Southeast Asia

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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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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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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Luxury, Romance, Nature—and Pod Dinning

The Eco-Villa is made from locally sourced materials, is powered by renewable energy and features a private natural swimming pool that uses plants to clean the water.

Spot Cool Stuff has reviewed a pod bed, a pod ski resort and a pod treehouse hotel. But this is our first ever pod restaurant.

And what an amazing location our first pod restaurant is blessed with: on the grounds of the gorgeous “six star” Soneva Kiri beach resort located on Thai island of Ko Kood.

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Top 10 Destinations
For Rice Terrace Travel

After thousands of years of hindsight it seems maybe rice wasn’t the best choice for humanity’s most popular food staple. Yes, it tastes great with sushi. But growing rice is very water and labor intensive. And it requires a flat field that farmers can flood during the planting season.

Rice is particularly labor intensive in hilly areas where farmers must create their flat field by carving floodable terraces into hillsides. We find even a single terrace impressive when we contemplate all the work involved, work usually done by hand. The sight of multiple rice terraces, stacked atop each other as if to form a giant’s staircase, is truly awe inspiring.

Spot Cool Stuff has been a longtime fan of rice terraces. We once flew round trip between San Francisco and the Philippines specifically to spend a single day in Banaue, supposedly the site world’s most grand rice terraces. Supposedly. After nearly two decades of rice terrace travel we’ve formed our own opinion on such matters. Here’s our list of the top 10 rice terrace destinations:

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Meters Come To Thailand’s Motorcycle Taxis

This article is about Spot Cool Stuff second favorite way of getting around Bangkok.

Our preferred method of traversing the Thai capital is by boat and river taxi. Most travelers know about the ferries that ply up and down Bangkok’s major river, the Chao Phraya. Less well known are the boat services along the smaller rivers and canals that criss-cross the city. The problem is that the canal transport system is often confusing, sometimes slow and (obviously) limited to destinations near water.

So often we turn to that public transportation option that’s best for zipping through the notorious Bangkok traffic and that, by happy coincidence, is also among the least expensive: the motorcycle taxi.

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Bangkok’s Robot Restaurant

The day may come when machines overthrow the human race and our robot overlords force us mortals to serve at their will. Until then, we can suggest going for a meal at the Hajime Robot Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.

At the Hajime robots not only serve food to customers but also dance for them. (This makes the Hajime Robot Restaurant is the only establishment in Bangkok that has a tagline promising to “serve your every need” and that features dancing waiters and that’s also child-friendly).

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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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