If you’re a dog lover visiting Bangkok, you simply must stop by the True Love Café, a wonderful place where you can get a taste of Thai cuisine, or enjoy some refreshments in the company of dozens of adorable huskies.
The True Love Café opened in 2013, when Chotiros Ratanabirabongse, Paw for short, a long-time husky breeder, decided to convert his farm into a place where people could interact and learn more about this wonderful canine breed. The place instantly became a hit with tourists, and today it is one of Bangkok’s most popular attractions.
In Hong Kong, when people damage their statues of deities or simply replace them with newer ones, they don’t throw them away. Instead they leave them on the side of the road for people to worship or take them home. One man has been picking them up for over 17 years, and today his colorful collection is one of the island’s most impressive tourist attractions.
85-year-old Wong Wing-pong, a retired butcher, looks after thousands of unwanted statues of deities, including Buddhas, Taoist deities, local gods and Christian icons. They are all perched on a rocky slope in a park near the waterfront in Wah Fu. Legend has it that he picked this spot because it already had a statue of Tin Hau, the patron goddess of fishermen, and he believed it would make it easier for people to come see both the Buddhas and the goddess at the same time. However, he recently told news reporters that it was simply the place where he found the first discarded statues, a few dozen of them, 17 years ago.
Provided you can find your way to it after a wild night of alcohol-fueled partying, the world’s first hangover bar, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, promises to make that nasty next-day hangover a lot easier to deal with.
Only open from Friday to Sunday, between 10am and 6pm, Amsterdam’s Hangover Bar is decorated as a green oasis in the middle of the urban jungle, and offers a variety of ways to deal with hangovers. But in order to experience any of them, you first have to prove that your blood alcohol content is well above functional levels, by taking a breathalizer test. Failing one of these is usually a bad thing, but at the Hangover Bar it’s actually your ticket in.
Beautiful people sick of having to share the same partying space with less attractive human specimens will soon get the chance to mingle only with their own kind at a new bar that turns away ugly people.
It sounds like a joke, but, sadly, it is not. The new venue is being opened by BeautifulPeople.com, an exclusive social media platform that only accepts good looking men and women. Since it launched in 2002, it has reportedly rejected over 11 million people, with only 800,000 gaining the coveted membership status. To join the controversial website, applicants have to pass a strict rating process, where current members vote during a period of 48 hours, based on submitted photographs and a short bio.
Greg Hodge, managing director of BeautifulPeople.com, says that the new club is the materialization of the website users’ wishes. “We listen to our members and they are fed up of going out to expensive bars, hoping to meet similarly beautiful people, only to spend the night wishing that the lighting was lower,” he recently said. We are very excited about the opening of our flagship bar. We will take the same ethos into this project as we did when we launched the dating site, we are simply taking the BeautifulPeople concept into the real world.”
Five years ago, the people of Cherán, a small town in Mexico’s Michoacan state, made international headlines for taking up up arms against the powerful drug gangs threatening their livelihood, driving off local politicians and police in the process. Today, the self-governed settlement is a beacon of hope for many other Mexican communities.
The inspiring story of new Cherán began in 2011. For three years, the locals had watched helplessly how loggers supported by drug cartels like the Familia Michoacana ravaged their ancient forests, carrying away the big tree trunks and burning the rest, to prepare the land for avocado plantations. They had asked the Government for help with the situation, but received none, and the corrupt local politicians and police simply chose to look the other way. Left with no other options, and with the loggers nearing one of the town’s water springs, the people of Cherán decided it was up to them to fight for the forest and their livelihood.
“We were worried,” Margarita Elvira Romero, one of the conspirators of the historic uprising, recently told the BBC. “If you cut the trees, there’s less water. Our husbands have cattle – where would they drink if the spring was gone?” She and a few other women first went into the forest to try and reason with the loggers, but they were verbally abused and chased away by the armed men. So they came up with a plan to stop the trucks when they passed through Cherán, and hopefully receive the support of the whole community.
Abner Browns barbershop, on Rathgar Road, Dublin, is considered one of the most interesting places to visit in all of Ireland. The old-school barbershop charm plays a role in its insane popularity, but what really sets it apart from any other barbershop in the world is the fact that it doubles as a live music bar.
