68 People Share Their Creepiest And Scariest Experiences From Traveling Abroad

Traveling is one of the most exciting things we can do in this world. Why wouldn’t we want to see as much as we possibly can of this fascinating planet? But if you’re a fan of true crime documentaries, films like Taken or shows like The Serpent, you might be a bit fearful of traveling abroad. Going to another country can be the most exhilarating experience of your life that you talk about for years to come (despite your friends begging you to stop mentioning how you studied abroad during college), but it can also turn into a harrowing experience you wish to never repeat.

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.

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#1

I 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

Image credits: Phil567

#2

In 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.

Image credits: Anl_Mouse

#3

A 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

Image credits: plantman01

#4

1992 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.

Image credits: albs68w

#5

I 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.

Image credits: oldmanchewy

#6

I 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.

Image credits: anon

#7

A cult behind several murders in China tried to recruit me for some reason.

Image credits: KommandCBZhi

#8

A 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.

Image credits: krthomso

#9

I 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.

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Image credits: tnbadboy1965

#10

On 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.

Image credits: Rhothlord

#11

Was 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.

Image credits: athrix

#12

I 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.

Image credits: MitchCMan

#13

My 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.

Image credits: anon

#14

We 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

Image credits: mephistosoos

#15

A 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.

Image credits: Bakuninophile

#16

The first time I ever visited the London Bridge was the day the terrorist attack happened where they drove a van through the crowd.

Image credits: din7

#17

It 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

Image credits: budgetjohncho

#18

A 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.

Image credits: ImTotallyNormalish

#19

Friend 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.

Image credits: anon

#20

Got 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.

Image credits: TheBurkalator

#21

I 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

Image credits: _Z_y_x_w

#22

I 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.

#23

Guy 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.

Image credits: rey_gun

#24

When 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.

Image credits: edgarpickle

#25

I 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.

Image credits: ManCrisp

#26

I 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.

#27

Husband 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.

#28

Top two.

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.

#29

I 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.

#30

I was staying in a weird hostel by myself in Barcelona, woke up to a man staring at me while I slept. He was looking over a one of those wood dividing screens that the shared room had. I pretend to still be asleep because I was afraid of what he would do if I move or confronted him and I didn’t know if there was anyone else in the room. He stared for like 2 hours until finally my alarm rang cause I had to to take an early train, so I put all my stuff in my bag and left the room. As I left I told the owner, but I was really in a hurry and didn’t ask what he was going to do with the guy.

#31

On the red-eye train, stopped for a layover in New York. My friend and I are half asleep, sitting across from each other. A homeless guy snuck into the train, pulled his pants and underwear down and tried to sit with my friend, encouraging her to “help him out.” I woke up just in time to see it happen. Took me telling at the guy to find another place to sit for him to hurriedly pull his pants up and move somewhere else… only to try the same thing to another woman, who was extremely vocal about it.

The cops spoke with us. Apparently this guy was known for stealing cans from the subways and this was a new MO for the guy.

#32

I 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.

#33

I 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!!

#34

Mine 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.

#35

Travelling through the north east U.S this summer. Went to a secluded spot to go lake swimming. Got to the spot and had to climb down about 20ft to the water to get in. Ever the lazy, me and my friend decided that it would be quicker and more fun to jump straight in from a rocky outcrop at the top!

As we go to look over the edge to check the depth, it became clear an older couple were swimming below. We called out to them and asked if it was deep enough to jump. Oddly, they responded by asking whether our accents were English… we politely said yes. After this response they seemed very eager that we jump, swearing blind that the water was a good 15ft deep.

Two things were strange about this, firstly the water did not seem that deep from the top. Secondly, why clarify our nationality before encouraging us to jump….

We decide to be safer than sorry and go down to check.

As SOON as we start climbing down the slope, the older couple scramble out of the water and climb back out past us as fast as they can. As we pass they don’t even as much as smile.

