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

10 Friendliest Countries in the World

The Tripbase.com blog comes up with some interesting travel lists all the time. Today’s list highlighted the most friendly countries in the world.

I wanted to see what TravelPod bloggers thought about the people in these places.

Turns out all of them passed the real traveler test. All 10 bloggers found friendly people wherever they went.

1. Ireland

Ilya with Niemh, the newborn baby

Ilya with Niemh, the newborn baby

We spent some time at Kevin’s parents’ house in Athlone, which was pretty quaint. We met his sister, 2-week old niece, and his aunt, Carmel. They were all very friendly–Carmel even offered to let us stay with her the next time we are in Ireland! – Ilyaandrebecca

2. USA

Cayenne92 loved the staff at Kings' Land hotel in Hawaii

Cayenne92 loved the staff at Kings' Land hotel in Hawaii

Overall, I would say good job. Maybe a couple days of operation to iron out the kinks and clean up the dust. But they are in the right direction. The staff here is very friendly and accommodating. – Cayenne92

3. Malawi

One half of Kirstyandsye on the train to Malawi

One half of Kirstyandsye on the train to Malawi

One thing instantly noticeable after crossing the border was that people in Malawi are noticeably more friendly and laid back. Everybody says ‘hello’ and theres far less agro in places like bus stations and markets, people are quite happy to let you decide when you want something rather than stuffing it in your face and telling you you do. Maybe its cos there’s much more of a beach-type life because of the lake, maybe its to do with the missionaries or maybe its that there reggae music playing wherever you go – whatever it is, its dead refreshing. – Kirstyandsye

4. Fiji

Hotel staff preparing Spoonski's dinner

Hotel staff preparing Spoonski's dinner

I have to say the people in the villages were very friendly and seemd content despite the fact that by our standards they are living in very poor conditions. Anyone who visits Fiji and is cocooned in their luxury resort will get the wrong impression of the country. – Spoonski

5. Indonesia

Lisa_nz's friend in Indonesia

Lisa_nz's friend relaxing in Indonesia

Having found this fantastic room at such a good price was great, but we also found the people in the area some of the most genuinely friendly that we have come across in Bali. There was no one around trying to sell us stuff, other than the odd snorkel trip. Alan went for a walk quite early one morning and met a family along the way. They invited him in, offered him fruit and were quite happy to chat. They didn’t speak any English, and his Indonesian is fairly limited – but they managed. – Lisa_nz

6. Vietnam

Bebabui drinking with the village elder in Dalat

Bebabui drinking with the village elder in Dalat

The City of Dalat is a bit run down outside of the city centre but downtown is really very nice and much cleaner than the city of Sapa. It has a fabulous lake and a golf course, pretty lakeside cafes and restaurants, friendly people who smile constantly and traffic that is half decent. The gardens are welll maintained and there are benches dotted along the park where we can sit peacefully and enjoy the view. – Bebabui

7. Samoa

Johannajulien loved the staff at Malaetia's Resort in Samoa

Johannajulien loved the staff at Malaetia's Resort in Samoa

The absolutely best thing about the place were the friendly and hospitable owners, Sung and his wife Otilia, who invited us for their family Sunday meal and cooked meals for us twice a day even when the meals were not included in our price! – Johannajulien

8. Thailand

Haz14 enlisted the help of some friendly Thais to find his way to Kanchanaburi

Haz14 enlisted the help of some friendly Thais to find his way to Kanchanaburi

We successfully managed to negotiate our way out of Bangkok and to the bus terminal by metered taxi (although I pretty much had to turn the meter on!) and despite initially boarding the wrong bus, we managed to enlist the help of a couple of friendly locals and head for Kanchanaburi, home to the Bridge on the River Kwae made famous by the events of World War Two and the film of the same name. – Haz14

9. Scotland

Scenicroute2009 making dinner with new friends in Scotland

Scenicroute2009 making dinner with new friends in Scotland

The locals here are super friendly for the most part. We went into a local pub the first night. It was race night and the pub was crowded with people placeing bets. People came up and introduced themselves, even explaining how the race night worked. The next night we went to a pub that had karaoke which was a blast. I danced with men in kilts and they taught us some Scottish songs. – Scenicroute2009

10. Turkey

Helman's new friends made him tea on the bus

Helman's new friends made him tea on the bus

In fact we didn’t actually arrive to Sanliurfa until 1pm although the bus reached the local otogar (bus terminal) at 8 in the morning. Why? Well it turned out that the people here are extremely friendly, a lot of them speak German or want to practice their English or simply want to have a small chat with a foreigner (there are not many tourists coming visiting here). And Manuel`s blond hair does attract a lot of attention, even from people several hundred meters away (they come running from everywhere;) So until we found a place to stay we had at least 15 conversations with strangers in the street and got invited for tea 3 times. – Helman

Featured blogs

A free trip to Thailand for a worthy TravelPod blogger, seriously.

