The Desert of Maine – An Unusual Tourist Attraction

The Desert of Maine, a 40-something-acre patch of sand and silt near the town of Freeport, is a geological oddity, natural wonder, and a warning of what irresponsible land use can create.

The “most famous natural phenomenon in Maine” is actually the result of poor land management over several generations. Although not technically a desert in its own right – the state of Maine gets way too much rain for it to qualify as such – the rolling dunes of sand covering the over 40 acres of land certainly look the part. The sand and silt have been there for at least tens of thousands of years, ever since the glaciers covering Maine, ground rocks into pebbles and pebbles into sand as they receded during the last ice age. But it was human activity that brought it back to the surface over 100 years ago.

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Sweet Fishs Café – Thailand’s Crazy Koi Fish Café

Imagine a place where you can enjoy your favorite cup of coffee in the company of dozens of koi fish as they swim through ankle-deep water that covers the entire floor. That’s Thailand’s koi fish café in a nutshell.

Remember Amix Coffee, the “flooded café” of Ho Chi Minh City, where hundreds of decorative fish of all shapes and sizes lived on the water-covered floor as patrons walked among them? It drew a lot of criticism from animal rights activists and closed down after just a couple of months, but if you liked the concept, you’ll be happy to know there’s another flooded café you can visit. Sweet Fishs Café is a unique venue in the Thai city of Khanom, where people can walk through ankle-deep water populated with dozens of koi fish.

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Monkey Mia – The Australian Paradise That Dolphins Visit Daily

If you’ve ever wanted to see a dolphin up-close in its natural habitat, and, if you’re lucky, even hand feed it a tasty treat, there’s no place to do it at than Monkey Mia, the only beach in Australia that dolphins visit every day.

The wild dolphins of Monkey Mia, on the coast of Western Australia, started getting used to people in the early 1960s, when local fishermen started throwing them fish. It didn’t take long for rumors of friendly bottlenose dolphins hanging around Monkey Mia to spread, and before long the popularity of the resort reached new all-time highs. However, by the 1980s, marine researchers noticed a disturbing trend – as adult dolphins became more dependent on humans for food, their calves’ mortality rate grew. Things got so bad that, according to some experts, 90 percent of the calves failed to reach adulthood. Luckily, conservation authorities started regulating dolphin feeding.

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Creepy Doll-Filled Balcony in Caracas Looks Like the Set of a Horror Movie

The “Balcony of the Dolls” is an eerie landmark in central Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. It consists of a large balcony lined with old doll heads that seem to follow people with their eyes as they pass by.

Located in the middle of Avenida Este 12, between Fuerzas Armadas and Sur 5, in a place known as “El Muerto” corner, is a two-storey building that has captured the imagination of both locals and visitors of the Venezuelan capital. It’s the sort of thing that’s easy to miss if you simply walk by in a hurry without looking up, but if you’re the kind of person who likes to take in the sights, there’s no way to miss the hundreds of creepy doll heads looking back at you from above.

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This World War I Refuge Dug Into the Side of a Mountain Is a Spectacular Sight

Carved into a vertical rockface in the Monte Cristallo massif, in Italy’s Dolomites Mountains, this incredible shelter sits at 2,700 meters (8,858 feet) above sea level.

Mountain climbers brave enough to take on the Via Ferrata Ivano Dibona in the Italian Dolomites are treated to many memorable sights, including that of a unique structure embedded in the side of a vertical rockface. The iconic location, known as Buffa di Perrero, is believed to be a shelter built by Italian soldiers during World War I. It features brick walls, a slanted roof, two doorways, and four windows framed in wood. It’s hard to believe, but someone had to carry all those building materials up the side of the mountain, as there is no backdoor to an easier access route.

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Kongthong, the Indian “Whistling Village” Where Everyone Has a Song for a Name

Kongthong, a remote village tucked away in the hills of India’s Meghalaya state, has a unique, centuries-old tradition where every inhabitant is given both a regular name and a song at birth, both of which become their identity.

Kongthong was recently nominated as India’s no. 1 recommendation for the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s ‘Best Tourism Villages‘ contest, both for its natural beauty and hospitable dwellers, and its unique naming tradition. The 650-or-so people who call Kongthong home, have a normal name that they use for official purposes, as well as unique tunes composed for them by their parents at birth. These songs are made especially for them, are used as their bearers’ names throughout their life, and die with them when their time comes. Because everyone in Kongthong uses their song name locally, the beautiful community has become known as India’s Whistling Village.

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Baljenac – Croatia’s Famous Fingerprint Island

Located off the coast of Croatia, in the Adriatic Sea, Baljenac is a tiny island covered by a series of dry-stone walls that make it look like a giant fingerprint when seen from above.

The oval-shaped island of Baljenac is covered by a 23-kilometer-long network of dry-stone walls. you’d think it was an ancient labyrinth, if not for the fact that the walls are only about waist high and designed solely to make agriculture easier in an inhospitable place. The rocky terrain and strong winds aren’t exactly ideal for plant cultivation, so the inhabitants of the nearby island of Kaprije built these stone walls to separate their crops and offer them some protection. It’s a technique used in other parts of Europe, like England or Ireland, but nowhere else do these walls imitate the pattern of a human fingerprint as they do on Baljenac Island.

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A Stay at the World’s Most Remote Hotel Will Cost You $35,000

Perched on the ridge of the Don Sheldon Amphitheater of Denali’s breathtaking Ruth Glacier, in Alaska, and reachable only by air, Sheldon Chalet is famous as the world’s most remote hotel.

