10 funny signs from around the world

Traveling around the world as an Anglophone can be pretty funny. Most people try to speak English, but they don’t all quite get it.

This worldwide phenomenon has spawned such websites as Engrish.com among many others. Here at TravelPod, we’ve got our own assortment of funny signs. Some of them more coherent than others…

1. “Don’t throw coins in crocodiles mouths”, Bangkok, Thailand

"It might cause them death"

"Please don't throw coins in crocodile's mouths. It might cause them death"

“I have a hodge-podge of various new pictures to upload, from Lauren and Halloweeen, to a festival, and most notably from when we went to the zoo! The pictures will pretty much explain themselves, and there are a lot of pictures of animals so I thought that I would give everyone a Thai language lesson with it too.” – Schipper

2. “This place danger” in Gyangze, China

"This place danger. Take devious route."

"This place danger. Take devious route."

Our final activity was a hike up the Gyantse Dzong – an old fort in the middle of town. We had the fort to ourselves not a tourist or Tibetan was there. We took it slow going up (man can we feel the altitude here – or we’re really out of shape!) but the view was worth it – we could see the entire town, the monastery, and the Himalayas in the distance. Not a bad way to see the sunset! – Carlaandmike

3. “Guests are requested…” in Broome, Australia

"Guests are requested not to leave meals unattended unless they wish to share them with the seagulls"

Rachandstu found this sign at a bar on the beach in Broome, Australia

“To celebrate being in a town, we went out for dinner at a bar on the beach where we sat with our pizza and drinks – (a glass of cold wine for Rachel – what a novelty!) and watched the sunset.” – Rachandstu

4. “Passengers Attention” – Beijing, China

Lucy_and_adele found this warning sign in Beijing, China

Lucy_and_adele found this warning sign in Beijing, China

We climbed enough steps to do us a lifetime. The older section of the wall was really cool. All rubble and broken steps. when our legs couldn’t handle much more, we went to get the cable car back to the car park. They were out of order, of course! – Lucy_and_adele

5. “Be cautionary to fall into water” – Shangri-La, China

Fredtrip found another example of Engrish in Shangri La, China

Fredtrip found another example of Engrish in Shangri-La, China

I was positively surprised by Shangri La. Few tourists here, colder weather (we are at 3200m), a lot of Tibetans and a pleasant living old city.
The city was originally called Zhongdian but some locals decided to change its name to make it more attractive to tourists. New name comes from James Hilton’s 1933 bestseller: Lost Horizon.. – Fredtrip

6. “The top of an… wha?” – Jeju City, South Korea

Jknoff22 thought this sign was amusing

Jknoff22 thought this sign was amusing in Jeju City

“If you can’t read it, it says, “The top of an election is a clean election.” Now say it as a Korean would, changing the “l’s” to “r’s” and you have an enigmatic yet very funny sign.” – Jknoff22

7. “Smoke is billowing” – Hachioji, Japan

Tothemoon found this strange sign in Japan

Tothemoon found this strange sign in Japan

I’m glad the trip ended up much better than it started, but I kinda don’t ever wanna go on vacation again. – Tothemoon

8. “Premarital sex” – Telluride, USA

78ers found this sign humorous in Telluride, USA

78ers found this sign humorous in Telluride, USA

“On our way back out to the main road, we drove on a little half gravel/half paved road through a really beautiful area. The road passes the town of Dunton- apparently it’s actually a privately owned ghost town, so I don’t think you can walk around it or anything. But the whole stretch of road was really nice, Silas and I were sort of hating the people who live there!” – 78ers

9. “The grass is smiling at you” – Beijing, China

Bizarreirishsta found this sign in Beijing's Olympic Village

Bizarreirishsta found this sign in Beijing's Olympic Village

“After our day at the Summer Palace, we made our way to the Olympic Village. We had enough time to get to it and have a snack before it started raining. It didn’t rain much, but just in spurts. The Bird’s Next is quite the architectural design, but definitely more impressive from a distance.” – Bizarreirishsta

10. “Fartshumper” – Olderfjord, Norway

Marksadventures loves Norwegian signs

Marksadventures loves Norwegian signs

“This is the only photo worthy of being shown today….another funny Norwegian sign!” – Marksadventures

Cool stuff Featured blogs

50 places to see before you die

BBC came up with a list of 50 places to see before you die and see them you did! TravelPod bloggers have covered all of them. How many places have you seen? Will you see them all before you die? I’ve seen 11, how about you?

1. Grand Canyon

Willandluce on Guano Point in the Grand Canyon

Willandluce on Guano Point in the Grand Canyon

We woke up just in time to catch our transfer to Boulder City from where we boarded a small prop plane and after a bumpy flight over the Hoover Dam, landed at the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. There waiting for us was a helicpoter which then took us down the 4,000 foot drop into the pits of the Canyon and landed us on the banks of the Colorado River. – Willandluce

2. Great Barrier Reef

Stevenmoody snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef

Stevenmoody snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef

We had a total of 3 stops each with about an hour to an hour and a half free time to snorkel around the area. It was amazing to think I was 60 km away from land and I was snorkeling in the ocean which was only 10 meters deep where we were! Saw so many amazing things in the water including the Nemo and Doris fish! A turtle and a Shark!!! I tried to swim close enough to shark and got within about 15 foot of it and just about got a picture. – Stevenmoody

