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

TripAtlas’ 10 Safest Countries in the World

TripAtlas.com recently listed the 10 safest countries in the world.

“The Global Peace Index (GPI) moves beyond simple crime statistics alone, and looks at the actions of a government, the country’s relationships with the world at large, and the attitudes and demographics of its population.”

Let’s see what TravelPod bloggers had to say about that.

1. New Zealand

Kikiblogtrot in New Zealand

Kikiblogtrot in New Zealand

“I get to chat to local Kiwis who tell me about Christchurch and the life here, and not all of it is rosy and happy… far from it. They tell me about what they think of the racism and crime here. Something which I have to say I was surprised to hear about in New Zealand – it feels so much safer than some of the places I have been to before…” – Kikiblogtrot

2. Denmark

Pwong found the town of Christiana to be relatively safe

Twittg's friend Elisa on a trampoline in Norway

 

“Personally, I’d never live here, but the people seem to be happy and though crime has been on the rise in recent years, generally there is no trouble here.” – Pwong

3. Norway

Twittg's friend Elisa on a trampoline in Norway[/caption]“While traveling around Scandinavia, I heard people from most every country commenting on how crime has gotten worse with the influx of new immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East.” – Twittg

4. Iceland

Cariverga in front of a waterfall in Iceland

Cariverga in front of a waterfall in Iceland

“I was lodged not directly in the hostel (no places…or whatever the reason) but in a nearby home of an old man (possibly, they got an agreement with him to accommodate surplus guests).

– Man, would you give me a key?
– Why? The door is open. We never close it.

OK. So, this is Iceland. No-crime-country. Previous year there were 2 car hijackings. Period.” – Cariverga

5. Austria

Danschedler was told that Vienna is safer than Budapest

Danschedler was told that Vienna is safer than Budapest

“I had already decided by now not to go to Budapest, which had been my next tentative stop, due to the riots that had broken out there. It probably would have been fine, but Pippi told me Budapest was, “…just like Vienna, but with crime,” so I decided to skip it.” – Danschedler

6. Sweden

Monk-san at an underground restaurant in Stockholm

Monk-san at an underground restaurant in Stockholm

“Stockholm is a clean place. There’s not much grafitti and crime seems low. In fact, I noticed that the rows of bikes stood outside the central station were mostly not even chained to themselves (to stop the wheels moving) let along chained to an immoveable object.” – Monk-san

7. Japan

Sean of Seanandkat in Ueno-mura, Japan

Sean of Seanandkat in Ueno-mura, Japan

“The area is nice and there isn’t hardly any crime and so I really had nothing to fear.” – Seanandkat

8. Canada

Weilnau found Whistler, BC to be a dangerous place

Weilnau found Whistler, BC to be a dangerous place

“Left with few options, Jason went to park at the municipal lot, which was free. Free indeed, but loaded with crime. Broken glass from car windows being smashed in, littered the lot and made us feel completely uncomfortable leaving our car, with all of our belongings, in such a place.” – Weilnau

9. Finland

Whitefox2008 petting a hairy cow in Yllas, Finland

Whitefox2008 petting a hairy cow in Yllas, Finland

“Would we visit Lapland again? Most definitely, yes. The appeal of Lapland is based on nature and landscapes. The most significant experience for me is plenty of snow, the tranquility, tidiness, abundance of winter activities, uniqueness and safety. Crime rate is low… I would recommend a visit to the Lapland.” – Whitefox2008

10. Slovenia

Slipperycoconut eating horse in Slovenia

Slipperycoconut eating horse in Slovenia

“We were told that there is no crime in the country and we felt safe walking back through town late at night. I later read that there was not a single murder in Slovenia in all of 2008. That makes we want to move there. The people all seemed pretty happy.” – Slipperycoconut

Featured blogs

10 most expensive cities in the world

The Telegraph.co.uk came up with a list of the 10 most expensive cities in the world. Here’s what TravelPod bloggers thought about the price of living in each of these cities

1. Tokyo

Karana enjoying the expensive food in Tokyo

Karana enjoying the expensive food in Tokyo

Guess we must be in a business part of town, but you would never know this is a city of over 20 million people, as expected though it is dreadfully expensive. The hotel where we are staying has some shops downstairs and fancied a t shirt until I read the price tag of 238 euros. That means about $400! – Karana

2. Osaka

Globalwanderer found that Japan's transportation system is expensive

Globalwanderer found that Japan's transportation system is expensive

Public transit such as subways and local trains aren’t very expensive, however, travelling long distances in Japan can very VERY expensive! If you can believe it, a round-trip ticket from Japan to Korea is actually CHEAPER than a ticket from Osaka to Tokyo! – Globalwanderer

3. Moscow

Aubrey of Meandher in Red Square

Aubrey of Meandher in Red Square

Many of the restaurants charge for meals by weight scales are at the side of the till. In general Moscow was more expensive than St Petes by about 20% to 40%. – Meandher

4. Geneva, Switzerland

Sponger42 in front of the UN building in Geneva

Sponger42 in front of the UN building in Geneva

We arrived in Geneva late in the evening and set to work searching for the cheapest lodging in town. It wasn’t difficult to find it–the City Hostel Geneva. Unfortunately, it was still Swissly expensive, Swissly unhelpful, and–as an added bonus, Frenchly snotty. – Sponger42