Sure enough, when we swim out to where we were going to jump from we put our feet down to find the water was only waist deep…

#36

I got jumped coming out of a pub in London. Got an seven-inch long gash in my face, down to the bone.
It was the first night of my first International trip, ever, and I was traveling alone.

#37

My first few weeks in Seoul I was invited by a group of Korean friends/acquaintances to go to a “world peace festival.” They said tens of thousands of people came each year and that it was always held at an Olympic venue. They made it sound really legit – I thought it was an official/government thing.

After five hours driving to Suwon (about an hour outside Seoul) and sitting in the hot sun, the festival starts. About 30 minutes in, a guy gets up and starts talking about how Jesus told him the solution for world peace.

And that’s how I went to my first ever cult gathering.

To be fair, I never felt in danger. But I was completely baffled as to how I had gotten myself into that situation.

#38

Gypsies 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…

#39

I 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.

#40

Late to the game on this one, but when I was on an almost empty train platform one morning in Prague, a woman randomly died next to me. Just fell over, and straight up died. Her husband (I’m assuming) was with her, and about 3 minutes later, when her lips were blue, I realized he was JUST THEN calling an ambulance. Not knowing Czech, or feeling like I had anything more to contribute than the other 3-4 people trying to revive her, I just kinda watched from afar until our train arrived. As we pulled out of the station, the EMTs were performing CPR and injecting her with things, but she was definitely past the point of no return.

We got to Paris, and two days later another woman keeled over next to us in a farmer’s market. It was like Death was following us around.

#41

I got sexually harassed by a buddhist monk in Myanmar.

I did a day trip to a tiny island in a river called Shampoo Island. Super nice monk comes up to me and wants to show me around, so I walk with him. He barely speaks any English but it’s ok. At some point he starts complimenting my beard like “So much hair!” and touches it frequently. I brush it off as him being quirky. Some time later he points at my belly and asks “There hair too?” I am a bit confused and lift my t-shirt up a bit and he f*****g leans in and kisses my stomach. Sudden realization hits me. This dude’s weird. Keep walking with him cause I don’t wanna be rude to a monk. We turn a corner and get to the shore where we’re completely alone, he sits down on a bench and pats the space next to him. This your f*****g date spot or what? Sit down cause I don’t wanna be rude. He starts complimenting my beard again. “Yeah thanks um I think I gotta…” he leans in and tries to kiss me. Bolted the f**k outta there. Looked back from the boat and he looks so sad.

TL;DR: Buddhist monk made advances and tried to kiss me and now I understand all these stories where women didn’t back out of creepy situations right away.

#42

A friend and I were travelling in Taiwan and stayed at an AirBnB in Ximending. It was a nice, neat place. What was weird though was that the bathroom had a door that led straight to a narrow balcony outside. The door had only one lock, a latch lock that could only be opened from the inside so I figured it wasn’t too big of a deal. I locked the door after checking out the balcony. The next morning when I used the bathroom I saw that the door was open. I asked my friend, who woke up before me, if she had opened the door and she replied that she hadn’t even gone to the bathroom yet. We were so creeped out because there was no way to open the door from the outside.

#43

I was in Jamaica with my parents and my brother. I was in junior high, so about 12? We were in Kingston and this woman approached my mother about buying some handmade baskets. My mother agreed, so the woman had us follow her. My dad was uneasy about this, but my mother was not deterred.

We wound up in Trenchtown. Americans, on foot. People were living in cinderblock and corrugated metal shacks, sitting on crates around fires. Everyone had a machete. My dad was nervous, but my brother and I were too young to realize the situation was hazardous. We could have never walked out of there again if people decided the cash in our pockets was worth doing murder.

Anyway, my mom bought some baskets from the woman and we got back to our hotel fine. Once we were on the resort grounds, my dad freaked out. My mom was cool as a cucumber. Say what you want about my mama, she didn’t scare easy.

