35 Horrible And Creepy Travel Experiences These People Wish They Hadn’t Had
Everyone should get out and see the world. Just don't forget to be cautious and stay aware of your surroundings. The post 35 Horrible And Creepy Travel Experiences These People Wish They Hadn’t Had first appeared on Bored Panda.
Below, we’ve gathered a list of some of the creepiest and most frightening experiences traveling abroad that Reddit users have recently shared online. We don’t mean to scare you with these tales because, let's be honest, we don’t actually need to leave our home countries to encounter dangerous individuals. And the vast majority of the time, traveling creates wonderful memories. But these stories might just serve as a healthy reminder to be smart and cautious when traveling, and always be aware of your surroundings. Be sure to upvote the stories you’d like all of your fellow pandas to read, and then if you’re interested in checking out a Bored Panda article detailing more lighthearted travel stories next, you can find that right here. Image credits: anon Image credits: Anl_Mouse Image credits: Bakuninophile Image credits: Phil567 Image credits: plantman01 Image credits: anon Image credits: Rhothlord Image credits: tnbadboy1965 Image credits: albs68w Image credits: MitchCMan Image credits: anon Image credits: athrix Image credits: oldmanchewy Image credits: mephistosoos Image credits: budgetjohncho Image credits: KommandCBZhi Image credits: TheBurkalator Image credits: krthomso Image credits: din7 Image credits: _Z_y_x_w Image credits: rey_gun Image credits: ImTotallyNormalish Image credits: ManCrisp Image credits: edgarpickle
#1I was traveling in Nicaragua several years ago when I got lost and ended up having to take a taxi at 9:30pm back to my hostel. When the taxi pulled up to the curb, the taxi driver locked the taxi doors and told me that I had misunderstood the fare. He claimed I owed him $100 USD which was several times more than we had agreed upon. I tried to pry the doors open from the inside but was completely trapped. Thankfully, he let me out of the taxi after taking all the money I had on me.
The hostel workers told me I was incredibly lucky. A few days earlier, a taxi driver had kidnapped another young female, assaulted her, then dumped her barely conscious body in a field outside town thinking that she was dead. A few local schoolchildren found her on their way to school in the morning.
#2In India our bus rounded a corner in the mountains and another bus was on the other side of the curve. Both busses skid to a stop about 1 foot from one another. Both drivers started laughing and poking fun at each other. We saw a bus from the '80s that fell down the mountain about 15 minutes later. Hella intense.
#3A friend of mine went on a trip to Thaïland, staying at a relatively inexpensive hostel. In the middle of the night, my friend was violently woken up by hotel staff and moved to a different floor.
Turns out the hotel was gassing the rooms on that floor to deal with a bed bug issue. The hotel accidentally gave guests rooms on the floor they were gassing, and didn't notice until they killed a couple.
#4I had a pack of wild dogs chase me from my bus stop to my hotel at 3 am in Kosovo. I also had a old woman yell at me in Russian about not making my bed right on the train and then watched over my shoulder til it was to her satisfaction when I was on my way back to Bucharest from Moldova
#5A good friend of mine in Zimbabwe was grabbed at gunpoint and forced into a van, thankfully they only took her to an ATM and made her drain her account then they left her somewhere outside town. Could've been so much worse
#6My buddy and I were flying into Malaysia from Vietnam on the day that MH370 went missing. We were at the gate watching the whole thing unfold about it going missing. It was playing on virtually all the TV's in the airport. We were flying Malaysia Airlines. The tickets were expensive (for a backpacker's budget) and they weren't offering any refunds. Told ourselves that maybe they'd be extra cautious now so we're actually more safe. Definitely puckered up for 2 hours until we touched down.
#7On a train in Athens traveling alone, a group of men tried to push me off the train with them at a stop. Three women started yelling at them and pulled me back. It happened to fast I didn't know until the one that spoke English explained they were trying to take me. They made sure I made it back to the hostel and told me not to wear what I was wearing ( shorts and a tank) while alone.