5. Hong Kong

This is what Andreadd got for $1,700 a month in Hong Kong

This is what Andreadd got for $1,700 a month in Hong Kong

Now I know that real estate in Hong Kong is ridiculously expensive and VERY small — from slightly larger than a walk in closet at about 150 SqFt (15 sq m) up to the more ‘spacious’ 500 sqFt (50 sq m) options. I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I found a place for 500 sq ft smack in the middle of Central on Hong Kong Island for ‘only’ USD 1700 per month!!! – Andreadd

6. Zurich

Dfryda on the lake in Zurich

Dfryda on the lake in Zurich

Having thought that Venice was expensive I was reminded about how expensive Switzerland is, not only do they have their own currency they also have there own values!! Our hotel was expensive and didn’t include breakfast (none of them seemed to) – Dfryda

7. Copenhagen

Simru12 riding a fake sea tortoise in Tivoli Gardens

Simru12 riding a fake sea tortoise in Tivoli Gardens

One word here. EXPENSIVE. After exchange, the average entrée was around $50. We ended up at the Promenaden, which is a B-B-Q buffet. Decent steaks and chicken wings, but Jeff said the ribs weren’t great. – Simru12

8. New York City

Dandw could not find a cheap burger in New York City

Dandw could not find a cheap burger in New York City

Later we took a little trot down 5th Avenue visiting Rockefeller Plaza, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and browsed around the way too expensive stores (check Whitney’s new kicks). We stopped for dinner at “Burger Joint” (literally a hole-in-the-wall burger joint with wood floors and tables located behind a curtain in the tres expensive Parker Meridian hotel) which was rated as the best cheap burger in the city. Somehow, our two “cheap” burgers and shared order of fries with two drinks topped $23. – Dandw

9. Beijing

Jbaxter got bartering down to an art in Beijing to save money

Jbaxter got bartering down to an art in Beijing to save money

All the main stores in the center of the town were more expensive than Australian stores so I thought i’d give that idea away until Europe, but after vising the markets I got a sweet deal on a great camera. I found the best way to do it is to go to a stall you don’t intend on buying from to check everything out, look at what they give you and after i’d figured out it was all the standard retail stuff I went to a nother stall to see what sort of price I could get them down to. – Jbaxter

10. Singapore

Radiojohn on a night safari in Singapore

Radiojohn on a night safari in Singapore

Singapore was like the opposite of all that we had experienced in Asia. Clean, well maintained and expensive. There is a joke that you will see on many posters and magnets in Singapore which says :Singapore is a FINE city” with the emphasis on FINE. Why? Because Singapore has laws, and lots of them. Eat or drink on public transport and you are breaking the law, chew chewing gum in public and you are breaking the law, spit in public, litter or jaywalk and you will be breaking the law and slapped with a hefty fine and possible even corporally punished(rattan cane). – Radiojohn

Hot places

Where are the world’s most beautiful women?

Robin Esrock of MSN Travel has compiled a list of places where you can find beautiful women in the world. He’s got some strong opinions, let’s see if our bloggers found the same. We’ve got the real scoop on whether the women Robin picked are hot or not.

Philippines = HOT

One of the many beautiful women Aaronpolarbear noticed in the Philippines

One of the many beautiful girls Aaronpolarbear noticed in the Philippines


I decided to have another fun night out. I finished up the last few beers that we had stocked in our fridge earlier and by the night we went to another one of the big clubs (Atlantis) this time more sober and focused on taking pictures of the beautiful girls. Aaronpolarbear

Argentina = HOT

Pwong thought the women in Argentina were as beautiful as the women in Spain

Pwong thought the women in Argentina were as beautiful as the women in Spain

It was quite lovely sitting outside on the patio at Tito’s, under the shade, watching the beautiful ladies walk by. It didn’t take long for me to notice that compared to Chile, so far Argentina is a lot more like Spain 🙂Pwong

Brazil = HOT

Sinbadniz has a photo collection of Brazilian women

Sinbadniz has a photo collection of Brazilian women

I wanted to end this part of my travel diary with pictures of some of the Brazilian beauties I encountered. This mixing of migrants worked out well for the cariocas!Sinbadniz

Colombia = NOT

Jbs partied it up at Mango's in Medellin, Colombia

Jbs partied it up at Mango's in Medellin, Colombia

The performers consisted of street dancers, dressed up cowboy midgets and scantly clad girls made from more plastic than a Lego set. It was an odd mix but it seemed to work as the place was pumping. I’ve been told that Colombia has some really beautiful women. I’m still looking though.Jbs

Israel = NOT

Kristymatt thinks these women soldiers shouldn't be carrying guns

Kristymatt thinks these women soldiers shouldn't be carrying guns

This group of women soldiers were taking a field trip to the Israeli museum while we were there. I don’t know, but I think they just look tooooo young to be carrying machine guns.Kristymatt

Ukraine/Russia = ???

