Features // Novelty

Chinese restaurant etiquette: a step-by-step guide
Chinese restaurant etiquette: a step-by-step guide

You’ve heard the one about not sticking your chopsticks straight up in rice, right? (It resembles funerary incense sticks). Honestly? Don’t fret. Because let’s face it; you’ve got bigger problems than antiquated cultural faux-pas. Like how to actually order and eat a table-full of delicious Chinese food in a regular, everyday, non-touristy Chinese restaurant –…

10 of the world’s weirdest museums
10 of the world’s weirdest museums

This year saw the opening of the world’s first Barbie museum in Montréal, Canada. It’s one of a handful of exhibitions specialising in unusual subject matters, so if dusty fossils don’t do it for you, we’ve rounded up ten of the world’s weirdest museums. 1. Meguro Parasitological Museum, Tokyo, Japan Those prone to squeamishness should probably…

8 of South America’s most memorable eccentricities
8 of South America’s most memorable eccentricities

Tasty ‘big-ass ants’, llamas wearing woolly hats, and tiny enclaves of Welsh culture make South America a fascinating, if at times, mind boggling continent to explore. Here’s our foray into some of the more eclectic cultural treats to be found upon these shores. 1. Patagonia’s Welsh teahouses Debuted to the world in Bruce Chatwin’s pivotal…

Quiz: how well do you know the world’s rivers?
Quiz: how well do you know the world’s rivers?

Do you have excellent knowledge of ‘current’ affairs? Are you a pro at going with the flow? If so, our cartographer Ed Wright has devised a fiendish quiz to put you to the test. Can you take on this torrent of ten fluvial brain-teasers and make it to the other side? Header via Pixabay/CC0

13 of the most bizarre foods from around the world
13 of the most bizarre foods from around the world

What makes a food strange? After all, plenty of people shudder at the thought of Scottish favourite haggis, while others wouldn’t touch escargots or frogs’ legs (all of them delicious, by the way). But some of the world’s most bizarre foods really do need a strong stomach – and preferably a weak sense of smell.…

Quiz: can you name these famous places in the USA?
Quiz: can you name these famous places in the USA?

Do you pride yourself on your travel knowledge of the USA? Have you marvelled at the Grand Canyon, taken a ride on a cable car in San Francisco and visited Washington DC‘s finest museums? If so, this is the quiz for you. We’ve selected eight famous sights across the USA – from mountains and monuments to towns and cities – to…

Taliouine: the source of Morocco’s Red Gold
Taliouine: the source of Morocco’s Red Gold

Morocco-based travel photographer Chris Griffiths shares a visual insight into Taliouine: where Morocco’s “red gold” – saffron – is grown and harvested.  The Sirwa mountains are located in the Souss region of Morocco and are known for their distinct seasonal changes in climate. The vast rocky valleys making up the range appear somewhat inhabitable and infrastructure…

Hot tub happiness: the dos and don’ts of Icelandic spas
Hot tub happiness: the dos and don’ts of Icelandic spas

Going for a spa in Iceland can feel wonderfully alien. Against a backdrop of barren moonscapes and denuded hills, the waters are so preternaturally blue, so exaggerated and preposterously warm, that a simple dip can feel borderline indecent. Venture from the capital Reykjavik as far as Reyðarfjörður in the extreme east and you’ll also find…

5 places to take your clothes off (without getting arrested)
5 places to take your clothes off (without getting arrested)

Letting it all hang out has never been so newsworthy. In the past year or so, we have seen an influx of over-the-top pranks at world heritage sites including Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, and the Great Pyramids of Giza. It all culminated last summer when ten backpackers made headlines for baring all at the summit…

The world’s happiest countries have been revealed
The world’s happiest countries have been revealed

If you’re a resident of Europe, it’s likely you’re happier than the rest of the world, according to the UN. Yesterday, the World Happiness Report Update 2016 revealed seven European nations in the top ten happiest countries in the world. The report has been released in advance of World Happiness Day (March 20) and ranks 157 countries in order of…

Quiz: can you name these famous places in Europe?
Quiz: can you name these famous places in Europe?