#8I was in a bar in Athens in 1985 when someone left an explosive device there. Of the 50 plus people injured, I was luckily not one of them. My ears rang for a couple of days and I spilled my beer but that was it.
#9Mine wasnt abroad. We were traveling from Kingman arizona to tucson Arizona. Car broke down and we were lucky enough to be able to get off the freeway and into a parking lot of a store in the middle of nowhere. Building was a run down place with nowhere az painted on the side. Its the middle of the day at this point but in afraid. I tell my friend that this is like some house of 1000 corpses s**t. Shes trying to get service on her phone and there's nothing. Then two creepy guys who look like they kidnap women and steal their skin come out from around the building. I swear I've never felt so cold. They came to the driver side and asked what's up. We explain that the car broken down and one guy asked to pop the hood. The other guy went into the building. He came back out with a tool box and sealed snacks for us and the kids we had in the back seat. They fixed our car for free and sent us on our way. We couldn't thank them enough and we tipped them what we could. Several miles away the car takes a s**t again. We have service and are stuck on the side of the highway so we call my mom to come get us. Its starting to get dark now and a big a*s truck pulls up behind us and two dudes get out. Same guys. They fixed it again and sent us on our way. We start driving and call mom to update. We got home safely and never saw the guys again. That was seriously wild though and 2x I though we were gonna die and 2x those guys taught me not to be a judgmental a*****e.
#101992 I was walking up the stairs to the ticket booths in the Warsaw, Poland central train station. All of a sudden this dude is falling down the stairs coming to rest a few stairs above where I was standing. Dude had a long screw driver sticking out of his abdomen.
#11I was traveling by van through the mountains in the Philippines with a friend that is a really big guy. We came up on a checkpoint with soldiers searching cars. The guys we’re all wearing mismatched clothes and did not have any insignias on their uniforms or trucks. They searched all of our bags and we’re asking questions of the driver in Tagalog, which we did not speak. We heard them say American and we we’re the only two Americans on the bus. They talked for a little while and finally waved us through. Later we told the story to another American and he said we had gone through a Guerrilla controlled area where Americans had been kidnapped for ransom lately. They all agreed they did not take us because of the size of my friend. I think we got really lucky that day.
#12Friend of a friend went to Jamaica with her parents and sister when she was about 12. They came back to their hotel room one day to find a guy in there trying to rob them. He stabbed the girl's dad (he lived) and escaped. They had to go through family therapy after that.
#13Was on a flight once going into Orlando that hit some unexpected turbulence. This was no ordinary turbulence. We went from 0 to 100 in an instant. People literally flew out of their seats, luggage fell from the overhead bins, people screamed like they were going to die. There were several sudden drops in elevation strong enough that people's arms flew up in the air and my butt came out of the seat. I've flown quite a bit and sometimes it gets bumpy. This was the first time I seriously thought something bad was going to happen.
#14I was working at the Sochi Olympics and saw a pack of stray dogs chase and take down one of our teams translators before people scared them away. That was an eye opener.
#15We went on a family trip to Croatia and on our way to the beach we pulled over to the side of a road for a pee break. So we opened the car door and like always our dog jumps out first. He ran into the field right next to the Street. Then suddenly my mother starts screaming the name of our dog because 10 meters away from our car was a sign that said: Stay Away, an old minefield. Thankfully nothing happened
#16It was my first time visiting New York City. My aunt and uncle who both work in FiDi (Financial District) took the whole week off to show me and my family around Manhattan. It was a beautiful Tuesday morning and we just had our photos taken around Wall Street when the first plane crashed into the WTC
#17A cult behind several murders in China tried to recruit me for some reason.
1. Travelling across Cambodia. Get to Preah Vihear, which is disputed border territory with Thailand. See my driver talking to the armed guards and pointing towards the hill. Ask him what’s up. Gives me binoculars. Looking through those tiny glass windows, I see it’s the Thai army on the border not too far away aiming their guns at us. High tailed it out of there. That was scary in retrospect.
