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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Street Foods You Need To Try in Bangkok

Bangkok is often referred to the best city in the world for street food and everywhere you look there is something in common; people and food. You can literally wander the streets for weeks, filling your belly until you want to burst, still trying something new every single meal. From fancy shopping malls to outdoor markets to Chinatown, this city is overflowing with street food. There is no bad thing to eat here but we have rounded up the top 8 street foods you have to try in Bangkok.

8. Pork Belly

Depending on whether you want roasted pork belly, or fried pork belly is going to determine where you get this delectable street food in the city. If you go with the roasted pork belly head to one of the Chinese-style roasters, known by the fact they also sell roast duck. The favorite among locals though comes from the Thai vendors who sell the fried pork belly, served up with a tangy and spicy chili sauce.

One of the favorite dishes that involve pork belly is crispy pork with holy basil. Holy basil is unique to Thailand and brings a fiery kick to the dish. Rumor has it some of the best pork belly comes from the vendors at Or Tor Kor market.

Via YouTube

7. Thai Iced Tea

Food isn’t the only thing that visitors can find in the city and if you are looking for something liquid, we highly suggest heading to the streets for some authentic iced tea. This sweet, thirst-quenching, delicious and refreshing drink on a hot day is bound to knock your socks off in terms of flavor and missing out on trying this would be a travesty. Thai iced tea is made from black tea that has been infused with spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cardamom and tamarind seeds.

The sweetness in the tea comes from the condensed milk and sugar that is added to the drink. The most common finish is a swirl of evaporated milk and then the tea is poured over ice. There is an abundance of tea stalls throughout the city that often add their own twist to the drink including aloe vera, grass jelly, and macaroons.

Via Edible Cravings

6. Grilled Fish

It’s a familiar scene in early evenings; roadside barbeques begin setting up shop along Bangkok’s busy streets. These makeshift barbecues are where you will find some of the best street food in the city, grilled fish. There are three common types of freshwater fish that are sold at these barbecues; tilapia (Pla Nin), catfish (Pla Duk Dam), snakehead fish (Pla Duk Yan).

The fish is first gutted than stuffed with pandanus leaves and lemongrass, coated with flour and rock salt and then grilled over charcoal. The result is perfection; just make sure to eat the meat and not the skin. The grilled fish is often served with a variety of vegetables for wrapping and chili sauce to add some heat. Head to the front of Central World Mall for some of the best grilled fish in the city and indulge in one of the spectacular street foods in Bangkok.

Via cher-ry.blogspot.com

5. Pad Thai

If there is one thing we can predict, it is that most visitors to Bangkok will head right to the Pad Thai stalls, and that is absolutely okay as this city offers up some amazing choices. Just make sure you try all these dishes on the list, not just the delicious pad Thai. Your basic pad Thai comes complete with fried egg noodles, bean sprouts, egg, lime, chili flakes and ground peanuts.

One of the most popular places to find this dish is in the Khaosan area where a variety of stalls over different choices. The best way to find the perfect Pad Thai is to truly try them all as locals tend to stick with what they know and will only recommend places in their area. Although its cliché, the Pad Thai here is ultimately some of the best you will find anywhere in the world and it’s a definite must when you are in Bangkok.

Via dalinfotour.ru

4. Mango Sticky Rice

It is perhaps the best known of Thai desserts and if you think you have tried it back home and loved it, wait until you get to Bangkok and try the real deal. The fresh mango here is the real winner in the dish, and when combined with coconut sticky rice creates the ultimate flavor. The secret to this dish is that the sticky rice is soaked in coconut milk, sugar and salt, before being soaked in pandam leaves, literally allowing the rice to take on the flavor.

Fresh mango is then sliced and put on top and drizzled with coconut syrup and either sesame seeds or mung beans. For a real treat make sure to head to the stall across the street from Soi 38, a downtown alley famous for food stalls which serves up this dish made with three different colors of sticky rice. Trust us; you will never want to eat it at home again.

Via Entree Kibbles

3. Curry

It wouldn’t be a list of street foods to try in Bangkok without the famous Thai curry on it. There is an abundance of curry stalls in the city serving up everything from red to green to penang and every other variety in-between. The greatest part about getting these curries from a street stall, they are more than likely more delicious than any high-end Thai restaurant will ever serve. Curry stands are easily identifiable in the city, with their rows of pots laid out front.

More than likely the stalls will have numerous options for curry, as well as some stir-fry dishes. Whichever curry you pick, it should come on a bed of rice and to fit in like a local make sure to use a fork and spoon to devour this delicious dish. No chopsticks necessary for this street food.

Via Pinterest

2. Sumtum

Sumtum is one of the most common street foods in the city and it’s no wonder due to its absolute deliciousness. This earthy, green, crunchy salad consists of unripened papaya that has been shredded, tomatoes, garlic, chilies, fish sauce and lime juice. The varieties of somtum vary greatly and the customer is asked to choose additional flavors that are added.  Authentic northeastern sumtum contains pickled crabs, fermented fish and little else besides green beans and tomatoes.

Thai sumtum, on the other hand includes tiny dried prawns, peanuts and palm sugar to give the end dish a much sweeter taste. A plate of somtum will cost you between 30 and 60 baht depending on the variety, and is best enjoyed with sticky rice. You can find numerous stalls selling delicious sumtum beneath Ratchathewi BTS station.

Via YouTube

1. Stir Fry

It is one of the most popular street foods in all of Bangkok, consisting of pork, chicken or seafood mixed with pounded chilies, garlic and plenty of holy basil. It is normally mixed with a fish and oyster sauce creating the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Stack this all on top of a steaming mound of rice, stick a fried egg on top of it and voila, you have yourself the perfect stir-fry.

There is seemingly no bad place to pick up a stir-fry in this city, just look for steaming woks, fresh vegetables on display and an incredible stir fry should set you back no more than 30-40 baht. Simple, delicious and widely available; it is one of the most popular dishes in the city.

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The Most Amazing Stained Glass in the World

It is an art form most associated with holy places, mostly Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages but stained glass can be found in so many different venues around the world. If you are lucky the sun will hit the glass just right, giving way to indescribable beauty and illumination. Stained glass windows aren’t just there for beauty but they most often tell a story, educate and inspire people. From the largest stained glass window in the world to medieval churches to modern-day takes on this art form, here are seven examples of incredible stained glass throughout our world.

7. Chapel of Thanks-Giving, Dallas, Texas

The most prominent and recognizable feature of the Thanks-Giving Square is the Chapel of Thanksgiving, thanks to the Glory Window; one of the largest horizontally mounted stained-glass pieces in the world. The chapel is a small spiral tower and the window was designed by Gabriel Loire who designed it to feature brighter colors as the spiral reaches its apex, becoming brighter as it reaches the center.

The spiral shape of the window was inspired by the spiraled shape of the chambered nautilus, a squid that lives inside a shell. The spiral is made up of 73 panels of glass and is one of the most unique stained glass features around the world. The chapel is part of a three-acre complex that also includes a garden and museum, dedicated to how Thanksgiving is celebrated around the world.

6. Erawan Museum, Bangkok

There are thousands of temples to discover in Bangkok but if you are looking for incredible stained glass, the Erawan Museum is the place to find just that. This whimsical museum is actually a sculpture of the three-headed elephant, Erawan, from the Hindu mythology and boasts an amazing stained glass ceiling. German artist Jacob Schwarzkopf was in charge of the project and took a traditional approach to the job, asking glass companies to use the ancient procedure of blowing the glass to produce the stained glass.

