The World’s Strangest Laws

The world is full of strange and unusual laws that sometimes don’t make any sort of sense. Some are just so farfetched it’s hard to believe they are real while others are just confusing and sometimes ignorant. From the illegality of having donkeys sleep in your bathtubs to the ban on building sandcastles to a law that prevents chewing gum into a country; these 15 laws are some of the world’s strangest laws.

15. Donkeys and Bathtubs

michellegibson / Getty Images

It is one of the most ridiculous laws we have ever heard of and it’s unsure why it even exists, perhaps to make people scratch their head and wonder what they were thinking. In Oklahoma, it is illegal to have a sleeping donkey in your bathtub after 7 pm. Does this mean you can have an awake donkey in your bathtub? Or even a sleeping donkey in your house? Apparently, the law is based on a case that happened in 1924 when a donkey fell asleep in a bathtub and headed down the river into a valley.

Locals had to haul the donkey back to its home and signed a petition to pass a law, in case this sort of thing ever happened again. We doubt anyone still has donkeys in their bathtubs, but hey, you never know.

14. Keep smiling in Milan

Rafael Elias / Getty Images

They certainly are happy in Milan but perhaps they are smiling because it is actually the law to do so. The law in the province of Milan actually requires every citizen to smile when they are out in public. Exemptions are made if you are headed to a funeral or visiting someone in the hospital. Breaking this law can lead to being arrested and fined up to $100. It’s a good thing it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown or a whole lot of people would be facing daily fines.

13. No Sandcastles in Eraclea, Italy

the_burtons / Getty Images

There are a lot of strange laws in Italy and although some make sense, this one baffles us completely. If you are heading to Eraclea, make sure you know that it is absolutely illegal to build sandcastles here. Lawmakers say that sandcastles “obstruct the passage” but try telling your five-year-old that it is actually illegal to do so. It is not known what the punishment is for breaking this law but you should probably leave your buckets and shovels at home when you head to this beach.

12. Check for Children, Denmark

P A Thompson / Getty Images

The road laws in Denmark actually say that you have to check under your car for children before going, but only sleeping children according to officials. We have absolutely no idea why this law came into effect but we have to wonder how the people of Denmark are raising their children if there is a chance someone might find them sleeping under their car. Regardless you can face fines and punishment if you accidentally forget to look under the car for those sleeping children before pulling out.

11. No Public Eating During Ramadan, United Arab Emirates

xavierarnau / Getty Images

If you plan on traveling to the United Arab Emirates during Ramadan, the holy month, you should definitely know the laws during the fasting hours. First up the fasting hours are during daylight and if you think you are going to eat or drink in public without getting a fine, you would be wrong.

The price of the fine can range but just recently two tourists were charged $275 each for taking a drink of juice in public. Make sure you stick to your hotel room if you want to eat lunch, take a drink, or have any sort of public displays of affection with your partner. Because as most of you know, public displays of affection are also banned in this country.

10. Make sure you flush the Toilet in Singapore

Thana Prasongsin / Getty Images

It is actually illegal not to flush the toilet in Singapore and if you thought officials didn’t enforce this law, you would be wrong. According to the law, you can face a fine of up to 5,000 Singapore dollars for not flushing a public toilet after using it. Officials have actually been known to do random spot checks and will certainly find any offender. While this law is strange we must admit we wish every country would put this law into place and crackdown on it. No one likes going to a washroom with a floater in it.

9. No noisy footwear, Capri, Italy

Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

Don’t plan on wearing your flip flops here, unless you have somehow managed to make them silent as wearing noisy footwear in Capri Italy is actually illegal. These peace-loving locals are serious about their peace and quiet and people have been both fined and arrested for wearing wooden clogs, noisy flip flops, and other shoes that don’t fit the quiet bill. Make sure you are also fully clothed when walking around this island as wearing just a bikini or without a shirt will also lead to a fine.

