So Bad It’s Good

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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The Museum of Hair

Albert Einstein, Troy Polamalu, Gwen Stefani and Donald Trump would love it. Those with chaetophobia (a fear of hair) would consider it hell. Our readers inclined towards Spot Cool Stuff’s odd travel attractions would find it so bad that it’s good.

It’s the Museum of Hair in Avanos, Turkey.

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3 Obviously True Travel Facts That Are Wrong

Everything you know about travel is wrong . . . . . or, at least, it could be wrong. Anyone who travels often enough, and daringly enough, has surely already discovered this. Pre-travel, you might believe that herds of cows don’t roam cities, that money comes only in paper and metal form, that the health of one’s father is not connected to one’s choice of footwear. Then you travel to India and step into (and, occasionally, onto) its bovine urban environment, or go to Yap where purchases are made with large rock slabs, or visit Madagascar and discover fady. (Don’t know about fady? Read on).

This is one of the true joys of travel—to shatter expectations and expand the realm of what’s possible.

In many ways, the entire travel channel of Spot Cool Stuff is dedicated to the surprising aspects of travel. For some clear examples, look through our unusual hotel reviews.

In honor of the official Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong Day, March 15th, we bring you a special post about three travel destinations—one country, one city and one restaurant—where you’ll discover that what you were certain was right is, in fact, wrong.

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Come for the Golf. Stay for North Korea.

Sports have a way of transcending political and cultural differences. The 1995 Rugby World Cup (on which the excellent movie Invictus was based). The 1970s exchange of table tennis players between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. The 2005 “Cricket Summit” between India and Pakistan. The North Korean Amateur Open?

That last event hasn’t happened yet. But it will on April 29th, 2011. And if you are anything approximating a decent golfer can participate!

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The Creepiest Place on the Planet

The dolls belong to spirits that keep the deceased girl company and prevent further evil from descending upon the island

On a creepy island in a creepy swamp south of Mexico City there’s a place that looks like the stuff of nightmares and horror movies. Here, among the scraggily branches and dead trees hang hundreds of old, mangled dolls.

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5 Delicious Foods
(That Can Kill You)

Sticking your nose in a portion of hakarl feels like being whacked in the face with the putrid carcass of a musk ox.

When you think of dangerous adventure travel you probably think of activities like bungee jumping, shark diving or sneaking into North Korea. But occasionally simply eating an exotic dish is death defying. That’s the case with the five foods featured below. Each of them can be tasty when eaten properly and fatal when not.

You are reading on — and trying any of these foods — at your own risk.

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A Salad and a Straight Jacket, Please

Come prepared to eat your meal with syringes, scalpels and other surgical utensils

Most people do not associate hospitals with great food, fun or festivities. The owners of Hospitalis, an unusual restaurant in the Latvian capital of Riga, are hoping to change that.

At Hospitalis patrons eat amongst skeletons, hospital gurneys and video screens playing medical clips from various popular movies. The two story restaurant is decorated mostly in an E.R. operating room theme. But if the thought of undergoing surgery isn’t unpleasant enough for you request a table in the restaurant’s faux dental office. There you can enjoy your meal while sitting in a dentist’s chair. (Fortunately, the dental dining area does not include round sinks of swirling water for patrons to spit their food into).

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The World’s Worst Travel Gear

At Spot Cool Stuff, almost all our reviews cover products and places we love. Sometimes, though, a product can be so mind boggling terrible that, well, there’s something good about the horribleness of it.

With that attempted explanation we take a break from our usual routine of writing about genuinely cool things and present you with a collection of travel gear you would almost certainly never bring on your next trip—unless you lost a bet.

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