I went on a trip to Thailand last year with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and I can say for a fact that they will treat you like pure gold.

Beautiful Ko Phi Phi in Thailand

Beautiful Ko Phi Phi in Thailand

If you are a frequent TravelPod blogger and you can get to the Los Angeles airport, I might be able to hook you up with a representative of Thai Airways and the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Los Angeles office.

Please contact me to apply

Cool stuff

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

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

This is part one of a ten part series that will feature some of our users’ inspring 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. It’s not complete, so what would you add to it?

1. Swim with dolphins

Lindsaym getting ready to go swimming with dolphins

Lindsaym getting ready to go swimming with dolphins

It was so amazing! It was just like a normal dive with coral around the sides and lots of fish, but 2 of the dolphins were free in the area and would come and swim along with us, leave, come back, swim in between us. AWESOME!!! At the end we knelt in the sand and they both came down and were swimming in and out of us, all around, diving down over our heads, everything! It was such a cool experience to be kneeling on the sand at 60ft and petting dolphins as they swam by!!Lindsaym

2. Climb a mountain one evening, stay there all night and watch the sun rise in the morning.

Brendonjohnson at the top of Hua Shan Mountain

Brendonjohnson at the top of Hua Shan Mountain

Several hours ago, death loomed on this peak; now, brilliance is its gift. I sit; marvel at the sunrise. Bright, fiery red-orange; crayon yellow; brilliant tangerine; all enclosed in a small streak in the sky. Small, like a wound starting to heal. Slowly the colors merge with the cotton-ball clouds, a light, subtle pink ascending, the sun’s rays inflating the sky. The mountain’s reward. Relief.Brendonjohnson

3. Fall in love

Mette falls in love with... a koala

Mette falls in love with... a koala

So last week I met someone really special.. His name is David. (What is it about men called David??) As soon as I saw him my heart skipped a beat and I knew this was special. We were introduced and as soon as I held him in my arms and he dug his claws into my shoulders I knew my heart would always belong to him.Mette

4. Visit a South American prison

Inoursuitcase visiting a former prison in Valparaiso, Chile

Inoursuitcase visiting a former prison in Valparaiso, Chile

There is a cultural centre called Ex-Carcel that is a public creative space in an old prison high up on the hill. This space has loads of potential. There was graffiti/artwork murals covering all the walls, an experimental circus school, a trapeze and some props around. A giant adult playground. When we visited there was a game of football (soccer) in motion and a trio of performance artists had laid out Turkish style rugs and were practicing their art within the prison walls. You could glance in at the old prison cells and imagine what it would have been like to be in a South American prison cell.Inoursuitcase

5. Climb Machu Picchu

Nixb at the top of Machu Picchu

Nixb at the top of Machu Picchu

We had to climb a mountain for about an hour, I had forgotten what it was like walking in jungle humidity but made it up to the first stop only about 5 mins after most of the others had got there, both Siggie ( the Belgian girl) and I took it at our own pace. Fortunately at this point there was a really refreshing cool breeze blowing which made the whole climbing thing so much easier! We had a break at a great view spot where Leo told us a bit about the history of the Incas and the Spanish Conquest. After that we continued on stopping everynow and then at a little village to buy more water or eat some fruit from the trees. It was a beautiful walk through banana plantations, villages, coca plantations, across lots of little streams and waterfalls and along the side of the mountain.Nixb

6. Live in another country for at least a couple of years

Chimmie13 volunteered with the Peace Corps in Paraguay

Chimmie13 volunteered with the Peace Corps in Paraguay

So I’ve survived my first week in South America…outhouse…bucketbaths and all. I think I’m actually getting better at it if that is at all possible. The food is not bad… I just have to be careful how much well water and terere I drink because they don´t always sit well if you know what I mean!Chimmie13

7. Meet the Dalai Lama

Djchurch saw the Dalai Lama in Tibet

Djchurch saw the Dalai Lama in Tibet

The first thing I noticed about the Dalai Lama was his voice. He had a strong, gentle, and intelligent voice. It was an impressive voice, like that of a president, pope, freedom fighter and diplomat all at once (which I suppose he is depending on your opinion).Djchurch