#44

I was in Paris with a couple friends in 2005. We were heading up to a big cathedral on a hill. Can’t remember the name right now. We got caught in the middle of a bunch of African guys “selling” custom bracelets. We kept trying to tell them no. I noticed that they were were slowly closing in on us. I had a sudden realization that we were paying for those bracelets one way or another. I grabbed my friends arm and we all shelled out 20 euros for a cheap yarn bracelet and GTFO as fast as possible. To this day I’m positive we were moments from being pick pocketed/mugged.

#45

Me and my church mission group were pulled over by the federales shortly after crossing the border to Mexico. They took all our cash and went through all of our suitcases and stuff one by one. They kept us there for a while trying to figure out how they could get more from us then just let us go like it was a normal traffic stop. The guy running the trip had told the driver of the van to not stop for them no matter what but I guess nerves got the better and she pulled over.

#46

Was in Amsterdam’s red light district one night, in a more secluded and less touristy area than the main streets. Myself and 3 others were standing next to a building just having a smoke and kinda observing our surroundings. There were a few small groups of 2-4 people scattered around the area, all appeared to be older Russian men. A man comes running out of a building across from us screaming, “I was robbed! Call the police, I was robbed!” And he is screaming as he keeps running, knees high, further and further away. It felt like we were on a movie set, it didn’t seem real at all. This scene catches the attention of the few groups standing around, and out of no where this big buff dude rolls up quick on a moped. He also appears to be Russian and dressed in leather attire with big silver earrings and a mean look on his face. Off his moped jumps a tiny scrappy looking dog also with a leather vest on. The guy looks around, looks at us, like makes mean eye contact, and goes into the building the man came running out of. At this point my friends are saying maybe we should get out of here, and I’m like, naw we are cool, we aren’t doing anything let’s hang back. The “random” groups of guys all starts moving kinda around us and closer in and at that point I said alright let’s go! They were certainly intimidating us to leave and seemed to be all part of whatever was going on in the building around us. It all felt very surreal but when we were leaving the area I started thinking about what sort of ways that situation could have escalated and we would have been s**t outta luck, especially given the exclusive area we seemed to be in.

#47

I was in Nicaragua this past April for vacation. My buddy and I rented a car and were driving from city to city.

We are trying to find the downtown market in Masaya when we hear gunshots. Crowds of people start running straight past our car, hiding in shops. Through the crowd we see about 100 men, faces covered in black bandanas with rifles marching towards us.

This was the first day of the ongoing protests against the President of Nicaragua, Ortega. 322 people have died in protests since then.

#48

Almost getting robbed in Cambodia wasn’t pleasant. Driving my bike with my fiancee down a sparsely-populated highway, a moto with two Khmer guys was about 5 meters ahead of us and two meters to the left. The guy on the back kept looking back at us, and after about 10 seconds I started to stare him down. They then dropped behind us. After about another 5 seconds we hear shouting from behind us, then the moto zooms forward with the guy on the back clutching a bag. Really bugged me out. I keep a padlock/bandana in my pocket when I drive at night now in case of situations like that but fortunately nothing similar has happened again.

#49

I was walking down the sidewalk on a busy street in Athens, when ahead of me I heard yelling and lots of commotion. I looked and saw 3 men chasing another man down the side walk and all 4 were running directly in my direction so I quickly crossed the street. After reaching a safe distance I looked over and the man being chased has a cut on his neck from collar bone to ear on one side and his white shirt was half red by now, and the other men were attacking him as he somehow had fallen to the ground. I left as I had no idea what to do and went about my way.

30ish minutes later in a square I see the man who was attacked horribly, still with a blood stained shirt on the phone casually as if nothing had happened, it was like it was a daily occurrence for him or something. Was very off seeing someone I swore was very close to death.

#50

Memphis, TN: looking for Graceland. Asked a cop for directions and ended up lost in a very rundown part of town. Stopped for gas and had to go inside to pay. The teller was in a bullet proof box. The gas station had a cage encompassing the interior that one person at a time would be buzzed into and out of! It was to detain you until the police arrived if you tried anything. I pre-pay the pump, walk back out and there is a guy standing by my car (my wife’s inside the car).

