The Amazing Snake Temple of Penang

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Probably the only one of its kind, in the world, the Snake Temple, in Penang, Malaysia, is home to bothe people and some of the most dangerous snakes on Earth.

Located at Sungai Kluang, on Penang Island, the Snake Temple is also known as Temple of the Azure Cloud or Pure cloud Temple, in honor of Penang’s beautiful skies. It’s a safe haven for pit vipers, said to be servants of Chor Soo Kong, the resident deity of the temple. According to legend, Chor Soo Kong, who was a Chinese monk and healer, once offered shelter to the snakes of the jungle, who then started coming in of their own free will.

Thousands of devotees travel to the Snake Temple of Penang, every year, and they aren’t bothered by the dozens of venomous snakes coiled around the temple. Some say it’s the work of Chor Soo Kong, while others believe pit vipers, known as one of the most aggressive snake species, are made drowsy by the smoke of the incense burning in the temple.

Unfortunately, the snake population of the Penang Snake Temple has decreased constantly, due to the urbanization of the area. If you’re brave enough to enter, you should know there’s no admission fee.

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Jallikattu – India’s Answer to Spanish Bullfighting

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In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, people don’t need red capes and sharp swords to tame bulls, they do it with their bare hands, in a sport called Jallikkattu.

The ancient sport of Jallikattu pits crowds of brave young men against angry bulls who will tear anyone apart, if they get in the way. The name of the sport comes from the words “salli”, which translates as “coin”, and “kadu”, which means tying the coin to the horns of the raging bull. The goal of Jallikattu players is to tame the bull long enough to claim the prize.

But that’s is a lot harder than it sounds, especially since the bulls used for Jallikattu are extremely aggressive, and the players aren’t allowed to defend themselves with anything else but their bare hands. The bravest of the young men will try to grab the hump of the bull, and hang on, while the beast will most often grab him with its long horns and plunge him into the ground.

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Karube Shrine – Where the Japanese Go to Worship Breasts

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A shrine dedicated to women’s breasts may sound amusing to us foreigners, but for the Japanese, this is a truly sacred place.

Located in Soja City, in Japan’s Okayama Prefecture, Karube Shrine is dedicated to Chichigamisama, the Goddess of Breasts. She is believed to help with safe child births, the production of breast milk, and even curing breast cancer. Built in 1678, the shrine became famous due to a now dead weeping cherry tree, that grew nearby.

Most women come to Karube Shrine to pray for a safe child birth, abundant lactation and breast cancer healing, but there are those who ask the Goddess of Breasts for a bigger bust. Those boob-like things that decorate the shrine’s interior are Ema, small wooden planks, where worshipers write their prayers and requests, in the hope that the god receive them. They cost about $21, and can be ordered online, if you’re interested.

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Queen Elizabeth – Japan’s Most Famous Love Hotel

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Love hotels are part of Japan’s tradition, and the Queen Elizabeth is regarded as the most popular of them all. It’s not because of the great service, but more because of its wacky design.

Shaped like the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, this weird-looking hotel is located in Kanagawa, not far from Tokyo. Apparently the rooms also have a naval theme, so guests feel more like they’re doing it on a real ship.

One of the funniest things about the recently reconditioned Queen Elizabeth Love Hotel is that it features statues of Jake and Rose, from James Cameron’s Titanic, doing the flying pose, on the ship’s bow. I fail to see the connection, but I guess a boat’s a boat, and…well whatever attracts more customers, right?

Photo source: TokyoTimes

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Bunny Museum – The Hoppiest Place on Earth

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Featuring over 26,000 bunny-inspired items, the Bunny Museum of Pasadena, California, holds the Guinness World Record for the largest bunny collection.

It all began when she called him honey-bunny, and he gave her a stuffed bunny, for Valentine’s Day. Steve Lubanski and Candace Frazee, met in 1992, at a singles seminar, and both discovered their love for bunnies. At first, each gave the other bunny gifts, on holidays, then, every day, and even several times a day. At their wedding reception, in 1994, Steve showed up in a bunny costume, they both did the bunny hop, and ate carrot cake.

In just a few years, the couple already had an impressive collection of bunny memorabilia, so, in 1998, they officially opened the Bunny Museum, right in the house they live in. It was included in the Guinness Book of Records, as the world’s biggest collection of bunnies, in 1999, when it only numbered 8,437 items.

But the collection kept growing, and the Bunny Museum now features over 26,000 bunny-inspired things, from stuffed toys, to wind chimes, phones and pretty much anything you can imagine. Since Steve and Candice actually live in the Bunny Museum, admission is free, but by appointment only. So far the cute museum has been visited by 16,000 people.