Abner Browns has been in business for 17 years, but its incredible transformation occurred three years ago, when owner Dave Judge decided to work in the barbershop full-time, after losing a lot of money he had invested in property during the financial crash of 2007-2008. While redecorating the place, he bought an old leather couch for about €30, and after setting it next to some guitars and music posters that served as decorations, he told his wife that it would be cool to get someone to play on it. A few days later, Canadian singer/songwriter Blair Packhem walked into Abner Browns for a haircut and Judge asked him if he would play a few songs on his new couch. Patrons loved the idea, and as news of the spontaneous gig spread around the city, Tim Fernley, a friend of Judge’s and member in a number of local bands, asked if he could play in the barbershop. And it just snowballed from there.
Colma, a quiet Californian town of roughly two square miles is home to 1,700 living residents and over 1.5 million dead ones. Most of the town’s forever-silent population are people who lived and died in San Francisco, but, just like most of today’s living residents, couldn’t afford to spend their afterlives in the expensive metropolis.
In the year 1900, San Francisco was a city crowded by the dead. During the gold rush, gold miners, merchants and immigrants from all around the world flocked here in search of a better life, bringing with them disease, and as the death toll rose, the 27 cemeteries filled to the brink of overflowing. They were considered a health hazard, but most importantly, they were taking up a large chunk of prime real-estate, so in 1902, the City and the County Board of Supervisors banned further burials in the city and forced larger cemeteries like Laurel Hill and Calvary Cemetry to move their residents outside the city. The fight to keep the dead in their original resting places lasted a few decades, but by 1942, only two cemeteries remained in San Francisco – The San Francisco National Cemetery and the Mission Dolores Cemetery. They are still around today, but neither is accepting new burials.
Over 150,000 dead bodies were moved from San Francisco to the small town of Colma, a small community established in 1892, when Archbishop Patrick Riordan decided to create a new necropolis in a valley five miles south of The City. The small field of potatoes that he blessed as the site of the new Catholic Cemetery would go on to become the world’s only incorporated town where the dead outnumber the living.
If you ever feel like connecting with your inner child while sipping on your favorite alcoholic drink, the Ball Pool Bar Dive in Osaka, Japan, is probably the best place to do it.
Kids love ball pits, and the masterminds behind Ball Pool Bar Dive seem to think adults do too, so they got rid of the usual bar furniture and instead turned the place into a giant ball pit filled with over 20,000 colorful plastic balls. But there’s nothing remotely childish about the drinks menu, as you can order pretty much any alcoholic drink served at a regular bar, only instead of drinking yourself unconscious at a table, you get to do it buried up to your neck in balls, while other intoxicated patrons dive in all around you. What’s not to like?
Modern life has its perks, but if you feel like taking a break from it all and going back in time for a few days, there’s a unique tourist facility in Sweden that offers you the opportunity to live in a wooden charcoal-burner hut located in the middle of a forest, cook your own food over an open fire, chop wood and clean your dishes in a nearby spring.
The Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge Hotel is not for everyone. If you can’t even fathom the idea of living without electricity, running water, or a modern toilet, then the rustic charm of this place will probably not appeal to you. But for anyone trying to escape the pressure and busy life of the big city or take a break from the internet and other modern gadgets, this place is paradise. Located 1 km south of Skärsjön Beach, in the middle of a pristine Swedish forest, Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge consists of 12 charcoal-burner huts with nothing but two sheepskin-covered wooden beds, and a wood stove that uses wood chopped by the guests themselves.
Located near the northeastern edge of Argentina, in the swampy marshes of Parana Delta, is an enigmatic floating island that allegedly rotates on its own axis. Nicknamed “The Eye”, the nearly perfect circular island has become the subject of an upcoming documentary that will try to unravel the mystery of its existence.
The Eye was discovered six months ago by Argentine film director & producer Sergio Neuspillerm, who was looking for filming locations for a film about paranormal occurrences, like ghost and alien sightings, in the area. After spotting the unusually round island surrounded by an equally round body of water on Google Earth, Neuspillerm and his crew knew they had stumbled upon something truly special, so they abandoned their original film project and decided to focus on this mystery instead.