I reach for the pump and he steps in front of it and goes “$5 bucks, I pump it for you.” I politely explain that I have no cash and he goes “$4 bucks, I pump it for you.” We go back and forth til we get down to a dollar and I apologize that I have zero cash on me and I cannot pay him to pump my gas. He leans in uncomfortably close and goes “we cool this time. I see you at my station again, you will pay me to pump your gas or I will kill you right here at this pump.” He then stood next to the pump and watched me as I pumped my gas. I finished up, said have a nice day and left. I told my wife we’d be skipping Graceland and we needed to find a well populated place.

We stumbled upon the gem that is the Memphis Zoo that day, so all was not a waste though. Also, the people of West-Memphis, Arkansas are super nice.

#51

Robbed at knife point in Paris, next to Eiffel Tower. Went to police, and they shrugged. Never going to that damn city again.

#52

Shortened version of a long tale:

Got my phone pick pocketed on the subway in New Delhi, I was able to grab one of the thieves (he didn’t have my phone), a mob of random commuters beat the living f**k out of him at the next stop, the police arrived and continued to beat the s**t out of him with cricket bats, we took him to the police station, told him to call his friend who had the phone, friend wouldn’t come, police close the door to their office with the thief and I just hear screams, I wait and wait, police officer brings the kid into my room with a black plastic bag, throws the kid on the dirt ground, opens the bag, pulls out my phone from a bag of curry.

He throws the curry on the ground and makes the kid eat it. He even gave him a spoon.

Got my phone back though.

#53

Hiking in Huaraz Peru, has been told to watch our gear as locals (and apparently foxes) might make off with items left around the campsite. So we made sure to clean the campsite extra well, packing all our gear in the tent and inside the fly. And after a long day hiking, off to bed. Middle of the night our tent starts shaking like crazy, I wake up freaking out thinking we were getting robbed, I started yelling and screaming. Part of the tent pushes in real far. I manage to get outside to start swinging and come face to face with the cow that had wandered into the tent ropes and got startled. Pretty lucky that it didn’t step down into the tent and hit us.

#54

I was in Barbados walking on a main road back to where I was sleeping. Not far from a main beach, on the south side. It was late and dark.

I come across this man carrying a white bucket.

“Hi, I’m Bush”

Bush has plants in the bucket. He also has a machete.

“Do you have any food for me? Some rice?”

I tell him I do not have any food, but that I do have weed that I could share –I had bought some from a bunch of kids at the beach the night before.

“Follow me”, says Bush.

So I follow this man with a machete off the road, into a empty lot. At the back of the lot is a back alley heading to the side.

We take this alley — a man is sitting, sleeping on a wall, a few broken down cars are parked. It is a dead end.

I was wondering earlier whether all this was a good idea, and my mind was beginning to form an opinion along the lines of “no”.

So we get to the end of the alley. He enters a door, and brings out two chairs.

Turns out this is his mom’s place. I begin to notice a small garden all around — made from the plants that Bush picks up and brings back in his bucket.

We light up. He tokes first. He coughs.

“Ugh, this stuff is s**t! You feed this to the sheep!”

#55

Visiting Chicago from Seattle for a week. I booked an Airbnb with a gentleman understanding that I would be in a household with maybe 5 other people as he did bunk beds in the room. The Airbnb was marketed as close to trains, decent area, and the house looked clean with many useful amenities.

Upon arriving at the house, I find that it’s run down, unclean, with only the sheets being changed by the maid. On top of that, many appliances were broken and there was no potable water. That was the first strike. Next, there were upwards of 15 people staying in the house. That bunk bed situation? He had 5-6 rooms with varying amounts of bunk beds squeezed in and no room to walk. No one in the house knew about the other rooms from the listing.

I dropped my things off to explore the city and noticed the neighborhood was a bit sketchy but thought nothing of it. When I can back there was one of the other guests sitting waiting for an uber eats because he was too terrified to walk down the street and get food.

Apparently, the night before I arrived, 3 people in the house were mugged while walking 5 minutes from the train to the house. That night, 8 of us sat on the floor of the “living room” (seemed like a small dining area but a lovers couch was place in there with a broken TV) and heard 2 separate occasions of 8-10 gunshots a block away.

