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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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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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The Love Boat, North Korea Style

Looking for an unusual cruise destination? Are the fjords of Scandinavia, the beaches of the Caribbean and the ports of Greece too beautiful or colorful for you? Then consider a cruise to a reclusive communist state instead.

North Korea’s state tourism bureau recently inaugurated its first ever regularly scheduled cruise.

This is not the Hermit Kingdom’s first attempt to woo vacationers; Spot Cool Stuff readers may remember our post about North Korea’s inaugural golf international golf tournament. Those efforts did not exactly turn the country into a tourist mecca. So might this new cruise offering?

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Monkey See, Monkey Spa

The monkeys wash themselves, kick back with their arms resting on the hot spring’s rim, and generally carry on like humans would

So, a man and a monkey are in a hot tub . . .

That’s usually the start of some bad joke. Unless you are in the Japanese village of Jigokudani.

It is there, outside of Nagano in the Japanese Alps, where travelers can stay at the Korakukan Inn, a wonderful little Japanese-style hostel. The inn has a rotemburo (outdoor hot springs) that is for guests only. Though, apparently, no one has informed the local primate population of this policy. Stay at the Korakukan, go for an early morning bath in the winter months, and you may well be sharing the tub with a monkey.

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The Water Cube Gets Happy Magic

You may remember the Water Cube as the venue for the swimming events 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The exterior of “The Cube,” with its translucent walls that seemed as though they were made of giant living skin cells, became one of the iconic images of the games.

The Water Cube received a lot of press at the time of the Olympics. But what most reports (including Spot Cool Stuff’s own review) left out was that the building was not designed to permanently host of swimming competitions. From conception, its real intended purpose was to be a water park.

Recently the Water Cube’s original destiny was fulfilled with the opening of the Happy Magic Watercube. (Yes, somehow “water cube” got truncated to one word during the transition). In doing so, the place where Michael Phelps once set world records in swimming is today setting the record as the world’s largest indoor water park.

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Seoul’s Virtual Subway Supermarket

South Korea is the second-hardest working country in the world1. All those hours at the office don’t leave much time for food shopping. So when England-based grocery store chain Tesco (called Homeplus locally) wanted to expand their market share in the Korean capital they looked to a place that the residents of Seoul already had idle time to pick out their foodstuffs—on the platform of subway stations while waiting for trains.

The problem is that subway platforms have no room for full-fledged supermarkets (or even quarter-fledged supermarkets). So Homeplus went virtual. They put up backlit posters with grocery items displayed on shelves as they would be in a real store.

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The World’s Steepest Roller Coaster

Any self-respecting world-class roller coaster enthusiast has to visit the Fuji-Q High Land at least once. The amusement park—in Yamanashi, Japan, almost literally in the shadow of Mt. Fuji—is home to many of the planet’s best rides.

The self-assigned goal of the Fuji-Q High Land park: To build a roller coaster every five years worthy of a spot in The Guiness Book of World Records. Thus far, the amusement park has achieved that goal:

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No Shoes. No News.
Pure, Private, Beach Relaxation.

Every villa is perched on stilts above calm, crystal clear waters, so you're never more than a few steps away from a refreshing swim

There are only two rules at the Soneva Gili by Six Senses in the Maldives and, trust us, after a few minutes at this honeymoon-oriented beach resort you won’t mind following either:

1) No shoes are allowed.

2) Do not discuss news from the outside world.

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