8. No Camouflage Clothing, Trinidad and Tobago

Elva Etienne / Getty Images

Don’t plan on wearing anything that remotely resembles camouflage on your next trip to Trinidad and Tobago or you will be faced with a possible fine of up to $1000 and 18 months in prison. The law was put in effect as camouflage too closely resembles the uniform of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. It is even illegal for children to wear this kind of clothing. You will be in more trouble if you do break this law and someone mistakes you as part of the force. They take their military seriously around here.

7. Don’t Feed the Pigeons, Italy and San Francisco

arnon toussia-cohen / Getty Images

In both Italy and San Francisco along with a handle of other cities, it is illegal to feed those pesky pigeons. Yes, it may be tempting as they are one of the only birds brave enough to walk right up to your hand and eat out of it but pigeon feeders can be arrested and fined serious cash. So why is it illegal? It causes over breeding, health hazards, and a few more reasons that lawmakers cite every time someone gets arrested for the act. Some hypothesis the cities just don’t want to pay someone to clean up all the pigeon crap that constantly wreaks havoc on the sidewalks. Both ways, it’s a law and it is highly enforced.

6. Watch where you step, Thailand

ak_phuong / Getty Images

There are a number of strange laws in Thailand, such as it is illegal to leave your house without wearing underwear (we wonder who checks for this one) and you have to wear a shirt while driving a car. One of the strangest laws here though can easily be broken simply but not looking where you are going. It is actually illegal here to step on any Baht, the local currency. For example, if you drop a bill and it starts to fly away, don’t even think about stepping on it to stop it. You can get arrested and fined for stepping on any Baht currency here, as well as if you decide to throw it at a person in anger or deface it in any way.

5. No Overweight People, Japan

bymuratdeniz / Getty Images

It is the slimmest industrialized nation and it’s no surprise considering it is actually illegal to be overweight here. In 2008 lawmakers in Japan passed the Metabo Law, hoping that it would stop the dreaded metabolic syndrome from affecting aging populations.  Citizens here now have to comply with a government-imposed waistline standard, the maximum waistline size for anyone age 40 and older is 85 centimeters (33.5 inches) for men and 90 centimeters (35.4 inches) for women.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of health risks, including stomach flab, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol that can lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The penalty for breaking this law is far from harsh though and individuals are required to attend a combination of counseling sessions, monitoring through phone and email correspondence, and motivational support.

4. Don’t Stop on the Autobahn, Germany

Elisabeth Schmitt / Getty Images

The Autobahn in Germany is one of the last places on earth that you can drive as fast as you want and although many places have speed limits, there is still a fair number of long stretches where you can put the pedal to the medal. There are certain laws though that go with this privilege of driving however fast you want.

First off make sure you don’t run out of gas on this highway as it’s highly illegal. So is stopping on the side of the road. So is walking on the Autobahn. That’s three strikes against you if you happen to pull over because your gas needle is on empty and you have to walk to get gas. Don’t get caught as you can face $100 per fine, and you will be whacked with more than just one in this case.

3. Don’t Cheat in Hong Kong

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

If you are a male, we highly suggest not cheating on your wife if you happen to reside in Hong Kong. This is because it is actually legal for a female to kill her cheating husband, as long as she uses her bare hands. Not just the husband but the women who have been with him is also allowed to be killed by the wide, but by any manner she chooses.

There are numerous forms of punishment for wives who have been cheated on, in case they don’t feel like committing murder. Wives can send their cheating husbands away to a work camp for up to two years, the wife can claim half the possessions given to the secret lover and they can even demand compensation from their husbands.

2. No Chewing Gum, Singapore

Jerome Tisne / Getty Images

A ban on the sale, import, and manufacture of chewing gum in Singapore took effect on 3 January 1992 and the law still exists today. In 2004 therapeutic chewing gum was allowed into the country and dental and nicotine gum are exceptions, but only from a prescription from your doctor.

This law was created in large part because the local railway system was being vandalized but it can be dated back to 1983 when the former prime minister was fed up with the amount of chewing gum that was being left on sidewalks, in mailboxes, and in elevators. Then the MRT started running in 1987 and vandals began sticking chewing gum to the doors, causing the sensors to malfunction. In 1992 Goh Chok Tong took over as president and immediately banned chewing gum.

