I never like to speak negatively about a place but in these cases there is awareness to be made. These 5 destinations in South East Asia have been tainted by the after effects of mass tourism.

Once upon a time these 5 destinations were beautiful images on this planet. However, after years of excessive numbers of tourists visiting and tour companies neglecting the areas, these places transformed from some of the world’s most stunning destinations to some of the world’s most unpleasant ones.

It is hard to say if these places will ever recover from the after effects of mass tourism but at the very least we can only learn from the destruction done here. Change is thankfully commencing, with the Thailand government making the decision to close the islands of Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui, and Koh Khai Nai to save the idyllic white sand beaches and endangered coral reefs. If this trend continues perhaps we can see more of our favourite places saved.


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Kuta Beach, Bali


What you’re told –

Kuta Beach is a favourite beach for tourists visiting Bali. Coconut trees line the sand beach as far as the eyes can see. The sunset in Kuta is most breathtaking and, a short walk away north, the waves will invite you in to swim and surf.


What to expect –

Kuta Beach is so crowded with tourists and sellers that you can’t take one step without being harassed by someone wanting to sell you something. Whether it’s a massage, a surf lesson, a cheap looking souvenir, if you’ve got money they want it. Piles of trash line the shoreline and the ocean waters, and people have been known to be swimming with plastic bags instead of fish.


Kuta Beach Bali
Photo by Evan Jones via freeforcommercialuse.org


Cham Islands, Vietnam


What you’re told –

What appeals to tourists in Cham Island is its wide variety of leisure activities in a picturesque and pristine setting. Traditional forms of recreation range from swimming on crystal-clear beaches, sunbathing on long-stretching white-sandy coast to exploring the forest.


What to expect –

Do you love being shoved onto an overcrowded speedboat in line with 20 other speedboats all going to the same destination? Then you will love visiting the Cham Islands. Snorkel with stinging jellyfish in a tiny area crowded with people and boats. You only get 30 minutes so you might get the chance to spot one fish as well. After snorkelling visit Cham Beach and swim with hundreds of others, and a bunch of plastic bags and bottles too.


Cham Islands Vietnam
Photo by The Altruistic Traveller


Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand


What you’re told –

Patong Beach is an astonishing combination of breathtakingly beautiful white sand beach edged by the glittering Andaman Sea, and the most concentrated area of tourist accommodations, shops, nightclubs, restaurants and attractions.


What to expect –

20 seconds into your relaxing holiday on the beach and you’ll be approached buy someone wanting to sell you something. Want relaxation? You won’t find it here. What’s worse than street sellers? The dirty sand and water that has been ruined by mass tourism. We don’t even want to know about the quality of water here with sewage flowing in from the influx of buildings on the shore and the lack of efficient water treatment facilities.


Patong Beach
Photo by ejan741 via freeforcommercialuse.org


Oslob, Philippines


What you’re told –

Meet the Philippine’s giant creatures of the sea as you enjoy watching and swimming with the friendly whale sharks in Oslob Cebu. Come and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.


What to expect –

You won’t be disappointed by your interaction with the whale sharks because in Oslob the guides entice the sharks with food so that you can get up close to them. This is actually considered wrong and is causing harm to the sharks because the guides allow too many tourists to go near them and come in contact with them. If you want to put the whale sharks at risk then you should visit Oslob.


Oslob Philippines
Photo by riandrew06 via freeforcommercialuse.org


Phi Phi Islands, Thailand


What you’re told –

The Phi Phi islands are some of the loveliest in Southeast Asia. Just a 45-minute speedboat trip or a 90-minute ferryboat ride from either Phuket or Krabi, these picture postcard islands offer the ultimate tropical getaway.


What to expect –

The Phi Phi Islands are an over-developed environmental disaster. Each day hundreds of boats are brought to the area, which has suffered terrible coral bleaching and loss of fish due to mass tourism. Beaches are dirty and over-crowded and boat safety is minimal. If you think it’s anything like it was before The Beach was filmed you have a big surprise waiting for you.


Phi Phi Islands
Photo by mohli99 via freeforcommercialuse.org


Be aware of the kind of footprint you are leaving in a place. Take your rubbish with you, make informed decisions and look after the environment around you. It is up to you to alter the fate of the world’s most beautiful places.

Do you have any stories of places tainted by mass tourism? Or better yet any ways that countries are solving the problem? Leave a comment in the section below.



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2 thoughts on “5 Of Asia’s Most Beautiful Destinations Tainted By Mass Tourism

  1. This is sad downside of tourism, thanks for bringing it up. Not even the most beautiful beach in the world is not so beautiful anymore if it’s full of rubbish. Kuta beach is horrible especially during the rainy season when all the trashes flows to the beach and to the ocean with the rain water. I tried to surf there once this time of the year and literally hit plastic with every paddle stroke.

    1. I completely understand. I think the more aware we are the harder it is because it just becomes so much more noticeable. I have got to the point where I avoid beaches that are catered to tourists. A beach is no place for a restaurant and deck chairs if us humans can’t keep it clean. Thanks for the support 🙂

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