Fed up with all those heavenly tropical islands, historical cities, and boring UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Thinking that you have seen it all and there's nothing that the world of tourism can surprise you with?
Then what about swimming in a lake of red liquid pouring out of a giant red wine bottle? And what do you think of touching the socks the size of your body or hiding in a giant chest of drawers? Maybe a castle made of beer cans or the sacred city with 20,000 'holy rats' can inspire your wanderlust? And what would you say about the church made of bones or Stonehenge made of cars? The list doesn't end here, but it should be fair enough to let even the most inveterate adventurers know that there are hundreds of places that they haven't seen and that there are attractions weirder than our imagination can paint us. Some of them are so strange that they can even make us look at tourism itself from a different angle.
However vivid and unspeakable, these places exist and scream for our attention if we're strange or brave enough to visit them and dig their unique vibe. Do you feel like finishing the elf academy or seeing a duck parade? Then read on! You'll see that tourism can get really weird.
25 Sulabh Toilet Museum, New Delhi, India
There are museums for all kinds of things, so why not to make one for toilets? Especially considering that they have become an indispensable thing in our lives. You probably don't think about it that often, or don't think about it at all, but imagine for a second how people lived in the Middle Ages without toilets. Feel privileged now?
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak also thinks that toilets are important and for him, these are not just mere words because he decided to open a toilet museum. The exhibit items that you can see at the Sulabh Toilet Museum are all very different and some of them can make you laugh while others can seriously confuse you.
24 Island of the Dolls, Mexico
Island of the Dolls is quite a creepy place so it's no wonder that the story behind its creation is mysterious as well. This abandoned island is a hideout of Don Julian Santana, who was banished from society because of his alcohol addiction. According to the legend, the island became haunted by the spirit of a little girl who drowned in the canal. Don Julian started to trade his vegetables for old dolls which he used to calm her spirit down.
What started with several dolls turned into an island full of evil-looking dolls hanging on the trees, hiding in the bushes and lying all around. While there was no intention to make it a tourist attraction, because of the uniqueness of this place, it started to attract tourists who love creepy places and ghost hunting.
23 Cano's Castle, Colorado, United States
What happens to Vietnam war veterans when they come back home after war is over? Answers to this question can be very different, but there's one unique Native American Vietnam war veteran who did an offbeat thing by building a castle out of scrap materials, beer cans and hubcaps.
His name is Donald Cano Espinoza and he chose beer cans as his main building material for this peculiar construction. The man behind this strange, yet attractive structure lives off the grid and prefers to spend his time alone. He calls his creation "Jesus' Castle" and believes that God builds it.
Be sure to take a look at it if you ever come to visit Colorado.
22 Karni Mata Temple, Deshnok, India
A beer can castle, an island with evil dolls, a toilet museum, what's next? We have many more weird tourist attractions on the list and next comes to the Karni Mata Temple, also known as Temple of Rats. And it's not a metaphorical name, it's called Temple of Rats because rats live there and are well taken care of.
It was named after the Goddess Karni, who believed that her family members would reincarnate as rats. Residents of the Deshnok town believe this legend and all 20,000 rats who live there are considered sacred and provided with shelter and food. Because of such attitude rodents are friendly, so if you are afraid of rats there is no better place to overcome your phobia than Deshnok in India.
21 World’s Largest Chest of Drawers, North Carolina, USA
If you don't want to fight your rat phobia take a look at this weird giant drawer in North Carolina, USA. It was initially built by the High Point Chamber of Commerce in 1926 as an attempt to prove that this town is the furniture capital of the world. 70 years after it, in 1996 the structure was renovated and enhanced with two ginormous socks hanging from one of the drawers to add a visual effect.
If you ask me, I'm not sure what I'm impressed with more. The chest of drawers or these giant socks.
20 Prada in the Desert, Texas, USA
Would you visit this lovely Prada store in the middle of the desert in Texas? What initially seemed like a totally odd idea turned into one of the strangest attractions in the United States. Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgreen built this Prada store with no door, 26-miles from the town of Marfa. What's more interesting the items on the display are real. The only problem is that you can't actually buy them.
13 years after its creation, this strange Prada store became a mecca for pop culture devotees, art enthusiasts, and collectors. Even Beyonce has Instagrammed herself near this odd place.
19 Yunessun Spa Resort, Kowakudani, Japan
Come swim in a lake of red liquid pouring out of a giant red wine bottle in the Yunessun Spa Resort in Japan. Of course, you won't swim in real wine but the owners of this unusual SPA has made their best to emulate the effect. For instance, their website says:
"This Wine Bath has a brilliant grape color and rich aroma. Used as a rejuvenation bath, it is said that it was loved by the likes of Cleopatra and Queen Mary. It's a bath that you can expect skin beautification effects as well."