The stained glass is semi-abstract although it represents the story of the earth and consists of the five continents at the middle with the sun shining to provide energy to all life forms. Surrounding this is the ring of 12 zodiac signs and the human figure depicted in various gestures. Awe-inspiring to look at, don’t forget to explore the rest of this awesome museum.

5. Resurrection Cemetery, Illinois

It is here where you will find the world’s largest stained glass window, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Pickel Studio created this window that sits over 22,000 square feet of faceted glass and contains 2,448 panels. Work on this stained glass started in the 1960’s and since then over 1,000 new and exciting windows and walls of glass have been added. One of the most impressive places in the world to see such an extraordinary amount of stained glass.

Via Waymarking

4. Winchester Cathedral, England

In 1642 the cathedrals huge medieval stained glass West Window was deliberately smashed by Cromwell’s forces following the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, a tragedy to the beautiful works of art. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 the broken glass was actually gathered up and used again.

But this time there was no rhyme or reason to the design, the glass was placed randomly after it was determined it would be too hard to put back together. What results is a collection of colorful pieces that shine in the sunlight and tell a story of history, tragedy, and rebuilding.

Via Round Tables

3. Chicago Cultural Center, Illinois

Hundreds of thousands of visitor’s flock here each year, not just to marvel at the beautifully stained glass domes but also because of the many free public events it hosts. The landmark building is indeed home to two magnificent stained glass dome though, one that claims to be the largest stained glass Tiffany Dome in the world. In the south side of the building is that claim to fame, the Tiffany dome that stands 38 feet in diameter with some 30,000 pieces of glass.

This dome was restored in 2008, bringing even more visitors to gaze at its beauty. The second dome is located on the north side of the building and is a whopping 40 feet in diameter and features over 50,000 pieces of glass designed in an intricate Renaissance pattern. Whether you are coming here for the free festivals, art exhibits or family events, make sure to check out these two incredible stained glass works.

Via City of Chicago

2. Sainte-Chapelle, Paris

This royal medieval Gothic chapel located in the heart of Paris boasts some of the most impressive stained glass in the world. There are a total of fifteen huge 13th-century windows that fill the nave and apse and despite some damage, are still in incredible condition. The windows are practically floor to ceiling and display a clear iconographical program.

A painstaking seven-year restoration of the windows was completed in early 2015, a process that removed centuries of dirt from the thousands of panels. It is best to visit on a sunny day when the deep blues and red stand out best, in images that depict Old Testament scenes and the Crucifixion. One does not need to be religious to appreciate this incredible artwork.

1. Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Netherlands

This building features a modern take on stained glass, according to designers the buildings façade is a screen of colored relief glass that depicts famous images from Dutch television. There are hundreds of panels of glass that represent images from all genres and eras and although difficult to see the images clearly from all angles, they can be seen more clearly from the inside. Described as cathedral-like, this is one of the most impressive modern stained glass displays out there.

The building itself is actually housed both underground and above ground, 10 stories’ in total with five of them being below the surface. Inside the building houses the national broadcasting archives which encompass over 700,000 hours of television, film, music and radio footage.

The Top Destinations Being Destroyed By Tourism

More people than ever before in history are exploring beyond the boundaries of their own country to take in the incredible beauty the world has to offer. In fact, tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, with over 1.1 billion people traveling internationally in 2015 alone!

While travel certainly has many economic benefits, such as providing people with jobs, it also has some negative impacts as well. For these 10 natural wonders and historic sites, the swell of tourists has begun to threaten their long-term preservation. If we’re not careful, we could destroy these precious places for good.

10. Venice, Italy

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It’s no secret that Venice is sinking, and the hordes of tourists that flock there each year certainly aren’t helping. During peak season, the picturesque floating city can see upwards of 80,000 tourists per day, making it so overcrowded that some of the main tourist attractions become inaccessible. And many of these tourists are brought to the city by cruise ships, whose traffic threatens the waterways and historic areas they travel through.

9. Great Pyramids, Egypt

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Of the original Seven Wonders of the World, only the Great Pyramid of Giza remains. At the current rate of deterioration, however, it—along with the Sphinx other pyramids at the historic site—may not be around for much longer. Many decades of mass tourism to this area of Egypt has led to irreparable damage to these ancient structures, and any attempt to restore them has only led to further destruction.

8. Roman Colosseum, Italy

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The grandeur of Rome’s Colosseum is certainly not what it was when it opened in the year 80 AD. Almost 2,000 years of wear and tear has not been kind to the structure, nor have tourists, who have been caught moving or stealing stones and graffiting the remaining pillars. Although the site is now mainly piles of broken stone, it is a historic site from which there is still much to be learned and needs to be preserved and respected as such.

7. Stonehenge, United Kingdom

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The still-unexplained phenomenon that is Stonehenge draws many thousands of tourists each year. They have, unfortunately, caused quite a bit of damage to the prehistoric stones by chipping away at them, and restoration attempts have not returned them to historical accuracy. Several busy roadways that are located in close proximity also threaten the area.

6. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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Proudly displayed on Cambodia’s flag, this ancient temple boasts classical style Khmer architecture and is one of the country’s top attractions. While money from tourism is used to restore the structure, it is one of the leading causes of its damage. Not just from foot traffic either; graffiti has been found on many of the walls. Unless the government takes action to limit tourist traffic, this World Heritage site could be destroyed beyond repair.

5. Antarctica

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This once-remote location is no longer quite so. The rise in cruise ship traffic has increased water pollution, threatening the continent’s coastline and the species that inhabit it. Fortunately, the Antarctic Treaty has limited the number of people on-shore to 100 at a time, and ships that carry more than 500 passengers are not allowed at any of the landing sites.

4. Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

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Since being featured as a private paradise in the 2000 film The Beach, the Phi Phi islands of Thailand have become a bucket list destination for many. The pristine beaches and clear water of these virgin islands may not last for much longer, however, as the rise in tourism has attracted resort developers. It seems as though Thailand is serious about preserving their land though, as another popular tourist island, Koh Tachai, was recently closed indefinitely to tourists in order to allow the environment to rehabilitate.

3. Great Wall of China

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Although it once stretched more than 5,000 miles, over the years approximately two thirds of the Great Wall of China has been destroyed. This is largely due to the thousands of tourists that walk, vandalize and graffiti it each year, but also because of environmental erosion and sections being torn down to make way for development. A lack of government funding for protection of the Great Wall mean these factors will continue to threaten it in future.

2. Machu Picchu, Peru

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Located high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, the ancient Inca village of Machu Picchu is truly a sight to behold. It’s no wonder it tops many people’s bucket lists. But such a massive influx of visitors has threatened the preservation of this ancient archaeology; UNESCO has even considered placing it on their list of World Heritage in Danger. The country’s government currently limits the number of tourists to 2,500 per day, but even that may be too many to prevent irreparable damage.

1. Galapagos Islands

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The incredibly diverse ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands is what helped Charles Darwin develop his Theory of Natural Selection, but it is incredibly fragile to outside influence. So much so, that UNESCO placed the location on its World Heritage in Danger list in 2007. In order to preserve the land and its wildlife, many tourist restrictions have been put in place—including the requirement that a licensed guide accompany all visitors of Galapagos National Park.