8. Have children

Patgower's daughter in Shanghai

Patgower's daughter in Shanghai

We went to CIW after lunch and found Travis-finally! I got to hug my big, handsome son. He was going to the train station back in Guangzhou to pick up Melissa!! YAY! She came down from Shanghai on the train-neat experience, blahblahblah. 18 hours on a train is not an experience, it’s a lifetime. She was supposed to be in about 3:30. Really. We waited over an hour-many phone calls back and forth between Travis and Melissa. He couldn’t understand why his sister would want to ride a train and we were getting nervous because the dinner was at 6 p.m. Finally we see her and I am so glad to see my daughter after 8 months! We really attract attention now-three blonde foreigners all together!Patgower

9. Live in Asia

Tranquillize left Canada for Thailand

Tranquillize left Canada for Thailand

Well, after years of contemplating where in the world I should move to, I have finally decided to move to Thailand . I spent 6 weeks touring around southeast Asia in April/May and I loved it! Part of my reasoning for that trip was to scout out possible places to live; I loved everywhere I went but Thailand was the place I ultimately chose.Tranquillize

10. Overcome my fears.

Katrina overcame her fear of the Laos zipline

Katrina overcame her fear of the Laos zipline

I lasted two seconds after I jumped off!! I couldn’t grip the handle properly and I back flopped (yes I did say back flopped) into the water with the crowd going oooooohhhhhhhhhhhh. After a coughing up a lung full of water I attempted to doggy paddle to the side but the wind had definitely been taken out of me. – Philandkatrina

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

20 best views in the world

Once again, another list recommended to us by mmbcross aka Martin Crossland, a Miami tour guide and regular in the TravelPod forums.

Here’s the list, with accompanying TravelPod member photos

1. The Grand Canyon from the South Rim

Kristenjohn at the Grand Canyon

Kristenjohn at the Grand Canyon

2. Hong Kong Island from Kowloon

"View of the city and our ship" by Aniseh

"View of the city and our ship" by Aniseh

3. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

"Into Phang Nga Bay" by tsveti

"Into Phang Nga Bay" by tsveti

4. Manhattan from the top of Rockefeller Plaza

"View from Top of the Rock" by Buckeyeclayfan

"View from Top of the Rock" by Buckeyeclayfan

5. Istanbul skyline from the Bosphorus strait, Turkey.

Sproutfamily cruising on the Bosphorus Strait

Sproutfamily cruising on the Bosphorus Strait

6. The Ngorongoro Crater from North Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania

Shumphlett at the Ngorongoro Crater

Shumphlett at the Ngorongoro Crater

7. St. Paul’s from Waterloo Bridge, London.

St. Paul's Cathedral from Waterloo Bridge by Nklenske

St. Paul's Cathedral from Waterloo Bridge by Nklenske

8. The Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands.

Ellenwillow at Marin Headland

Ellenwillow at Marin Headland

9. Machu Picchu, Peru.

Jev at Machu Picchu

Jev at Machu Picchu

10. The Yucatan Peninsula from the top of Chichen Itza, Mexico

Ahartry on top of Chichen Itza

Ahartry on top of Chichen Itza

11. Florence from the loggia of Villa San Michele, Italy.

Jillflorant enjoying the view of Florence

Jillflorant enjoying the view of Florence

12. Paris from the Pont des Arts, France

Pont des Arts in Paris by Worldtaste

Pont des Arts in Paris by Worldtaste

13. The medina of Fes from the Palais Jamai, Morocco

Chooklotto overlooking the Fes medina

Chooklotto overlooking the Fes medina

14. Annapurna from Sarankot, Nepal

View of Annapurna from Sarankot

View of Annapurna from Sarankot

15. Sydney Harbour from Taronga Zoo, Australia

Samcohen1987's view of Sydney from the zoo

Samcohen1987's view of Sydney from the zoo

16. The Potala Palace from across the Lhasa River, Tibet

Potala Palace from across the river by Scottshangguan

Potala Palace from across the river by Scottshangguan

17. The Parthenon from Mount Lycabettus, Athens, Greece.

Mount Lycabettus' view of the Parthenon at night by Joseph_hillier

Mount Lycabettus' view of the Parthenon at night by Joseph_hillier

18. The Lemaire Channel, Antarctica

The Lemaire Channel by Rogersusieq

The Lemaire Channel by Rogersusieq

19. The City Palace from the Lake Palace, Udaipur, India

City Palace by Jbscott36

City Palace by Jbscott36

20. The temples of Bagan, Myanmar

The temples of Bagan by Markl

The temples of Bagan by Markl

Hot places

9 travel jobs for the newly unemployed

Travelandleisure.com has come up with a list of the top vacations for the newly unemployed.