If that doesn't surprise you, try coffee or green tea bath. Still not intrigued? Then the Sake is for you.
18 Avanos Hair Museum, Avanos, Turkey
Enough bathing in wine, because now we're going to Turkey to let this gentleman chop off a little of your hair and leave it hanging on the wall, next to thousands of hair samples of other people.
What looks as a simple pottery store hides a secret, because if you go to the basement you will find a cavern full of limp locks of hair. Museum started in 1979 and now it holds more than 16,000 hair samples. All of them are tagged with addresses of their owners. It can't get weirder than that.
17 Glass Slipper Church, Taiwan
Sometimes modern churches get too creative, but few modern churches can compete with this glass slipper church in Taiwan.
Looking at this 55-foot high glass slipper you would probably think that it's a Prada store, a fashion outlet or a museum, but never a church. In fact, it isn't used for services, but as a place to make wedding ceremonies and pre-wedding photo shoots. Pan Tsuei-ping, the administration's recreation section manager, told that:
"In our planning, we want to make it a blissful, romantic avenue… Every girl imagines how they will look like when they become the bride."
16 Bubblegum Alley, California, USA
As it often happens with unusual attractions like this, no one ever thought about creating a bubblegum alley. It was first used by rogue high schoolers as a repository for gum in the 1950s, however, it evolved from a prank into a guidebook highlight which attracts the lovers of strange tourist attractions.
Not all resident of California enjoy this weird alleyway full of mashed-up chewing gums, but it remains untouched because there's no other place that can rival with it in terms of weirdness. I wonder what happens when there will be too many chewing gums to be able to squeeze into this narrow alleyway.
15 Cat Island, Tashirojima, Japan
A number one place in the world for the cat crazy people and cat lovers is this cat island in Tashirojima, Japan. 100 elderly cats outnumber humans on this island. When the first videos from Tashirojima surfaced on the web it became a very popular destination for all admirers of these furry cute things.
Cats living on the island today are the ancestors of the first furry inhabitants which were brought to the island by fishermen to protect their lines from silkworms.
14 The Big Lobster, South Australia
Why creating a statue of a giant lobster?! I feel you if the same question popped up in your head when you first saw this photo. This 56ft tall steel and fiberglass lobster stands in Australia, which is not surprising considering the fact that this country is home for 150 giant strange sculptures. These statues include miner’s lamp, mushrooms, and chickens among others, so a giant lobster may even look like an expression of sophisticated art compared to some of the other big statues found in the country.
Australians have certainly found a unique way to show that they're special.
13 Electric Ladyland, Amsterdam, Netherlands
While the name of this museum seems to be related to Jimi Hendrix, because he has an album with such title, this museum in the Netherlands is related to the work of this renown guitarist only by one thing. His music is playing on the background while you're looking at the exhibition items.
Electric Ladyland is an ode to all fluorescent things and it even claims to be the first museum of fluorescent art. Feel free to visit one of the city’s renowned coffee shops if Electric Ladyland museum won't be psychedelic enough for you.
12 Sewer Museum, Paris, France
To enhance your impressions after the toilet museum in New Delhi India, you can visit the Sewer Museum in France. Because you can't really appreciate the invention of toilets without appreciating the sewer system which supports the 'toilet network'.
This museum not only explains the significance of the sewer system but also describes the methods of water treatment and the role of sewer workers. If you ever want to know what happens after you push the flush button, you need to pay a visit to this place.
11 Gnome Reserve, United Kingdom
If you have a grandma, who loves gardening then you should definitely take her to the Gnome Reserve in Devon, England. I bet that children would find it entertaining too! And unlike those dolls on a doll island in Mexico, statues of the Gnome Reserve in Devon don't look creepy and are shining with colored painting.
You can find hundreds of gnomes standing in different places across the gnome reserve. In addition to gnomes, you can also find dozens of species of categorized wildflower in this unusual tourist attraction.
10 Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, Yokohama, Japan
And now something completely different! A museum of ramen, which is a popular street food in Japan has its doors opened for all lovers of noodles and unusual museums. It was founded in 1994 as a first food-themed amusement park and you can actually taste the different types of ramen in addition to just reading historical facts about it.
This place consists of a museum, a food amusement park and a ramen theme park. Everyone who loves ramen just as Japanese people do should certainly visit it.
There are actually 3 ramen museums in Japan and you can read more about them here.
9 Duck Parade, Memphis, USA
Tired of catwalks? What about the duck parade? I'm not juggling with words, duck parades are really happening in Peabody Hotel in the heart of downtown Memphis. And pretty much like going to the temple in the morning in the holy cities of India, arranging a parade for the Peabody ducks is a tradition which has been followed for 10 years already.