10 Cool Day Trips from Bangkok

Bangkok is an extremely cool city to explore and while we recommend taking the time to discover everything it offers, there are also some pretty epic day trips to take while on vacation. Located just hours away from the city are National Parks to explore, islands to visit, open-air museums to get lost in and history to discover. We encourage you to step off the well trodden path that many tourists travel and explore the amazing regions that surround this wonderful city. Read on for our top picks for the 10 coolest day trips from Bangkok.

10. Samut Songkhram

Arriving here by car only takes about an hour, or take a passenger van or the train in order to reach this small province that is not as well known as the others around it. Make sure to head to the Khlon Khon district along the coastline to visit the swimming monkeys, it is easy to hire a boat to take you there and once you have arrived be prepared for the hundreds of monkeys that swim out to greet you, just make sure to pick up some bananas for them before you head out. Also here is the Amphawa Floating Market, an evening market that operates Friday to Sunday and provides visitors with a more authentic feel than other larger more touristy markets. The Market on the Railway is something to check out as stalls are either on or alongside the train tracks, and when the train comes through eight times a day, the stalls pick themselves up out of the way.

swimming monkeys thailand

9. Khao Yai National Park

It was established at Thailand’s first national park in 1962 and is located about 100 miles from Bangkok, making it a little far for a day trip but absolutely worth it. Hiring a driver to get there gives you the most flexibility but buses are also available from Victory Monument. The national park is home to high peaks which offer incredible birding opportunities, cooler temperatures and the chance to see a variety of wildlife. Some 200 elephants call this park home and if visitors are lucky enough they will have the chance to see them as they gather around the roadside salt licks. Other mammals here include tigers, leopards, bear, various gibbons and macaques and some large and rather scary pythons. One of the best ways to get around the park once you are here is to rent a car or motorbike from Pak Chong and spend the night in the park, if you don’t have your own vehicle it is easy to hitchhike as well.

Khao Yai National Park

8. Ancient Siam

This open-air museum south of Bangkok is one of the largest open-air museums in the world and features replicas of Thailand’s most important historical sites. This is perhaps the best place to come if you don’t have a whole lot of time to visit all of Thailand. There are a wealth of architectural styles, shops and important figures depicted here. Although most of the buildings are replicas there are also real buildings that have been rescued from demolition and placed here instead. Rent a bike or golf cart to get around the area as it is quite large. The models are impressive, detailed and large enough to walk in and tour around. This authentic museum focuses on showing visitors famous buildings, temples and people, all within a serene village like feel.

Ancient Siam

7. Ayuthaya Historic Park

Up until 1767 Ayuthaya was actually Thailand’s capital city but is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is loaded with impressive ruins, beautiful temples and loads of ancient history. The temples here are absolutely magnificent and make sure to check out the Viharn Phra Mongkol Bophit, the palace that resembles the Grand Palace of Bangkok. Inside the temple you will find one of the largest sculptures of Buddha in all of Thailand. Also worth checking out here is the area known as the Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol, where hundreds of Buddha statues are located and buildings are wrapped in colorful fabrics. Getting here is easy, either by bus, taxi or joining a tour group. Visitors to the historic park should consider either renting a bicycle, car with driver or tuk-tuk in order to get around as there is about 15 square kilometers of ground to cover.

Ayuthaya Historic Park

6. Kanchanaburi

Most visitors who come to this province, located just a bus ride away from Bangkok, come for the Bridge Over the River Kwai, a bridge that was the start of the infamous World War II Death Railway to Burma. In fact pretty much all of the sites here have something to do with WWII making it the perfect place for any history buff. The Thailand-Burma Railway Centre gives visitors a great introduction of the Death Railway and its history, as well as there are two war cemeteries to visit. The most popular is the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery where 7,000 POW’s were laid to rest after giving their life for the construction of the Death Railway. There are also many notable temples located throughout the province. In the northwest visitors will find waterfalls, caves, lakes and breathtaking scenery.

Kanchanaburi

5. Nakhon Pathom

Just an hour away from Bangkok is possibly the oldest city in Thailand, the historic town of Nakhon Pathom. Take a train or bus to the site and prepare to spend an entire day exploring the sites and indulging in the delicious food. Here visitors will find the world’s tallest stupa, Phra Pathom Chedi that towers over 120m tall. It also claims to be Thailand’s oldest Buddhist temple and dates back to the 6th century AD. Although you cannot enter into the stupa, visitors can marvel at the inner courtyard and admire the giant golden Buddha on the southern side. The famous temple for the god of darkness is also located here. Wat Srisathong is often visited by worshipers who offer up eight black offerings including black jelly, black rice and black pudding. Seeing the blessing here to repel bad luck is most common.

Phra Pathom Chedi

4. Sampran Riverside

Formerly known as Rose Garden Riverside, this family-run property is a place where visitors can come to experience the authentic Thai way of life. Besides the absolutely breathtaking rose gardens there are a number of activities to enjoy here. The Thai village cultural show and elephant demonstration is a favorite among visitors and highlights include sword fighting, bamboo dancing and a Thai wedding ceremony. Other tours that can be booked here include an organic farm tour by boat, traditional Thai cooking lessons and an arts and crafts workshop at the authentic Thai village. The three restaurants on-site provide delicious and fresh choices for lunch and dinner and offer a variety of cuisine options. If you have limited time in Thailand, this is the perfect day trip from Bangkok to get a feel for the true culture.

Sampran Riverside

3. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

It is the country’s most famous floating market and located just 50 miles from Bangkok. Although nowadays the vendors sell more souvenirs than goods bought by locals, it is a good example of how commerce used to be in Thailand. This buzzing market is best in the early mornings before the crowds arrive and the intense heat starts. To get there, hire a boat from any pier that lines the Th Sukhaphiban 1, the land route to the floating market area. Sellers arrive to this market in the wee hours of the morning, with boats loaded with exotic fruits and colorful flowers; a scene that has been widely photographed by photographers all over the world. It is well worth it to hire the boat to explore the nearby more peaceful canals once you are through the market, to gain appreciation of how the locals live.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

2. Ko Kret

It is arguably Bangkok’s easiest green getaway, an artificial island that was the result of a canal being dug nearly 300 years ago. This island also happens to be home to one of Thailand’s oldest settlement of Mon people. Getting around the island is easy as a walking path runs around the entire island and only takes a few hours to complete. The main temple on the island, Wat Poramaiyikawat, is decorated in Italian marble and is a focal point of the small Mon community. The museum located next to it display interesting items such as crystal ware, religious object and exhibits of local pottery. Ko Kret is known for its hand-thrown terracotta pots and throughout the island visitors will see both abandoned kilns and working pottery centers. Order an iced coffee from just about any street vendor and expect to receive a small pot as a souvenir.

pottery ko kret

1. Koh Larn

In just over 2 short hours you can escape the hustle and bustle of the lively city of Bangkok and be on the island of Koh Larn soaking up the sun. There are six main beaches to visit on the island and a handful of smaller more deserted ones, with Tawaen Beach being the busiest and biggest, with tons of activities and restaurants. A smaller and quieter beach is Samae Beach which offers everything you need but with a more peaceful vibe. If you are into water sports there is plenty to do including parasailing and jet skiing. Renting a motorbike is the best way to explore the island as you take in the mountainous region full of lush green vegetation. For most travelers the best part about visiting the island of Koh Larn is grabbing a cocktail, some fresh seafood and relaxing on the beautiful beaches. Just make sure to check the times for the last bus that leaves the island or you will be stuck there overnight at one of the pricier resorts.