Some of our travel bloggers have given up everything and pursued their new career while traveling. Here’s a selection of some of the best blogs about it:

1. Farm your way around the world:

Lucy.cooper worked for her stay at a farm in Ngunguru, New Zealand. It’s a popular way for backpackers with small budgets to travel the world.

Lucy.cooper WWOOFing in NewZealand

Lucy.cooper WWOOFing in NewZealand

2. House Swap:

Redbikini‘s mom arranged a house swap for her in Australia, right on the beach.

Redbikini and mom on the Australian coast

Redbikini and mom in Australia

3. Sail Off Into the Sunset:

Nikihead became a yachtmaster after sailing from Australia to New Zealand.

Sailing the Pacific

Nikihead ailing the Pacific

4. Take Classes in a U.S. National Park:

Keggebeen‘s kids took the “Junior Ranger” class at Yellowstone National Park.

Exploring a wolf den in Yellowstone

Exploring a wolf den in Yellowstone

5. Stretch Your Savings with Yoga Teacher Training:

Bonniebzdok spent four weeks learning to teach yoga at a center in Baja, Mexico.

Bonniebzdok with her yoga instructors

Bonniebzdok with her yoga instructors

6. Finish Your Novel in a Medieval French Village:

Maddewar found her own little retreat in Perpignan, France.

The medieval town or Perpignan

The medieval town of Perpignan

7. Become a Chef – Or Just Eat Like One:

Ericsophie learned how to cook in the Thai style in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Learning to cook in Thailand

Learning to cook in Thailand

8. Work the Slopes:

Robertbeddow became a ski instructor, where else? In Verbier, Switzerland.

Learning first aid in the Swiss Alps

Learning first aid in the Swiss Alps

9. Save the Whales, or Whatever Else Needs Saving:

Tvpitz volunteered with Earthwatch to help protect the Pantanal in Campo Grande, Brazil

Tvpitz taking off for the Pantanal

Tvpitz taking off for the Pantanal

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Patong beach murder: another Canadian dead in Thailand

I’m sad to report that there has been another Canadian killed in Thailand. Francis Alex Degioanni, a property developer living in Phuket appears to be the victim of a planned attack. Two Canadians were killed in Thailand last year, let’s hope this isn’t the start of an unsettling trend.

Violence is disheartening no matter where in the world it is. But this part of the world is especially beautiful and violence here is usually far from the minds of the tourists that flock to the beaches. Thailand is ideally a place to go to leave your troubles behind. Just take a look at some of the most recent blogs from Patong, Thailand to see why I say this.

Troyjrose took a gorgeous picture of the sunset and experimented with a scooter:

Sunset on Patong Bay

Sunset on Patong Beach

I went and hired a motor scooter, wow alot of fun! Bloody dangerous tho, but its probably the cheapest and best way to see the island. I might get one again for a while, but its a pretty harrowing experience to ride.

-from “Arrival and the first 4 days” – from Patong, Phuket, Thailand

Vobs and her best friend, Jenny found themselves frequenting the beach and the bar scene on their first trip to Thailand:

Jenny in paradise

Jenny in paradise

We spent at the beach soaking up the rays and dancing in the ocean like two little girls giddy with each incoming wave. I could have stayed out there for hours, which by the looks of our tan lines we did.

-from “First Stop: Phuket” – Patong, Phuket, Thailand

Tranquillize made a trip to the island to witness Loy Krathong, a traditional Hindu festival held all over Southeast Asia.

Loy Krathong in Phuket

Loy Krathong in Phuket

We conveniently timed our holiday to be in Phuket for Loy Krathong, it’s a huge festival that takes place on the full moon of November. If you recall from my blog in Laos i was there for the Lao Loy Katong festival. Both countries celebrate it in the same fashion although instead of floating a Krrathong down the ocean we sent off a lantern into the night sky. It was a great experience, one that you truly have to be there to understand.

-from “Patong Beach, Phuket” – Patong, Phuket, Thailand

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TravelPod Local Expert for Greece: Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd aka paroshep works in the tourism industry in Greece and spends at least an hour on the beach every day. Talk about a tough job! He’s very knowledgeable on getting around on those notorious Greek ferries and helping people live slowly.

Michael Shepherd (right) in Greece

Michael Shepherd (right) in Greece

Why did you become a Local Expert?

I already spend a fair amount of time answering questions about travel to Greece. Most of the time I enjoying helping people get past the clutter of travel hype.

What are the best and worst things about living on Paros, Greece?