Do you pride yourself on your European travel knowledge? Have you strolled the backstreets of Venice, discovered Berlin‘s best under-the-radar nightlife or island-hopped in Croatia? If so, this is the quiz for you. We’ve selected 10 famous sights across Europe – from mountains to monuments – to put you to the test. Can you name the…

10 of the world’s most epic marathons
10 of the world’s most epic marathons

Running along the Great Wall of China, jogging across the African savannah and racing through the Amazon are some of the exhilarating marathon experiences now on offer around the globe. From coastal routes in Jamaica and California to challenging courses in the blazing Sahara and freezing Polar Circle, a growing number of endurance events provide…

10 big first-time travel questions answered
10 big first-time travel questions answered

The world is flat. Or so the thinking went, until someone actually went off to circumnavigate it. You may not make such a colossal discovery during your own global journey, but what awaits you “out there” is something only you can find: your very own adventure. Who knows, you may just find a best friend,…

A dog surfing competition took place in Australia this week
A dog surfing competition took place in Australia this week

Plato said every dog has the soul of a philosopher. While that statement is disputable, the wave-riding canines at the Noosa Festival of Surfing are proof that some dogs, at least, have the soul of a surfer. Thousands gathered at Queensland Australia’s Noosa Beach this week to watch The Dog Spectacular, the world’s only surfing event where…

Poll: Would you take the world’s longest flight?
Poll: Would you take the world’s longest flight?

On Wednesday, passengers aboard an Emirates Airbus A380 endured the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight – a 17 hours 15 minute trip from Dubai to Auckland. Covering 14,200km (8,824 miles) in a single leg, this is a jaw-dropping flight and record-breaking time hint at a new era in trade, travel and global connectivity. Of course, increased time,…

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America
15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

South America has become a favoured destination for the intrepid backpacker, and while it’s impressive in the astounding diversity of its nations, there are a number of universal lessons that every traveller will learn at some point during their time here. So whether you fell foul of altitude or accepted that you – inevitably – suck…

Why London is the world’s most eccentric city
Why London is the world’s most eccentric city

London is celebrated for many things. And rightly so; it’s up there with the most progressive, creative and historic cities in the world. But here at Rough Guides the thing we love most about London is its marvellous eccentricities. While editing the latest Rough Guide to London, Greg Dickinson took note of some of the…

The top gifts for travellers
The top gifts for travellers

Know someone who loves to travel? Perhaps you’re after something special for the loved one in your life. Whether it’s a birthday, the festive season or you’re just feeling generous, here’s our pick of the top gifts for travellers. GoPro HERO4 Silver GoPros are quickly becoming an essential in many traveller’s backpacks and this model is no different.…

Discover your silly side: 11 of the world’s best slides
Discover your silly side: 11 of the world’s best slides

Travelling is time we take to relax, to let go and to have fun. Sometimes, this means finding your inner child and just being a bit silly – and there’s no better way to do that than on some of the world’s best slides. If you’re in need of some time out and want to find…

The best theme parks in America
The best theme parks in America

The USA is practically bursting with amusement parks, from the sprawling and city-sized to the off-beat and unexpectedly endearing. Cotton candy and corn dogs, kiddie rides and coasters – here are the best theme parks in America. Six Flags Magic Mountain, California Magic Mountain boasts the world record for most roller coasters in a single amusement park, clocking…

Quiz: which region should you visit this year?
Quiz: which region should you visit this year?

The best bit of the new year is brainstorming your next adventure. We’ve compiled a definitive guide to the best countries, cities and regions to help you plan your big 2016 trip. But if you’re feeling undecided on ideas – or even a little spontaneous – take this quiz to find out which region you should visit this year.

The most haunted places in America
The most haunted places in America

Ghost stories are fun. Though folk tales and flatout fabrications abound, the best of them possess a kernel of historic truth that prompt us to ponder the lives of those who inhabited the world before we came along. From Hollywood horror hotspots to dilapidated colonial settlements, here are the most haunted places in America. Fact…

5 travel trends we’re predicting for 2016
5 travel trends we’re predicting for 2016

How will travel change over the next twelve months? Expect crowded planes, bots that can book things on your behalf and – if you’re really lucky – the chance to finally chill out. 1. Technology will continue to take over your travel Over the past decade, technology has completely re-shaped the travel experience, giving consumers the…

The 10 funniest travel stories of the year
The 10 funniest travel stories of the year

Sometimes travel just doesn’t go to plan. We’ve all been faced with bumps in the road – and often they become the moments that make your trip. On other occasions, there’s nothing you can do but sit back, laugh and go with the flow. Here are ten people who had to do just that this…

The best Christmas gifts for travellers
The best Christmas gifts for travellers

Whether you’re looking for a meaningful gift for your travel partner, or you’re stuck with the awkward guy in the office secret Santa draw, there’s something for every kind of traveller here. Get your Christmas lists at the ready: here are the best gifts for travellers this year. For the practical traveller: cafetiere mug This…

Quiz: Where should you take a digital detox?
Quiz: Where should you take a digital detox?