Koh Larn Beach thailand

15 Amazing Hotels Around The World For Under $100

While it is very easy to spend a lot of money when staying at a nice hotel there are some places around the world that have world class service and rooms that easily fit into any budget. With a little searching you can find hotels that offer luxury accommodations, great facilities and locations. Next time you are looking to get away for a weekend getaway, head out on a business trip or even once in a lifetime family trip, you don’t have to settle for a small room in a substandard hotel because you are afraid it might break your budget. Take some of these suggestions for amazing hotels that you can book for under $100 a night.

15. Chatrium Hotel Riverside -Bangkok, Thailand

The Chatrium Hotel Riverside is a multiple award winning hotel located adjacent to the Chao Phraya River, just 30 km from the International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. A Grand Room with a city view is under $80 and comes with a private balcony. At 60 sq. meters the room comes complete with a kitchenette and dining area, coffee and tea making facilities, bathrobe and slippers. The hotel offers a business center that includes everything necessary if you just can’t leave work behind. A 35 meter infinity pool overlooking the river with an outdoor Jacuzzi awaits along with a fully equipped fitness center. Head to the Nemita spa on the ground floor and get a relaxing massage or do pick up some items in the shops. Also on the premises is a Starbucks Coffee Shop and the Saizen Japanese Restaurant. The hotel also has facilities for meetings and weddings.

Photo by: Chatrium Hotel
Photo by: Chatrium Hotel

14. Sri Bungalows -Ubud, Bali

For under $100 you can book a suite at the Sri Bungalows. The bungalows located in Ubud Bali comes with handsomely appointed suites with a private balcony overlooking the rice terraces. The rooms are stylishly appointed and other facilities include two swimming pools, restaurant and full service spa so you can enjoy a Balinese massage. The bungalows cover two floors and are surrounded by gardens and terraces. The hotel is only a short walk to the Ubud Market and the Monkey Forest. For a relaxing stay in a tropical paradise the price is hard to beat.

Photo by: Sri Bungalows
Photo by: Sri Bungalows

13. Radisson Blu Hotel -Cebu, Philippines

Located in the second largest city in the Philippines, Cebu is a popular destination because of the proximity to beautiful beaches and laid back lifestyle. The number one rated hotel in Cebu can also be had for under $100. The Radisson Blu, located 11 kilometers from the International Airport is conveniently located near all the popular tourist sights. With rooms offering goose feather pillows and duvets the Radisson will surely please. The hotel’s restaurant, Feria, offers both à la carte options and a buffet and with five master chefs the food runs the gamut of Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean and International cuisines. The hotel has a large tropical pool outside along with a fully equipped state of the art fitness center and spa. For those staying in a business class room or suite the business class lounge is open daily. The hotel also has a 180 seat lobby bar a pool bar and a tea bar serving 21 different teas from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and South Africa.

Photo by: Radisson Blu
Photo by: Radisson Blu

12. Riad Viva -Marrakech, Morocco

Located in the city center, 15 minutes from the airport, the Riad Viva Hotel offers visitors a relaxing stay in beautifully appointed rooms. The hotel offers guests a wide range of amenities including free WiFi, 24 hr. room service and airport transfers. With a combination of Moroccan style and luxurious amenities guests can be assured of a royal stay. The hotel has a pool along with a steam room and restaurant. The friendly staff can also help in arranging tours to the Ourika Valley, a Berber village, the magical city of Essaouira or point you to the best shopping in town. You can also check out the cooking classes offered by the hotel so you can learn how to use all those aromatic spices and flavors to impress your friends when you return home.

Photo by: Venere
Photo by: Venere

11. Hilton Anatole -Dallas, Texas

You don’t have to travel half way around the world to get a good hotel deal. The Hilton Anatole in Dallas offers the business traveler or visitor to the city comfortable rooms with all the amenities. A room with a King Size bed can be had for under $90 and has just about everything you need as a traveler. The hotel has a full business center and conference facilities and also offers an ATM, currency exchange, clothing store, onsite convenience store and concierge serve. Feel like getting a little exercise? Head to the Verandah Club with fully equipped fitness center, 25 meter lap pool, cross training and boxing gym or enjoy racquet ball the jogging track or basketball courts. The V Spa is the perfect place to get a relaxing massage or spa treatment. In addition to room service there are 5 dining establishments at the hotel including SĒR Steak + Spirits serving up tender steaks and fresh seafood on the 27th floor.

Photo by: Hilton Hotels
Photo by: Hilton Hotels

10. Hotel Paseo Del Arte -Madrid, Spain

Located just a 100 meters from the Atoche Train Station, the Hotel Paseo Del Arte is a 4 star hotel in the heart of Madrid. Comfortably appointed rooms are tastefully furnished and offer a panoramic view of the interior garden or the city. Complete with desk, free WiFi, flat screen TV with international channels, and marble bathroom guests are in the perfect spot to explore the city. The hotel has a fitness facility, shops, coffee shop and bar. The restaurant serves a breakfast buffet and along with regional and international cuisine. With 260 rooms the hotel is less than 15 km to the airport making it easily accessible. The hotel is located in the area known as the Arts Triangle and within walking distance to several museums, parks, shopping, restaurants and the famous Madrid nightlife.

Photo by: Hotel Paseo Del Arte
Photo by: Hotel Paseo Del Arte

9. Century Plaza Hotel and Spa -Vancouver, B.C.

The Century Plaza Hotel and Spa is a family owned and operated located in the center of downtown Vancouver. The hotel prides itself on providing the best service possible. With a business center, conference facilities and indoor pool, the Century Plaza is the perfect place for business travelers and families visiting the city. Since opening the Absolute Spa at Century Plaza Hotel 12 years ago, the Spa has received over 50 awards and is the favorite of celebrities like Zac Effron, Elle McPherson and Gwyneth Paltrow when in town. With an ozonated swimming pool, eucalyptus steam room and relaxation lounge the Spa is the perfect place to get pampered. The hotel also features the C Prime Italian Steak and Wine Restaurant. Using locally sourced meats, vegetables and seafood Chef Bruce Woods has made the restaurant one of the hottest destinations in Vancouver. A coffee shop, salon and Vancouver’s iconic comedy club The Comedy Mix are also available to guests.

Photo by: Century Plaza Hotel
Photo by: Century Plaza Hotel

8. Sana Hotel -Berlin, Germany

The Sana Hotel is a 4 star Superior Class hotel located on the west side of Berlin. With 203 rooms including suites and apartments the Sana offers a wide choice of accommodations. A double room can be booked for less than $100 and prices go up from there. Facilities include a breakfast room, restaurant serving Portuguese cuisine, two bars, terrace garden, fitness center and massage services. The F8/eight Bar & Lounge seats 50 and guests can relax with fine wines and spirits while listening to live jazz. A smoking bar also exists for those that enjoy a fine cigar. In addition to massage services the wellness area on the 7th floor offers an indoor swimming pool, sauna and Turkish bath. The Sana Hotel is also centrally located for sightseeing with the Brandenburg Gate less than 5 km. away, as well as the zoo, museums and cultural facilities being nearby.