1. Leave your bible at home, Maldives

boonchai wedmakawand / Getty Images

This Muslim nation is serious about their religion and owning a bible here is illegal and can get you thrown right out of the country. The Islamic government here prevents its citizens from converting to any other religion other than Muslim and non-obeyers can face serious consequences. The few that did convert are forced to meet underground. If you plan on moving here and want to be accepted as a citizen, you best leave that bible at home and prepare to convert to the Muslim faith.

10 Things to See and Do in Latvia

Lonely Planet named Latvia as one of the best places to travel in 2016 and it’s easy to see why as this country bursts with sea, lakes, woods and endless opportunities for exploring medieval towns and castles. If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this country offers unspoiled nature to explore, cobbled streets to walk and incredible cuisine to dine on. Discover something different here, whether you want to play in the sand dunes or jump from a cable car naked, it seems like anything is possible in Latvia. Here are 10 suggestions for your next visit to Latvia.

10. Stay at the Baltic Beach Hotel and Spa

The unique location in the dune area makes this hotel perfect for the ideal relaxation getaway. The hotel boasts 165 rooms that boast either a sea or garden view and houses the largest certified SPA center in the Baltic States. Guests won’t go hungry here with their choice of three different restaurants offering elegant cuisine, and a total of three bars.

There are over 400 treatments here to relax and rejuvenate guests and a variety of amenities including a Russian steam bath, old wood sauna, ice fountain, a shower of impressions and an amber bath. The grounds are delightful, the service is impeccable and it will a stay to remember in Latvia.

Via Booking.com’s

9. Visit the Castles

Latvia is absolutely loaded with castles, over thirty of them to be exact and exploring some of them should be high on the list for visitors to this country. One of the first stops should be to Turaida castle where this impressive building rises above the green landscape like a ship built of red brick. Visitors can walk along the castle ramparts and explore the miles of hiking trails on the grounds.

Bauska Castle consists of two parts, the Medieval Castle and Ducal Palace- a rare example of a Renaissance Palace in Latvia. The Medieval part boats a 22-meter-high tower that gives superior views from the top. Cesis Medieval Castle is one of the most significant castles in Latvia as the Livonian Order for several centuries has its center here and Krustpils Medieval Castle is one of the best-preserved castles in Latvia, and both deserve a visit.

8. Visit Slitere National Park

If you are an avid hiker, Latvia has no shortage of trails to choose from and the Gauja National Park is one of the best places to do so. The sandstone outcrops and the caves that are found here are simply incredible. Approximately one-third of all Latvian natural preserves and more than 500 cultural and historical monuments can be found here. The

Ligatne nature trails are the favorite of many as visitors will be privy to all sorts of wild animals including bear, lynx, elk, bison and red deer who have been rescued from all over Latvia. The best part of the time to visit is in the spring when the bird-cherries bloom and the ancient valley becomes almost entirely white.

7. Haggle at the Riga Central Market

When construction was completed in 1930, the Riga Central Market was one of the largest and most modern marketplaces on the European continent. During WWI the pavilions were actually used as zeppelin hangers and now serve as meat, produce, fish and dairy markets. These pavilions are not the only thing that makes this market unique, also present here are old warehouses that have been turned into a hip, arts and entertainment quarter.

Here visitors can buy Latvian-grown food and homemade products as well as exotic fruits and spices. It is all hustle and bustle here and although it isn’t as easy to haggle with stall owners as it once was, you are encouraged to try your luck. Make sure to check out the outdoor stalls and stands as well as the night market.

6. Dine at Kasha Gourmet

Not quite a restaurant, yet not quite a café, patrons who choose to dine here are the chef’s mercy. Tasty, gourmet and cozy are all words used to describe the atmosphere and experience one has here. Chef Dennis Ivankovs is the man in charge here and with over 20 years of international experience he creates the recipes to be simple and sincere. With a big emphasis on everything being made on site, you can expect the freshest and most local products.