Alaska’s Denali National Park stretches six million acres and is a shelter for grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves and other wildlife. It’s one of the most beautiful places you can visit in the United States, but also one of the most inaccessible. For example, the Don Sheldon Amphitheater, a glacial valley situated at an elevation of 6,000 feet (1,829 meters), was once only accessible by ski-equipped plane, but after the completion of the luxurious Sheldon Chalet, private helicopter rides also became an option.

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Isolated Villagers Spend 15 Years Carving a Road Through a Mountain

The people of Shenlongwan, a once-isolated village in the mountains of China’s Shanxi Province, spent 15 years carving through rock with chisels and hammers to connect their home to the world and escape poverty.

Benefiting from a very favorable climate, Shenlongwan has always been famous for its exquisite walnuts and pears, but getting their harvest to market used to be a serious challenge for the locals. That’s because until the year 2000, to reach the county seat of Changzhi City, they had to either detour through eight townships in three different provinces, or risk their lives climbing dangerous narrow ladders to reach a steep mountain pass. One day, the villagers decided that things had to change, and if the authorities wouldn’t build a road to their village, then they just had to do it themselves.

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No One Has Been Able to Locate the Source of This Mysterious Spring

For centuries, people have been asking themselves what the source of the underground spring known as Fosse Dionne spring in France’s Burgundy region might be, but they never got to the bottom of it, because they literally couldn’t get to the bottom of it.

The Fosse Dionne is a huge upsurge of water around which the town of Tonnerre was built. For as long as anyone can remember it has been spewing massive amounts of water, with a flow of around 311 liters of water per second on a regular basis, which can increase to 3,000 liters per second in rainy weather conditions. The Romans used it for drinking water, the Celts considered it sacred, and the French used it as a public bathhouse during the 1700s, but no one has ever been able to locate its source. Many have tried, some have died trying, but the source of the Fosse Dionne remains a mystery.

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Life-size Fire-Breathing, Three-Headed Dragon Statue Draws Crowd to Russian Village

In recent years, the village of Kamenka in Russia’s Lipetsk region has become famous as the home of Zmei Gorynich, a giant three-headed statue of one of the most iconic villains of Slavic folk stories.

The “Kudykina Gora” family park on the outskirts of Kamenka village has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lipetsk largely thanks to a single exhibit – the statue of Zmei Gorynich, an “extremely realistic” and “frighteningly attractive” rendition of the main antagonist in dozens of Russian folk stories and legends. Created by Ukrainian sculptor Vladimir Kolesnikov, the impressive statue stands about 15 meters high and is about as large as you’d expect a fearsome three-headed dragon to be. Did I mention it also breathes fire and screams menacingly from time to time?

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The World’s Narrowest River Is Only a Few Centimeters Wide

The Hualai River, in China, is apparently the narrowest river in the world, measuring only a few dozen centimeters at its widest point.

At its widest point, the Amazon is more than 6 miles wide during the dry season, and a whopping 24 miles wide during the wet season. It’s by far the widest river in the world, but although there are plenty of other rivers at least a mile-wide at their widest point, width is not a defining characteristic of a river. In fact, there’s actually a river in China so narrow that you can easily step over it. Hualai River, on the Inner Mongolia Plateau in north China, is over 17-kilometers-long but has an average width of just 15 centimeters. At its narrowest, it is just 4-cm-wide.

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The Rig – Saudi Arabia Turns Offshore Oil Platform Extreme Theme Park

As part of its ambitious efforts to attract tourists from across the world, Saudi Arabia has announced plans to turn an abandoned offshore oil platform into an oil-themed extreme theme park.

Named ‘The Rig’, the upcoming offshore theme park is part of the Saudi Vision 2030’s strategy, which aims to diversify the country’s economy and boost its tourism industry in particular. The 1.6 million-square-foot extreme theme park will feature roller-coaster rides, submarines, bungee jumping, and sky diving, among other adrenaline-inducing amenities, as well as three hotels and 11 restaurants across The Rig’s interconnected platforms.

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Les Grands Buffets – Probably the World’s Most Impressive All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

Les Grands Buffet à Narbonne is a unique all-you-can-eat buffet in Narbonne, France, where you can stuff your face with the most decadent dishes of French cuisine, in a luxurious environment, and without breaking the bank.

While the above paragraph may sound like the beginning of a sponsored post, that is most certainly not the case. I only discovered Les Grands Buffet yesterday, while on my daily session of internet surfing for interesting topics to write about, when some photos of what looked like a lobster fountain caught my eye. It turned out to be just one of the many eye-catching arrangements at the Les Grands Buffet in Narbonne, France, a unique all-you-can-eat-buffet that only serves the best dishes of French cuisine, from lobsters to foie gras and cassoulet. It’s the kind of place that, as a gourmand, you simply have to visit at least once in your life.

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Pressing 1,000 Buttons Is the Perfect Way to Complete an Elevator Button Factory Tour

An elevator button factory in Japan allows visitors to test its vast collection of buttons by pressing no less than 1,000 of them on a specially designed display.

Shimada Denki Seisakusho is a specialized manufacturer of custom-made elevator buttons and arrival lights based in Tokyo, Japan. Founded in 1933, the factory is a piece of Japanese industrial history and conducts guided tours for people interested in its early beginnings and the way it makes its vast array of elevator buttons. It’s a fascinating visit, I’m sure, but the highlight of the tour has to be the ‘1,000 Buttons’ display, which, as the name suggests, is made up of rows upon rows of different elevator buttons that light up when pressed.

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