Photo by: Sana Hotel
Photo by: Sana Hotel

7. The Signature at MGM Grand -Las Vegas, Nevada

Located just off the famed Las Vegas Strip, The Signature at MGM Grand offers an elevated level of personalized service. Luxuriously appointed suites start at just under $100 and have all the amenities you might expect in luxury hotels costing much more. With a private pool complete with personal cabana and in suite spa services to the spacious suites with granite and marble bathrooms and kitchenettes the hotel does everything possible to pamper the guests. The hotel concierge will ensure you get tickets to the best shows and hard to get restaurant reservations and has a gourmet delicatessen on the premises. Whether you are hitting the Las Vegas Strip, spending the day golfing or seeing the sights you can relax and unwind in your private suite at night and get the rock star treatment from a dedicated staff that does everything the ensure you have the ultimate Las Vegas experience.

Photo by: Signature at MGM Grand
Photo by: Signature at MGM Grand

6. Golden Tulip Amsterdam West -Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is known for offering cheap backpacker accommodations with over 180 hostels in the city. For those not wanting budget sleeping arrangements with noisy neighbors there is an alternative. Conveniently located to Schiphol Airport and the city center the Golden Tulip Amsterdam West makes exploring the city easy. With rates under $100 you can have the comfort of a spacious room with heated floors, a rain shower and free internet access. Comfortably appointed rooms have been designed to be soundproof so guests can get a good night’s sleep uninterrupted by the wild Amsterdam nightlife. The buffet restaurant seats 300 and is open for breakfast and dinner and the modern bar is a great place to relax and have a cocktail, cup of coffee or a slice of homemade pie. The tram stop is a mere 50 meters from the hotel for easy commute to the famous sights such as the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum.

Photo by: Golden Tulip Hotels
Photo by: Golden Tulip Hotels

5. Relais Spa Chessy Residence -Paris, France

Visitors to Paris know hotels and pretty much everything else can be pricey. With a little searching you can find gems such as the Relais Spa Chessy Residence near Disneyland Paris. A premium room with free WiFi, unlimited spa access and shuttle to Disney Land can be scooped up for under $100. The rooms have a small office area and a discreet kitchen with hot plate. Hotel amenities include pool, steam room, sauna, gym and spa treatments. The Franklin Bar makes for a cozy place to relax with friends for a drink while the Brasserie Flo restaurant serves up sophisticated French cuisine. The hotel staff strives to ensure each guest gets the VIP treatment.

Photo by: Realis Spa
Photo by: Realis Spa

4. Chateau Victoria -Victoria, B.C.

Sitting on the location of a former mansion the Chateau Victoria is a boutique hotel offering a touch of opulence to guests. The hotel has a colorful past due to a parrot that inherited the old mansion that previously stood there and some swear they have seen the well-dressed ghost of Victoria Jane, the previous mansion owner, roaming the halls. Whether you see a ghost or not one thing you can be assured of. The hotel goes out of the way to make to feel comfortable and the rooms complete with free WiFi and big comfortable beds await the tired traveler. The hotel’s Vista 18 restaurant offers regional cuisine and has an extensive wine list. The hotel bar, Clive’s Classic Lounge, has been listed as one of the top hotel bars by several publications. The hotel offers in room spa treatments and massages and the hotel has a lap pool, hot tub and fitness center.

Photo by: Trip Advisor
Photo by: Trip Advisor

3. Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba -Tokyo, Japan

While Tokyo has its share of pod hotels, where you get to sleep in what resembles a submarine torpedo tube, there are other options. One such option is the Grand Nikko Tokyo Diaba Hotel, a 5 star resort located just 20 minutes from Haneda International airport on 15 minutes from downtown Tokyo. A superior Double room can be booked for under $100 during the week and the hotel comes with such amenities as an outdoor terraced swimming pool with fantastic views of Tokyo, a wellness salon, acupuncture center and has a medical clinic on the premises. The hotel fitness center is fully equipped and has trainers on staff and the hotel has several shops on site. There are eight restaurants at the resort including sushi, Chinese and Italian and the Ruy Lopez Bar stocks liquor from around the world along with fine cigars.

Photo by: Jalan
Photo by: Jalan

2. Lancaster House -Bogota, Colombia

Lancaster House in Bogota Colombia is a boutique hotel designed in the art deco style. The 4 star hotel has two bars, restaurant, gym and sauna. Gatsby Restaurant serves traditional Colombian and International food while the more relaxed Bistro 106 is a great place to relax and get a lighter meal or dessert. Relax in the piano bar with a game of billiards or a cocktail before heading up to your luxurious room. The Junior Suite comes equipped with a living and dining area, work space and kitchen. The hotel also offers a mobile spa service so guests can book a massage or just relax in the sauna. Located in an upscale neighborhood close to embassies and near the major shopping areas the Lancaster is centrally located for easy access to all the city has to offer.

Photo by: Lancaster House
Photo by: Lancaster House

1. Kaani Village and Spa -Maldives

The Kaani Village and Spa located in the beautiful Maldives offers guests a pampered option to staying at a discounted beach hotel. With a Double Deluxe room overlooking the pool that comes with a breakfast included the hotel makes a perfect base to enjoy the island. The Sampa Spa at the hotel offers tradition Thai massage as well as aroma massages performed by two masseuses at once. The hotel has a pool and restaurant and the hotel staff can arrange activities such as fishing, dolphin watching, scuba diving, snorkeling or an island tour complete with picnic. Rated number 3 out of 40 small boutique hotels by TripAdvisor the Kaani Village and Spa does everything possible to pamper guests and make your stay memorable.

Photo by: Kaani Village & Spa
Photo by: Kaani Village & Spa

10 Tiny Towns Around the World

Get ready to channel your inner King Kong in these tiny replicas of major metropolises from around the world. People might be easily amused, but who can resist the fascinating perspective that comes from a microcosmic view of the most famous cities in the world? From the Madurodam in The Netherlands to the impressive Mini Europe in Belgium, discover the miniature towns built by model aficionados in a labor of love.

10. Madurodam, Netherlands

For a miniature sized tour of the highlights of Holland, head to Madurodam, a tiny Dutch style replica of the country’s most notable historical landmarks. Located in the Scheveningen district of The Hague, the tiny city opened in 1952 as a model replica at a scale of 1:25. Discover the cherished relics of Holland, all within steps of each other. At the City Centre, visitors can see on a small scale how the major cities of The Netherlands have evolved over the centuries, particularly during the Renaissance of the 16th century and the dramatic changes following the Second World War. They also have interactive exhibitions where you’ll have the chance to enter the tiny world of a lock keep or dyke guard. Some even let you operate a traditional watermill in Water World, a fascinating model of Holland’s canal and dyke systems.

miropink / Shutterstock.com
miropink / Shutterstock.com

9. Bekonscot Model Village, England

In a remarkable preservation of rural England in the 1930s, get ready to enter the mini wonderland of Bekonscot Model Village in Beaconsfield, England. Built by Roland Callingham in his backyard, the tiny town has been open to visitors since 1929. For 80 years, people have been getting wonderfully lost in this little world filled with lakes, harbors, and working trains. Over the years, Bekonscot has been expanded and restored, making it a real-life depiction of the English countryside, complete with well-manicured garden hedges and blossoming flowers. Its most recent addition is 10 scale miles of railroad that connects the mini people to all corners of the town. Get ready to channel your inner child for a unique afternoon of tiny delights.