2. In New Zealand, of all scary places in the world (/s), trekking Fox Glacier with my boyfriend. Getting towards the end, but still at least a kilometre to go. All of a sudden there’s a loud CRACK.
The stairs collapse beneath my boyfriend and plummets. I grab his hand and scream out to him to hold on but the glacier has made us wet, numb, slippery.
His fingers slip through mine, and I watch him fall down the crevice, about 10metres, rolling, hitting clumps of ice, until his body stops just before a cliff, held up by a wedge of ice.
My now-husband still gets shoulder and knee pain from the accident, but he is whole. I will never forget the sound I made screaming out his name down the crevice.
#19Got pickpocketed by a group of 3 on a Paris metro. I'm paranoid of losing my wallet, so I'm always checking myself. When I realized it was missing, I made a bigger scene than the pickpockets were making (they shoved me into their friend and were trying to convince people I knocked him down). I stopped the train from leaving the station. One of the other passengers left to get got conductor and security. I guess that didn't sit well with the pickpockets, so they gave me back my wallet and took off running.
Edit: This event still freaks my wife out.
#20I was walking to a pharmacy down a busy avenue in Rabat, Morocco. It was the Feast of the King so most people had off work and school, meaning the avenue was empty. Myself and two volunteers (all three young, white females) are walking and chatting when two guys on a motorbike pass us the opposite way. They drove over the median and pulled up beside us. The guy on the back gets off and walks toward us then pulls a machete out from underneath his flannel. Girl 1 throws her purse, Girl 2 throws her phone, and both go running. Guy comes after me and I wrap my hand around my purse (had my passport, wallet, phone, etc.) and he holds the machete up to my neck. I say a few choice words to him in Arabic (essentially “Shame on you by Allah”, which is something I was taught by locals to keep the kids I was working with at an orphanage in line). Machete man promptly appears to s**t his pants. He goes after the dropped phone and purse and I start running the rest of the way to the pharmacy.
I wind up there crying and the other two girls meet me. People are starting to congregate. Some witnessed it while driving by while others are trying to translate for us. A woman says she will drive us home after speaking with the security guard at the pharmacy. We agree and get into a minivan. I provide directions in Arabic and the woman drives right past the house, blowing stop signs and ignoring traffic lights. It’s then we realize we’re about to get kidnapped. One of the two girls reached forward, opened the door of the van, and we jumped out while it was moving.
TLDR: Held up at machete-point then almost trafficked in Morocco during my first international travel experience.
#21A friend and I were waiting for a night train in Naples and after someone tried to steal our bags decided to go everywhere together. It was a good thing because a man who had been whistling at us for an hour tried to follow us into the bathroom.
#22The first time I ever visited the London Bridge was the day the terrorist attack happened where they drove a van through the crowd.
#23I fell asleep on a long-distance bus in Greece and woke to a toothless old woman running her fingers through my hair. She kept repeating something in Greek over and over; other riders found it hilarious but wouldn't tell me what she was saying. Unfortunately I couldn't get off the bus, so I had to make her get away from me, and then sat there pissed off and embarrassed for the remaining 90 minutes of the trip
#24Guy in Aruba tried to kidnap/r*pe me, I think.
I'm a single female and found a crazy cheap ticket out there. Decided to use it as a chance to get my advanced diver certificate. Anyway, I went on a horse riding trip where the tour picked up a group in a minivan. On the way back, the driver skipped my stop and dropped off the last riders at their hotel. After a moment of confusion (I was unsure of my surroundings, but felt like this was wrong), I asked why we drove past my place. The driver said "oh I'm taking a different way." And I said, "that really doesn't make sense. The traffic is fine. It's more direct this way. Can we just go back?" He was quiet and kept driving, and now my heart was pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. He said, "there's a really great beach down this way; not many tourists." At this point he was driving through the backside of a shopping complex, nobody in sight, dusk, and I was considering if I should try to jump out of a moving vehicle... but because I'd get stranded in an empty parking lot, it'd be all too easy for him to grab me again.