Do you spend more time tweeting about your travels than experiencing them? Are you fixated on your Facebook feed? It’s time to break the habit. You’ve read the guide on how to give up social media while you’re on holiday, and now it’s time to find the perfect destination for your digital detox. Take the test below…

12 hangover cures from around the world
12 hangover cures from around the world

The festive period is upon us again: Christmas party season is looming. And with so many celebrations, it can be hard to keep up the pace. Luckily, there are some pretty inventive hangover cures out there to help you make it through to the new year. We’ve compiled some of the most interesting from around…

Strange lands: the eternally-burning fires of Central Asia
Strange lands: the eternally-burning fires of Central Asia

In far-off lands, largely undiscovered by travellers today, there are fires eternally burning; some natural and some man-made. These impressive fire craters can be found across Central Asia, fed by the vast oil reserves that lie beneath this region. They’ve featured in both local folklore and Hollywood movies as the entrances to Hell. If you’re…

Geothermal cuisine: discover volcano–cooked Azorean food
Geothermal cuisine: discover volcano–cooked Azorean food

Scattered like shards across a million square kilometres of the North Atlantic, west of Portugal the nine islands of the Azores are unmistakably volcanic. For now, this green and breezy archipelago is snoozing in the temperate embrace of the Gulf Stream; the last significant onshore eruptions were in 1811. However, over thirty of its volcanoes remain active, and regular tremors and underwater seismic…

12 embarrassing things we’ve all done while travelling
12 embarrassing things we’ve all done while travelling

There are rules for life at home, and then there are rules for life on the road. It seems that for many of us normal standards go out the window as soon as we sling on a backpack and enter a foreign country. Here are a few of those embarrassing moments we’ve all had, but will never admit…

The other Bali: an alternative guide to the Island of Gods
The other Bali: an alternative guide to the Island of Gods

Beyond the mystical sounds of gamelan and the intricate craft of batik, Bali boasts a world of subcultures often overlooked by visitors. The art makes bold statements, nightlife sometimes involves a new tattoo, and music is anything but serene. On an island where locals are often denied entry from bars and clubs, an experience off…

Copenhagen’s best kept secret: Retro Bobby’s arcade barbershop
Copenhagen’s best kept secret: Retro Bobby’s arcade barbershop

Bobby’s mullet blows in the wind as he pilots his dinky motorcycle down Copenhagen‘s cobbled backstreets. Wobbling past kebab shops and contemporary design stores on his way to work, he looks like a living relic from a bygone era: the 1980s. A turtleneck peeks out from beneath his blue denim jacket, which perfectly matches the…

Quiz: can you name these islands?
Quiz: can you name these islands?

Are you ready for your next geographical brainteaser? We’ve selected ten maps of island groups. In each, you simply need to identify the three islands we’ve highlighted. It’s multiple choice, so how tough can it be? Find out if you’re a geographical genius below…

15 things everybody learns backpacking in Southeast Asia
15 things everybody learns backpacking in Southeast Asia

From psychedelic milkshakes to overloaded tuk-tuks, there are some things everybody comes across when backpacking in Southeast Asia. Whether you spent the brunt of your time beaching, boozing, motorcycling, meditating or trying to see it all – here are 15 things you likely learned. 1. Getting from A to B is surprisingly fun All-night bus rides with bad action movies…

Isla de las Muñecas: Mexico’s terrifying island of haunted dolls
Isla de las Muñecas: Mexico’s terrifying island of haunted dolls

They hang from trees and clothes lines. Bits of plastic bodies jammed onto fenceposts and nailed to cabin doors, decaying heads strewn among the island’s greenery, gazing at visitors through insect-infested eye-sockets. Welcome to Mexico‘s Isla de las Muñecas, or Island of Dolls. Located deep in Xochimilco, a borough just 28km south of Mexico City, the Isla de las Muñecas…

Quiz: where should you go on your honeymoon?
Quiz: where should you go on your honeymoon?