Photo by: Bekonscot Model Village & Railway
Photo by: Bekonscot Model Village & Railway

8. Miniatur Wunderland, Germany

Head to Hamburg, Germany to witness the world’s largest railway exhibition in the world, a tiny airport with simulation of take off and landing, and Europe’s top destinations. At Miniature Wunderland, visitors can get lost in a tiny dream world depicting the most beautiful areas on the continent, including the German villages of Knuffingen and Harz, a model of the Swiss Alps, the city center of Austria, and exhibitions of Scandinavia and Hamburg. The mini theme park is also expanding, so you’ll get a chance to see the open workshops filled with craftsman hard at work building the next tiny city. Next on the list of projects are Italy, France, and modern updates to the airport in the middle of the Swiss Alps. When it comes to the best of Europe, you’ll get to witness the mini version of the most beloved regions.

Photo by: Miniatur Wunderland
Photo by: Miniatur Wunderland

7. Wimborne Model Town, England

One the edge of Wimborne in Dorset, England, you’ll find a tiny world depicting the historic market town of Wimborne Minster exactly as it was during the 1950s. Built at a 1:10 scale, get ready to witness mini baker shops, old churches, and a model railway based on the popular Thomas the Tank Engine. One of the oldest and largest miniature towns in England, the mini world of Wimborne is a fascinating wonderland that preserves a piece of history in each concrete-made replica. The tiny-themed park includes 120 buildings, including 108 shop windows filled with post-war goods that were being sold at the time. In the 1980s, the park fell into disrepair, but luckily it was saved by a group of volunteers who restored it, turning it back into a major tourist attraction.

Photo by: Wimborne Model Town
Photo by: Wimborne Model Town

6. Tiny Town, United States

Tucked away in the foothills west of Denver is Tiny Town, a historic model village depicting a typical old-fashioned mountain town. What began as a project for his daughter in 1915 evolved into George Turner’s masterpiece that would eventually be known as Tiny Town. Since then it has expanded into a magical mini wonderland filled with kid-sized buildings, including a grocery store, barbershop, and bank. Over the years, the owners have added lakes and their impressive replica of Rio Grande F7 train, an engineering masterpiece that runs on diesel. People travel from all over for a chance to ride the tiny train, a favorite afternoon activities for kids. But even if you’re too big to ride the little train, you can easily channel your inner child and explore the intricate models and details of one of America’s tiniest and most historic model towns.

Photo by: Tiny Town & Railroad
Photo by: Tiny Town & Railroad

5. Mini Mundi, Netherlands

For Dutch charm of the tiny variety, head to Mini Mundi in Middleburg, The Netherlands, a mini replica of the historical landmarks of the Old World village of Walcheren. With your giant strides, get ready to witness the 16th century windmills, little cottages, and medieval churches of Holland’s ancient town. When the Queen commissioned it in the 1950s, it was only meant to be open for a few months, but because of its popularity, Walcheren is now a major tourist destination, especially among model architecture enthusiasts. The tiny harbor is also a delight with its 30 boats floating in the harbor and populated with little fisherman in a mini, Dutch-style fantasyland. It might be kid-sized, but people of all ages can marvel at the strikingly accurate buildings modeled at a scale of 1:20, including the Town Hall, Lange Jan abbey tower, and Vlissingen Boulevard.

Photo by: Mini Mundi
Photo by: Mini Mundi

4. Mini Siam, Thailand

In the tiny world of Mini Siam in Pattaya, Thailand, visitors can relish in the realistic replicas of the country’s most cherished landmarks. Built at a 1:25 scale, the theme park features Wat Phra Kaeo, a stunning model of the historic 18th century palace that houses the Emerald Buddha in its Royal Chapel, the most sacred Buddhist symbol. You’ll also get an up close look at a tiny version of the Panomrang Stone Temple, which is a real-life ancient relic built on an extinct volcano. You’ll also get to witness the miniature Anantasmakom Hall in the Dusit Palace of Bankok, which was built in 1915 under the rule of King Rama VI. Mini Siam also has modern replicas like the Rama IX cable-stayed bridge that spans the Chao Phraya River. It might be tiny, but it will also be marvelous.

sarayuth3390 / Shutterstock.com
sarayuth3390 / Shutterstock.com

3. Miniaturk, Turkey

Although it has only been in the tiny world scene since 2003, Miniaturk in Istanbul, Turkey is a must-see on any mini city tour. With 160,000 square feet of tiny marvels, it’s one of the biggest tiny towns in the world, including over 100 historical landmarks and notable ancient ruins. In one afternoon, visitors will have the chance to discover the mini version of Turkey’s rich historical and cultural tapestry that is literally within arms reach. Located on the coast of Golden Horn, explore the replicas of Hagia Sophia, Mount Nemrud, and the ancient ruins of Ephesus, among the other notable structures. The newest addition to the mini world is Bosphorus Bridge, the 1970s suspension bridge connecting Europe and Asia. The park also contains hundreds of replicas from the Ottoman, Anatolia, and Istanbul territories that have survived over the centuries.

Serg Zastavkin / Shutterstock.com
Serg Zastavkin / Shutterstock.com

2. Le Petit-Paris, France

The mini town of Le Petit-Paris is a remarkable one-man feat and a two-decade labor of love for model aficionado and craftsman Gerard Brion. Built in his backyard, the miniature model of Paris is quite impressive. It might take weeks to explore the real Paris, but here you can see all the highlights of the City of Lights within a few steps of each other. Amazingly, the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, and grand boulevards look almost like the real thing but are made from repurposed materials and random junk. At night the city lights up with hundreds of little lights, just like the real Paris in this magical mini land depicting France’s beloved metropolis. It even has a scaled down model of Notre Dame in all its miniature Gothic splendor.

Photo by: Le Petit-Paris
Photo by: Le Petit-Paris

1. Mini Europe, Belgium

Of all the mini replicas of Europe, the most impressive is Mini Europe in Belgium. What started out as a research and education project in 1985 has evolved into a miniature world filled with the best of Europe. At a scale of 1:25, the theme park contains over 80 cities and 350 buildings that span the far reaches of Europe, including the Palace of Versailles, the clock tower of Big Ben, and the ancient churches of Venice. In one afternoon, visitors can also witness the miniature versions of major historical events like the fall of the Berlin Wall, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and traditional bullfights in Seville. When it comes to famous landmarks of Europe, this tiny-themed park covers all the hotspots of the continent. On such a small scale, you’ll be able to see all the important landmarks just outside of Brussels.

Lisa A / Shutterstock.com
Lisa A / Shutterstock.com

10 Essential Cultural Tips for Traveling to Thailand

The beautiful country of Thailand is a backpackers dream, a retirees remote paradise, and generally speaking it’s the stuff travel dreams are made of. This exotic land is rich with tropical beauty, lively cities, and cultural history just waiting to be explored by adventurous travelers. It is also a place that is far different in comparison to the Western world, with many different practices and social norms. No tourist wants to make a faux pas on their holiday so to avoid an embarrassing encounter, here are a few things you should know about Thailand:

10. Don’t Talk About the King

Once in Thailand you’ll very quickly realize that the King is highly regarded, as made clear by the pictures of him displayed just about everywhere. Thai people are very sensitive to anything that could be taken as a sign of disrespect so to avoid this, it is best not to mention the King in any way shape or form. Also, never stomp on a coin rolling away or a banknote blowing away as it has the Kings image and stomping on it with your foot would be extremely offensive.