Instead I said "I can't. There are people waiting for me. I just texted them saying I'm in the car on the way home and will be there in a few minutes. I'll be late if we don't go back now."
Somehow that worked, he turned the car around and his whole attitude changed. He started telling me how he had a wife and kids. My heart was thundering, but I think I sounded normal. (Also I had 0 cell phone reception. The story about the text was a lie, and I had no way to phone for help if he called my bluff.)
F*****g scary. If that s**t happens on a tour when you go in a decent sized group, I have no idea how you stay safe as a single female traveler.
#25A handful of men in Thailand were vehemently trying to haggle with my friends to purchase me. They kept pulling my arms to try and seperate us and asking "how much" and offering different amount of money.
Edit: Jesus this blew up! Thailand is a very beautiful place and very safe for travel, guys! The place I was at, Pattaya Beach, is the central location where we are allowed to stay when the ship pulls into port. It's basically nothing but bars and brothels. Don't go there. I don't know why they even let *us* go there. Even if you did go, you'd most likely not be in any danger, the people are very helpful and kind but every place has bad people and we happened to run into them. I'm not even sure if these men were Thai. Don't let this freak you out from going. SEA does have a dark underbelly of human trafficking but it's pretty unlikely you will be involved in it as a tourist.
And everyone who is freaking out about the Sailors "buying" underage girls; they're just stupid kids who want to get their d**k wet. They have literally no idea that these girls are underage and just think they're paying a prostitue. Most of these idiots can't even fathom that child trafficking is a thing. We make every effort possible to keep this from happening and inform our Sailors about what is really going on. Your average US servicemember is just as disgusted as you are that this happes to children.
#26I was walking around in a town in Algeria. I wandered in to a neighborhood, and noticed there were hardly any people out. A little further, and there were literally no people out. I started to feel a little uneasy. And then I see an extremely tall man walking towards me, straight towards me, obviously with intent. He gets closer, and I see an older gentleman with a long grey beard and wearing a grey tunic. I stop. He comes right up to me and says, in pretty good English, “you’re not safe here, we need to get you off the street”. I say “OK”, and he says “follow me”.
We walk a few blocks and we come to a door, he says “wait here a minute”, and he goes inside. He opens the door again and invites me in. When I get inside, there are maybe a dozen men. They are all dressed in black, and they are staring absolute daggers at me. Grey-beard lays in to them, starts shaking his fists at them, gets really worked up. Then one of the younger guys goes in to the kitchen and brings out some tea and cookies, and offfers them to me.
So, I’m drinking tea, and trying to smile, and one of the young guys asks where I’m from and I say “The States” and he starts talking about the CIA and stuff... and then I say “you think the CIA is bad here? Let me tell you about Central America”, and then pretty soon everybody is warming up to me and we’re laughing and talking s**t about American foreign policy and drinking tea.
After a bit of that the older man invites me back to his apartment. He has a huge library. I gift him a book that I had finished. And then he tells me what had just happened. His little brother, who was one of the younger men, was the leader of a radical group, all the other men I had met. He had overheard them getting ready to kidnap me. But he had shamed them for not being good hosts, and for disrespecting him because it was his house. He said that I would be safe from then on.
TLDR: Gandalf saves my life and got a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for his trouble.
#27I witnessed a creepy old man groping a teenager on a crowded train in Osaka. The girl was just enduring it and you can tell that she was holding back her tears. I whipped my phone out and started filming the guy which made him use his other hand which was blocked from my view so I asked my guy friend to switch places with the girl. After that, on the next stop, the creepy guy got off. I asked the girl if she was ok. She thanked us and her friends also expressed their gratitude. I think all of them (all teenage girls) were aware of the groping but I read somewhere that it is not the Japanese culture to make a scene. I was aware that this kind of thing was prevalent in Japan but I'm still shocked to see it in person. That creepy man and the poor girl's face will be forever etched in my mind.
