Features // Novelty

9 new tourist attractions to visit in 2015
9 new tourist attractions to visit in 2015

With a whole host of new attractions opening this year, from world-record-beating skyscrapers to whacky amusement parks, there’s plenty to get your teeth into. To help you decide where to visit, we’ve picked the top 9 new tourist attractions around the world.  Shanghai Tower, China A better symbol of China’s continuing march forward would be harder to…

Better than Disneyland: the Ghibli Museum, Japan
Better than Disneyland: the Ghibli Museum, Japan

Move over Mickey Mouse: in Japan it’s a giant cuddly fur-ball called Totoro who commands national icon status. This adorable animated creature, star of My Neighbour Totoro, is among the pantheon of characters from the movies of celebrated director Miyazaki Hayao and his colleagues at Studio Ghibli – Japan’s equivalent of Disney. Just like Walt,…

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…

Witnessing the power of the haka, New Zealand
Witnessing the power of the haka, New Zealand

Few spectacles can match the terrifying sight of the All Blacks performing a haka before a test match. You feel a chill down your spine fifty metres away in the stands so imagine how it must feel facing it as an opponent. The intimidating thigh-slapping, eye-bulging, tongue-poking chant traditionally used is the Te Rauparaha haka,…

Map: beer from around the world
Map: beer from around the world

Beer-lovers rejoice: the British Government recently announced that a pint of beer in the UK will be a whole one penny cheaper than before. Not exactly saving a fortune, but why would that matter when you have thousands of alternatives from around the world? From the Belgian Chimay to the Turkish Efes, Europe alone has much…

Arrivals: a travel news round up (Oct 10th)
Arrivals: a travel news round up (Oct 10th)

Rough Guides writer Steve Vickers casts an eye over the big travel topics and unpicks the top stories of the week. First route to the Philippines since 1998 Philippine Airlines is about to open a new route from the UK. The flights, from London Heathrow to Manila, will be the first direct link between the UK…

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…

Exploring the spectacular settings of Breaking Bad
Exploring the spectacular settings of Breaking Bad

If you’re as obsessed with Breaking Bad as we are, you might want to take a tour of New Mexico. From the city of Albuquerque to the arid desert nearby, the region hosts a wealth of Breaking Bad filming locations and is well worth exploring in its own right. According to series creator Vince Gilligan, it…

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: 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. 

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…

A hallucinogenic ayahuasca experience in Peru
A hallucinogenic ayahuasca experience in Peru

Embarking on a very personal and spiritual journey, Rough Guides writer Anna Kaminski shares her ayahuasca experience, after ingesting the hallucinogenic vines of the Amazon Basin. The ancient Volkswagen Beetle climbs the hairpin bends high into the mountains, the lights of Cusco spread out in the valley beneath us.  On a particularly steep bend, it gives…

Arrivals: the latest travel news
Arrivals: the latest travel news

Rough Guides writer Steve Vickers casts an eye over the big travel topics and unpicks some of the most unusual stories in the latest travel news. Turkey introduces e-visas for tourists If you’re travelling to Turkey later this year, you might have to do some forward planning. Tourists arriving in the country after 10th April…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

A rough guide to taking the hound on holiday
A rough guide to taking the hound on holiday

Thinking about taking the dog on holiday? Or perhaps you’re going travelling and don’t want to leave the pooch behind? Check out our simple guide to taking your dog to Europe. Had I known how easy it would be to travel with the dog, and how simple it is to get a pet passport, my…

Moles and museums: exploring weird London
Moles and museums: exploring weird London

London’s wacky and unusual attractions are guaranteed to capture the imagination of those who are brave enough to find them. Adam Bennett follows the footsteps of murderers, surgeons and pathologists to discover some truly bizarre objects across the city. Grant Museum of Zoology The Grant Museum of Zoology boasts over 1000 separate species of rare…

A crazy 24 hours in Tokyo
A crazy 24 hours in Tokyo

“The city that never sleeps” is a hackneyed phrase uttered about metropolises from London to New York, but the Japanese capital of Tokyo is perhaps the finest embodiment of the cliché. To test this out, Martin Zatko and his friends decided to spend a full 24 hours finding great things to do in Tokyo: a…

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…

Quirky Tokyo: the top 10 things to do
Quirky Tokyo: the top 10 things to do

With its sushi and sumo, pop culture and age-old tradition, serene gardens and traffic hell, Tokyo bombards the senses like no other city. Ordered yet bewildering, Japan’s pulsating capital will lead you a merry dance – but being lost has never been so much fun. The planet’s largest metropolis is Asia at its weirdest, straightest,…

New camera set to banish the selfie for good
New camera set to banish the selfie for good

If you believed this was true, you can consider yourself an April fool! Technology start-up La Foil Pro have released a brand-new camera designed to banish the much-loved (or loathed) selfie. From Oscar-winners to your travel selfies, taking photos of yourself is great fun wherever you are in the world. But La Foil Pro are…

A night at the Gogglebox mansion in Sandwich
A night at the Gogglebox mansion in Sandwich

Tim Chester spends an evening with the “posh couple” from Britain’s latest TV  craze Gogglebox. Gogglebox shouldn’t work. The TV show about people watching TV shows sounds like the most meta, barrel-scraping idea in the history of 10 Stone Testicle ideas, but somehow it’s compulsive viewing, a window into the country’s living rooms, prejudices and…

Quiz: can you name these famous sights?
Quiz: can you name these famous sights?

Do postcards and travel posters paper your walls? Do you pride yourself on your travel knowledge? We’ve selected ten of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights around the world to put you to the test. Can you identify the famous sight from the picture? Be warned, sometimes places can look surprisingly similar…

Quiz: can you identify the country from its outline?
Quiz: can you identify the country from its outline?

