The water is clear, not clean.
On a bright and sunny day, you’ll be drawn to the beach and the crystal clear water, but upon entry you’ll find your skin being kissed by cigarette butts and various food packaging. Considering the partying nature of the town, your skin is likely to be soaking up a lot of man juice, too.
Those drinks deals are traps.
Walk down the strip at night and eventually you’ll give into one of the many reps offering a “great deal on drinks”, only they’re not. The shots and cocktails are watered down, but in a rather hard-to-notice way. They taste strong and your brain is feeling the hit, but it’s all psychological. There’s various flavourings and weaker versions of alcohol we know to be strong back home so associate the taste with getting drunk. In reality it’s all a scammy cover-up for shifting cheap alcohol to tourists that wouldn’t pass health & safety back home (probably why you’re feeling sick after a few… although they do still contain alcohol so you might just be hitting it REALLY hard).
You won’t eat anything interesting.
It’s all burgers, pizzas and kebabs. Granted these are perfect for your inevitable hangover, but occasionally when you visit another country, you want to taste the local cuisine. You’re gonna have to venture a bit further out of town for a bit of Shkembe or Terator.
Don’t try and hang for two minutes.
You’ll see these dudes all over the streets at night; they have a metal bar about 7ft in the air and be offering €200 if you can hang onto it for two minutes. Sounds easy, but unless you’re a gymnast/powerlifter, don’t even bother. Occasionally you’ll see somebody reach 80 seconds and they probably deserve some respect.
Don’t go anywhere else.
Despite the hate I have for Sunny Beach and the fact there’s nothing Bulgarian about it, there’s also nowhere nearby worth visiting. In all honestly I’m just not a fan of Bulgaria at all, but Sofia seemed semi-interesting although it’s so far away it’s not worth the journey. Just make do with the hellhole you’ve found yourself in and be happy in the knowledge it’ll all be over soon enough.
Exchange money in banks and hotels.
There’s a large quantity of streetside exchanges that all offer the same horrendous rates and you’ll definitely get approached by shady men asking to exchange with them (don’t). Not only do most tourists get ripped off, occasionally you’ll get scammed with counterfeit money and if you look weak enough, mugged around the corner. Just find somewhere a little less dodgy, it’s worth the effort.