I immediately moved to a hostel and argued with airbnb and himself until I received a refund.

Mike, screw you.

Tl;dr: Ended up in an Airbnb in a bad part of Chicago were three housemates were mugged and two people on the street were shot. Didn’t stay another night.

#56

I was stalked by a guy while walking through the Tiergarten in Berlin.
I was walking a path, enjoying the park alone. I saw this guy standing on the edge of the walkway just looking off into the distance. I passed him and when I was about twenty feet away, he turned and followed after me, keeping pace. I started to take a very meandering path, even leaving the park and entering again. The guy stuck with me the whole way. Eventually I got to a place with some sharp turns and heavy greenery. I was able to lose the line of sight and put myself up against a corner. I’d just been in Switzerland and had bought a pocket knife, so I opened the blade and held it inside my jacket pocket. I stood there, waiting, and then this guy comes walking out of the path confused and obviously trying to see where I went. When he finally spotted me, he jolted and since I had the drop on him, he played it cool and continued walking as if he hadn’t followed me there.
He stopped a little ways ahead, and I kept watching him. I wanted to confront him to find out why he’d followed me, but since I was a visitor in the country, I thought better of it. Instead, I waited until I saw a big group of people leaving and fell in with them. He started to follow me, but I finally lost him outside the garden.
It unsettled me because to this day I have no idea why he was following me. I’m a guy and at the time I was in my early twenties, pretty fit, and had a sour disposition, so I didn’t seem like a prime mugging target. But, maybe he thought otherwise.

EDIT: Half the reason I posted this story was because I hoped someone on Reddit would know what the guy was doing. You didn’t fail me.

#57

In Colombia around the elections this year.

Traveling from Pereira to Buga to visit the massive church there.

Cops there don’t really “pull people over” they just sorta stand on the road and wave people to the side.

So they wave us to the side. Ask for ID. I have my US license, didn’t think to to bring my passport—this was my second time visiting for a couple weeks and I never brought it anywhere the first time.

So my girlfriends dad has his and her Colombian IDs. I break out my NJ license. Cops take it and go back to talk. My girlfriends dad tells us we’re basically about to get shaken down.

Cops come back and say that if we pay them 200,000COP that we’ll be able to pass. I’m like f**k no, show them my police badge, cops s**t their pants like, “Oh f**k. This was a bad idea.” and let us go on our way.

In the two-ish months I’ve spent in Colombia, that was legit my only bad experience. The country is amazing.

#58

17 year old me was in a public restroom near the coliseum in Rome. I was taking a leak at a urinal when some dude rushed in to the urinal right next to me looked over the partition at my junk and he started jerking off extremely violently. I had just started and had to go something fierce so I was trying to cover up, avoid jerk off jerking off, and not get pee all over myself. Suddenly the Roma police came bustling in and grab ol’ boy and start yelling at me in Italian very loudly.
As I zip up and throw my hands in the air I simply say “English” and “American”. They demanded to see my passport and then hauled off jerk off guy.
0/10 not a good experience.

#59

I was drunk as hell in Tokyo(more like a suburb of Tokyo?) and was having trouble getting back to the place I was staying at as nothing looked familiar and I was too sauced to read the map properly. It being Japan, someone came to my aid to try to get me home. Problem was, he didn’t speak English I don’t speak Japanese so he ended up going into a restaurant to ask for help.

When we walked in there were three guys and a lady, all the guys were tatted up which I knew was bad news. The guy immediately went to turn a way and the lady yelled the guys stood and grabbed him and the lay was pointing and yelling at me. I ducked the f**k out of there and started running as fast as I could as I heard the man that was trying to help me yelling. I ran through every back alley and ditched my flip flops along the way so they wouldn’t make any sound. I eventually found my way back home and then left for the north the next morning. Idk I highly doubt it was a yakuza operation or anything like that, but I doubt it would’ve been good if I stuck around.