Lesliemac451 noticed this woman walking down the street in Kiev, Ukraine

Lesliemac451 noticed this woman walking down the street in Kiev, Ukraine

We have noticed that young Ukrainian women like to wear very short skirts with high heeled boots. (How they can walk on the many cobblestone streets is beyond me). The lady on the left was able to walk in that outfit, she passed us as if we were standing still.Lesliemac451

Romania = HOT

Mshields007's translator is a beautiful Romanian, inside and out

Mshields007's translator is a beautiful Romanian, inside and out

Romania has some of the most beautiful people in the world, both inside and out. I can’t say enough about all of them. My translator was Emma. She will be a model someday I assure you.Mshields007

France = HOT

Ericrg spent a lovely night out with some beautiful French women

Ericrg spent a lovely night out with some beautiful French women

Then we went out for a couple of more drinks and were just people watching when a hot French women comes up and asks if her two friends can join us. “Well, if you must” was our response. We spent the night hanging out with them and then went swimming in the Mediterranean at 4 in the morning. Not the most sober moments of my life but we had such a good time that even the wet shorts and shivers didn’t make me regret the late night swim.Ericrg

Japan = HOT

Fredtrip loved the women in Japan

Fredtrip loved the women in Japan

Most Japanese girls here are quite pretty and dress very sexy…Fredtrip

Canada = HOT

Rwk loves the beautiful women in Montreal

Rwk loves the beautiful women in Montreal

I love Montreal. In my mind you can’t pick a better place to party. Beautiful women, top notch bar service, French Canadian Theatre… what more could you want. Granted I could use a new liver by this point, but I was going to make due. – Rwk

Hot places

22 Quietest Places in the World

A little while ago, ForbesTraveler.com featured 10 of the quietest places in the world. I wanted to see what TravelPod bloggers thought about all these places. I posed the question to people in the forums and we expanded our list.

What are your favourite places to go for peace and quiet?

1. The Hoh Valley

Jwmoles found the Hoh Valley amazing

Jwmoles found the Hoh Valley fascinating

Hoh Rain Forest – A real, live rainforest, right in the middle of the U.S. (well, not in the middle). This place is unreal. There’s an area here called the Hall of Mosses that looks like a scene out of a Lord of the Rings movie. Fascinating. – Jwmoles

2. The Grand Canyon

Kristenvv enjoyed the sunrise at the Grand Canyon

Kristenvv enjoyed the sunrise at the Grand Canyon

The morning sunrise on the walls of the canyon was spectacular! The hike out was the hardest. Four miles straight up. – Kristenvv

3. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Paul of Paul_and_mandy in the "super lava tube"

Paul of Paul_and_mandy in the "super lava tube"

We hiked down into a natural bowl in the earth, a forest preserve the lava hadn’t touched — full of birds and giant tree ferns. After a short walk we came across a black hole in the earth. It’s a cave, it’s a tunnel no its Super-Lava Tube. The tube, about a 1/2 mile long, is a 500-year old lava cave formed when an underground channel of molten lava drained from its cooled walls forming a massive, hollow chamber. You pop out the other side back into the tropical rainforest. Strange almost. – Paul_and_mandy

4. Cape Cod

Sschwaiger's kids fishing in a Cape Cod lake

Sschwaiger's kids fishing in a Cape Cod lake

Our tent site had a track down to the ‘kettle pond’ so we traipsed down and had one cast into the (supposedly) well stocked trout and salmon pond, before losing the lure to a root. Matt went out 50 yards fully dressed to rescue the line while Aviva, Dan & Tom found new friends and bobbed around in the lake. – Sschwaiger

5. The Gobi Desert

Nz2uk travel along an empty road in the Gobi desert

Nz2uk travel along an empty road in the Gobi desert

Soon we entered the sandy Gobi desert (it seems to change every few hours), gusty winds creating sand waves on the road and low visibility. Quite eerie. – Nz2uk

6. The Kalahari Desert

Arjenandeline cook in the Kalahari desert

Arjenandeline were isolated in the Kalahari desert

We drove on to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, where we spent some of our most memorable nights. We had to bring lots of extra petrol, wood, water and food, as it is a very isolated park. There are no facilities and no fences, so you basically sleep with the animals. Key thing here is to make a fire (‘bush t.v.’), eat and get into your tent before it gets dark, because that is when the lions start hunting. There was a pride of about 8 roaming around our campsite, plus a single male. To hear the lion’s roar at night truly puts you on your place as a human being. – Arjenandeline

7. Anza-Borrego State Park, California

Happywayfarer spent a few days camping in Anza-Borrego state park

Happywayfarer spent a few days camping in Anza-Borrego state park

At nearly 700,000 acres Anza-Borrego is one of the biggest state parks. It is mostly wilderness and a remarkable desert environment. – Happywayfarer

8. Loch Lomond, Scotland

Justinrowe enjoying a few beers in Loch Lomond

Justinrowe enjoying a few beers in Loch Lomond

In the morning we were up early before the sun to climb Conic Hill. The path started next to where we stayed the night and it was about a half hour climb to the top. From there we watched the sun rise over Loch Lomond. The view over the lake and the surrounding hills was stunning. – Justinrowe

