“I have always enjoyed travelling, but disliked being labelled a ‘tourist’…”
In these photos, Danny Zhao stops and thinks, trying to find a deeper sense of connection with new destinations than being a tourist would normally allow. Looking for a fresh perspective on things takes him to two picturesque cities, Budapest and Bruges, where he attempts to gain an insider’s view.
Photography: Danny Zhao
In popular tourist destinations, tourism has transformed local economies, and subsequently transformed the cultural environment.
“Tourist-traps – that’s a funny word,” I thought. It’s really the tourists who create these traps for themselves.
Tourist-traps are the products of the economy of tourism that we have created and sustained.
I am very lucky to have some really good friends who live in Budapest. One of them even promised to be my “full time tour guide.”
Instead of going to popular landmarks, we spent the day just walking through the streets.
However, when my Hungarian friends took me to this bar on my last night in the city, I was finally convinced that yes, I was in Budapest.
No one in the bar was speaking English. There were live performances from local musicians. There were shoes hanging on the walls as decorations, because apparently the owner of the bar used to work in a shoe factory.
Even though I couldn’t figure out why characters from “Happy tree friends” were painted on the wall, I told my friend: I love this place.
“Great! Take some photos!” He was obviously enjoying the place, too. “But when you upload them, please don’t tag the location. I really don’t want tourists to know about this place.”