Thailand Coins and King

9. Hands Off the Head

Never ever touch anyone in Thailand on the head (this includes children.) This is probably something you weren’t planning on doing anyway but it’s worth mentioning that the head is considered sacred in this country and should not be touched. Similarly, try to avoid pointing your feet at other people. This is considered disrespectful, so if sitting directly across from someone on public transit, try to point your feet just off to the side a little bit.

child head

8. Cover Up When Visiting Temples

When visiting any temples, monasteries, wats, palaces or other religious places, it’s important to cover up past your knees and wear sleeves as a sign of respect. Long sleeves and pants are the safest bet to avoid any cultural ignorance. You probably appreciate when visitors respect the traditions of your own country so showing the same level of respect is a good idea. Also, when entering a building check to see if others have removed their shoes, if so better take yours off as well.

clothing thailand temple

7. Enjoy a Massage (Carefully)

It’s a great idea to take advantage of the abundance of cheap massages available in Thailand, so don’t hesitate to get a few (or more) during your trip. But beware of any massage parlors that post signs saying ‘happy girls’ or anything mentioning girls or women specifically, it’s almost a sure thing that you’re walking into a brothel.

somdul / Shutterstock.com
somdul / Shutterstock.com

6. Shoes Off Please

When visiting someones home or visiting temples or other religious places, it’s important to check and see if shoes are being removed. If so, do the same as it’s a sign of respect. It’s also important to never step on the threshold of the door when visiting someone’s home as it’s believed that the souls of the deceased live here.

shoes off thailand

5. When to Wai

The Wai is an important part of social behavior and customs among Thai people, used to express gratitude, apologize, greet someone or when departing someones home as well as many other situations. It consists of a slight bow with hands pressed together in a prayer-like fashion in front of your chest. There are many intricacies to using the Wai correctly so it’s advised that foreigners avoid using the Wai as much as possible, even if someone greets you with a Wai. In most cases, a smile or nod of the head will suffice as an acceptable greeting for tourists. Improper use of the Wai by a tourist may put a Thai person in an awkward situation.

thai Wai

4. Eat with Your Spoon

This one will be tricky for Westerners to get used to; eating directly off your fork is considered crude in Thailand. Always eat off your spoon and instead, use your fork to push the food onto your spoon. There’ll be no sideways glances your way if you remember this dining tip.

Photo by: Youtube/myruby123
Photo by: Youtube/myruby123

3. Thai Monks

There are several rules for contact with Thai monks, and it’s very possible that you encounter such a situation as monks are very open in Thailand and it’s common to see them out and about. Women must never touch a monk or their robe, even outside of temples. If contact is made, the monk must go through a cleansing ritual. If a woman must give something to a monk, best practice is to either set it on the floor or give it to a man first to give to the monk.

Monks Thailand

2. Stop at 8am and 6pm

In Bangkok, the Thai national anthem is played out loud every day at 8am and 6pm. If you’re out in a public place during either of these times, show respect by stopping whatever you’re doing and standing still until the song is over. If you’re sitting, stand up for the duration of the anthem. Don’t be that tourist walking around obliviously while every Thai person is standing in place paying their respects.

Artaporn Puthikampol / Shutterstock.com
Artaporn Puthikampol / Shutterstock.com

1. Never Lose Your Cool

Thailand isn’t called “The Land of Smiles” for nothing, Thai people are friendly and will try to avoid conflict as much as possible. Showing signs of anger or initiating confrontation, especially in public, is considered to be poor manners. Always try to keep your cool, even if faced with an aggravating situation.

puwanai / Shutterstock.com
puwanai / Shutterstock.com

The Top Countries You Can Visit For Less Than $50 a Day

With more people traveling around the world, countries are getting even more expensive to visit. Despite popular beliefs, it is possible to pick the right place where you can stretch your dollar for days, even weeks. Doing your research, opting for public transportation, and eating in local spots will all go a long way to helping you stick to your budget.

10. Thailand

Despite its popularity, Thailand has remained one of the cheapest countries to visit over the years. The north side of the country is definitely cheaper than Bangkok and the islands but you will be hard-pressed to spend more than $50 a day. Rooms go for about $6-10 per day and a meal from a local restaurant will run you $5. The picture-perfect islands are even a bargain here, provided you don’t want to stay in a luxury resort. Local buses are cheap, beers are cheap and activities and sightseeing rarely runs you over $15. It is no wonder Thailand remains a hugely popular destination for budget travelers and although many continue to flock here, there is still plenty to explore without being engulfed in the crowds.

Phang Nga Bay Thailand

9. Greece

Greece has always been a bit of a budget traveler’s paradise when it comes to Europe. The fall of the economy in Greece has only made it more affordable to visit. Whether you are choosing to visit one of the islands or the mainland, there are bargains to be found. In the past few years, tourism has actually been on the decline of this beautiful country and has dragged the low prices even lower. Street vendors will sell you fresh delicious gyros for under $3 where a huge lamb meal complete with local alcohol might run you $10. Hotels and rooms can be as cheap as $20 a night and take local buses to save even more. Stay away from the touristy islands to save on accommodations and meals and choose to visit the roads less traveled.

Athens, Greece

8. Peru

Peru is one of South America’s liveliest and friendliest countries and it just so happens to be one of the cheapest to travel in. Although most travelers come here for the Inca trail, Peru is absolutely loaded with other things to see and do. Stay in a hostel for around $10 or splurge for a guesthouse that will run you $25 a night. Sit down meals are rarely over $5 and the local intracity buses cost around $1. What costs the most in this country are the activities you do. Book last minute specials when you arrive in Peru to visit Machu Picchu at half price or explore other ruins of Inca destinations for less. Hit the deserted white sand beaches, sail the Amazon and explore a beautiful country full of happy and funny people.

Lima Peru

7. Romania

Romania is the perfect country to experience old-world charm at half the price. Although many people associate this country as a decrepit ex-Communist nation, Romania is actually full of awesome things to discover. This Eastern European country offers medieval villages, castles and beautiful countryside. The time to travel here is holiday season which is the low season where you can stay for even cheaper. Expect to pay around $10 for a room and $5 for most meals. Entrance to the museums and galleries are quite cheap at $5-10 and makes for a perfect way to explore the cities. Try to stick to the smaller towns here as the touristy ones can charge double or triple for rooms and meals. If you have always wanted to explore Europe but found the price point to be high, try hitting up Romania for the ultimate European adventure.

Radu Bercan / Shutterstock.com
Radu Bercan / Shutterstock.com

6. Portugal

The cheapest place to visit in Western Europe is the beautiful and lively country of Portugal. Beaches, wine country, historical cities, and towering cliffs make it an exciting place to discover. Dorm beds can be found for about $20 a night and an even cheaper option is to camp as this country is home to spotless campgrounds located right on the beach. Meals can be a bit pricey and the bigger cities such as Lisbon often offer the most affordable food choices. Lisbon also happens to be one of the most affordable cities to stay in a five-star hotel, just in case you feel like splurging for a night. Take advantage of the free admission days that most cities offer with access to museums and galleries, ride the cheap and efficient public transit systems and enjoy this wonderful country at an extremely low price.

Porto Santo, Portugal

5. Cambodia

Cambodia is one of the cheapest countries on this list to visit and much like its neighboring country of Thailand it offers rich history, great cuisine, and a good nightlife.  This country is also less developed and less explored and therefore comes in even cheaper than Thailand. A fully private room in a typical hostel with air conditioning will only cost you about $8 a night where a typical hotel room with A/C will only run you $15-20. Food is even cheaper, most costing $2 for local food and $6-8 for a more typical Western meal. Even exploring the jungles, the cities, and the ruins won’t cost you a lot. With some of the nicest people around and raw rugged beauty at every turn, it is easy to understand why travelers often call this country their favorite. You will be hard-pressed to spend $50 a day here unless you want to live like a king.