9. The Muir Woods, California

Goldenfrog88 in Muir Woods

Goldenfrog88 in Muir Woods

I biked to Muir Woods where there are Redwood Trees. At the top, I had to descend for 4 miles to get to the park….which meant more uphill on the way back. I was apparently the only idiot to bike there as I never saw another one of me. The trees were beautiful and just as I remembered them when I went with my family to a redwood national forest. – Goldenfrog88

10. Victoria Falls

Goodrichodyssey loved the view of Victoria Falls

Goodrichodyssey loved the view of Victoria Falls

We paid our $20 US dollars each and made our way to a view that has been talked about since man first set his eyes on it “Victoria Falls”. The pictures do not do it justice. – Goodrichodyssey

11. Antarctica

Roamingmonk went to Antarctica for their 15th anniversary

Roamingmonk went to Antarctica for their 15th anniversary

Our first landing on the actual Antarctic peninsula was at Nico Harbour, this impossibly beautiful bay, surrounded by 60m high glaciers that went as far as the eye could see and massive snow covered mountain peaks. Honestly, it´s indescribable. – Roamingmonk

12. The Arctic

Ditchthecube drove his car to the Arctic Circle

Ditchthecube drove his car to the Arctic Circle

The scenery is utterly beautiful as you drive up the first half of the highway. It winds through Tombstone Territorial Park, as well as a high plateau that leads up to the Eagle Plains Hotel, the halfway point service station. – Ditchthecube

13. Saba, Netherlands Antilles

Gemmathomas got all muddy climbing Mount Scenery

Gemmathomas got all muddy climbing Mount Scenery

After St Eustatius we headed over to Saba, as the island got smaller they got nicer and improved my impression of the Caribbean. – Gemmathomas

14. Harbour Island

Outbound5 visited the pink sands of Harbour Island

Outbound5 visited the pink sands of Harbour Island

A man riding a horse in the ocean, stuffed turtles, and holding the worlds largest coconut were some other highlights before leaving the island. –

15. Death Valley

Twinkfran found Death Valley sweltering

Twinkfran found Death Valley sweltering

In one drive we see barren plains, mud flats, sand dunes and mountains. I think the countryside of the US is often forgotten or underrated compared to the cities but it really is amazing. – Twinkfran

16. Rose Test Garden

Cgibbons18 smelling roses at the Rose Test Garden in Oregon

Cgibbons18 smelling roses at the Rose Test Garden in Oregon

Walked the gardens in the rain, and they were gorgeous regardless. The rose smell was wonderfully overwhelming. – Cgibbons18

17. Baker Beach

Yyztrvlr at Baker Beach in California

Yyztrvlr at Baker Beach in California

The beach was sparsely populated. A few kids seemed either brave enough or foolish enough to run and splash around in the cold waters of the Pacific. Most people were covered in jackets or wrapped in blankets and tending to fishing poles. Strangely there were 3 people who still seemed to think it was a good day to be naked on the beach. – Yyztrvlr

18. Gatineau Park, Quebec

Ariteo swimming near Gatineau Park

Ariteo swimming near Gatineau Park

We headed north for a couple of weeks to Tia, Eva and Mary’s cottage in La Peche township in Quebec, close to Gatineau Park. We had a great time, eating, drinking, swimming and loon-watching. – Ariteo

19. Jasper National Park

Dlpool enjoyed the view in Jasper National Park

Dlpool enjoyed the view in Jasper National Park

We spent the rest of the trip looking up most of the time at the spectacular mountains and glaciers, and reminiscing about our visit to the area a few years ago. – Dlpool

20. Lake Louise

Jess_stewart went horsebackriding at Lake Louise

Jess_stewart went horsebackriding at Lake Louise

The ride started through the woods of Lake Louise, and our guide walked us through a little history of the area and then it ended at the Lake. I could just make out this gorgeous blue through the trees, and then when we came into the open I could see Lake Louise. It’s now melted and the colour that has come through is spectacular. – Jess_stewart

21. Lake District, UK

Alanna.holloway in the Lakes District

Alanna.holloway in the Lakes District

It was finally semi decent weather and so I went for a few walks up and down lots of hills. This was heaps of fun and I got some really amazing views while out and about. – Alanna.holloway

22. Nagano, Japan

Mchao visited a famous temple in Nagano

Mchao visited a famous temple in Nagano

The main site is the major Zen temple Zenkoji. The walk up is pretty devoid of people, but the actual shrine grounds are totally packed, way more than I expected. Turns out that this is one of the years (every 7) that the enshrined Buddha is connected to a wooden post placed in the courtyard by a rope of multicolored strings. This creates a ‘direct’ connection between the Buddha and pilgrims who touch the wooden pillar. Of course this means that there’s a ton of people waiting for the chance to create this cosmic connection, which apparently is supposed to help you get a peaceful death. How…comforting? – Mchao

Hot places

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 travel videos on TravelPod

There are lots of interesting travel videos on TravelPod.com. Here are the ones getting the most clicks this month:

1. Megan’s Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Smachim took a short video in Megan's Bay

Smachim took a short video in Megan's Bay

Although the island has extraordinary geographical features (Magen’s Bay, views of the BVI, etc), we didn’t like the hectic traffic, the pushy vendors and the crowded beaches.Smachim