3. Florida

Lgthib at Sanibel Island, Florida

Lgthib at Sanibel Island, Florida

While walking over the inland waterway to get to Bowman Beach, the girls spotted a manatee and watched it amble under the foot bridge we were on and swim off into the distance. The tide was too high for great shelling today on the sand, but Bri & Gabi went in the water and dove for shells, finding lots of nice treasures. Squadrons of pelicans flew low across the waves, and groups of White Ibises marched along the wet sand probing for food with their long, downward curving bills. – Lgthib

4. South Island, New Zealand

Leehorscraft and friends on the South Island

Leehorscraft and friends on the South Island

We arrived at Lake Rotoiti, which was mind blowing, possibly my favourite bit of scenery in NZ. The lake is beautiful, surrounded by gorgeous snow-capped mountains. It took my breath away. – Leehorscraft

5. Cape Town

Horvathck1 climbing to the top of Lion's Head Mountain

Horvathck1 climbing to the top of Lion's Head Mountain

Today after work the interns arranged a hike up Lion’s Head mountain because of the full moon. It is apparently tradition here in Cape Town. The trail wraps around the whole mountain, beginning as gravel/clay paths, and ending with large boulders you must climb with ladders, chains, and just your bare hands and feet (with shoes, of course). It was a challenging but REALLY fun hike, and the view from the top was my favorite thing I’ve seen yet!!!! There was a group of South Africans singing at the top–it was an incredible experience. We just sat, talked, and watched the sun set and the full moon come up, while eating some bread and cheese, and some brought wine. To be sitting at the edge by myself, thousands of feet above the city, legs dangling, and watching the golden/orange ball sink under the horizon of the ocean was probably a highlight of my life so far — a moment I will never forget. The beauty of God displayed in his creation tonight honestly left me speechless. I wish I could wallpaper my room with that 360 degree view. – Horvathck1

6. Golden Temple

Nomadic1 at India's Golden Temple

Nomadic1 at India's Golden Temple

Once you enter the complex you find yourself in a massive high walled courtyard with a huge, square pool of water in it that takes up all but the edges of the courtyard. In the center of that pool sits the aptly named Golden Temple. It was just after mid-day and the sun was shining brightly causing the gold covered temple to gleam. Supposedly, the temple is gilded with over 750 kilograms of pure gold. It certainly looked it from where I was standing. – Nomadic1

7. Las Vegas

Kirstine of Andyandkirstine outside her hotel in Las Vegas

Kirstine of Andyandkirstine outside her hotel in Las Vegas

It’s entertainment at its most vulgar. It’s the only place I have ever visited in the world where it seems you can get anything you want at any minute of the day. Just walking up the street slurping on our yard of frozen margarita in novelty glasses, we saw a midget elvis shaking his pelvis in the street and a rap-off eight mile style which was being filmed..awesome. – Andyandkirstine

8. Sydney

Tracymiller visited many of the sights in Sydney

Tracymiller visited many of the sights in Sydney

I made my way to the water where there are an array of different harbours. I found myself in Darling harbour to start which is quite touristy but very pleasant and picturesque. This is where i spent most of the day, just taking in the sights such as the Maritime museum, the aquarium…which i usually don’t bother with but was well worth it with a grand display of sharks, dugong, sting rays, plethora of fish and what not…all in a huge walk-in aquarium, so that itself took 2 hrs. And the rest of the time just took pictures of the harbour, and enjoyed the sun and the waterside cafes. Then i walked to Port Jackson harbour where the iconic Sydney Opera House is, for dusk to get some pictures…was a bit slow as it was dark by the time i found it. – Tracymiller

9. New York City

Pelooyen under the Brooklyn Bridge

Pelooyen under the Brooklyn Bridge

Sitting under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn side. The view is PHENOMENAL. I have always wanted to be here and now I am here. I just sit and soak up the view, as well as take lots of artsy photos. I am amused and fascinated by a orthodox jewish school excursion who are taking the kids to see the bridge for the first time. – Pelooyen

10. Taj Mahal

Martininindia in front of the Taj Mahal

Martininindia in front of the Taj Mahal

I’m not exactly the most euphoric person out there, but the Taj Mahal is simply marvelous. We went at 6am before the tourist crowds arrived. The white palace looks exactly like on pictures, but there is something hypnotizing about the monument that doesn’t let you take your eyes off it. Kipling called it “the embodiment of all things pure”, for me it’s more the emanation of perfect harmony. No matter from what angle or distance you look at it, it always looks balanced and never overbearing or pretentious. Anyways, in the morning light, you can see the countless nuances of the white marble; every single building block and every gem in the marble inlay unique, but as a collective the perfect unity – ‘e pluribus unum’. I don’t want to push the analogies to far, but I get a similar sense when I look at an Indian bazaar or busy street: ordered chaos. – Martininindia

11. Canadian Rockies

Mady142's three sisters in front of the "Three Sisters" mountain range

Mady142's three sisters in front of the "Three Sisters" mountain range

We drove to Canmore so that I could get a photo I’ve wanted to get since I was in Banff with Mike in 2004. The 3 sisters in front of The Three Sisters mountain range. – Mady142

