Ten tourist attractions that no longer exist


Sometimes a bucket list isn’t about places to go before you die. These are places to visit before you die. Train Street in Hanoi has become the latest popular tourist attraction to close, but the world is full of once-popular sites that have been tamed, closed or destroyed. Here are just 10 such tourist attractions that no longer exist…

train street

Where? Ha Noi, Vietnam

The novelty of eating and drinking inches from the tracks was the main draw of Train Street. Here, cafes lined the tracks, with trains whizzing by outside tables at a disconcerting distance. Alas, a few too many tourists posing for photos on the slopes themselves led authorities to say enough was enough. All cafes have been ordered to close in September 2022.

Guaira Falls

Where? Paraguay


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Once upon a time, Guaíra Falls had the highest flow rate of any waterfall on earth. The Paraná River fed more than 18 separate cataracts and the roar could be heard several miles away.

Then in 1982 a rival attraction to rival Igauzu and Niagara was destroyed. The Itaipu Dam was built upstream and the resulting reservoir submerged the falls.

Nohmul Pyramid

Where? Belize


.photo: httpspinkrepublic1/wordpress.com

Breathtaking senseless human destruction also led to the unseemly end of the Pyramid of Nohmul, one of Belize’s most important Mayan sites. The 17-meter-high pyramid disappeared in 2013, when contractors set out to demolish it. They used the rocks and turned them into gravel to fill the roads. Four of the contractors and the company involved received relatively small fines for their bulldozing vandalism.

Vang Vieng tube bars

Where? Vang Vieng Tube

Australian tourists in the now deserted riverside bars of Vang Vieng.

Australian tourists in the now deserted riverside bars of Vang Vieng. Photo: Larissa Ham

Ten years ago, Vang Vieng was the party capital of Southeast Asia. Backpackers floated down the river on inner tubes, stopping at a series of noisy bars, many of which had built zip lines and highly dodgy jumping platforms. Alas, the combination of dangerous amounts of alcohol and jumping into a river resulted in multiple fatalities.

There has been a major crackdown and although the tubes still exist in Vang Vieng it is a more controlled and quiet affair. And one without the deadly zip lines.

Tsukiji fish market

Where? Tokyo, Japan

Prospective buyers inspect the quality of a fresh tuna at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Japan's famous Tsukiji fish market will close on Saturday after eight decades, with traders and workers doubting always of the security of its replacement.  to place.  The market will soon reopen on reclaimed land in Toyosu.  (Muneyuki Tomari/Kyodo News via AP)

Photo: AP

The largest fish market in the world – Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market – was closed in 2018. It used to be famous for its fish auctions, and a whole host of other market stalls and cafes have emerged around him. These stalls and cafes remain, but the centerpiece has been hollowed out.

Fish traders have now moved to the much less atmospheric Toyusu Market, which sits on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. It’s still big, and you can still watch the auctions, but it’s not the same thing.

The Azure Window

Where? Malta

The famous Azure Window of the island of Gozo - Mediterranean nature wonder in beautiful Malta.  iStock

Photo: iStock

The tiny Mediterranean nation of Malta was gutted losing one of its main route tent pegs in 2017. The Azure Window, a majestic 28-metre rock arch on the island of Gozo, crashed in the sea during a storm. Considering how many holiday snaps he had featured in before, it was a blow to the local tourism industry. It’s a good job Malta has a lot more rugged coastline to cover.

The Sutro Baths

Where? San Francisco, United States

Sutro Baths

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

If you think the pool at your local recreation center isn’t half bad, then the Sutro Baths in San Francisco were several leagues higher. This enormous oceanfront resort, fed by the incoming swell, was the largest indoor swimming pool in the world. Equipped with slides, rotating buoys and a springboard, the aquatic area is 152m by 77m.

Alas, maintenance was extremely expensive and the baths closed in 1964. They burned down two years later and the ruins are now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

sutro no more

Photo: Cationta/Wikimedia Commons

Stardust Casino

Where? Las Vegas, United States


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Stardust was the most famous casino in Las Vegas. Once the largest hotel in the world and a hive of dubious accounting, the Stardust was a frequent haunt of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Movies like Swingers, Showgirls and Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas have been filmed there.

Alas, it became obsolete and was demolished in 2007. Resorts World Las Vegas is now on the site.

The pink and white terraces of Lake Rotomahana

Where? Near Rotorua, New Zealand

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In the 19th century, the pink and white terraces of Lake Rotomahana were regularly touted as the eighth wonder of the world. They were hillsides lined with shiny layers of silica agglomerate and dotted with geysers.

Then, in 1886, Mount Tarawera erupted, wreaking havoc on the landscape. The terraces were destroyed and replaced by a large crater – which is now a new, much larger lake.

The crystal palace

Where? London, England


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This colossal iron and glass palace was originally built in London’s Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851, before being moved to south London three years later. No building before had been covered in so much glass – there were 84,000 square meters – and the Crystal Palace was three times the size of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Initially a major tourist attraction, the palace became more faded and downmarket over time, before a fire engulfed and destroyed it in 1936.

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