2. Mumbai, India

Angiedarren gets a head massage on Chowpatty Beach

Angiedarren gets a head massage on Chowpatty Beach

After saying no multiple times, Darren relented when the price tumbled and got a head massage for 25p. The masseur gave him a good pummeling. At the end, just when he thought it was all over, his head was tipped to one side and his neck yanked sharply. Darren shouted ow, Angie shouted oh, and his neck made a loud crunch. The masseur was unperturbed and proceeded to do the same on the other side. Darren felt a new man afterwards.- Angiedarren

3. New York, United States

Orizarska raised money for girls' schools in Asia with this slide show

Orizarska raised money for girls' schools in Asia with this slide show

For one night only in New York , we have collected enough money to send 34 girls to school for a year. A year is enough to learn to read and to do simple math. Imagine a life with and life without those skills. – Orizarska

4. Okayama, Japan

Kateinjapan's outrageous Naked Man Festival video

Kateinjapan's outrageous Naked Man Festival video

Eyo is a 14-day New Year ritual during which monks of the Shingon sect pray for a year of bountiful harvest and good fortune. On the 14th day, amulets (an object that protects a person from trouble) said to guarantee a good year were presented to the elders representing the people. But an increasing amount of believers began to gather for these amulets. People fought until their clothes tore off!! Thus the paper amulets were replaced by wooden sticks which were tossed into the crowd. Good fortune is bestowed to those who catch these sticks. By the end of the 19th century, the event had evolved into the current style, being held naked (not completely but rather in a ‘thong’ that looks similar to that worn by sumo wrestlers). Recently, the festival has been attracting over 10,000 naked men who thrust themselves into the crowd upon the release of these wooden charms at midnight. Despite the chilling temperature, the intense fight produces steam that casts a mysterious spell on this winter event.Kateinjapan

5. Phuket, Thailand

Surfy_sarah riding a mechanical bull

Surfy_sarah riding a mechanical bull

The night life is very good! A huge number of bars & clubs to choose from. I met a couple of dutch girls, an Aussie called Sam & a couple of Americans & have been hanging out with them. Mainly drinking at Happy Night Bar where ladyboys dance on a podium all night! All good clean fun!!!Surfy_sarah

6. Koh Samui, Thailand

Lisaandpaul watched an unbelievable snake fight in Thailand

Lisaandpaul watched an unbelievable snake fight in Thailand

Oh my goodness the snake guys are crazy, they pissed the snakes off so much and then got out of the way when they striked. quite scary.Lisaandpaul

7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Globedecker falls off a surfboard at an indoor waterpark

Globedecker falls off a surfboard at an indoor waterpark

Katie redeemed her birthday gift from me today, an afternoon at Wild Wadi Water Park! (wadi is the Arabic word for creek or stream) See the videos to laugh at our exploits with the surf rides.Globedecker

8. Doha, Qatar

Andreadd caught the call to prayer in Doha

Andreadd caught the call to prayer in Doha

This video is around the corner from where I’m staying. i was walking home from the grocery store at prayer time and I was the only one on the street. All of a sudden the muezzin’s call to prayer sounded from all the mosques in the area.andreadd

9. Oaxaca, Mexico

Johnb22 witnessed a big dance party in Oaxaca

Johnb22 witnessed a big dance party in Oaxaca

Speaking of the Oaxcans – what a friendly bunch! I’ve been met with nothing but smiles and politeness. It’s such a simple place – the town’s people seem perfectly content going about the day’s business, which, from what I’ve seen, consists mostly of two things. 1} chillin around the Zocolo {center plaza}, chatting and generally kickin back, or 2} retailing food, drink and-or clothes. – Johnb22

10. Cairo, Egypt

Aszliross took a video of the traffic in Cairo, complete with mood music

Aszliross took a video of the traffic in Cairo, complete with mood music

We ran out of time before we were burnt out, and we headed back to the van to struggle through traffic back to our hotel. There are a couple very appropriate videos that give you a slight idea of the traffic ‘rules’ in Cairo. – Aszliross

TravelPod Buzz

Top 10 places in Japan

Uktokyoite is an expert on both the UK and Tokyo, hence the name. Her top 10 list comes from the TravelPod forums.

1. Tokyo – there’s no city like it in my opinion. It buzzes and fizzes 24 hours a day.

Lduckett being silly in Tokyo

Lduckett being silly in Tokyo


We got up early on our last day to go to Asakusa. It is known as Old Tokyo. –
Lduckett

2. Hakone – check out Mount Fuji from a cable car and take a boat across the Lake – beautiful.

Sponger42 at Mount Fuji

Sponger42 at Mount Fuji

The famous mountain decided to come out from it’s customary shroud of clouds and give us the chance to photograph it. – Sponger42

3. Nikko – the Shogun Tokugawa has his grave here and it’s a massive complex – with the three monkeys see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.

