5 Haunting Tourist Sites for Daring Travelers

Mexico: Island of Dolls
Looking to change up your travel itinerary? Skip the picturesque usuals and enter the realm of ‘Dark Tourism.’ This brand of travel takes travelers to ghoulish attractions and disquieting experiences; these places are typically associated with death, suffering, and the supernatural. If you think you can handle it, let KKday take you to 5 dark sites. By the end of this article, you’ll have shivers down your spine.

1. Aokigahara, Japan

Just northwest of the base of Mt. Fuji is Aokighara, which has been historically associated with the demons in Japanese mythology.

Yamanashi, Japan: Aokigahara Forest
Yamanashi, Japan: Aokigahara Forest (Flickr/Yoshihide Urushihara used under CC)
With trees growing so densely that winds can hardly breezy through, the forest becomes exceptionally quiet. Aokigahara has been dubbed ‘Suicide Forest,’ due to abnormally high suicide rates. With an estimated 100 suicides occurring annually, many believe the ghosts (or yurei) of these mournful spirits still linger in the woods. Today, numerous signs in both Japanese and English urge tourists to reconsider their visit.

2. Bran Castle, Romania

You might recognize Bran’s Castle by another name: Dracula’s Playground. The castle is hidden away in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, sitting high above the craggy peaks within Transylvania.

Transylvania, Romania: Bran Castle
Transylvania, Romania: Bran Castle (Flickr/Alexandru Panoiu under CC)
From the photo alone, the vampire image comes to mind. This dark castle was purportedly  Vlad III, a brutal Romanian ruler from the 15th century, otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula. Valid was notorious for impaling thousands of people, torturing them for as long as months. With Court Dracula of the 1987 Bram Stocker novel inspired by Vlad, Bran Castle has became one of the most popular sites for horror fans all over the world.

3. Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat, a town in Northern Ukraine is where the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred around thirty years ago. To date, it is the worst nuclear accident in the world, killing around 100 people almost immediately after.

Pripyat Town, Northern Ukraine: Chernobyl Disaster
Pripyat Town, Northern Ukraine: Chernobyl Disaster (Wikimedia Commons/Paweł ‘pbm’ Szubert under CC)
The long term effects such as cancer and bodily deformities are still accounted for even today. Strangely enough, the town has become a new and exciting tourist attraction. Ukraine allows visitors to  pay short and highly regulated visits into the 30-mile exclusion zone around the exploded reactor. You can book a scheduled trip to the Chernobyl Zone with KKday.

4. Leap Castle, Ireland

Ireland’s Leap Castle, built by the Irish O’Bannor clain in the 13th century, is home to a number of tragedies. Inside the castle is chapel called the ‘Bloody Chapel,’ named after a gruesome fratricide was committed within the compound.
Ireland: Leap Castle
Ireland: Leap Castle (Wikimedia Commons/D. Brands under CC)
Many prisoners were also executed in a horrifying way. Guards would be push them into a dungeon with large spikes protruding from the floor. It’s no surprise that the castle is haunted by hundreds of angry spirits.

5. Island of the Dolls, Mexico

If Child’s Play didn’t ruin dolls for you, then a visit to Mexico’s La Isla de la Munecas (Island of Dolls) definitely will. On every tree of this island by Xomichilco, you’ll find thousands of mutilated dolls.

Mexico: Island of Dolls
Mexico: Island of Dolls (Flickr/Kevin under CC)
The origin story goes back to Don Julian Santana, supposedly the islands only inhabitant. Santana found the body of a dead girl drowned in the canal, whose spirit began to haunt him. He would sell fruits and vegetables he had grown to appease her spirit, but it wasn’t enough. That’s when he began to collect the dolls. Still, Santana was found dead in the same spot where the little girl drowned. Today, the dolls ward off tourists, as the spirits of both Santana and the girl continue to haunt the island.
Traveling is all about getting out of your comfort zone. So if you’re looking for a unique, hair raising experience that’ll get your heart pumping in a different way, check out these dark sites!