12. Uluru

Kkherbst and friends at Uluru

Kkherbst and friends at Uluru

Then we checked out the cultural center briefly before doing a very short into walk at Ayers Rock. That’s the large rock you always see when they advertise Australia. We watched the sun go down on it while drinking some beers and having some quality relaxation time before heading to the local grocery store to pick up candies for the night. – Kkherbst

13. Chichen Itza

Claraz8's family at Chichen Itza before her wedding

Claraz8's family at Chichen Itza before her wedding

Leading up to our wedding celebration we had a week packed with amazing adventures. Friends and family began arriving on Saturday the 20th and we had a blast. From scuba diving off the Isla reef, to dinner in Playa del Carmen, to Chichen Itza and cenotes on Wednesday, and good old fashioned lounging around at the beautiful Le Meridien pool the week could not have been any better. – Claraz8

14. Machu Picchu

Codownsean at Machu Picchu

Codownsean at Machu Picchu

It is breathtaking and awe inspiring and I really just cannot beging to take in what I’m looking at. The sense of expectation after the 4 day hike and the sense of reward are conflicting and I just find it so hard to take in. We carry on down the trek – stopping at every corner for a different photo. Truly unbelievable and already – this has become the new highlight of the trip. Surely nothing else can surpass this. – Codownsean

15. Niagara Falls

Reneltrek enjoying the sunshine in Niagara Falls

Reneltrek enjoying the sunshine in Niagara Falls

The Canadian side has the best views. The city is one big roadside attraction. I have not seen so many people since Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It was an international crowd; we didn’t hear a lot of English. The Falls are a natural spectacle surrounded by a carnival. At night they had fireworks and a light show. It was a fun 4th. Niagara Falls should be experienced once in a life time. – Reneltrek

16. Petra

Richymariner at the monastery in Petra

Richymariner at the monastery in Petra

Today the tour took us to the insanely vast site of Petra. The place is huge, and walking through the Siq tothe treasury is worth the price of admission alone! It is very popular and as such the best photos without too many people can be obtained later in the day (when the light is better anyway). Also took in the Royal Tombs (had a geek out moment with the scene from Mortal Kombat 2!) and took the long (but definitely worthwhile) walk up to the monastery and sacrificial high places. – Richymariner

17. The Great Pyramid of Giza

Kmidgette on the Great Pyramid

Kmidgette on the Great Pyramid

Giza was amazing! The site contains the Pyramids of Menkaure, Khafre, Khufu, and six smaller Queens pyramids. I was able to climb all the way up to the sarcophagus rooms of both the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Pyramid of Khafre. Giza also includes some smaller tombs including the Tomb of Seshemnufer IV and Senegemib. This is also were you find the Sphinx. I hired a camel so that I could go off into the desert for a great view back at the pyramids! What an awesome experience! – Kmidgette

18. Venezia

Jamierand enjoying the canal views in Venezia

Jamierand enjoying the canal views in Venezia

We spent most of our time just wandering the streets on foot. We walked across the Rialto Bridge to the Rialto district where we found the outdoor markets. That is where we did most of our shopping, and enjoyed some excellent dinners of homemade basil ravioli, and excellent fresh produce. There are also a lot of fish vendors selling pretty much anything you can imagine. It’s a little tough to look at the waters around Venice and then go eat seafood. Not exactly the crystal clear seas we saw on the other side of the country. – Jamierand

19. Maldives

Eastcoastrod and his wife in Maldives

Eastcoastrod and his wife in Maldives

The resort was spread out over two islands, consisting of a combination of beach and water villas, six restaurants, two bars, two spas and Maldives finest underwater wine cellar. There is also a diving and sea sports centre, a gymnasium, an inviting swimming pool, and beach chairs and hammocks set up all over the two islands; all this in the middle of the Indian Ocean with an endless horizon of sea, sky and clouds in sight. Indeed, Robinson Crusoe would have been so green with envy. – Eastcoastrod

20. The Great Wall of China

Maaske and her family spent a year on the road, stopping in China

Maaske and her family spent a year on the road, stopping in China

Admittedly, we can’t say we can recite the historical significance of each part and how, when and why a particular section was built but we stare in amazement at the sheer enormity of the Wall and see not stone placed upon stone but the story it tells. When I walk the Wall I know that far more than we think is possible is actually possible. The Great Wall was built 400-2000 years ago over 5000 km long on top of mountain ridges that you and I would not normally even hike. The wall is an inspiration to me that great things are possible when we work together. – Maaske

21. Victoria Falls

22. Hong Kong

23. Yosemite National Park

24. Hawai’i

25. Auckland

26. Iguassu Falls

27. Paris

28. Alaska

29. Angkor Wat

30. Himalayas

31. Rio de Janeiro

32. Masai Mara

33. Islas Galapagos

34. Luxor

35. Roma

36. San Francisco

37. Barcelona

38. Dubai

39. Singapore

40. La Digue

41. Sri Lanka

42. Bangkok

43. Barbados

44. Iceland

45. Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses

46. Zermatt

47. Angel Falls

48. Abu Simbel

49. Bali

50. French Polynesia

Uncategorized

100 things to do before you die, TravelPod style (Part 3)

This is part three of a 10 part series that will feature some of our users’ inspiring travel goals.

