taking Shade

The man calmly lay on his back, his arms beneath his head. He thought he needn’t worry as he was tanning within the ruins of a ship. Above him, seagulls screeched and circled while the sun beat down on his face and chest. He looked completely at ease.

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With the ocean stretching out endlessly around him and the rusted metal of the shipwreck around him, he looked like a true adventurer. A man who was unafraid of anything the world might throw his way. But he ran for shade shortly after this picture was taken.

Love-Hate

We love and hate social media. We love that it has drawn attention to places like these and put them on the map. But we hate that these safe havens have now become overcrowded. Can’t a person enjoy some peace and quiet?

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As soon as people started posting about this location’s beauty to the world, people began flocking to it, eager to experience its tranquility for themselves. What was once a private haven was now overrun with tourists, boats, and even ski jets.

Breaking Bali

Bali, Indonesia, is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture, and exotic cuisine. One of the island’s most popular tourist attractions is its stunning overlooking pools that seem to blend seamlessly into the lush greenery of the surrounding jungle.

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But recently, something has changed. These once peaceful and secluded pools have become overrun with people. What was once a hidden gem has now become a hot spot, with large crowds of people jostling for space and taking endless selfies.

Submersible

The idea of staying in an underwater hotel has been a dream for many adventurous travelers. Imagine waking up to the beautiful sights and sounds of the ocean, with fish swimming by your window and the gentle swaying of the waves lulling you to sleep.

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Guests were surprised to find that the hotel was not as advertised. Instead of being submerged deep beneath the waves, the hotel was only 2 meters below the surface. It was more of a submerged resort than an underwater hotel.

A Trip to Skogafoss

Skogafoss Beach is a place that many people have heard about, thanks to its dramatic cliffs and stunning views. From the pictures and videos, it looks like a warm and inviting place to spend a vacation, with the sun shining down on the golden sand and the waves lapping gently at the shore.

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But the reality of Skogafoss Beach is much different. It is a place that’s cold, barren, and unforgiving. The wind whips through the cliffs, cutting through clothing like a knife. The sand is rough and cold, and the water is frigid, with temperatures that make swimming impossible.

Coron

Coron Lake looks mesmerizing. It is like a tranquil oasis, surrounded by lush greenery and shimmering blue waters. But try visiting the place during the busiest time of the year, and you will be met with a completely different scene.

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There’ll be a dense crowd of people, all clamoring to take their own perfect Instagram shots. The serenity you had hoped for will be nowhere to be found, replaced instead by the sound of camera shutters clicking away and people shouting out their pose suggestions to their friends!

Glitz to Gone

Here’s a woman lying along the shore of the beach, looking like a true beach goddess. The sun is shining, the waves are hugging the shore, and all seems right with the world. That is until a rogue wave comes out of nowhere and crashes over her.

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The woman’s serene expression instantly turns to one of horror as she’s hit by the wave. She flails, trying to keep her balance, but it’s no use. She’s swept up and carried out to sea, still clad in her bikini and completely at the mercy of the ocean.

Careful

Canoeing through the swamp is a unique and unforgettable experience that allows you to explore a beautiful and diverse ecosystem up close. The stillness and tranquility of the water, combined with the lush vegetation and abundant wildlife, make for a truly immersive and memorable adventure.

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But right after heavy rainfall, expect to see brown, murky water, seemingly empty of life. Careful now. Keep all your extremities within the canoe. You can never really tell if an alligator is nearby. And if you can, it might be too late to do anything about it.

Zero Visibility

Walking down a steep set of steps can be a daunting task. But imagine doing so with a sea of clouds to your left. The sensation of walking through a cloud can be a surreal and almost magical experience. It’s as if you are on a pathway to the heavens.

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As you take each step down the steep set, you can feel the weight of your body being pulled down, making it challenging to maintain your balance. What makes it even harder is that your vision is clouded by the pellets of water thrown at you by the clouds.

Where’d the Magic Go

Imagine walking along the shore of a beach at night when suddenly, with every step you take, the sand beneath your feet starts to light up in an ethereal blue glow. This is the magical experience of a bioluminescent beach.

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Note that they are not always bioluminescent. While these beaches may appear to glow with an otherworldly light at certain times of the year, they can also be completely dark and devoid of any magic at other times. So, do your research before buying that ticket!