If you decide to visit, make sure you don’t call the bunnies “rabbits”, Candice doesn’t like that very much.

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Bolivia’s Day of the Skulls

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Dia de los Natitas (Day of the Skulls) is an ancient Bolivian ritual where skulls are decorated with flowers and pampered with cigarettes, coca leaves and other treats.

Every November 9, the central cemetery, in La Paz, Bolivia, becomes the scene of a bizarre pre-Columbian tradition, known as Dia de los Natitas.  Women carrying skulls, in decorated wooden or cardboard boxes, fancy glass cases and even in plastic bags, gather outside the cemetery to show off their skulls. They are usually decorated with flower petals (hydrangeas and roses) and covered with knitted colorful caps.

Some Bolivians believe a person has seven souls, and one of them remains in the skeleton, after they’ve been buried. Once the other souls have left for heaven, the remains are dug up and the skull taken home and cared for. If they’re not respected, skulls can bring bad luck to a household, ruin the harvest and even break up a family. But if they’re properly taken care of, you can ask the skull for favors.

A big part of caring for the skull is represented by the Dia de Las Natitas celebration. Skulls are offered cigarettes, coca leaves, alcohol and are even serenaded by street musicians.

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German Hotel on Wheels Takes Tourists around the World

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The Rotel, a combination between a bus and a hotel, has been conducting worldwide tours for the last 50 years.

Yes, the Rotel is kind of like an RV, only it will take you to the end of the world, if the price is right. Rotel Tours was founded by a German entrepreneur (ironically named George Hotel), in 1959, and has since then conducted tours all around the world. From the mountains of Tibet to the scorching Sahara Desert, or the famous Taj Mahal, there’s literally no place the Rotel can’t take German tourists.

Featuring three-foot-wide and three-foot-high bunks, accessible through a zippered curtain, Rotel isn’t exactly the most comfortable hotel in the world, but it’s the only one that will take you around the world. The only serious problem is, while the Rotel features a bathroom, there are no showers. But the tour operator says its mobile hotels do make occasional stops, specifically for bathing purposes.

Source : Rotel.de via Jalopnik

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Osoyoos – Canada’s Spotted Lake

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Praised, from times immemorial, as a healing lake, Osoyoos has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada, because of its spotted look.

Located in the Oskogan Valley, British Columbia, Osoyoos is one of the most mineral-rich bodies of water on Earth, featuring mostly sulfates of magnesium, calcium and sodium. During the summer, as the lake’s water evaporates, it leaves behind the minerals, which take the shape of pools. Each natural pool has a different color, depending on the type and concentration of the minerals, making Osoyoos a unique sight to behold.

Ever since ancient times, the Indians of the Oskogan Valley have considered the Spotted Lake a holy place that cured their every illness. Whether they were suffering from sprains, infections, skin diseases or body aches, they would get better by immersing their bodies in the lakes waters. Even during times of war, tribes would ask for truce, so warriors could come to Osoyoos Lake and heal their wounds.

During World War I, minerals from the Spotted Lake were used to make ammunition, in the factories built in the area. For generations, Osoyoos was the property of the Earnest Smith family, who wanted t build a healing spa, on the lake. But constant pressure from the Indian natives kept this from ever happening, and eventually convinced the Smiths to sell the lake back to the Indians.

An impressive sight, the Spotted Lake is of limits to tourists, for fear they might damage the pools. But you can still enjoy a great view of it, from behind the iron fence that surrounds Osoyoos.

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The Samurai Robot Waiters of Hajime Restaurant

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A Japanese restaurant in Thailand isn’t something to get overly excited about, but if that restaurant has robot samurais as waiters, it’s a whole other matter.

Lapassarad Thanaphant, a Thai entrepreneur, decided to open a new Japanese restaurant, and found the perfect way to make it stand out from the competition: robot waiters. But not just any robots, samurai-shaped machines that slide all the way to your table, bring you your order, clean tables, and even do an adorable dance routine, to entertain guests.

So, just days after the robot kitchen chef was presented, we already have an almost complete automated restaurant system. According to the owner of Hajime Restaurant, the cool samurai robot waiters cost $930,000, but with the popularity this place is enjoying this days, he’s sure to get his money back very soon.

Be sure to check out the Hajime samurai robot waiters in action, in the video, at the bottom.

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The Bubblegum Alley of San Luis Obispo

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The “most talked-about landmark” of San Luis Obispo, California, the Bubblegum Alley is a 21 meter-long alley lined with chewed-up pieces of bubblegum.