Sacred bridge in Nikko

Sacred bridge in Nikko

A collection of ornate wood-framed buildings varying in size from those no larger than a a ‘Fulham Tractor’ (Range Rover) to those of several thousand square feet, all boast stunning carvings, bronzed and gold-leafed statues backed against tall, lush and swaying folliage. – Moobear

4. Karuizawa – inbetween Tokyo and Nagano this place is a picturesque postcard for the taking.

Our resort hideout for 1 week in 'Japan's Aspen'

Our resort hideout for 1 week in 'Japan's Aspen'

After camping and sleeping on floors of hostels, the beds are amazing! We have holed up in the room, since Karuizawa is a getaway for the rich and famous and we can’t really afford anything. – Jimmy_q

5. Yokohama – a cosmopolitan mix of people and culture with some great boats passing by.

Aniseh spent the day at an aquarium in Yokohama

Aniseh spent the day at an aquarium in Yokohama

We also went to a “fun aquarium” which was very fun. It was very kid-friendly, eventually ending up in a play room where there was a slide fish tank (kids could slide down the slide, while looking through the tank at fish), a jungle gym where every level had a fish tank to look at and little cubby boxes that kids could open to look at different kind of fish. – Aniseh

6. Niigata – the Fuji rock festival in summer is a great 3 days in the country and the sun.

Kalsi_kaur tasting sake in Niigata

Kalsi_kaur tasting sake in Niigata

Lily and her husband, Masahiko exposed us to some of the more traditional Japanese food which we would most probably not have tried on our own. – Kalsi_kaur

7. Nagano for snowboarding in the winter and some great hot sake.

Gregandfi snowboarding in Nagano

Gregandfi snowboarding in Nagano

Snowboarding followed by bathing in natural onsens (hot springs) has to be the perfect combo. – Gregandfi

8. Kyoto – temples falling out of its ears – you got to see Kinkakuji and Kyomizudera (my spelling is awful by the way)!

One of many temples in Kyoto

One of many temples in Kyoto

Kyoto is packed to the gills with temples, palaces, shrines and with Japanese ladies in kimonos scampering along traditional looking streets. – Tavini

9. Shibuya – an area in central Tokyo where trends are set and anything goes.

Travellish in Shibuya

Travellish in Shibuya

Skyscrapers, video projections, neon lights, total glitz. Its times square times 1000. – Travellish

10. Tamagawa River – regular summer barbecues, alcohol that flows and excellent company.

Fireworks on the Tamagawa River

Fireworks on the Tamagawa River

It’s summertime. Great to be outside after dark, stroll the streets … and see fireworks along the banks of Tama River. – Odevened

Hot places

Blogwatch: The Tokyo Parasite Museum

To further expand upon my popular blog post on the Tokyo Parasite Museum, I have scoured TravelPod.com to find a couple of our own members visiting this off-the-beaten-path attraction.

Baggagewhores don’t go into much detail, but their picture says 1,000 words:

Baggagewhores at the Tokyo Parasite Museum

Baggagewhores at the Tokyo Parasite Museum

Actually, we had a token husband throughout Japan. A Japanese friend of the family – Kazunori actually decided to stay and show us around Tokyo even after we nearly killed him when he offered to help take our luggage to our hostel on the first evening. And on our shopping trip to Harajuku, he was the perfect gentleman and insisted on carrying ALL our bags! He even arranged a trip to the National Parasite Museum, and we got tapeworm shirts and weeks’ worth of nightmares out of it!

-from “The land of Hello Kitty AKA I ate a prawn head!” – Tokyo, Japan

Cool stuff

Halloween blogs from TravelPod

Happy Halloween everybody! People celebrate Halloween differently all over the world, and our travelers know how to do it in style wherever they are.

Here is a cute story from Zolab. He’s traveling with his family in Japan, celebrating Halloween with karaoke and pachinko.

Trick or treat in Tokyo

Trick or treat in Tokyo

Tonight we went trick-or-treating with Meredith and Isa. It was weird to not be in New Jersey with my friends and I was kind of sad for a while. But then I started collecting candy and it was okay. I like to hang out with Meredith and Isa a lot. There were lots of kids on the streets in all kinds of costumes, but none of them were too scary. I got a lot of candy and am about to fall asleep now before I count it. Tomorrow we are going to spend the night at their house – that will be fun!

– from Karaoke, Pichinko, and Halloween, Tokyo, Kanto, Japan

The Halloween decorations at Disneyland Paris have been up for a while. CDspring enjoyed them on Wednesday in France.

Halloween at Disneyland Paris

Halloween at Disneyland Paris

While the US versions have kinda gotten stuck on Nightmare Before Christmas, this park had tons of “Pumpkin People” statues and displays through out the park. They even had pumpkin people in their shows. When we arrived, there was a multi-language Villians show going on in the main plaza which was very cool (Diana was loving it). There were a bunch of pumpkin people in the show that looked very creepy but cool looking. I told Diana that if the color scheme of the displays were “red”, it would be quite disgusting. However, the orange made it feel like pumpkin juice and not blood.

-from Disneyland Paris, Paris, France

Bambbles is an English teacher, working in Chengdu, China. She brought her whole class to McDonald’s and had a Halloween party at McDonald’s. The photos are really cute, and everyone learned how to say “black cat” and “Happy Halloween”.

Bambbles dressed as a "black cat"

Bambbles dressed as a black cat

I got all dressed up as one of their new vocab words (black cat) and biked over to McDonald’s, where they were having the party. I think I had a few people look at me like “what is she wearing, crazy foreigner!” and may have caused a couple others to almost crash their bikes.