Looking for inspiration for your honeymoon? Planning one great holiday to kick off a lifetime of amazing shared experiences can tax even the most experienced traveller. Luckily, we’re on hand to help. Take the quiz below to find your perfect destination. 

360° video: up close and personal with Iceland’s Strokkur geyser
360° video: up close and personal with Iceland’s Strokkur geyser

Feeling far away from the natural wonders of Iceland? You’re about to feel a lot closer. Welcome to 360° virtual reality, where you can look where you want, when you want, as the video plays in real time.  After hitting play, either click and drag on the video to take control of its camera (on desktop) or tilt…

Quiz: can you name the country from its shape alone?
Quiz: can you name the country from its shape alone?

Earlier this year we bought you a fiendishly difficult cartography quiz – and now we’re back with round #2. We’ve compiled another batch of country outlines to test your atlas acumen. Are you a geographical genius or a travel tyro? Find out below…

8 things you didn’t know you could do in Ontario, Canada
8 things you didn’t know you could do in Ontario, Canada

There’s more to see in Canada’s most populated province than ice hockey, forests and freely flowing maple syrup – and some of it’s pretty weird. From the world’s largest Elvis Presley festival, to axe throwing ranges in Toronto, here are just a few things you didn’t know you could do in Ontario. 1. Drink Dead Elephant Ale…

7 signs it’s time to book your next trip
7 signs it’s time to book your next trip

Is life at home getting you down? Each day starting to feel like a track repeat? Perhaps you’re thinking about giving it all up – selling the worldly possessions you’ve accumulated in exchange for the freedom of the road? We feel for you. But before you actually do quit your job, sell your house or abandon your beloved…

In pictures: Wales hosts Europe’s largest Elvis Presley festival
In pictures: Wales hosts Europe’s largest Elvis Presley festival

Last week, Porthcawl in South Wales hosted Europe’s biggest gathering of Elvis Presley lookalikes. This annual festival sees the small seaside town flooded with Elvis fans and tribute acts for a weekend-long rock ‘n’ roll romp. The action culminates on Saturday night at the The Elvies award show, “the World’s leading award show for Elvis Tribute Artists”, with awards dished out for the…

Quiz: where should you go on your next road trip?
Quiz: where should you go on your next road trip?

Is the open road calling you? Are you craving a holiday behind the wheel? If so, we’re here to help. This quiz will help you pick the perfect road trip, whether you want to embark on one of the world’s most famous drives or strike out into the wilderness.

Music meets travel: can you match the lyric to the artist?
Music meets travel: can you match the lyric to the artist?

Music and travelling go hand-in-hand – a good song can make a trip and evoke memories when you listen to it again afterwards. Equally, a good trip can make a song: many places around the world have been immortalized in famous lyrics. But who sings about where? Take our music-meets-travel quiz to see how much you…

Diehard Detroit: video captures the city’s bright future
Diehard Detroit: video captures the city’s bright future

Detroit has been much maligned over the last decade. The largest US city ever to file for bankruptcy, in the summer of 2013, it became the poster child for urban blight. As industry moved out, photographers moved in, fed by an online fascination with “ruin porn”. Hundreds came to see the beauty of Detroit’s crumbling…

7 reasons why Cologne could be Germany’s coolest city
7 reasons why Cologne could be Germany’s coolest city

If you’re looking for a city with fairytale architecture and gas-lit cobbled alleyways, you should probably stop reading now. Book a flight to Prague or Paris and be done with it. For Cologne (or Köln), is at first glance underwhelming in its postwar geometricity, with more busy roads than pedestrianised ones and only one blockbuster sight…

Quiz: can you spell these tricky place names correctly?
Quiz: can you spell these tricky place names correctly?

Reckon you’d be crowned champion of the ultimate travel spelling bee? It’s time to find out. We’ve compiled some commonly misspelled place names and given you four options for each one. We’ve been kind – you won’t find Eyjafjallajökull or Thiruvananthapuram in here – but some might not be as simple as they look…

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