The interior is a splash of light meets dark with metal, wood, and stucco all playing a part, as well as the black and white photos adorning the walls. This isn’t just a place for romance though, kids are welcomed with their own menu and special kids corner with a mini-kitchen. Coming here once is never enough and visitors to Latvia should not miss out on this awesome dining experience.

Via RestoRiga – Restaurants of Riga and Latvia.

5. Visit the Riga Art Nouveau Centre

This museum is one of a kind, in fact, it is the only museum in the Baltics that presents a complete picture of the historical heritage of Art Nouveau. Although it is one of the youngest museums in Riga it has done an absolutely fantastic job recreating the authentic interior of a 1903 home, right down to the door and window handles.

One of the best parts of this museum is where it is located, in the Art Nouveau District which features incredible houses and designs. There are a total of 40% of buildings in the center of Riga which belong to art nouveau, more than any other European city. This designated UNESCO World Heritage Site is under protection now and visitors will be able to enjoy these buildings for centuries to come.

4. Explore Kuldiga the “Latvian Venice”

This perfectly preserved medieval town in the western part of the country is well worth exploring even though the castle is long gone. The city is virtually unchanged, from its centuries-old wooden buildings complete with red clay roofs to its cobbled streets and river that flows through the town. Don’t miss the small waterfalls in the center of town, whether you catch the sunrise in the winter or take a dip with the locals in the summer.

The Kuldiga District Museum is also worth exploring, recently renovated the museum is housed in a gorgeous wooden building complete with views of the Ventas Rumba. The exhibits are spread over three floors and include a replica of a fully furnished home. Also worth checking out when you are here are the Riezupe Sand Caves, the longest underground cave labyrinth in Latvia and can be explored to a depth of two kilometers.

3. Spend a Night in Karosta Prison

It may be one of the world’s most unique hotels, a prison that has been converted into a hotel. According to history, many prisoners died in this hotel, most shot in the head and many consider it haunted. Not only do guests here get to spend the night in a prison cell but they will be treated as inmates.

After signing a lengthy agreement which allows staff to force you to do physical exercise and cleaning if you disobey their orders you are shown to your room, complete with iron bars and not much other than a bed and toilet. Don’t despair though, the service is world-class and if you can’t stomach the thought of eating prison food and sleeping in a cell, there is always the daytime tour you can take.

2. Wander through Slitere National Park

A great way to explore the beautiful landscape of Latvia is to head to Slitere National Park. Sea lovers will enjoy the coastline complete with sandy beaches and long chains of dunes. There are several trails throughout the park whether you are hiking, driving or cycling. Those looking for wildlife can come face to face with rare and protected reptiles such as swamp turtles and copperheads.

It is worth checking out the Slitere lighthouse that is located on the steep slope of the Blue Hills as it’s the second oldest Latvian lighthouse, the highest above sea level and the furthest inland. Visitors can take in the view from the top of the forests, seashore and ships and explore the different floors which feature information on the nature of the park.

1. Adventure Sport in Sigulda

There is no shortage of adventure sports to partake in when visiting Latvia. Head to Sigulda where the opportunities are endless. Visit the bobsled track that was built for the Soviet team and fly down the track whether you visit in the winter or summer.

 Tarzan Adventure Park is a great place to take the kids as there is a ropes course, tube sliding, climbing wall, archery and more; enough activities to burn all the energy out of them. If you are really feeling adventurous though try the Cable Car Bungee Jump where daredevils jump from the cable car that glides over the Gauja River, a jump of 43m that some choose to do without any clothes on.

Discovering St. Helena Island: 6 Things To Know

It is one of Britain’s oldest and most remote outposts, isolated in the South Atlantic and more than 1,200 miles from the nearest major landmass. Welcome to St. Helena Island. For decades the only way to reach this fascinating island was to take the five-night journey aboard the RMS St Helena ship, but with the announcement of a new airport scheduled to open in 2016, there will be new ways to reach this fascinating island. This island evokes a sense of wanderlust with its wind eroded desert to emerald hillsides to lush vegetation. The surrounding coastline features 1000 feet high cliffs that have been pounded and carved out by the crashing Atlantic waves. Discover this beautiful island, what to see, what to do and how to experience this magical place.