A while ago, whereshegoes started a forum discussion about 100 things to do before you die. Here’s part of the list that was cobbled together with help from the rest of the TravelPod community. What would you add to it?

21. Watch the sun rise from the middle of the ocean

Q09elle's photo of a sunrise over the Pacific Ocean

Q09elle's photo of a sunrise over the Pacific Ocean

There is something about water that calms people, or maybe it’s just me. Yes, I need water to survive, but there`s something more than that to me about ocean … This is a view from a town called Kozu. It is close to Odawara, if anyone is familiar with that area.Q09elle

22. See a wild tiger

It's fuzzy, but that's a real wild tiger that Indianature captured in this photograph

It's fuzzy, but that's a real wild tiger that Indianature captured in this photograph

Taking a last peek through our binoculars before we left, we heard Prema cry out that the tiger was under a tree. What sharp eyes she has. Sure enough, there it was, sprawled majestically under a tree barely a few metres away from the calf. Perhaps the tiger had been there all along while we were up. Perhaps not, or the crows would not have come near. Nor was there any tell tale animal smell. All excited, we stayed put, eyes glued to the binocs.Indianature

23. Smell the sweetest flower

Richardbarrow88 had a chance to smell sweet flowers in Bangkok

Richardbarrow88 had a chance to smell sweet flowers in Bangkok

Even if you cannot get here for the flower festival, the park is a refreshing break from the city and a chance for you to refresh your lungs and smell something beautiful for a change.Richardbarrow88

24. Help/volunteer at an elephant sancutary

Beka feeding elephants at a sanctuary in Thailand

Beka feeding elephants at a sanctuary in Thailand

Basically I had a great time and I loved working with the elephants. It may sound like an obvious things to say but they really are big! Majestic, intelligent and very funny to watch and I can understand why people go back year after year.Beka

25. Learn to surf

Romero on their honeymoon in Australia learning to surf

Romero on their honeymoon in Australia learning to surf

I got up on the board and I was actually riding the wave! It was so cool! I was the first one of the day to get up and actually ride the wave. I fell off close to shore and it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. The hardest part was getting back out to the deeper water where everyone was. I kept getting POUNDED by the waves as they would crash on me, and they would send me back underwater.Romero

26. Grow a tree

Eddakath planted trees on the barren hills of China

Eddakath planted trees on the barren hills of China

I seriously can not remember once in my entire life ever being asked to plant a tree on Arbor Day nor do I actually ever remember hearing about Arbor Day until I moved to China.Eddakath

27. Fly in a bi-plane

Jenandjeffmilum in the pilot's seat in New Zealand

Jenandjeffmilum in the pilot's seat in New Zealand

It’s amazing that in NZ you can get into a two seat open cockpit high-performance stunt plane and in a few minutes you are not just flying the plane, but are actually doing rolls and loops. The thrill of flying his own stunt maneuvers made this a highlight of the trip for Jeff. The flight was capped off by the stunt pilot taking back the controls and taking the plane through his repertoire of crazy stalls, rolls, upside down flying, and five-g loops. Too much fun.Jenandjeffmilum

28. Visit a nude beach

Chattermouth visited a nudist colony in Australia

Chattermouth visited a nudist colony in Australia

The next day we took a day trip to a local commune, complete with a nude beach, meditation centre and vegetarian café. I happily participated in all three, but I’ll spare you the details. About 200 people reside in this totally self-contained community-dreadlocks and unleashed hounds seemed to be a requisite for membership. But the food was excellent, I had homemade pumpkin and almond pie. Yum. Later on, we lazily floated down a river in inner tubes. Relaxation at its finest.Chattermouth

29. Go on a round the world adventure

Krissy before she embarks on her round the world trip

Krissy before she embarks on her round the world trip

Well the time I was anxiously waiting for had come, my backpack was packed (now that was a challenge!) and I was ready to go, at least that’s what I was telling myself! Krissy

30. Be in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day

Maw922 on St. Patrick's Day in Dublin

Maw922 on St. Patrick's Day in Dublin

St. Patrick’s Day activities were very interesting in Dublin. It is true that bigger celebrations are held overseas in America. The parade was not as big as I thought it would be and there were a lot of American bands that played in it and I did not see any Irish dancing or hear any Irish music. – Maw922

TravelPod Buzz

Top 10 blogging destinations

This year’s top 10 blogging destinations are pretty predictable. The top three haven’t changed since 2003! London, Bangkok and Sydney are your favourite destinations to blog from. Here are the rest, and a quality example of popular activities from each destination.

1. London

Latest quality entry: “London” – London, United Kingdom

Gfleming's view of Big Ben

Gfleming's view of Big Ben

Gfleming spent an inexpensive and classic weekend in London, paying only £14 for a bus ride there.

2. Bangkok

Latest quality entry: “Bangkok!” – Bangkok, Thailand

Jimandnat at the Royal Palace

Jimandnat at the Royal Palace

Jimandnat did the rounds in Bangkok, visiting the Royal Palace, the Reclining Buddha and Chatuchak Market.

3. Sydney

Latest quality entry: “Sydney’s where it’s at!” – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Danstrip2009 at Sydney Harbour

Danstrip2009 at Sydney Harbour

Danstrip2009 marvelled at Sydney Harbour and at the architecture of the Sydney Opera House, on her way to the beach.