The exact history of the Bubblegum Alley is unknown, but there are a few theories about how this sticky tradition began. Some say it started during World War II, as a graduating class event, while others are convinced it dates back to the 1950s, as the result of the rivalry between San Luis Obispo High-School and Cal Poly. Whatever its beginnings, by the 70s, Bubblegum Alley was already covered with plenty of gooey material.

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The Crazy House Hotel in Vietnam

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Featuring a truly unique design,  Hang Nga’s Tree House Hotel is, without a doubt, one of the most bizarre buildings in the world.

Located in Da Lang, Vietnam, Hang Nga’s Tree House Hotel, better known as Crazy House, features giant tree trunks and branches that try to trick you into believing this is an actual tree house. In reality, it’s built from conventional construction materials. But there’s nothing conventional about the architectural principles used by Hang Nga, the woman behind Vietnam’s Crazy House.

Daughter of a former president of Vietnam, Hang Nga was confronted with almost no restrictions at all, when she decided to build her wacky hotel. The Vietnamese government simply looked the other way and allowed her to let loose her imagination, without considering rules and regulations. And you can witness the end result in the photos below.

The interior of Hang Nga’s hotel is just as unusual as the outside. It’s filled with unexpected twists and turns, narrow hallways, bizarre rooms and dotted with strangely shaped windows. This is probably why Crazy House is more successful as a tourist attraction, than a hotel. Hang Nga, who lives in her “masterpiece”, tries to convince people to stay at least a night, but most prefer to take some photos and look for a more conventional hotel.

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The Seattle Gum Wall – A Sticky Attraction

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One of the most offbeat attractions in the United States, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the most germ infected tourist spot in the world.

Located in Post Alley, under Park Place Market, the Gum Wall has its beginning in the early 1990s, when people, irritated that they had to wait in line to get tickets to the theater, stuck chewing gum on the wall. At first, they would use the gum to stick small coins to the wall, but in time, the tradition of the coins disappeared, and the gum remained.

Theater attendants scraped the Gum Wall twice, but gave up in 1999, when it became a certified tourist attraction of Seattle. Now it is filled with thousands of pieces of chewing gum, of any color imaginable. And, as the wall grows, the chewing gum art becomes more sophisticated. You’ll find names written with pieces of gum, and symbols like hearts or the peace sign.

But, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the germiest tourist destinations on Earth. In a ranking made by Trip Advisor, it came in second place, after Ireland’s Blarney Stone.

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The Mysterious Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

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Spread all over Diquis Delta, and on the Isla de Cano, the mysterious stone spheres of Costa Rica have fascinated scientists ever since they were discovered, in 1930.

Known as “Las Bolas”, by the locals, the spheres range from a few inches to meters, in diameter, and reach weights of up to 16 tons. Researchers believe they were sculpted before 200 BC and 1500 AD, but since the only way of establishing their age is stratography, and most of the balls are no longer in their original locations, it’s difficult to say for sure.

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The Underwater Restaurant of the Red Sea

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The world’s first underwater restaurant and bar, the Red Sea Star Restaurant is still one of the most amazing places on Earth.

Located in Eliat, Israel’s southernmost city, the Red Sea Star was built in 1998, in an area that had become very dirty and polluted, due to illegal human activities. Designing and planning the underwater structure lasted 4 years, during which time, a coral nursery was created, to revive the beautiful underwater life that was once present in the area. The actual building lasted another 4 years.

Submerged six meters under the Red Sea, this underwater restaurant, bar and observatory features a marine-themed interior design and a large number of windows that allow visitors to check out the underwater paradise that surrounds them. The Red Sea Star is the world’s only night-time underwater observatory, using a soft light (specific colors and wave lengths) to reveal the natural habitat, without disturbing it.

Red-Sea-Star-Restaurant

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Thamkrabok Monastery – World’s Toughest Rehab Clinic

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Although the names of those who get treated here are never revealed, Thamkrabok Monastery has had many famous patients, from moviestars to high ranking politicians.

Hidden away in a forest, 140 km north of Bankok, Thailand, the Buddhist Monastery of Thamkrabok takes in alcoholics and drug users from all over the world. Unlinke famous detox clinics like Betty Ford (California), or Priory (London), this Thai monastery doesn’t have paparazzi lurking around, and it’s a lot cheaper. One month at Betty Ford Clinic costs $23,000, while just one week at Priory amounts to 5,000 pounds. At Thamkrabok Monastery, all you need is $3 for food, because treatment and accomodations are supported by donations.

Photos by GETTY IMAGES

Thamkrabok-Monastery

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