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India’s Great Banyan Tree Is Its Own Forest

If you were to see the Great Banyan Tree in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden from a distance, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a forest. Spanning more than 14,493 square meters, the tree is the widest in the world—so large that it covers more ground than the average Wal-Mart.

No one is quite sure exactly how old the Great Banyan Tree is due to a lack of official records, but experts estimate that the tree is at least 250 years old; the earliest references to the tree have been found in travel writing dating all the way back to the 19th century. Over the years, the tree has been through a lot. Not only has it survived 2 major cyclones in 1864 and 1867, but its main trunk was also infected with a deadly fungus. This infection meant that the main trunk of the tree needed to be removed in 1925.

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The Oakland Buddha – How One Buddha Statue Brought Neighbourhood Crime Down by 82%

A non-religious man in Oakland managed to virtually eliminate neighborhood crime with nothing more than a statue of Buddha bought from a local hardware store.

The neighborhood of 11th Avenue and East 19th Street was formerly a rough part of Oakland, riddled with a variety of illegal activities ranging from littering and vandalization to drug dealing, robberies, prostitution, and assaults. That is until one local, Dan Stevenson, purchased a 60-cm-tall stone statue of Buddha and placed it on the street corner opposite his home. People were constantly dumping mattresses, couches and other junk there, and all kind of shady characters would hang around, so he figured the statue would be an improvement. But, in this case, calling the effect of the statue an improvement would be a gross understatement.

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Vietnamese House Has a Fence Made Entirely Out of Old TV Sets

Photos of a small house on the Vietnamese island of Hon Thom have getting a lot of attention on social media for its unique fence made exclusively out of discarded old television sets.

The unusual house is reportedly located on the road to Hon Thom cable car and is very popular with tourists, for obvious reasons. After all, it’s not every day that you pass by a fence constructed out of old, but somehow intact television sets. How those old cathode ray tubes haven’t been shattered by strong winds or vandals is a mystery, as is the reason why the owner decided on this particular material for the fence. Perhaps a television repairman lives there, or perhaps someone just hoarded them and one day decided to put them to good use. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that the fence is a good way to attract attention.

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Japan’s Unusual Obsession with Moss

As a very insular society, Japan has developed a culture that can be very interesting and sometimes bizarre to the outside observer. For example, in recent years, many Japanese have become infatuated with moss. Nature excursions centered around observing the thousands of species of Japanese moss have exploded in popularity to the point that the demand for a place on these trips far exceeds availability.

Selling moss-related products like moss-containing jewelry has also become a lucrative market. You can buy rings that have tiny containers holding moss instead of stones. For many young women in Japan, love of these plants has become a part of their identity. These young enthusiasts call themselves “moss girls” and organize moss-themed events such as viewing parties, where they make drinks inspired from the plants.

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The African Village Where Crocodiles and Humans Live Side by Side in Peace

In cultures all across the globe, animals are revered, and even worshipped. In Hinduism, for example, cows are valued for their gentle nature. But not every sacred animal is quite so harmless; crocodiles were worshipped in Ancient Egypt, as they were believed to be living representations of the god Sobek. You may be surprised to learn that the deification of crocodiles is far from ancient history.

In Burkina Faso, just 30 kilometers away from the capital of Ouagadougou, there is a small village of Bazoule, where its people — descendents of Mossis warriors — have chosen the Crocodylus suchus as its totem. Although Bazoule is located in a landlocked country, it does have its own pond, where 150 of these unusually docile creatures reside. Despite the fearsome reputation of crocodiles, the villagers have no problem living alongside them. In fact, the Mossi boldly approach the crocodiles to play; they even sit on and lie next to them.

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Eibenthal – A Picturesque Village Where Theft Doesn’t Exist

Eibenthal is an idyllic village nestled in the Banatului Mountains of Western Romania. It’s a charming place inhabited mainly by ethnic Czechs, but what really makes it stand out from other villages in the area, or pretty much anywhere else in the world, for that matter, is its reputation as a theft-free community.

There is no police station in Eibenthal, and frankly, there’s no need for one either. People in this area of Mehedinti county are famously peaceful and respectful of each other, and the crime rate is considerably lower than the national average. Theft, for example is virtually non existent, and people are perfectly comfortable leaving money in bags on the streets for the bread delivery man. He drives by, takes the money and leaves the requested number of bread loaves and the change in the bags hanging on lamp posts or people’s fences. In over 20 years, no one has ever reported any money of bread missing.

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Thai Restaurant Finds Success with Screaming Hot Waiters

If you’re looking for a way to get your restaurant business off the ground, this unique eatery in Bangkok, Thailand is proof that having a team of hot male waiters dress in skimpy female garb and scream like damsels in distress as they serve patrons is a sure way to success.

Staneemeehoi (Shell Station) is one of many seafood restaurants in Bangkok. As the name suggests, it specializes in shellfish, and judging by the hundreds of reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook, the dishes and dips served here are above average, but that’s not really what has people coming back. Staneemeehoi is famous for its unique service. It employs a team of muscular young men who wear skimpy female clothing and try their best to act girly as they serve and entertain customers. That includes imitating a girly scream, dancing provocatively and puckering their lips as they pose for pictures.