-from Halloween Party at McDonald’s, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Featured blogs

Japan Local Expert profile: Honor Dargan

Honor Dargan is one of TravelPod’s newer Local Experts, and she’s jumped right into the forums, quickly making some great friends and establishing herself as the ultimate authority on Tokyo and the surrounding area. She’s got some really interesting travel stories, including getting caught in the South Asia tsunami.

Honor Dargan

Honor Dargan

Why did you become a Local Expert?

I love Tokyo – I’ve said that before – but it’s not just Tokyo, it’s everything about Japan that kind of gets under your skin and you find yourself missing it so much when you leave. I came here in 2001 and left in 2006 to go to Singapore. I wouldn’t have believed I would miss Japan as much as I did – but I did! I couldn’t wait to get back which I did in July 2007.

I would love to see more people traveling here. Many people I speak to often seem reluctant or worried about traveling to Japan. Maybe it’s because Japan was closed for so long to the rest of the world – or maybe it’s the language. I really have no idea, but it’s such a great place. I want to encourage anyone thinking about coming here to just come – check it out. Because I’ve lived here I can also help answer any questions people may have and hopefully make the whole experience as happy and stress free as possible.

What’s are the best and worst things about living in Japan?

Best – This is the most convenient city – from getting around, to buying something at any hour, to being female and not worrying about my safety every step I take. Of course the last one is within reason but it’s true. I can go out with my friends, have some drinks and a laugh, and then catch the train and walk home by myself – a thing I would never consider doing in the UK.

Other bests include the freedom that comes from being a gaijin (foreigner) within this society. Some people hate the fact that they will always be ‘outside’ – but for me it means that I don’t have to worry about the day to day stuff as I would if I was Japanese, and yet I gain all the benefits of living in what is largely a polite and respectful society.

There is culture by the bucket load here and you can take in whichever aspects of it you care to be interested in. Food! Not just Japanese food although that is a topic in itself – international cuisine is big here so you can find almost anything you want. Spend a lot or spend a little – it’s up to you.

The back streets. You have to spend some time getting away from the madding crowd and see what’s going on behind the scenes. Life goes at a different pace and has a different feel to it once you start mixing with the locals.

Worst – The occasional prejudice that you just can’t avoid. Renting an apartment is one of the classic examples of this. ‘You’re gaijin? – Sorry we don’t rent to gaijin’. This is a refrain that can soon wear thin when you are desperately house hunting for that perfect place. Add to that my personal key angst – key money. Let’s say your monthly rent is 120,000 yen (approx $1,120 US). You usually have to pay a deposit of 2 months – ok that’s not so bad but just don’t count on getting it back. On top of that though is the usual minimum 2 months ‘gift’ money that you pay to the landlord to say ‘thank you’ – yes you heard me right ‘thank you’ – for letting me rent your apartment. This gift money is gone as soon as you hand it over. Grrrr… that’s something that really winds me up.

Other worsts – crowded trains. The infrastructure is fantastic but when you’ve got Mr. Sato squashing up next to you on the morning train going to work, you can forget all the good bits and get quite anti the whole train idea! Plastic wrapping – almost everything you buy will be wrapped to death. If you tell the cashier you don’t want a bag, they go and stick plastic sticky tape on it instead. I don’t need the tape, I have the receipt! The idea is I don’t want the plastic!!! Ok – rant over.

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

Top 10 things in Tokyo:

Odaiba. Go shopping, play games, take in Rainbow Bridge, drive a Toyota or go to one of the largest onsens in the area – complete with a hot stone bath as well as the regular onsen features.

Come out of Hachiko exit at Shibuya station for the first time and just take in the life and atmosphere around you. It’s youth culture at it’s best and worst all at the same time, surrounded by neon boards and mega speakers to further confuse your senses. My first experience is still a vivid memory and one I wouldn’t change.

Get up high and get an idea of just how vast this city is. Go to the government buildings in Shinjuku and head up to the free observatory. There are signboard maps in English that show you where you are looking and what each area is. And did I mention it’s free?

Go to Ebisu and Daikanyama to see Tokyoites in a class of their own. Ebisu Garden Place screams class while at the same time firmly keeping its roots with it’s founding company, the Ebisu Brewery. In Daikanyama just up the road you’ll find loads of funky smaller shops and hip people – a great place to do some people watching.

Sumo is a must if you get the chance. Go for the cheaper seats at the top of the arena – you actually don’t want the area near the ring as these are boxes where you have to sit on the floor. It’s not long before you find yourself shuffling round trying to get comfortable rather than watching the action in front of you.

The Imperial Palace is like an oasis in the middle of the city. With skyscrapers all around it’s quite bizarre to find this beautiful area nestling in the trees. You can stroll round the gardens, take a boat on the moat, and on 2 special days on the year there’s a chance to see the emperor and his family in residence.

Yoyogi Park at the weekend is a mix of all ages and backgrounds. See what Tokyoites get up to in their spare time, take part in one of the many activities going on, or bring a picnic and chill out for the day.

If you’re traveling with kids, Kodomo no Shiro near Shibuya is a must do venue with 5 floors. Dedicated to children, each floor in this building has a different set of activities going on. If you have a budding Beethoven with you, check out the music floor. If your little one is more inclined to run, jump and climb, there’s an enormous play area for doing just that.

Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest fish market in the world and you have the chance to see it in full swing between 5am – 6:15am. There is a special viewing area where you can take in the sounds and smells of this long established trade and enjoy the noisy bartering going on around you. Don’t forget to try some super fresh sushi while you’re there.

Ueno has a host of museums, a large park and a zoo so is a great day out for the family. In spring time the park is especially worth a visit as this is a popular cherry blossom viewing venue.

What are some of your best and worst travel experiences?

Best – Top of my list is Krabi in Thailand. This has to be the most beautiful scenery I have clapped eyes on. Turquoise seas, limestone rocks rising out the water and such friendly people that honestly, if you didn’t enjoy yourself I would seriously wonder what was wrong with you! This holiday was a vacation on the go. Every day was action packed – the way I like it – from kayaking, to speed boat trips, to walking along long stretches of white sand. Mmmmm – very fond memories.

A very close second has to be Phuket – also in Thailand. A family holiday for Christmas that was a great laugh. It was the first time I went paragliding, I got my suits made for work for next to nothing – sorry I know that’s not really a vacation idea, but when the alternative is paying Tokyo prices this is definitely a bonus – and ate the best Thai food ever. With great company to back it up it was a fab time.

Worst – is actually the same holiday as above in Phuket. We were due to fly out on December 26th 2004 in the afternoon. Because it was the last day we wanted to take one more dip in the sea before packing up and setting off on our journey. That was the day the Asian tsunami made her presence felt – and boy did we feel it. I thought my fella was dead, and I’ve never run so fast in all my life. I remember reaching safety and turning round to realize that Stuart was not behind me. All I could see was the sea. I was standing in it up to my calves and I was standing on the road. Beyond the road was a ditch that was now completely filled water and the beach was completely covered – it wasn’t there. So you can imagine how I felt – I was standing on the road shouting Stuart’s name and thinking to myself how on earth am I going to go back and tell his mum what happened. Absolute nightmare moment.

Probably two minutes later – although it felt like an eternity – I see Stuart heading down the road towards me. We get within hearing distance and the first thing he says to me is “Have you got my sunglasses?” I’ve never felt so relieved in all my life. Apparently he was hanging onto a palm tree and after the wave pulled back got down and ran across a bridge to the road further down.

Enough said – it was a loooong day and one that won’t be forgotten.

Best – I’m going to add a best to this moment as well if you don’t mind. We didn’t leave Phuket on the 26th as we couldn’t get to the airport which was closed anyway. We didn’t want to stay in our hotel as it was right on the beach and we’d had quite enough of water for that day. We headed up and away and found a hotel that still had some space.

Getting up for breakfast the next day, we were wandering down the road deciding what we fancied when we heard this shout. We realized someone was calling us and turned to find the Thai family who we had paid money to the day before, driving round to find us because we had paid for a trip that had been canceled due to the tsunami. My fella’s mum was supposed to go to Koh Phi Phi on the 26th, the same day we were due to fly out. She had paid for it that morning as we left her to go for our last swim. The money had never even entered our heads after the event – why would it – we were happy to be alive. Yet these lovely Thai people actually came to find us to give it back. Can you believe that? I still am blown away by it.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Leaving the UK at 29 years of age, with no idea where I was going, little money in my purse, but thinking if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it. That decision changed my life completely and I wouldn’t be where I am today if that hadn’t happened.

Where are you planning on traveling in the future?

South America is next on the list. I really want to see Brazil, Peru, Chile and Argentina so we are currently looking at ways of doing that. Mexico is also high on the list as is South Africa.

What do you do with most of your time?

I work in coaching and seminar training for some of the international companies based in Tokyo. I am also involved in some of the client relations aspects and look for ways that we can improve the experience of the customer.
My own time is largely taken up with my website, which supports what I said in my answer to the first question. I am trying to make Tokyo a more accessible place for people wanting to visit. I spend a lot of time researching and checking details – things change here at a rate of knots that has to be seen to be believed some days. Then there’s the writing, taking the photos, preparing the photos for the web and working out any coding glitches.
Other than that, I love reading – all sorts, cycling round my local area – and football!

What’s a typical day like for you?

Up at 6 a.m., teach my first class at 8 a.m., then go to the office. Arrive there around 9:45 and start checking email, following up and actioning issues. Then it’s speaking with clients, liaising with my colleagues and any admin that is necessary. I leave work around 5:45 – 6:00 p.m. and get home around 6:45. Then I try get one website page finished before bed. Exciting, hey!

What’s your favourite TravelPod blog post?

One of my favourite blog posts is the one about Tokyoites and their dogs. It’s just so Tokyo!

TravelPod Local Expert profiles

Amazing “rice field art” in Japan

Check out these beautiful rice paddy creations. Farmers plant different types of rice in the fields and produce amazing works of art.

Rice field

The blog Cool Things in Random Places featured a bunch of photos in the most recent blog post. I’m left completely speechless at the sheer beauty and at the talent needed to create such incredible pieces. It’s really a shame that they only last for a short period of time, and then plowed under until next season.

What do you think? Have you seen these? Tell me about it in the TravelPod travel forums.

See you there!

Louise Brown

TravelPod Community Manager

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