4. Paris

Latest quality entry: “First few weeks in Paris” – Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Samchalmers in Paris

Samchalmers in Paris

Samchalmers toured the French Alps, saw the Eiffel Tower and took a trip down the Seine River.

5. Beijing

Latest quality entry: “The Forbidden City” – Beijing, China

Scottshangguan in the Forbidden City

Scottshangguan in the Forbidden City

Scottshangguan is one of TravelPod’s Local Experts for China. He loves Beijing and the Forbidden City, a must see for visitors to China.

6. Buenos Aires

Latest quality entry: “Bienvenido a Argentina” – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tango dancers in Buenos Aires

Tango dancers in Buenos Aires

Vicky193 saw some tango dancers and visited La Boca, Recoleta, Palermo and San Telmo. She mentions she was warned of rampant crime, but witnessed none.

7. Singapore

Latest quality entry: “Singapore so far” – Singapore, Singapore

Tumblehome at the National Orchid Garden

Tumblehome at the National Orchid Garden

Tumblehome visited the National Orchid Garden and took in the sights of the city from a river tour last week.

8. Rome

Latest quality entry: “Rome” – Rome, Italy

Coreythess choosing gelato

Coreythess choosing gelato

Coreythess hit all the major sites in Rome, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Forum. Oh yes, and of course, he sampled the gelato.

9. Melbourne

Latest quality entry: “Getting to Oz and first days in Melbourne” – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Kkherbst and Dame Edna

Kkherbst and Dame Edna

Kkherbst hung out in Federation Square, met some “quokkas” and enjoyed all the free amenities for tourists, including a free 1.5 hour tram tour of the city.

10. Auckland

Latest quality entry: “Ode to a Lost Love” – Auckland, South Island, New Zealand

Elopfamily dropping his ring!

Elopfamily dropping his ring!

Elopfamily had an extreme adventure, traveling throughout New Zealand for seven weeks. They saw glaciers, went camping, hiking, bungee jumping and generally had a blast.

Looking back at the top 10 places you’ve blogged from in the last few years, not much has changed. Your top three stayed the same since 2003!

Here’s to 2009.

Where are you going?

TravelPod Buzz

TravelPod Local Expert for Alaska: Neal Rosenthal

Nealinthailand

Alaska Local Expert: Nealinthailand

Neal is quite possibly, TravelPod’s most controversial member. He’s always stirring up lots of debate on Thai culture in the forums, talking about relationships, immigration and more. Right now, he rests his head in this lovely southeast Asian country, but he calls home Alaska. He knows a lot about the northern state, and he’s always dishing out great information about his hometown.

Why did you become a Local Expert?

I became a local expert because I love to help people who have never travelled somewhere that I am very familiar with. I’m the guy who if you come visit my home city, will take you on the 3 day extended tour just because it’s fun to show people things they would otherwise have missed. Also, at the time, no one had signed up for Alaska and thought that was a shame because Alaska is just one of the most amazing places on earth and if I could answer peoples questions and encourage them to come out to the wilderness then even better.

What’s the best thing about living in Thailand?

I think the best thing about living in Thailand is just the freedom to do whatever you want. The cost of living out here allows for a comfortable lifestyle and the cost of travel within Asia allows you to see a huge chunk of the world for very little money. a whole side of the planet opens up to you just because of your location and exchange rate. The beaches are beautiful and the people are pretty laid back usually (once you get off Khao San Road) and if i had to add one more thing it would be the food…..I love Thai food….and I don’t mean from the Thai restaurant down the street in New York City but actual Thai food.

What’s the worst thing about living in Thailand?

Living in Thailand is awesome but there are a few things that kind of wear on you after awhile. First the obvious…being removed from family and friends and all the things that you grew to love over the years. Eating a deep dish pizza, watching the football game Sunday morning with my Dad, the Christmas season in Chicago with all the lights. I suppose it’s just like being a little homesick but when you have been away for four years, it’s amplified a bit. As for the bad side of Thailand specifically….its hard to explain but Thai’s really do view the world and approach daily situations differently and this accounts for many miscommunications or false perceptions that begin to really annoy after awhile.

What’s the best thing about living in Alaska?

For those of you who dont know me, I actually live for 9 months a year in Thailand and 3 months a year in Alaska so I guess I get two entries 🙂 . The best part of Alaska is just the natural beauty that you see every day. It sounds lame and cliche I know, but the mountains and glaciers and rivers are just so abundant it’s hard not to have your breath taken away while looking out your bedroom window. The landscape is truly beautiful and if any of you are outdoors people then this is a MUST destination for you because it really is some of the last wilderness on the planet.

What’s the worst thing about living in Alaska?

Other then working 16 hours a day for 6-7 days a week I would have to say the worst thing about Alaska is the price. Everything is so expensive and overpriced it’s enough to drive you crazy sometimes. It’s a great vacation spot for the well-heeled but for the backpacker, I would say that working your way through the state or maybe just camping your way through will be more advisable. Trying to do the upscale thing here is idiotic since you are there for the outdoors so there is no need to get an expensive room. Go outside, go climb up on a glacier and look out for moose.

5 BEST THINGS TO DO IN THAILAND:

Of course these lists are personal and I’m sure to leave out something that someone else thought was amazing but hey, its just an opinion so relax.