#28I was traveling in Costa Rica with two flashy businessmen who were there to possibly purchase a gentleman’s club. We were staying at the Radisson and asked the concierge to get us a cab to the club. We got in the cab and made sure that the driver knew where we were going. We were told it was a 10 min drive. About 7 min in I realized that we were not in a touristy part of town. At all. The driver is whispering into his phone in Spanish, staring at us in the rear view mirror. I get uneasy and look at my companions, who are clearly feeling the same way. We ask “are we almost there?” Oh si! Uno momento. More whispering. Not good. We are being set up. It’s been 10 minutes and we are in a sketchy residential area.
I’m sitting in the middle and my partner opens his briefcase and hands me a pen and tells me to stab someone if I need to. What?! He passes another pen to the other man. He’s sitting directly behind the driver and takes his own gold pen and holds it to the drivers jugular and screams “TAKE US BACK TO THE RADISSON RIGHT F*****G NOW”, the partner snatched the drivers phone and hangs up. I’m just clutching the pen.
We did make it back to the Radisson. The jewelry was deposited into the safe in the room for the rest of the trip and we eventually made it safely to the club. I was young and naive, I had had my passport for 3 days at this point and didn’t really get that we shouldn’t have been traveling there with that amount of flashy jewelry.
#29I was working in a poor community in a small village in Romania (helping to build a small extension to a school), at around dusk I decided to go for a short walk to the local shop for some water when a car drove past me. They suddenly broke and reversed down the road and stopped beside me, telling me to get into their car as they want to show me their cool things (radios, cars, knives) they kept slowly curb-crawling me and demanding I got in the car until I got back to my group whereby they sped off. For the next couple of days the same car (I believe) kept driving past and stopping outside where we were staying (for 30 minute intervals several times a day) and I was staying a good hour away from the village.
Creepy as all hell and I still believe it could have gone badly.
#30Husband had a month long job in Japan. We joined him for the last week of his gig. My daughter and I had made reservations about two months ahead of the trip to go to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka (an hour by train outside of Tokyo). Since we didn't know husband's work schedule, only got tickets for her and I. Found out last minute that he had the day off so he came with us. They managed to find him a ticket and he joined us.
We left earlier than planned because he had to get back for a 5:00 call. We would continue on up to Harajuku after his subway stop. Two stops before we would have parted ways, the train came to an immediate stop and frantic Japanese came over the speaker. Shortly after that, the car started rocking. And kept rocking. And kept rocking. For about ten minutes. Hubs said he realized it was bad when he saw people taking out their phones and start texting (something you never saw on the subway). After half an hour, the car slowly crawled to the next station. A friendly English speaking woman informed us that there had been a bad earthquake, and the trains were shutting down.
We walked the two miles back to the hotel and met up with the rest of his crew. We had to stay in the lobby for eight hours while maintenance checked the building for damages before we could go up to our rooms. The aftershocks continued for the next five days before we flew back home.
We were in the Tokyo subway for the Tohoku earthquake on March 11, 2011. I can honestly say, I didn't start getting nervous until they started talking about needing to take iodine table because of the power plant emissions. And it wasn't until we were back home and watching all the news specials about the quake and tsunami that I realized how truly dangerous the situation had been. Mid western ignorance on earthquakes saved our trip, I guess.
#31I was on a volunteer trip to Guatemala and we took a day trip to see some Mayan ruins on a small island. My friend and I were looking for a bathroom and several locals pointed us in the direction of one at the top of the mountain. We found a small building with no door and one toilet. My friend says I can go first and she’ll stand watch. I start going about my business when I hear my friend saying that I should hurry up and then I hear a mans voice shouting something in spanish about “permiso”. Out of no where he barges in while I’m mid pee pointing a very large gun at me. He had some sort of uniform on so he may have been police but I’m not sure. I pull up my pants, completely paranoid, grab my friend, tell the man Lo siento over and over and run as fast as I can down the hill. He was shouting after us but didn’t follow. Although nothing happened I was terrified and my poor friend still had to pee!!