The climate and scenery is incredibly pleasant and beautiful. The worst is that the pool of potential friends is quite limited.

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

Number one is to relax and adapt to a slower pace of life. Number two is to rest on the sand or in the sea. After that comes eating and drinking in incredible environments between experiencing the scenery and the culture. I frequently tell people there is no “must see” place on Paros; just experiencing the island is the attraction.

What are some of your best travel experiences?

I enjoy showing off our lifestyle to visitors. As far as off island my greatest enjoyment comes from that rare experience of sharing a strictly local–as opposed to touristy–event with the locals.

What is your worst travel experience?

I make an effort not to remember. I have been too cold, too hot, too over-charged, too often.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Having the courage or lack of good sense, whichever it was, to move abroad.

Where are you planning on traveling in the future?

This year I crossed the top two of my list, Istanbul and Prague, because they were close. My next top two are India and Thailand, but a return to Ireland is calling as well.

What do you do with most of your time?

Punch keys on my computer; some of which is answering travel questions, a lot of which is keeping our slogan in front of people: Share our piece of paradise on Paros.

What’s a typical day like for you?

This winter I have been bemoaning the fact that a large portion of my day is taken up with the routine of living. In the summer when I tell people how incredibly busy I am I have to admit that nearly every day includes a hour at the beach. I tend to be a home body and only ride my scooter into town when I have to meet someone at the ferry or other unavoidable errand. Other than that it is clicking away on the internet.
TravelPod Local Expert profiles

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

Beer bottle Buddhist temple

Taking green construction to a whole new level, this temple in Thailand is made entirely out of beer bottles. Built in Sisaket province, its design is stunning. The brown bottles are from a local brew called Chang, and the green bottles are from Heineken.

Beer bottle temple

Beer bottle temple: Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew

Check out some more photos at the Treehugger blog.

For more amazing temples in Thailand, find them at TravelPod.

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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



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Landmine treaty being ignored by governments, not bloggers

A new report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines says that 5,400 people died in 2007 due to landmines. It also says that countries such as Greece, Belarus and Turkey have still not destroyed their stockpile of landmines, even after signing an international treaty to destroy them.

The Landmine Monitor Report also says that 15 other countries (including Britain) will miss their clearance targets for 2009.

Here at TravelPod, we are an enlightened bunch. We know about the dangers of landmines, and many of the travel blogs on our site show awareness and condemnation of the problem.

Check them out:

Catmoj volunteered at the Landmine Museum in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Catmoj and landmine victim Sori

Catmoj and landmine victim Sori

She tells the story of a rare arrogant visitor to the museum:

Rarely do we have a disinterested visitor come to The Landmine Museum, though I have had a small number of men who walk in thinking they know everything there is to know about landmines.

“Oh, I read books,” one man told me dismissively.

I carefully commented that he’ll be well aware then from his extensive reading that the casualty rate around the world for mine and ordnance accident is an average of 40 casualties … every day … and Cambodia has the dubious accolade of three of those casulaties … every day…

His expression was one of shock. Then he was ready to listen.

– from “Landmine talks and Kids Stories”, Siem Riep, Cambodia

Len_20 traveled to Thailand and Burma with the charity God’s Kids. He describes one young victim of a landmine, at a camp his organization supports for refugee children.

Another landmine victim

Another landmine victim

Then we go outside to take a group photo. But one girl stays behind. She’s sitting at the front of the room against the wall. She has a bandage on her leg and her crutches lean against the wall. I look down and see that the bandage stops near the middle of her shin bone, and there’s nothing below it. She’s missing a foot and part of her leg.
After talking with her and her teacher, I find out that she’s relatively new to the camp. She’s fourteen years old, and just a few months ago she was in Burma with her parents. She went out to pick vegetables from her parent’s garden and stepped on a landmine.

-from “Outhouses, computer labs, and landmines”, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Rayandpaul visited this same landmine museum on their short trip to Cambodia back in 2003.

Big tank displayed at the museum

Big tank on display at the war museum

It is easy to forget the war once in Siem Reap, wrapped up in the temples, but the War Museum is a chilling reminder to the fighting. It costs $3 to get in, which includes a free guide. Our guide informed us of how the Khmer Rouge killed both his parents and his sister, and showed us three of his gunshot wounds. His left leg was lost below the knee to a landmine. We had so far unintentionally not spoken to any one about their loss at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, so it was good for us to hear his story. He was a tank driver who over the period of the fighting had suffered more than his fair share of injuries.

-from “Siem Reap”, Siem Reap, Cambodia

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.

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