Are you tired of the same old thing when you go on vacation? Every time it’s the same story; the herd of tourists huddled together, a camera around their neck, the smell of sunscreen filling the air as they hitch their fanny packs up slightly higher and stand on their tippy toes to get a look at yet another painting.
Don’t get me wrong, we have all been there and they can be super fun! Imagine visiting Amsterdam and not go to the Museum of Anne Frank, or New York and not seeing the Statue of Liberty! However, it’s also understandable if you’re getting a bit bored of doing the same routine thing in every country you visit.
Don’t panic though! There are alternatives out there that are sure to peak your interest!
So for the days when you are simply tired of being that typical tourist, let’s have a look at some of the more interesting and exciting tours that are on offer at some of the most touristic places around!
10. Crop Circles Tour, England
If you’re travelling to Great Britain, you’re probably thinking that you’ll be dropped into a sophisticated country; it is where the Queen and King live after all! I’m sure you can’t wait to hear the cool accents, see the Big Ben, go on the London Eye, see a show in the West End and just generally take in the ambiance of a modern city surrounded by medieval history.
However, there’s another side to Great Britain that you were perhaps unaware of. With its long history and dark past, also comes mysteries that are yet to be solved. From unexplained crop circles to the mysterious Stonehenge, Britain has a side to it that’s anything but regal.
If you want to really immerse yourself in this side of Great Britain, how about you take a flight over the crop circles while listening to some of the theories and stories around how and when they first appeared. See these wonders with your own eyes, but be careful! Some of the companies that do these tours warn that they’re not for the faint of heart!
9. The Helter Skelter Tour, Los Angeles, California
There’s nothing like taking what should be a glamorous holiday under the sun, surrounded by beautiful people and movie stars, and well, just not doing any of that! LA, for all its glitz and glam, also has a sordid side. There are a few guided tours that can help you out with discovering the darker side to LA, such as the Dearly Departed Tours. These companies will take you to the actual locations of these infamous happenings and will feed you information as to the theories and stories behind each one of them.
If you’re feeling in a particularly morbid mood, why not try The Helter Skelter Tour? The 3+ hour tour focuses on the Manson Family and their grisly murders of Tate and LaBianca. The tour will drive you to each of the murder locations and bring you on the exact route the Manson family took as they fled the scene. While it may be a little bit creepy, this tour would sure make for an interesting conversation starter!
8. Mystical Tour, Haiti
Take a step into a world that you only ever hear about in horror stories: the magical religion that is Voodooism. This five day tour of Northern Haiti will have you interested and intrigued from start to end. You get to see secret ritual sites, watch voodoo shows, be introduced to voodoo practitioners and priests and are brought to the most relevant ceremonial sites around. This tour really calls for an open mind, but it could be well worth the try! (And they promise that there’s no animal sacrifices).
7. Morbid Sites in a 1960’s Hearse, New York City
You’ve seen the statue of liberty, the Empire State building, Central Park and you’ve gone shopping – now what? If you feel like seeing a little something different and interesting, well then, hop in the 1960 hearse and let’s go for a drive with Drew Raphael, an ex-marketing executive-turned tour guide. Drew takes you around NYC in his 1968 hearse and tells you stories of some of the most famous dead New Yorkers. The tour goes to some interesting spots, including a Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue cemetery and where some notable pop culture icons passed away.
6. Bizarre Bangkok Tour, Thailand
Well, it’s not like they didn’t try to warn you that this was a weird one, it’s in the name of the tour! This tour shines a light on the darker side of Bangkok with a tour based on the non-fiction book Bizarre Thailand. The 18+ tour brings you to two of the country’s most morbid museums, including the Forensic Medicine Museum where CSI lovers will get a thrill at seeing scene evidence and autopsy photos and the Corrections Museum where you’ll see all the medieval torture devices that you can handle. If your stomach isn’t too twisted by all these gory details, the tour also brings you for an authentic Thai iced coffee in an off-the-beaten-path style market and a boat tour.
5. Sewers of Paris Tour
If being shot at by police is just too much for you, how about delving into the exotic world of the Paris Sewer system? Why basque in the scents of freshly baked croissants, red wine and cheese when you can absorb all the unique and subtle aromas of raw sewage?
As unappetising as it sounds, there is a demand for this unusual tour, with many people being curious as to what happens to the water (amongst other stuff) after it goes down the drains. I don’t know about you, but this is definitely a tour for those of us with stronger stomachs.
4. The Vegas Mob Tour, Las Vegas, Nevada
Welcome to the city of lights, where the hotels are huge, where nobody can sleep because it’s too bright all the time and where you’ll be sure to catch an interesting show or two! The city also comes with a pretty interesting past though, so if you want to get behind all the false eyelashes and flashy lights, how about a Vegas Mob Tour?
The bus tour takes guests to where all the bloody murders and mobster criminal activities took place. If you’re imagining yourself as one of the Soprano’s, puffing on a cigar in a fancy suit while rolling in cash, you’ve got another thing coming, the Don will let you know straight away on their website that it’s the real guys with the real stories that you’ll be hearing about on this tour!
3. Bob Marley Bus Adventure, Jamaica
Jamaica is most commonly known for its beautiful resorts, crystal clear blue waters, sunny skies and hanging palm trees, but it is also famous for the reggae singer Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s motto in life was peace and love, but his laid back attitude was not induced without the help of his little old friend, marijuana.
If you want to see more of Jamaica than just palm trees and beaches (if you don’t, we completely understand) then why not take a Bob Marley Bus tour. The authentically hand painted Bob Marley bus, with its dreadlocked driver and Bob Marley music playing through a state-of-the-art sound system, will take you to the historic town of “Nine Mile” to see people still living the Rastafarian lifestyle.
There’s also an option to purchase some of the special plant for yourself as well, although their site and brochure doesn’t advertise it. This is definitely an 18+ tour, so go and drink some Jamaican punch and sit back and relax.
2. Chernobyl Tour, Ukraine
This isn’t the most uplifting way to spend your vacation but everyone needs to get more empathy for the victims of this disaster, and what better way to do this than with a tour to the zone itself. If you’re wondering if it’s safe; it is. There are still radiation hot spots, but your tour guide will be sure to stay clear of those. Take this tour and see the real-life consequences of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
The deserted ghost-town is only given access to by certain special tours, and will bring you within a few hundred feet of the Chernobyl Power Plant where the horrific catastrophe occurred in 1986. The tour then takes you to an abandoned Kindergarten classroom in Kopachi, where dust-covered toys await their long-gone children. Truly heart-wrenching, the tour will give you a sense of real-life loss that was experienced by the victims.
1. The Illegal Border Crossing Tour in Mexico
Really not into the whole touristy thing and want to experience the harshest of harsh conditions of the people whose country you’re visiting? Well, if you insist! The Illegal Border Crossing Tour goes the extra mile in ensuring that tourists understand the traumatic events that Mexican people regularly put themselves through in order to leave the country. This night-time guided tour happens at Parque Eco Alberto, where you’ll be brought on a guided hike and then chased in the dark and shot at by police. It’s all staged, of course, so don’t worry too much about being actually hurt but this tour isn’t for the faint of heart!