6. Where to Stay

There are currently three hotels on the island, a number of guest houses and a handful of bed and breakfasts. During the summer months (December through March) the island is at its peak tourist time and booking accommodations in advance is a must. The Consulate Hotel is located in Jamestown and features comfortable and relaxing accommodations in an 18th-century building.

The Farm Lodge Country House Hotel, on the other hand, is spread over 10 acres with lush tropical gardens affording peace and tranquility to its guests. Bed and Breakfasts include the Sleepy Hollow B&B located just outside of Jamestown and Willowdene, an establishment based upon a coffee plantation. Visitors are welcomed to all hotels, guesthouses, and others with open arms on this island.

Via lochielbute.wordpress.com

5. Where to Eat

There are a surprising number of restaurants and pubs to be found on this small island and across the board, the atmosphere is generally informal and children are welcome. Whether you are looking for a coffee shop, take-out or a more sit down formal restaurant, you can find it here. If you are looking for great local fare head to Tasty Bites, a relatively new joint that opened in 2014. Patrons can dine on local produce including meat, fish and locally grown veggies along with snagging some of the best sunset views on the island.

If you are looking to score some incredible coffee head to the St Helena Coffee Shop where owners have been growing coffee on the island for 20 years. Offering light lunches, breakfast and afternoon tea, this is the place to be to snag a great cup of joe. The best part about all the places to eat here is that you will be fully surrounded by some pretty epic scenery.

Via St Helena Tourism

4. Explore Jamestown

Jamestown, the island’s capital can keep you occupied for a few days with all that it offers. To start your day, make sure to head to the Museum of Saint Helena where you can learn all about the islands history and natural history. Located in a 19th-century warehouse, the hours are limited so make sure you check before going. The information is up to date and the installations are stunning. If you are feeling adventurous head over to Jacob’s Ladder, a somewhat misnamed staircase that is said to have 699 stairs.

The ladder is a heck of a climb, the stairs are high and although there are railings, there are no landings for the entire length. You may want to snag a local kid and ask them to teach you how to slide down the railing in order to reach the bottom faster. Other attractions in Jamestown include the Heart-Shaped Waterfall, the post office in which you can buy the most famous exports-postage stamps, the Castle and its gardens and the oldest Anglican Church in the southern hemisphere.

Via en.mercopress.com

3. Golfing

It wouldn’t be a trip to St. Helena Island without golfing on one of the most remote golf courses in the world. The course is unlike others in many ways, starting with the ground conditions. Here you will find fairways that are both weedy and patchy, as well as made up of loose volcanic earth, and double as a grazing ground for goats. The bunkers are compacted sand, a public road crosses four of the fairways and you tee off on the ninth hole in the shadow of Napoleon’s final living quarters.

Via Afristay

2. Swimming

It may come as a shock but there are no actual sandy beaches in which to sunbathe or swim at on this island. In fact, the best swimming is in the south at Lot’s Wife’s Ponds, large natural tide-pools that although can be difficult to get to, are entirely worth the trek. Start off at Sandy Bay, which isn’t actually Sandy and follow the hiking paths. There is also a public pool located in Jamestown that can be used.

Via Tales from St Helena

1. Visit the Country

Leaving Jamestown behind and discovering the country of St. Helena is a must when you are on the island as a ton of awesome things to see and do await visitors. Start off at the St. Helena Distillery which is located in the Alarm Forest. It is here where you will discover White Lion Rum, Midnight Mist coffee liqueur and the islands Juniper flavored gin. Head over to the plantation house where the island’s governor resides to take in the charming gardens, the oldest tortoise in the world and a tour of the house.

Just make sure you book your tour in advance if you want to go into the house. Outdoor lovers will want to check out Diana’s Peak National Park where many of the islands endemic plant species live. Diana’s Peak rises 823 meters above sea level and is actually the highest point on the island, and on a clear day boasts the best views.