1. Going on a liveaboard and diving the Similan islands. A bit pricey but its 4 days of underwater bliss. Some of the best diving in the world while on your off time you are living on an airconditioned yaht where you are pampered.

2. Wandering Bangkok and seeing all that it has to offer. Yes, if you have been to Bangkok 40 or 50 times then it can be a very trying place and you grow tired of it in hours but if you are a new arrival there is so much to see and do that you should not be off put by all the backpackers telling you how bad Bangkok sucks. Go see the palace…go to the weekend market….check out the night flower market….reclining Buddha….there is a lot to see for a newcomer.

3. Getting away from the backpacker trail and wandering around up north. Yes i know this is sorta vague but to really appreciate Thailand you need to get away from all the god damn farang. I thought I had experienced most of thailand until i went up to my ex girlfriend’s village and that was a whole new experience. It’s not exciting perse but its different and rural and gives you a more accurate insight into Thai culture

4. Sitting in a hammock for a month on Ko Phagnan. Not literally a month but this is just to say that it is nice to find a nice little beach and a little bungalow and just live the good lazy life sometimes. To lounge and read a book is a much looked over past time.

5. I think the most beautiful area that I have been in as far as Thailand goes is Krabi. The limestone cliffs rising out of the crystal clear water is just beautiful. There are lots of things to do here, ocean kayaking or kayaking in a mangrove forest with the monkeys. Elephant riding. Rock climbing, beach bumming, snorkeling, scuba diving. It’s a great place and if you go to Thailand you should definitely make time for it.

5 BEST THINGS TO DO IN ALASKA:

Well Alaska is a pretty damn big place (8x the size of Germany) so I’m only going to cover a few things here so please dont take this as the end all be all tour advice.

1. Going for a hike in the wilderness. There are so many trails with such a varying degree of difficulty that you will be able to find something for everyone. Get out into nature and see the beauty and smell the unpolluted air. Of course bring mosquito spray because the little bastards are viscious and always beware of bears.

2. Bear viewing in Katmai national park. The park is only accessible by bush plane and is really remote. It DOES have the largest population of brown bears in the world and this will probably be your only chance to see them in the wild doing purely bear things….such as eating, playing, pooping, sleeping. It’s an amazing experience and should be enjoyed by everyone in the family.

3. Ocean kayaking out of Whittier. This kayaking trip will bring you up against some of the most beautiful glaciers while they are calving into the ocean. you can hear the creaking and cracking of the ice as it splinters off and forms icebergs in the water below. Groups of sea otters often keep you company, so once again there is always wildlife present.

4. Denali National park. One of the most spectacular national parks in the american park system with a huge abundance of wildlife including elk, moose, bears, wolves, dali sheep, eagles. Also home to Mt. McKinley which is the highest mountain peak in north america (20,000 feet). Most of the park is closed during winter but is very popular in the summer…..again, be careful of the mosquitos.

5. Go for a scenic drive. The drive from Anchorage to Homer is absolutely beautiful and has many pull offs and trails right off the road. Adventure and beauty are never far away in Alaska and very often are found right there on the road. If driving at dusk, be careful of moose in the road. A sure way to trash your car but also not a bad way to get some fresh meat for the freezer.

BEST TRAVEL EXPERIENCES:

I think one of my best experiences was while I was in Nepal and went on an eight day trek completely by myself. The trail was fairly well used and I saw people everyday but I did not have a guide or a porter but instead was alone up in the Himalayan mountains. The scenery was absolutely amazing and the quiet and solititude let me relax and reflect upon where I was in my life. The villages and the people that I encountered were amazing and straight out of National Geographic. If you ever find yourself in Nepal, go and do the “Jomsom trek” and you will see what i mean.

Another amazing experience was when I was India I visited Varanaasi which is the holy city where people come to die and be creamated on the banks of the Ganges river. It sounds a bit morbid I suppose but an absolutely amazing experience among a totally different culture. The entire experince makes you sit and contemplate mortality and life and what happens after, which is an interesting way to spend your holiday. Varanasi is one of the oldest “living cities” and the twisting and winding corridors that make up their network of streets is just surreal to walk through. It feels as if you have traveled in time hundreds if not thousands of years.

WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCE:

Traveling India by train in 4th class. Enough said

MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:

I would have to say my proudest accomplishment would be going back and finishing university after having been arrested and put in prison while studying. Three years in prison is enough to discourage anyone but I somehow got out and went back and obtained my degree in zoology.

FUTURE TRAVELS:

I am travelling to Indonesia in March for the first time and hope to hit up Java and the Gili islands along with Bali and Lombok. Also I am currently just starting the planning for my around the world trip in September where I hope to go to Europe for the first time and then down to South Africa for diving with the great whites and a safari. I would love to backpack through southern Africa a bit so I will try my best to work that in there and see as much of the wildlife as I can. After Africa it is back to India to go to the desert province and do a camel safari out into the desert and then off to Bangkok once again. I hope it all works out.

WHAT DO I DO WITH MOST OF MY TIME:

When I am not working as a divemaster I spend most of my time relaxing and going to the beach. I hike around a bit and see the sights but I have been in thailand for so long now that I have seen most of the sights, especially on the island that i live on. I occasionally work on the book that i am writing and then maybe a nap. All in all life is not too hard over here.

