Great Attractions

The Million Beer Bottle Temple

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And if you are a Buddhist monk and life gives you empty beer bottles . . . build a temple out of them.

That was the philosophy of a group of Thai monks in the early 1980s who looked at the innumerable glass beer bottles littering their eastern Thailand hometown of Khun Han and saw more than trash. They saw potential.

At first, the monks picked up a few of the bottles to create artistic decorations from. Then they gathered more discarded vessels to build a modest monk living quarters. Eventually, they decided to construct an entire temple out of found beer bottles.

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A Comparison of Bora Bora’s Outstandingly Cool-Looking Resorts

Bora Bora has only 29 square kilometers of land. Yet, incredibly, the French Polynesian island has 9 outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts. That gives Bora Bora a OCLR/KM (outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts per square kilometer) value of .31, which is surely the highest of any island in the world.

Each of Bora Bora’s nine outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts has its merits. A stay at each is also somewhere between expensive and exorbitant, especially once you account for the cost of food, activities and local transportation, all of which is pricey even before tacking on the 14% national tax. That makes choosing the optimum resort key. And, of course, if you are staying for your honeymoon you want to get it right.

For this overview, we’re listing Bora Bora’s OCLRs in the order of overall resort quality as we judge it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the first resort on our list is the best fit with what you are seeking for your particular trip. Also, while reading our comparison, keep in mind that all these resorts have overwater bungalows. All have service that exceeds that of a typical luxury hotel. And all are set in stunning locations, Bora Bora offering nothing but. In those ways, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices:

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The Best View in the Alps

When the world’s highest climbing cable car brings you to the highest mountain in the Alps you know you are in for an amazing view. But maybe not this amazing.

The scene from the summit of Aiguilles de Chamonix, a jagged mountain high in the middle of the Mont Blanc massif, is the single most spectacular in the whole of the Alps. It might be the best mountain view that doesn’t involve hiking, flying or driving available anywhere.

Here’s how to make the trip:

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The Mystery of the Crooked Forest

The Crooked Forest is a place we could almost have listed in our review of travel places that look like Dr. Seuss illustrations if it weren’t tinged with such creepiness. The forest is more like the sort of place a band of weary heroes would have to traverse towards the end of a dark fairy tale. Or maybe it would work best for a scene in a mystery novel. That would be apropos since the trees here are in themselves a mystery.

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Go Scuba Diving
From an Oil Rig Hotel

There may be as many as three million (!) oil rigs and platforms scattered throughout the world’s waters. A decent percentage of them—no one seems to know the exact figure—have already been abandon or fallen into misuse. And as underwater oil fields start to dry up and as people implement alternatives to fossil fuels (we hope) many more oil rigs will be rendered useless.

So what should we do with all these discarded drilling platforms?

Here’s a cool idea: Turn them into hotels.

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Vienna’s Public Hammock House

Cool hammocks are more associated with Caribbean beaches and backyard swimming pools than they are the stuff of urban northern European. Yet it is in the middle of Vienna, in the Austrian capital’s Museum Quarter, that you’ll find the Flederhaus. The five-story public structure is like a sort of hammock village under one roof.

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The Floating Football Island

Spot Cool Stuff first visited Koh Panyee on a trip to Thailand a few years after the story of the YouTube video below takes place. “Koh” in Thai means “island.” But Koh Panyee is an island more in name than reality. The place is more accurately be described as a floating village, built around steep karst mounds and upon bits of rock that stick out from the sea. To walk around the inhabited areas of Panyee—the inhabited areas being virtually the only parts of the “island” one can walk around—is like exploring a scene from Waterworld come to life (minus Kevin Costner).

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Museums for Orphaned Letters

One day you’re in. The next day you’re out.

Heidi Klum’s golden rule of Project Runway fashion is also the reality for the characters that comprise signs. One day you are an L or an R proudly pointing the way towards an attraction along with your fellow letters. The next day you are discarded.

Usually old signs end up in landfills or incinerators. But an especially lucky, and especially artistic, few have their letters go on display in museums. There people look at them not for any direction they can provide but for the works of art that they are.

Here’s a review of Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite unusual typography museums:

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