So you are weird and have never fit in? Hey, you there – the kid who spent 14 years in school, silently staring out of the window, the girl who likes to wear fur boots in summer because she just likes to, the 30 year old business executive who has a 2 GB collection of ocean sounds, the boy who skipped classes to hang out alone in the library, the woman who changes her hair color, every month, like Ramona Flowers, the man who still refuses to open an email account – basically you, who are different from everyone around you, and you, who simply wants to pack his/her bags and get away from all this drama and chaos. You, me, the same, the weird kind!
In this world where everything has become predicable and usual, where people have been reduced to just bodies chasing this or that, it seems like we have all lost that part of us which wants something new, not money or happiness, or success or babies, but just something new to experience, to see!
Here is a list of places that are calling out to that element in you which has forgotten what it is like to be surprised, or scared, or amused or even simply confused by something corporeal before your eyes. Pack your bags every few months and take a trip to one of these places if you are simply weird, or have some green-colored beard.
1. Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden in Thailand
The tourism industry calls it the Thailand Hell Horror Park. But this place is so much more than that. It is both gruesome sight to behold and a spiritual journey that one could undertake. It brings to life the Buddhist concepts of sin and the suffering of pain in the underworld by cement and plaster statues depicting the various torture methods employed in Naraka (hell). Inside the garden a sign reads: ‘If you meet the Devil in this life, don’t postpone merit-making which will help you to defeat him in the next life.’
How to get there: This unnerving piece of art is located in the village of Saen Suk. Take a bus from Bangkok to Bang Saen town in Chon Buri province. After that, you are lucky if you get a taxi or a passing car. Otherwise, your only option is a walk almost 3 hours.
2. Hoia Baciu Forest in Romania
I know what you’re gonna say. Forests and woods are always spooky. Haven’t I learnt anything from the Little Red Riding Hood? Well, I must ashamedly admit, my attention span as a kid was ridiculously below average and I never quite made it to the end of any story.
This forest, famously known as the ‘Bermuda Triangle of Romania’ and covering over 250 hectares, has seen multiple disappearances of travelers and thrill-seekers, UFO sightings, unexplained electrical phenomenon, ghost sightings and apparitions, faces appearing in photographs taken there, strange shaped trees, and unexplained charring on tree stumps and branches. Apparently, when you enter the forest, you are overcome by intense anxiety and the feeling that you are being watched.
How to get there: It is located in the Transylvanian city of Cluj-Napoca in Romania, which has an international airport in place for you to fly there.
3. The Catacombs in Paris
First of all, watch the 2014 movie called As Above, So Below. And then book a ticket to Paris if you think you have what it takes.
The Catacombs of Paris is an enormous ossuary (room filled with bones of dead people) and cemetery built under the streets of the city neatly holding the remains of about 6 million bodies. The caverns and tunnels of the stone mines were converted into mausoleums for the dead, a city for the dead, under the living and breathing city of Paris. Inside, one can see stacks and stacks of skulls and bones reaching the ceiling while you walk between these rows, unguarded.
How to get there: The Catacombs are well within the city of Paris. Any flight from your nearest international airport is going to get you there.
4. Dwarf Village in China
Now on a happier note, did you know that China has an entire village inhabited almost exclusively by dwarfs? It is a place, called the ‘Kingdom of the Little People’ where they can be among people who are like them, without any fear of judgment or jokes or second-looks. And for the tourist in you, there are performances and plays put up by the inhabitants, mainly scenes from fairy tales and ballets. There are also markets where you can buy mementos and accessories.
How to get there: It is located near Kunming in Yunnan. Just take a train. Not pricey.
5. Ramen Museum in Japan
Remember the nights in hostel when you ended up having long conversations with your friends and suddenly realized that it’s 4 am and that there is a black hole in your stomach? That electric kettle and instant noodles combo is essentially why you got through college.
Well, there is an entire museum dedicated to this savior of youth called the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, which pays a tribute to the creator of cup noodles, holding everything from a reproduction of the shack where Mr. Ando first invented chicken ramen to a tasting room with different Nissin products.
How to get there: Located in two cities – Yokohama and Osaka – with an entry fee of 500 yen for adults, getting there simply needs one to take a flight.
6. Phallus Museum in Iceland
There are one too many men obsessed with their own members. Is it normal when a person is obsessed with the members of every mammal on earth? I doubt, if I’d hear a yes. But, it’s definitely worth witnessing this ‘massive’ collection.
The Icelandic Phallological Museum hosts a collection of phallic specimens of over 200 mammals found in the country. Basically, it’s a building housing severed male pride in jars filled with preservatives. An interesting fact to note is that there is a documentary called The Final Member about two men competing to be the first human specimen!
How to get there: It’s located in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. A flight to the city and a cab to the museum. Simple.
7. Varosha in Cyprus
Wanna see how the world would look like after it ends? Abandoned buildings, isolation, absolute silence, tumbleweed blowing away on the ground – the picture of serenity or a ghost town, depending on your perception.
Varosha is a completely uninhabited coastal town in Cyprus which once held families, but after the Turkish invasion in 1974 was evacuated when the inhabitants were told to run for their lives. It originally had a flourishing tourism industry and was, in essence, a resort town, but now just looks like the set of a post-apocalyptic movie.
How to get there: The deserted town is in the southern region of the city of Famagusta, located on the east coast of Cyprus. Sadly, public entry to Varosha is restricted, but one can always have a look from the outside.