#32I have mostly traveled through Europe, and the only time I've ever really felt uncomfortable was when I was groped on the metro in Rome. We were packed into the car, and I felt a hand against my back...no big deal, I live in New York City, it happens. But then the hand slipped between me and the next person and around to near my stomach. Oh, maybe a pickpocket? Well I had a money belt, so I was okay there. The hand grabbed my breast. We were so tightly packed that I couldn't turn around, and I just...froze. I wanted to say, "stop" or "don't" or anything at all but in the moment every word of my Italian fled from my brain and I felt like a bucket of scalding water had been dumped over my head. The ride felt like it lasted forever. At the next stop I forced my way out of the car and out into the fresh air. Rome is so beautiful, but it felt pretty damn ugly that day.
#33When I was a kid, my dad used to lead groups of college kids to Central and South America to build houses. One year he decided that we should ride the chicken but from Guatemala City to Mexico City. Long trip.
We got to the border and a soldier with a hell of a big machine gun got on the bus and looked around. Saw that we had about 15 college girls on the bus, and then went and talked to someone on the phone. About two minutes later, a bunch of guys with machine guns got on the bus and informed us that all the males had to get off the bus and line up in front of it.
I remember that we did it, but there was a hell of a lot of tension in the air as we did.
Soldiers crammed into the bus. We waited.
Finally, they got off the bus and we got back on and away we went. It was a whole lot of nothing, really, but I remember my dad, the leader of the group, looking very pale and sweating bullets.
Edit 1: this was in the late 80s. We'd heard lots of tales of bad stuff.
Edit 2: chicken BUS. We didn't ride the chicken, we rode the chicken bus.
Edit 3: okay, they might not have been machine guns. Maybe they were, maybe they weren't. They still were large caliber guns, I was 12 and I was unarmed. I'm sure if it had gone differently and I'd have been shot to death, it would have given me great comfort to know that my death was caused by a semi-automatic.
#34Was in a hostel in England. It was late night at the bar and lots of people were hanging around. There were 2 guys there from Eastern Europe. Both big guys, very intimidating. They were hitting on the girls working there. Got to the point where they were drunk and groping on them. Things were escalating and the girls were clearly not cool and needed help.
So now it’s 1;00 am. Two female bartenders being harassed badly by these guys. Probably 8 other people in he bar. 5 guys, and together, we probably weighed as much as the 2 dudes. We decided we had to act. One of us stood up and told them they had to go. The other 4 of us were holding our beer bottles by the neck, ready to use them as weapons, the guys stood up.
This was probably the most scared I’ve ever been. I was ready to fight, but didn’t want to be in this situation. THANK GOD the guys started yelling in another language and walked out. The girls locked the door immediately and thanked us. We all hung out a couple hours drinking free beer and tried to calm down. In hindsight, glad I had the experience. One of her girls there is still a good friend of mine. That kind of situation can bond people I guess, lol
#35Gypsies in Romania tried to (what I can only assume) sell me a baby... The woman, who looked like she was using since the day she first saw light, kept a one sided haggling conversation in her own language all the while shoving the tiny child at me. The swarm of children aged between 2-12 kept touching me and what I can only imagine is "appraising" my clothes... This didn't really end until I had to raise my voice and go serious. I walked away and went back to the village where I was staying with a friend of mine at his distant relatives' house.
After telling our hosts the bizarre tale attempted human trafficking, they proceeded to inform me that the child was most likely stolen from somewhere else in Romania, another town most likely. It was apparently a local racket, reselling newborn kids to international tourists. What really gets me is the way in which they were telling this story. As if it was business as usual.
P.S. Hosts where very kind hospitable people. Lead tough lives though...
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