From the skyscraping Himalayas to the sprawling deserts of Africa and bustling metropolis cities like New York and Dubai, our planet has no shortage when it comes to diversity. In each and every corner of the world, people have become accustomed to certain lifestyles, and while they might not question their own habits for a second, onlookers might be awfully perplexed by the unfamiliar things they are seeing.
One country that is particularly notorious for its oddities is the great, vast, Asian nation of China. With countless local practices, intriguing street foods, and Atlantis-like cities, the ‘strange’ label doesn’t seem too far off.
10 Completely deserted cities
In the modern age, we’ve become accustomed to seeing skyscrapers built left, right and center, with cities constantly growing and developing. In China, however, that isn’t always the case. While they might seem like film sets built for some post-apocalyptic I Am Legend rendition, there is actually some reasoning behind their emptiness.
ABC tells us that local governments built these cities in order to stimulate economies and infrastructure growth. They were placed, mostly, in rural areas on the outskirts of existing cities, expecting a population boom and a large migration of people. However, the people never came, and the estimated 50 cities sit there in eerie waiting.
9 Bite-sized watermelons
On a humid, hot summer’s day, there’s nothing quite as refreshing as biting into a big, triangular slice of watermelon. Well, in China, you might struggle to slice up these miniature fruits. This cute little creation is just one of the many extremely peculiar items that can actually be purchased at various Walmarts across the nation.
According to FreshPlaza, the adorable miniature watermelons are grown in the Jinshan district of Shanghai. If you can’t get enough of these bite-sized concoctions, they also make miniature cucumbers. Eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day never seemed so easy.
8 An underwater city
If you feel like you’re being flooded with Atlantis and Aquaman-type vibes, don’t worry, we are too. Known to us as Lion City, this underwater metropolis sits at the bottom of the Qiandao Lake, which is actually a human-made lake located in the Zhejiang Province. The fact that is is manmade means that this once-bustling city was deliberately sunken, or, at least, deliberately sacrificed.
The city, despite being over 100-feet below the surface of the water, remains in almost perfect condition. Even the statues, some of which date back to over 1,300 years ago, remain almost unaffected by the flooding.
7 Two-in-one combo: Snickers and batteries
As another seriously strange item that can be found in Chinese Walmart, we just can’t quite wrap our heads around this one. We’re not sure if the batteries are intended to be a reward for choosing Snickers over its chocolate bar competitors or vice versa, but the pairing of the two just doesn’t add up.
Perhaps the accompanying batteries are intended to echo the idea of the Snickers bar ‘recharging our batteries,’ so to speak, but we still can’t be sure. Nevertheless, at least we won’t have to take the batteries out of the air conditioning remote anymore when our TV remote stops working.
6 The China Watermelon Museum
We touched earlier on the intriguing, miniature, modified version of the traditional watermelon. But if you thought the watermelon antics began and ended there, you were sorely mistaken. The China Watermelon Museum is located just south of Beijing. The reason for its placement there is because “the countryside just south of Beijing city proper is one of the heaviest watermelon producing regions in the world,” according to Atlas Obscura.
If you’re one of those people who counts down the days until watermelon season rolls around, then it might be worth adding this unique destination to the forefront of the bucket list.
5 Air in a can
It is both hilarious and incredibly sad that we as a civilization have reached this point in history. We’re all aware of the dire state of pollution and smog that affects the people of China, so as comedic as air in a can might sound, its necessity isn’t entirely non-existent.
The ‘fresh air’ is shipped from the town of Banff in Canada’s Rocky Mountains, and according to CNN, first sold out within just a couple of weeks. We’re not sure how long this will last, but it’s peculiarity simply can’t be denied.
4 A dragon-style escalator
Anyone who has ever witnessed a Chinese New Year celebration would be familiar to the focus on dragons in Chinese culture. Featuring the mythical creatures in statues and dressing up as them in parades is one thing, but creating a dragon escalator is another. It can be found about 85 kilometers to the north of Beijing, and its purpose is to take visitors to the top of the country’s largest dam, Longqing Gorge.
There are plenty of tour options from Beijing that take visitors to the world’s largest outdoor escalator, but savvy tourists can also take the 919 bus from Deshengmen, according to Atlas Obscura.
3 The Great Wall of China
You didn’t think we were going to forget about the longest manmade structure ever created, did you? It might be rumored to be able to be seen from space and be a colossal and impressive structure in every possible way, but that doesn’t mean it’s not seriously odd.
Why is it so strange? Well, firstly, its construction was actually a punishment for convicted criminals, so the world’s longest structure was built with community-service labor. Secondly, it’s length is unnecessarily staggering. As told by Travel China Guide, the grand total length of the Wall is just over 13,000 miles (21,000 kms). That’s just too much wall...
2 Unique police animals
In most Western countries, canines are the preferred animal partner when it comes to fighting crime and sniffing out the bad guys and their hidden stashes. In China, however, thanks to the animals’ sharp sense of hearing, authorities have actually started using geese to aid in their investigations, act as a radar, and deter home invaders.
A Chinese police chief was even quoted saying that “In some ways, [the geese] are more useful than dogs” when it comes to stopping crime, according to the Telegraph. Useful or not, it’s still a rather unconventional method.
1 Cockroach farms
Stumbling across one cockroach scampering across the kitchen floor can send even the bravest of us running to the hills. That’s just one single cockroach though. How about, wait for it, six million? That’s right, for the purpose of Chinese medicine, one particular farm in China is breeding a shuddering six billion cockroaches per year.
There’s plenty of other creepy crawly farms out there as well. While the Western world creates sprays and bug bombs in efforts to eradicate the persistent creatures, China has united with them, harnessing their medicinal qualities and also breeding them to clean up food scraps.