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Nameless Beach in Japan is Made of Recycled Colored Glass

There are only a handful of glass beaches in the whole world, and it’s their rarity that makes them so popular. However, Japan is home to a beautiful glass beach that is so obscure it doesn’t even have a name.

Unlike California’s famous glass beach, or the one in Ussuri Bay, on Russia’s Pacific shoreline, where nature had to work hard to erode truckloads of sharp glass and porcelain shards dumped as trash into rounded pebbles that you can safely walk on, the colored glass grains of this nameless Japanese beach, in Omura City, were actually recycled beforehand. I guess the Japanese thought they’d give Mother Nature a break for a change and did the work for her.

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China’s Smallest Mountain Is Less Than 1 Meter High, Looks More Like a Big Rock

If you’re looking for the world’s easiest mountain to climb, head to Shouguang, in China’s Shandong Province, where you’ll find ‘Jingshan’, the smallest mountain in the country, and probably the world. It measures only 0.6 meters from ground level to its highest point, and can be conquered with a single step.

Jingshan may not be the most impressive mountain in the world, but as the only mountain in Shouguang district, it is a symbol of the region and one of its most popular tourist attractions. Mentions of the mountain in the district’s official records can be traced back over 100 years, including its precise location, dimensions and the fact that despite its laughable size above ground, it seems to be the tip of a much larger underground mountain.

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Thai Death-Themed Cafe Wants Visitors to Appreciate Life More

From cat cafes to toilet cafes and even cafes dedicated to female thighs, themed cafes are all the rage these days. Usually, entrepreneurs go for funny or exciting themes to attract as many people as possible, but one cafe in Thailand is based on the most morbid theme of all – death.

The Kid-Mai Death Cafe looks more like the scene of a funeral than a place you’d want to hang out with your friends. Black is the dominant color, but that’s probably the least morbid thing about this establishment. Funeral wreaths are used as floral decorations, items on the menu have names like “ageing”, “painful”, “illness”, and “death” and are displayed as funeral photos at the bar, and there’s even a coffin that visitors can lie down in to get a small discount.

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This Tree in Germany Has Been Helping People Find Love for Over a Century

The Bridegroom’s Oak, a 500-year-old tree just outside of Eutin, in Germany, has its own postal address and actually receives around 40 letters every day. They are sent by love seekers from all around the world, in the hope that someone will read them and write back.

With so many dating apps and services available nowadays, sending letters to a tree in Germany hardly sounds like the most effective way to find love, but for true romantics, there’s really no comparison. There’s just something undeniably charming about sending a letter and allowing fate to work its magic, so the Bridegroom’s Oak remains very popular even in this digital age.

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No Men Allowed on ‘SuperShe Island’, a Women-Only Resort Off the Coast of Finland

Hardcore feminists searching for a vacationing spot where they don’t have to interact with men at all need look no further than SuperShe Island, a women-only island resort off the coast of Finland.

SuperShe Island is the brainchild of American entrepreneur Kristina Roth, who decided to invest in a women-only resort after realizing that being around men was distracting to other women. While vacationing at the Ashram in Calabasas, Calif., and the nearby Ranch Malibu, Roth noticed that women would focus more on the men than themselves, so she started contemplating the idea of a women-only resort where visitors could relax without any male distractions.

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World’s First Holiday Resort for Plus-Sized Tourists Features Reinforced Beds, Extra-Wide Chairs

Known as a sanctuary for plus-sized people looking to have a good time without feeling embarrassed about their weight, The Resort is believed to be the world’s first and only vacationing retreat for the obese.

Hidden away on the island of Eleuthera, in the heart of the Caribbean, The Resort opened its gates two years ago, and has since become popular among overweight tourists looking for an exotic and judgement-free holiday destination. The entire complex was built from the ground up with obese people in mind. The doorways are wider than usual, the extra-strong beds are reinforced with  two bars of steel to support hundreds of pounds, and the chairs and loungers are a meter wide and made of a particularly strong wood. Even the toilets are custom made to support heavier frames.

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Snow-White Beach in Australia Is Made Up of Billions of Cockle Shells

Australia’s Shark Bay World Heritage Area is home to Shell Beach, one of only two places around the world where beach sand is completely replaced by sea shells.

Imagine billions of white cockle shells stretching out as far as the eye can see, and you get a pretty good idea of how amazing Shell Beach looks. Located on the western edge of the Australian continent, this unique tourist attraction stretches for a whopping 70 km, which makes it look like an endless sea of shells meeting the ocean. And if you’re thinking that the shells only make up a superficial layer, we’ll have you know that in some places, they reach 10 meters deep.

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“Asia’s Cleanest Village” Sets Example for the World

From discarded plastic bottles and wrappers to the cow dung littering the streets of major cities like Delhi, trash is a big problem in India, but not in the small village of Mawlynnong. People here have zero tolerance for garbage and spend a lot of their time making sure every square inch of their village is spotless.

Mawlynnong first made news headlines in 2003, when a journalist from Discover Magazine dubbed it “Asia’s cleanest village”. After hearing about this place where everyone, from young children to the elderly, was dedicated to maintaining a state of complete cleanliness, he decided to investigate, and was so impressed by what he witnessed during his stay that he deemed Mawlynnong worthy of the title of cleanest village in all of Asia. His article drew a lot of attention to the community of around 600 people in the Indian state of Meghalaya, and people from all over the world started traveling there to see this example of cleanliness for themselves.

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