With the announcement that Uganda is looking to tap into dark tourism to boost visitor numbers and Ukraine’s Chernobyl on track to become 2019’s surprise hit tourism destination, after the HBO miniseries, My Late Deals has created a list of 10 dark tourism destinations.
National 9/11 Memorial & Museum – New York, US – On September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda coordinated four terrorist attacks against the US. The museum is a tribute to the almost 3,000 men, women and children killed in these attacks. Visitors can pay their respects daily between 7.30 am to 9 pm, tickets are free but must be booked 6 months in advance.
Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau – Near Krakow, Poland – Over 1.1 million people died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps during the Nazi regime. Being the largest of the Nazi concentration camps it’s become a symbol of the holocaust and the ruins are a tragic reminder of its inhumane history. Auschwitz-Birkenau is open all year round (except Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and New Year’s Day.) Entry is free but you’ll need to reserve a pass.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum – Hiroshima, Japan – On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum remembers the lives lost and reminds us of the devastation of the atomic bomb and other weapons of mass destruction. The museum is open year-round (except New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day) and costs 200 yen.
Chernobyl – Pripyat, Ukraine – On April 25th and 26th, 1986, a nuclear reactor exploded in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Considered the worst nuclear disaster in history, the site has been open to tourists since 2011 when the government deemed it safe to visit. If you wish to visit Chernobyl there are several strict conditions that you must adhere to due to radiation.
Alcatraz – San Francisco, US – The infamous maximum-security prison that housed difficult and dangerous criminals including Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly is open to visitors who want to learn about life on ‘the rock’. The museum is open all year (except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day) and tickets must be booked through Alcatraz Cruises.
Murambi Genocide Memorial – Near Murambi, Southern Rwanda – During the 1994 Rwanda genocide, refugees sought refuge in a half-completed technical college which was supposed to be a safe haven. Sadly, the militia marched in and slaughtered everyone. Between 27,000 to 40,000 people died on that day. The memorial is free to enter and is open every day.
The Ruins of Pompeii – Pompeii, Italy – Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD and is one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in European history. It wiped out the entire city of Pompeii but the remains were preserved thanks to the ash and the site now attracts millions of visitors each year. Pompeii is open year-round (except Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and May 1st). Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office on site.
The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek – near Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Between 1975 and 1978, the Khmer Rouge regime executed over one million people around Cambodia. The largest of the killing fields was Choeung Ek which serves as a monument to those who died and survived. Choeung Ek is around 17km south of Phnom Penh. Entry is $5 which includes an audio tour.
Robben Island – Cape Town, South Africa – Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on the island along with other opponents of apartheid and convicted criminals. In 1996, it ceased as a prison and became a national museum and is now a UNESCO world heritage site. All tours start with a ferry ride from the V&A Waterfront and last around 3.5 hours. Tickets often sell out so it’s advised to book in advance.
War Remnants Museum – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – The museum is dedicated to the Vietnam War and the First Indochina War. On display are some of the torture apparatus used, as well as captured American helicopters and planes and a display about the birth defects caused by Agent Orange. The museum is open every day and tickets can be purchased at the front desk.