Via Saint Helena 15.55 South 5.43 West

6 Things to See and Do in Uruguay

It is South America’s smallest country and has flown well under the radar for a long time in terms of tourism, but this year it is shaping up to be one of the hot spots to travel to. Think moments not made for tourists, the longest running Carnaval in the world, boutique wineries to explore and more. From learning how to dance the tango to soaking up the sun on the beach to exploring cobble street towns, here are our favorite six things to do in this tiny, but a fun-filled country of Uruguay.

6. Learn the Tango

Uruguay claims to be one of the capitals of the Tango and it’s hard to dispute that claim, seeing as in the city of Montevideo, the tango was danced for the first time. In the Old City, about 150 years ago the streets teemed with immigrant workers from Europe, freed slaves and fortune seekers who frequented neighborhood brothels and bars.

It is here where the tango emerged, a combination of African rhythms, Italian opera and a touch of polka thrown in. Today the Old City remains a mecca for the tango and although it’s a nocturnal business, visitors who are just learning can join lessons early in the evening before hitting the dance floor.

5. Attend the Carnaval

Carnaval is celebrated around the world but no one celebrates it like the country of Uruguay, who celebrates it for a whopping 40 days! From the end of January to mid-March, the country is decked out in costume parades, satirical comedies in the streets and contests for artists.

Montevideo is the best place to get involved as it hosts the most parades, the biggest drums, and incredible activities to join in on. The Llamadas is the two-night parade that is absolutely one of the highlights of the carnival, as are the tablado shows. Depending on when you go will depend on what you see but you can guarantee that it won’t disappoint.

4. Tour the Wineries

This country is the fourth-largest producer of wine in South America and it pays to check out some of the incredible wineries while you are here. A budding new wine route features over 15 small boutique wineries, a welcome change to the mass producers that are often seen around the world. Visitors are welcomed to these wineries with open arms, with owners taking great care to offer fabulous wines to taste, fabulous on-site restaurants and behind the scenes tours.

Make sure to check out the 15-acre Vinedo de Los Vientos where guests are treated to high-quality wines paired with lamb and beef cuts. More boutique and sophisticated is Bodega Bouza which overlooks the white sands of Punta del Este, one of South America’s hippest beach resort towns. Each bottle they produce lists the wine’s vintage, number of barrels used in the marking and quantity of bottles produced.

3. Explore Colonia del Sacramento

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is full of old colonial buildings, cobbled streets and quaint restaurants. Exploring the town only takes about a day and can easily be done on foot, although there are many shops that rent bicycles and scooters. The main attraction here is most definitely the historic center and the eight small museums you can visit for just one price.

Make sure to check out the Museo Municipal for its electric collection of treasures including a scale model of Colonia and a whale skeleton. One of the favorite things to do in this town is eat, due to the high number of restaurants that offer spectacular local food. One of the best places is Buen Suspiro, a cozy spot that specializes in local wines and cheese. In the winter cozy up beside the fire or in the summer grab a table on the back patio, we suggest reserving ahead for either.

2. Hit the Beach in Punta del Diablo

The former fishing village of Punta del Diablo is one of the greatest spots to be in this country, especially if you are planning on hitting the beach. Don’t expect high rise hotels, ATM’s or flashy things here; instead, you will find a laid-back surfer lifestyle where time is spent on the beach, day and night. If you wanted to learn how to surf it is easy to grab a board and an instructor from a local shop, or if waves aren’t your thing, sit back on the soft sand and soak in the sun.

Horseback riding is popular in off months to enjoy the awesome sunsets and many visitors choose to play in the large sand dunes. A dozen small bars and restaurants line the city, most only operational during the peak summer season and a handful of hostels, hotels and campgrounds are available for visitors.

1. Stay in an Estancia

Visiting and staying at an Estancia is Uruguay is about learning the history and culture of the country, it means unplugging and heading out to the country to experience typical rural life. If visitors are looking to do a little something different, this would be it.

Seeking out a traditional estancia is important and be prepared to switch off and join in the family life as this is no party place or entertainment venue, it is indeed a real South American Ranch. Join the ranchers on horseback as you learn about sheep herding, de-worming, branding and more. Eat traditional meals, sleep by candlelight and truly immerse yourself in the way of life for rural folk in this country.