An online poll of backpackers has named Manila as the worst place to visit in Southeast Asia.
According to readers of website southeastasiabackpacker.com, the Philippine capital is plagued by pollution, poor infrastructure, lack of safety and overcrowding.
Although some travellers praised the city for its “friendly” and “lovely humans”, it was the clear leader in the poll with tales of robbery and harassment cited.
Author of the poll, Nikki Scott, defended Manila, saying: “As always, it depends on the experience that you have whilst you are there, the people you meet and the choices you make of which neighbourhoods you visit. Every city has its dodgy parts.”
Also coming in for criticism was Cebu, which was named as the tenth worst place in the region. Travellers described the Queen City of the South as “dirty,” “noisy,” “polluted” and “all shopping malls and no culture.” One visitor said the food available was “bland and Americanised”, despite Cebu being justly famous for its lechon roast pork and other Cebuano specialities.
Again, Ms Scott defended the city, saying: “We found ourselves in Cebu City for the annual festival of Sinulog, when the city was alive with a carnival atmosphere, full of colours and brimming with culture.
“We can’t imagine what it’s like on a normal day, though we did see some grey bits of concrete in-between the floats and dancing angels.”
The second and third worst places were named as Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh, both in Cambodia.
The country that featured most prominently on the list was Thailand, with Koh Samui, Khao San Road, Pattaya and Phuket all singled out for criticism.
Other unpopular destinations included Kuta in Bali, Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, Pak Beng in Laos and Medan on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.