TravelPod Local Expert profiles

Bangkok protests have minimal effect on travelers

The world’s eyes are fixed on Bangkok once again today, as protesters descend upon the international airport. Incoming flights are currently still arriving, but all departures have been delayed.

All is not as terrible as it seems on the news, however, if you are on your way to Thailand, life continues to go on just as normal as usual. So say some of TravelPod’s bloggers.

Tsimko took a look at the protests himself, and he left just before a deadly clash.

Bangkok protests

Bangkok protests

After a week lasting political protests we went to see a demonstration so we see ourselves what was going on. In a nutshell, members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy party were demostrating to demand government resignation. I might depict Thai political situation in more details some other time. The thing is that the demostration looked very peaceful, people more resembling someone enjoying a picknick, some of them even sleeping on the street. There was basically nothing to see, so after a 10min walk we just left. However 5 hours later happened something what U2 would probably call a Monday, bloody Monday, worst violence in Bangkok for 16 years. Government supporters clashed with the protesters, leaving one person dead and 43 injured. As a reaction to the incident a state of emergency was imposed. Anyway, it does not effect city’s everyday life.

-from “Bangkok – Part 3” Bangkok, Thailand

Leahandsteven managed to have a typical backpacker vacation, complete with a “BK” burger and lots of beer on Khao San Road. Albeit, with a few less crowds around.

Steven and Burger King burger

Steven and Burger King burger

We got chatting to the local bartenders there about Bangkok and what its like. One of the guys was telling us all about the political protests that had been going on here not long before we arrived, and how the tourist industry was starting to slack off a bit because of it. All the bars and restaurants were feeling the effect a little.

-from “First stop – BANGKOK“, Bangkok, Thailand

Richs had to take a bus from Ko Samui instead of a night train because of the protests, but other than that, he still had a great time.

Richs feeding bananas to an elephant

Richs feeding bananas to an elephant

After a bus and another bus we had lunch in preparation for our night bus. We were supposed to be catching a night train but due to the protests the railway line had been closed which was a little disapointing. When the bus pulled up, from the outside, it looked like something out of pimp my ride. The front was covered in flashing lights. Inside it was okay but I was expecting something a little better. I thought a night bus was a bus designed for people to sleep on but the reality was that it was just a bus that travelled through the night. The only added extra was a little more leg room and seats that reclined further.

-from “Ko Samui“, Ko Samui, Thailand



TravelPod in the news

What’s a Thai prison like?

Christopher Paul Neil was already in jail in Thailand for sexually abusing a young boy in Thailand. Today, he was sentenced to six more years.

What does this have to do with TravelPod? This is a pretty heinous crime, and I thought it would be worthwhile to take a candid look into what some people are saying about Thai prisons. Most Westerners found in prison in Thailand are there for drug crimes, so here are a couple of stories I found written by TravelPod bloggers.

Thai prison

Brokedown Palace's version of a Thai prison

Petercrowe and Lisa visited a Westerner in Bangkok, back in 2005. This is what they had to say about the experience:

We quickly realised that any prisoner in this prison had been sentenced to a minimum 30 years imprisonment. We got to meet Steve Willcox and had about 20 minutes with him before he had to go back. He had initially been given the death sentence before having his sentence reduced to life, and then again reduced to 33 years. He has been there for just 2 years. He told us about the reason he was there, which incidentally was for possession of a large amount of drugs, and then gave us the details of his website which has his full story. We were able to buy him various items from the prison shop such as shampoo and soap etc., as well as some food and water. Just two days after Christmas it was the least we could do for him. Some of you may disagree with this based on your own ideas of right and wrong and no way would I even try to justify what he had done, however when you consider that the worst rapist or murderer in the UK would only be sentenced to 25 years and would probably serve much less, it makes you think again about the guys’ plight. All in all it was a harrowing thing to see and reading about it afterwards just made everything seem even worse.

-from “Having a beach of Christmas and New Year!“, Bangkok Thailand

Stain, the self-described “biggest hobo” relates the story of a man he met while traveling in the Philippines

He had been sitting on a beach in Ko Chang six years ago sharing a spliff with his mate. The next thing he knows a plain clothes Thai policeman put a handcuff on his wrist and he was taken away in a police van. His friend was not told where he was being taken too so effectively no one knew what was going to happen to him – apart from the police of course. I only say this because the length of time this guy spent in a Thai prison was equal to the length of time it took for his friend to track him down – 2 weeks!

– from “Stuck in Paradise“, Boracay, Philippines

TravelPod in the news

Comfortable travel tours vs. independent travel

I just came back from spending 10 amazing days in Thailand. A few in Bangkok and the rest in the eastern I-san area of the country near Laos.

It was all-expenses paid, thanks to the Thailand government and I’m sitting here in front of my computer trying to think of what kind of conclusions I should take from the whole thing.

I saw massive anti-government protests

I ate some bugs

I went hiking through the jungle

It was a great trip, but I was frequently frustrated. It was orchestrated down to the tiniest detail and I did a ton of things in only a short period of time. I am grateful for that, but I missed a lot of the “little things” that I would normally experience when I’m traveling on my own.

This includes meeting people.

I had only one full day to myself the entire time I was away, and that was by far, my favourite day.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand was intent on directing exactly what we would see and do in their country, sometimes for our safety, and sometimes because they were worried about the image of Thailand we would present upon our return home.