Every morning the ducks are picked up from their penthouse, brought to the elevator and further to the hotel lobby where they boldly march in single file to the ornate fountain, greatly entertaining the crowd which gathers to take a look at this bizarre show. After the dusk, they march back to the elevator and return to their luxurious suite.
8 Carhenge, Nebraska, USA
Have you seen those photos of Stonehenge, where dozens of people with cameras gather around this ancient pile of stones, while others are standing behind the crowd, waiting for their turn to come? I'm sure it's not how you imagined visiting this famous attraction.
For all lovers of weird stuff, there's a great alternative to Stonehenge, which is Carhenge in Nebraska. From a certain angle, it's even more interesting than Stonehenge because here you have painted cars laid in a way to reflect the stones of one of the most famous English sights. But cars are more creative than stones, aren't they?
This spectacular contemporary art exposition was built by Jim Reinders and his family. It was made up of 39 classic cars in 1987 and it still entertains visitors from different parts of America and the world.
7 World's Steepest Residential Street, New Zealand
Do you have steep streets in the city where you live? I bet they can't be compared to Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand because when you see this street for once you start understanding what 'steep' really means.
When photos of this street are taken on a specific angle it creates the illusion that everything is sinking. This street has a 19-degree slope and holds the Guinness World Record of the world's steepest street. Things get even more strange when you know that there's a Cadbury Jaffa Race, where hundreds of colored chocolates are released down the hill in order to raise money for charity.
6 The Corn Palace, South Dakota, USA
Hooray, we're going to the Corn Palace! The Corn Palace?! Yes, you've heard it right, the ‘Corn Palace’ and like everything on this list, its name has a literal meaning.
This peculiar place was build in 1892 and it has seen three renovations. For some time it stayed empty, but it was resurrected in 1921. If you think of those days, you will understand what fun farmers had with this Corn Palace. There was no Wi-Fi, no smartphones, no TV, even no The Travel website, so farmers displayed their goods in the palace to demonstrate ‘fertility’ of South Dakota soil. Nowadays many festivals and events are held in this place.
5 Elf Academy – Rovaniemi, Finland
If Corn Palace hasn't impressed you, then what would you say about attending an Elf Academy in Rovaniemi, 2,575 kilometers from the North Pole? It's very cool to get Christmas presents every year, but they aren't appearing under a Christmas tree out of nowhere.
Elves, who are Santa's helpers work very hard to make every child happy on Christmas and in the Elf Academy, you can join their noble quest. You will not only help elves but learn to postmark letters with a stamp from Santa Claus' Post Office. It will be the strangest course you'll ever attend.
4 The Ghost Town, Namibia
It's not an oil painting, not a picture from Strugatsky brothers movie and not an artwork for a progressive rock band. The surreal sight you see on the picture above is the city of Kolmanskop in the Namib desert.
It was once a prime destination for European diamond miners, but now all you can find there are deserted buildings being eaten up by sand dunes. Just like the abandoned city of Chernobyl in Kiev, Ukraine, the ghost town of Namibia also has its unique atmosphere, which thrill-seeking tourists can enjoy on a guided tour.
3 Underground Theme Park, Romania
An underground Ferris wheel sounds surreal, isn't it? Which looks more like a bizarre decoration for a post-apocalyptic movie is actually one of the strangest tourist attractions in Romania. It is located 120 meters underground in a salt mine in Salina town.
In addition to the Ferris wheel, you will also find ping-pong courts, bowling alley, an amphitheater, and a miniature golf course. Initially, it was an ancient mine. During the Second World War it served as a bomb shelter and in the 1990s it was converted into an unlikely tourist attraction.
Imagine the eyes of your friends when you tell them that you took a ride on an underground Ferris wheel. Priceless.
2 The Bone Church, Czech Republic
We've already seen a romantic glass slipper church in Taiwan at the beginning of our list. To contrast that, we will now take a look at the bone church, located not far from Prague in the Czech Republic.
This is not a place for the faint of heart because this church is literally created from bones. Just imagine, more than 40,000 skeletons were used to create this odd place. Chandeliers, ornaments, chalices, garlands - all of it are made of human bones. Not your usual tourist attraction, is it?
1 Shwe Inn Thein, Myanmar
Let's end this article on a brighter note leaving the bone church behind and opening our minds to this incredible sight in Myanmar. It is believed that this place dates back to the third century BC when the Indian emperor Ashoka sent monks to spread Buddhism around the world. The shrine in the center of the site called the Inn Thein Buddha is believed to have been built by the Ashoka. However, most of the pagodas were constructed in the 17th and 18th century.
What's really impressive about Shwe Inn Thein is the number of temples. There are thousands of abandoned mystical temples which slowly get destroyed with the passage of time. Some of them are being reconstructed by the Buddhists, but due to their incredible number, it's not possible to save them all, so most of them are slowly decaying.
See? I told you that tourism can get really weird.