Cambodia Floating Market Seller

4. Nicaragua

It’s the largest country in Central America but one of the least discovered and therefore extremely cheap to travel in. That is until it becomes more popular like neighboring Costa Rica. For now, though it is easy to make your way through the country experiencing the lively people, colorful towns, surfing, wildlife and volcano trekking that will keep you entertained for weeks and all for the cost of less than $50 a day. Sleep in a hammock for $5 or splurge for a room with a bathroom for $20. Food costs just mere dollars whether you are eating from a street vendor or local restaurant. Getting around is cheap and easy, either by using local buses or hopping in the back of a local truck, an ever-popular choice with locals and visitors alike. Stay away from the touristy area of San Juan del Sur as prices tend to be inflated and there are more beautiful beaches and jungles to the north.

Nicaragua

3. Indonesia

This beautiful chain of islands looks to be expensive with its stunning blue waters and silky sands. But don’t let the pictures fool you. If you can get away from the more touristy places it is actually quite affordable to travel within the country. In fact, it’s the plane ticket to get here that costs so much. The touristy south near Ubud and Kuta are where visitors will want to avoid, as they are full of dirty beaches and overpriced resorts. Head to the rather unexplored areas instead and it is easy to find a room in a hostel or guest house for less than $4 a night. Street food will only cost you a couple of dollars where a restaurant meal may run you $6. For well under $50 a day you will find rice terraces, black and white sand beaches, volcanoes, food markets, and jungles.

Mount Bromo, Indonesia

2. India

India is extremely cheap to travel to and instead of asking how one should survive on $50 a day most people ask how they can do it on $20 a day. Yes, it is possible. Local Indian vegetarian food is the way to stick on budget with the occasional splurge on meat and you can bank on spending no more than $10 a day total on food. Rooms can be found for about $5 a night. Take rickshaws instead of taxis and local buses. The flight to India is definitely the most expensive part about traveling here but once you have arrived, everything else is truly a bargain. With the exchange rate being as it is, changing dollars into rupees is advantageous for the traveler and they are seeing 50% more money to travel with, thus making India one of the best bargain countries on this list.

India Market

1. Turkey

Turkey is a unique mix of eastern and western culture which visitors should plan on spending at least a few weeks discovering. Luckily it is easy to live on much less than $50 a day here and despite popular beliefs, it’s actually not that expensive to reach. Istanbul happens to be one of the handfuls of cities around the world where airfare bargains are the norm. Hostels will be your most expensive part costing about $20 a night but the quality is high and often includes a wonderful breakfast. Typical food such as kebabs and shawarmas will only cost you about $2. The good news is the buses run frequently and are cheap, offering the chance to explore a lot of this country. Turkey offers spectacular landscapes, delicious food, fantastic sights and plenty of things to do all for the mere price of $50 a day.

Istanbul, Turkey

Thailand Vacation: 10 Things To Know Before You Take Off

You’ve booked your ticket, made your hotel reservations and you’re ready to enjoy the glorious combination of tropical beauty, lively cities, and cultural history that await the fortunate travelers to Thailand. However, before packing your suitcase and jetting off to this stunning, vibrant country, there are a few things that you should know to ensure a smooth trip. Here are the 10 things you should know before taking off for your trip to Thailand:

10. Currency

In Thailand, the currency used is the Thai bhat (pronounced ‘bot’) which is symbolized as ฿. One Thai bhat is equal to approximately $0.03 USD, or the inverse, $1 USD is equal to about 36 bhat. Also, be wary of street people who offer to exchange money for you, chances are you’ll end up getting ripped of.

Photo by: Flickr/Philip Roeland
Photo by: Flickr/Philip Roeland

9. Tipping

One of the most common and frequent questions while traveling is deciding when and how to tip. As a rule, tipping is NOT customary or required in Thailand, although small monetary gestures are appreciated when great service is received. Tipping at the amount common for North America (around 15%) would be considered extremely generous and. The places where tipping is most common would be high end restaurants, massage parlors and at regular restaurants you may leave your loose change as a sign of appreciation.

tip jar

 

8. Power Conversion

Throughout Thailand, the standard outlet used is 220 volts, though some hotel properties (especially in Bangkok) are wired with the 110-volt outlets common throughout North America. Either way, it is a good idea to purchase a power converter so that you can use your own electronics like chargers and personal appliances without risking damaging them or even risking fire.

220 Volt outlet

7. Visa Requirements

Generally, anyone entering Thailand will need to obtain a valid visa before hand. However the regulations are different depending on your country of origin. Some travelers are permitted to enter Thailand and stay for a period of up to 30 days as long as they are visiting for tourism purposes and have at least 6 months of validity remaining on their passport. To determine the regulations applicable to you and your passport, it’s best to visit the Thailand Immigration Bureau website.

Thai Visa

6. Don’t Talk About the King

Once in Thailand you’ll very quickly realize that the King is highly regarded, as made clear by the pictures of him displayed just about everywhere. Thai people are very sensitive to anything that could be taken as a sign of disrespect so to avoid this, it is best not to mention the King in any way shape or form. Also, never stomp on a coin rolling away or a banknote blowing away as it has the Kings image and stomping on it with your foot would be extremely offensive.

Thailand Coins and King

5. Mind Your Head, and Feet

Never ever touch anyone in Thailand on the head. This is probably something you weren’t planning on doing anyway but it’s worth mentioning that the head is considered sacred in this country and should not be touched. Similarly, try to avoid pointing your feet at other people. This is considered disrespectful, so if sitting directly across from someone on public transit, try to point your feet just off to the side a little bit.

Thai Buddha

4. Cover Up

When visiting any temples, monasteries, wats, palaces or other religious places, it’s important to cover up past your knees and elbows as a sign of respect. Long sleeves and pants are the safest bet to avoid any cultural ignorance. You probably appreciate when visitors respect the traditions of your own country so showing the same level of respect is a good idea. Also, when entering a building check to see if others have removed their shoes, if so better take yours off as well.

Temple Thailand

3. Squat Toilets Are Real

The squat toilet was originally used throughout Japan but is also common in other Asian countries like China and of course, Thailand. Always carry your own tissues or toiler paper and some hand sanitizer unless you’re prepared to use the air dryers and spray hoses offered at some squat toilets. If you think about it, they’re much more sanitary than regular toilet anyway since you’re not actually sitting on anything.

Photo by: Thai FAQ
Photo by: Thai FAQ

2. Massages are Cheap and Plentiful

It’s a great idea to take advantage of the abundance of cheap massages available in Thailand, so don’t hesitate to get a few (or more) during your trip. But beware of any massage parlors that post signs saying ‘happy girls’ or anything mentioning girls or women, it’s almost a sure thing that you’re walking into a brothel.

TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock.com
TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock.com

1.  Pad Thai Will be Different

Don’t worry, you’ll definitely find this staple noodle dish in Thailand but be prepared for some different flavors. The pad thai here won’t taste like the westernized versions you get back home but it’s going to be fresh, delicious, and full of flavor none the less. You might even end up liking the authentic versions even more!

pad thai