“When locating this reference in the map we discovered something unexpected that left the film project in the background, we call it ‘The Eye’,” Neuspillerm said in a video. “The Eye is a circle of land surrounded by a thin channel of water with a diameter of 130 yards. Both circles [the water and land] are so perfect that it is hard to believe that this is a natural formation.”
Entering North Korea is not the easiest or safest thing to do for foreigners, but curious tourists can now experience a small piece of North Korean culture in the Mediterranean city of Tarragona, where a small bar founded to promote Kim Jong-Un’s totalitarian regime recently opened.
Alejandro Cao de Benos, the founder of Pyongyang Cafe, is the only Westerner to occupy a post in the North Korean regime, even if it is only honorary. A firm believer in communism, he became interested in North Korea after the fall of the Soviet Union, which coincided with meeting some North Korean families in Madrid. He started traveling to the isolated Asian country, managed to meet with the late Kim Jong-Il, and in 2002 he was appointed special delegate for international cultural relations by Pyongyang. The title is not official, but he has taken his mission very seriously. Cao de Benos, a.k.a. “Cho Sun-il” (which translates as “Korea is one”) went on to found the Korean Friendship Association which currently has delegates in 30 countries around the world.
As someone who regularly appears in the Spanish media to defend North Korea against what he calls Western propaganda and manipulation, Cho Sun-il decided to open Pyongyang Cafe as a way to offer people an authentic North Korean experience. “We want to break with all the myths, manipulation,” he says. “And as not many people can go to Korea, because it’s complicated and far, they can come to our cafe.”
Nestled in the foothills of the Macayo Mountains, in Aragon, Spain, lies a quaint village plagued by a curse so strong that only the Pope can lift it.
Trasmoz was once a bustling settlement with a population of around 10,000 people, but today it numbers only 62 inhabitants, of which only 30 live there permanently. For many, the downfall of Trasmoz has a lot to do with the curse placed on the village by the Catholic Church centuries ago and the stigma associated with witchcraft. Its history is riddled with legends of witches and pagan rituals, and even the ruined castle at its center is said to have been built in a single night by a magician called Mutamín. How many of these stories are true, and how many are simple rumors spread by the Church to justify its actions is left to interpretation.
Combining razor-sharp axes and alcohol sounds like a very bad idea, but it seems to be working for the Timber Lounge, a popular axe-throwing bar in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Timber Lounge offers patrons sick of urban sports like bowling, darts or pool a new way to unwind. Axe-throwing has long been a popular pastime among lumberjacks in Nova Scotia, and Darren Hudson, a fifth-generation sawmill operator from Shelburne County, decided to bring it to the masses. He partnered with fellow axe-throwing enthusiast Marc Chisholm and together they founded the city’s first axe-throwing lounge. Adrenalin junkies can get their fix by balancing sharp hatchets and double-edged axes over their heads before hurling them at painted wooden bullseyes. Between sessions, they can step into the lounge area to enjoy Nova Scotia food and craft beers.
On the Greek island of Ikaria, longevity is the norm rather than the exception. It’s not uncommon to find elderly men and women who have easily crossed the normal life expectancy of the rest of Europe. In fact, one in three Ikarians ends up living well into their 90s, and many of them go on to become centenarians.
Not only do they have a long life expectancy, but the people of Ikaria are also healthier when compared to other Europeans – they have much lower rates of cancer and heart disease, are less likely to suffer from depression or dementia, are physically active into old age, and even maintain a healthy sex life. Over the years, several visitors have tried to uncover the Ikarian secret to good health and longevity, and have pinned it down to a series of factors, including the local diet and the locals’proclivity for afternoon naps.
Death doesn’t put an end to the luxurious lifestyles of some of Manila’s wealthy Chinese residents. They are buried by their loved ones in a mammoth graveyard known as the Chinese Cemetery of Manila. This place is a small neighborhood in it’s own right, with many tombs reaching the size of mansions with all the modern amenities included!
The ginormous mausoleums lining either side of two-way streets within the cemetery are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that many living people can only dream of. They have fully-functioning kitchens and bathrooms with luxury fittings, and plush bedrooms for visiting relatives. Some of these places even have full-time residents who don’t seem to mind sharing their living space with the dead.