Believe me though, nothing can compare to the familiar feeling of meeting with people you’ve only emailed. I deeply enjoyed getting to know everyone who came out to the TravelPod meetup in Bangkok.

When I had time to myself, I tried to get out and experience the places I was in. Away from the comfort of an airconditioned bus, you can experience the real sense of a place.

I giggled at the sight of kids watching the foreigners eat bugs in the night market in Nakorn Ratchasima. I had lots of fun teaching a lady working in a grocery store how to use my video camera. A comedian dressed in drag told jokes about me in Thai to a crowd of young bar patrons in Surin. I got lost and found myself in the middle of a real slum, on the outskirts of Bangkok. In addition to this, I met a great bunch of travel writers who have the same passion for places as I do.

This only happens when you don’t limit yourself to what’s comfortable. Step outside the box for a while and let yourself go, you never know what you might find.

TravelPod Buzz

Khao San Road meetup in Bangkok, Thailand!

Here are the pictures from the TravelPod meetup in Bangkok. I bought dinner for a bunch of bloggers in the area, and we had a great time hanging out and getting to know each other.

The pictures were taken by myself and Aor. (Aor’s are the ones that are the most interesting). Once again, thanks for the great time guys!

The next official meetup will take place in Boston sometime in late January, I’ll update you with more information right here on this blog. Stay tuned.

Anybody interested in organizing their own TravelPod meetup, just start a new topic in the Travel Meetups forum and I’ll help you contact TP bloggers in your area.

TravelPod meetup

Christina at the TravelPod meetup

Aor, Anne and Aors new TPod t-shirt

Aor, Anne and Aor's new TPod t-shirt

We made a mess...

We made a mess...

Kirsty and I, with milkshake

Kirsty and I, with milkshakes

Aor used a funny lens for this one

Aor used a funny lens for this one

Some of the crew by the fountain

Some of the crew by the fountain

Christina, Sumit, David and Angela

Christina, Sumit, David and Angela

Kirsty was very interested in something

Kirsty was very interested in something

Randy and I introducing each other

Randy and I introducing each other

TravelPod Buzz

Bangkok Local Expert: Nantawan Thikapoon

Nantawan Thikapoon, aka lunthom, is TravelPod’s Local Expert representing the city of Bangkok. It’s a backpacker’s paradise, full bustling urbanites, but still not far from the jungle and all kinds adventures into the unknown. If you’re headed to Thailand, don’t be afraid to ask Nantawan about her hometown.

Why did you become a Local Expert?

Because, in the beginning I searched the information to plan my trip then I met Travelpod and fell in love. It gave me a lot of sources. It seems I have already been around the world because of your information. It is very world wide and it opened my eyes to see how the world beautiful is.

Bangkok is the interesting place which you have to come. So I signed up to be the Local Expert in order to give you the real information about Bangkok from a local people as long as I know. I hope it would be worthwhile for you all.

Travelpod will help me to practice and improve my Engling skills, I think.k that too.

What are the best and worst things about living in Bangkok?

Have you ever heard about the traffic in Bangkok? It really is the worst!

Anyway, Bangkok has many the best things such as food, fruit, people, cultures etc.

What are the top five or 10 things for travelers to do in Bangkok?

Eat eat and eat Thai foods and fruits! You must try them yourself. Don’t trust what other people say, you must try it yourself.

Try to go everywhere by bus, then you will feel the Bangkokian “Traffic Jam”.

Shopping , Bangkok is the paradise of shopping.

Boat Trail along the canal.

Visit Wat Phra Kaew.

Massage will make you feel good and relax.

What are some of your best and worst travel experiences?

Everytime I travel around Thailand I always have good friendships and meet helpful people. That is the best.

Traveling is a bit inconvenient sometimes, but it is the good experience for me, well, I think it does not happen to me.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Every time I come back from my journey I’m always proud and think “my life is successful” because I think travel is my life. Whenever I point out and go there I will have more experiences.

Where are you planning on traveling in the future?

Yunan China, Indonesia , Newzealand, Japan, India (again) others in the world if I can. Also, around Thailand.

What do you do with most of your time?

Workout, Reading, Searching interesting places and going there.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Wake up to work Monday to Friday during 8.00 am till 5.30 pm. Go jogging, then go home to watch TV and sleep and wake up and work. It will run again and again till Saturday and Sunday. Then, I feel very happy to wake up late!

Chat with Nantawan in the TravelPod travel forums.

See you there,

Louise Brown

TravelPod Community Manager

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Bangkok Meetup, Oct. 4, Tom Yum Gung Restaurant

Calling all Southeast Asian travelers! Are you going to be in Thailand this fall?

Come out to a blogger meetup in Bangkok for some food and drinks on me!

Who? Each and every TravelPod blogger!

Where? Tom Yum Gung (9 Trokmayom Jakapong Road) in the Khao San Road area.

When? Saturday, Oct. 4, 6-10 p.m.

Why? Because I want to get to know all of you guys better.

To RSVP, email louiseb@travelpod.com ASAP, so I know how many people to expect.

Here’s a link to the restaurant for more detailed information on the location:
http://www.khaosanroad.com/directory/comment.php?listing_id=303

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