#60

I was backpacking in Denali and got lost. Like, real f*****g lost, and all around us a we were wandering was fresh bear s**t. At one point we made a decision between going left or right- left took us to the road, had we gone right I don’t think I’d be writing this

#61

Was traveling in France with my family shortly after the London Transport Bombings (2005) and in the airport on the day of departure there was a bomb scare. Very militarised police showed up along with bomb squad as they rushed to get everyone out – turned out just to be unattended baggage.

#62

My first night in Canada in 2014 I spent in a cheap hotel in Montreal. Pretty standard “cheap hotel” gig: the place smelled of smoke and I could hear people making noise in the other rooms. Whatever, the place had an ensuite, free wifi and a TV and I had been travelling all day.

While I was sleeping, the bathroom door opened and the light switched on. I was too scared to get up and confront the person (besides I was sleeping in the buff; I didn’t want to unpack my PJs since I was continuing onto Quebec City the next day). Through half-closed eyes I could see a person stood in the door of the ensuite facing towards me. They stood there for about 25 seconds then the light switched off and they disappeared. I checked my phone and it was about 2am, and somehow I fell back asleep.

The next morning I checked out and got out of there, never mentioning it to anyone. There was a “door” from the corridor to the ensuite but it looked like it had be blocked off, as though maybe there had been a cupboard there and the bathroom built over the top. Definitely didn’t look like the kind of door someone would use for normal access, it was about 1/4 the size of a regular door. I never understood why someone would enter through there to an occupied room. Organ harvesting?

#63

20 years old. Made some friends while in Barcelona. Wanted to go clubbing with them—take note that I’m not exactly the type who likes to go clubbing—but the friend I was traveling didn’t want to. Went out on my own from the hostel (a ways from the city center). Had fun clubbing until all the places shut down. New friends tried to convince me to hang out for longer, offering their hostel floor to crash on after (pass). Tried to take the metro back, but that closed, too. Got on a bus to get back to my hostel, unsure of where exactly to get off, and with no knowledge of Spanish. Got off a couple of stops too early, and got chased by some drunk person in the dark. Had no clue what to do, so I just clung onto a light pole by the bus stop, crying until the next bus came through. Eventually made it safely back to my hostel, and vowed never to go off on my own like that again.

#64

Had some dudes pull a gun on me in Vegas when I refused to buy weed off them. I said Id go to an ATM to get cash out, they watched me walk up to the ATM then I ran while pretending to use it. They chased me for a while but I eventually got away. Looking back on it if I wasn’t drunk I would have just given them the money, dunno what the f**k I was thinking. I’m an Aussie and was absolutely plastered and probably using the word c**t a little too much at the time.

Edit: after writing that and sitting here thinking about that trip (my 3 mates and I driving a motor home around west coast US) most of that trip was pretty f*****g stupid wild and we did a lot of dumb s**t and managed to land our selves in trouble quite a few times.

#65

I was finishing my exchange in Japan with a massive road trip. Everything was awesome until our Japanese GPS took us to an adbandoned 80s90s hotel.

What was creepy was that it felt like people dropped what they were doing and upped and left.

#66

I was traveling in Iceland, pretty far away from the nearest town and decided to take a nap on the beach. I woke up pretty disoriented and had a feeling of being watched. I looked over my shoulder and there was a man standing 5 feet away, staring at me… He says “gotcha!” And then runs off into his car and drives away. I was completely spooked!!

#67

Was 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

#68

My sister and I were in Marrakech, Morocco, staying at a riad, our taxi driver dropped us off as close as he could but this area was a giant maze of narrow walkways with shops, restaurants and riads so we had to walk the rest of the way without knowing the direction, the taxi driver tried to point us the right way as best he could when some guys came up to us and said we will take you there we can show you, our taxi driver kept telling us not to go with them so we ignored them and just continued on with them trying to point us in “the right direction” we eventually found our riad which was nowhere near where they wanted to take us.. just makes me wonder what would have happened if we let them guide us.
Source: boredpanda.com

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