Are you a cartographic clever-clogs or due a geography refresher course? We’ve compiled the outlines of ten different countries – large and small – without any rivers, seas, mountains or cities to help you. Can you deduce the country from its shape alone? Take the quiz to find out…

Passport to write: travel writing competition
Passport to write: travel writing competition

** This competition is now closed ** Do you want to become a travel writer? Have you always dreamed about getting paid to travel the world? We’re on the lookout for talented new authors for our online features section, and have teamed up with Journeys are made @ gapyear.com to give someone the chance to write for…

As seen on screen: the Rough Guides movie quiz
As seen on screen: the Rough Guides movie quiz

From big-screen blockbusters to cult indie flicks, many of the greatest movies to grace our screens have been filmed outside the walls of a studio. Without leaving the comfort of the cinema, we’ve been taken around the world, with places like Cambodia, Morocco, India and Italy providing the backdrop to many a box office smash.…

The sex theme park that’s helping Koreans loosen up
The sex theme park that’s helping Koreans loosen up

 In amongst blushing couples and giggling grannies, Nelson Groom gets a sex education at Jeju Loveland, South Korea.  South Korea has a prudish past. It was only in the 70s that police were patrolling the streets with rulers, measuring the length of ladies’ skirts. Gauging from my time there, South Koreans remain vastly conservative, especially…

A real Game of Thrones adventure in Dubrovnik, Croatia
A real Game of Thrones adventure in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Watching Games of Thrones you could be forgiven for thinking that the hulking walls and rugged fortresses of King’s Landing must have been conjured up on a computer. The truth is that Dubrovnik, once a mighty city state that held both the Venetians and Ottomans at bay, is that spectacular. I arrive in this ancient…

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…

Explore the filming locations of this year’s Oscar nominees
Explore the filming locations of this year’s Oscar nominees

This year’s Oscars Best Picture nominees feature some iconic settings, from 1940s Bletchley Park to deepest Texas and an Iraqi war zone. Here we break down where each movie is set and shot, and how you can get on the ground and check out the filming locations for yourself. The Imitation Game: Bletchley Park, England…

14 magical sunrises that prove it’s worth getting up early
14 magical sunrises that prove it’s worth getting up early

Looking through the Rough Guides photography archive, one kind of shot stands out again and again: pictures captured at sunrise. Sure, there’s nothing more tempting than sleeping in until noon while you’re on holiday. But if you can bring yourself to brave the odd early morning, you’ll discover a magical world as dawn breaks. From…

Delving into Kelvedon Hatch: a secret nuclear bunker
Delving into Kelvedon Hatch: a secret nuclear bunker

From 1947 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, secret bunkers sprung up across Europe in an effort to protect capitalist and communist states from potential nuclear attacks. Adam Bennett explores a secret metropolitan bunker in the Essex village of Kelvedon Hatch. During the Cold War, the prospect of a nuclear attack was…

In the footsteps of Bob Marley: a tour of Kingston, Jamaica
In the footsteps of Bob Marley: a tour of Kingston, Jamaica

Kris Griffiths takes a tour of the birthplace of reggae, following in the footsteps of Jamaica’s most famous son, Bob Marley, on what would have been his 70th birthday. Reggae music was born in the downtrodden townships of this Caribbean island. It’s a genre that has managed to captivate most of the globe with its bouncing…

A titillating tour of the world’s finest sex museums
A titillating tour of the world’s finest sex museums

Sex museums are nothing new. Dozens were erected across Europe during the Swinging Sixties when the sexual revolution was in full swing. These days the orgy of sex museums has slowed to a mere mouthful, though they have been stimulated by a new breed of ‘erotic’ museum that aims to steer more towards art than…

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…

Quiz: how well do you know London?
Quiz: how well do you know London?

Could you pass for a true Londoner or are you just a tourist? Put your London trivia to the test and find out how well acquainted you really are with England’s capital.  

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…

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.

Picking, eating and tripping on Peyote in Mexico
Picking, eating and tripping on Peyote in Mexico

Surrounded by the dwarfing Sierra de Catorce mountain range, Rough Guides writer Alasdair Baverstock indulges in some hallucinogenic Mexican cactus for an eye-opening experience. The cactus beside me was quite audibly breathing. Its expansions and contractions were sure signs of its survival in this desert. In fact, looking around at the abandoned silver mine everything…

Through the looking glass: find the real Alice in Wonderland
Through the looking glass: find the real Alice in Wonderland

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. That means Mad Hatters and Cheshire Cats will be everywhere from London to Manchester this spring. But Alice’s story finds its heartland in the villages of Cheshire, where the author was born, and in a seaside resort in…

A Godzilla-themed hotel has just opened in Tokyo
A Godzilla-themed hotel has just opened in Tokyo

Because robot restaurants and themed cafés aren’t enough: Tokyo is now home to a Godzilla-themed hotel. Towering thirty storeys above Shinjuku in the Japanese capital, the Gracery Hotel revealed a new permanent resident last Friday – an enormous Godzilla head that menacingly overlooks the streets below. In a bid to cash in on the Godzilla hype…

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…

These are the world’s most bizarre spa treatments
These are the world’s most bizarre spa treatments

If you’re after some rejuvenation on your next break but still fancy a bit of an adventure, there are a whole host of alternative therapies offered around the world. From snail facials to a spot of sauna whipping, you can invigorate your body and soul with a smorgasbord of weird but wonderful wellness treatments. Here…

Ten things to do in Manchester for free
Ten things to do in Manchester for free

The IRA’s 1996 bomb in Manchester city centre was one of the city’s darkest days. Extensive damage was done, but ultimately it served only to unleash a flurry of investment that carries on to this day. This means, of course, that there are myriad ways to spend your pennies here these days. Yet deep down,…

20 baffling menu mistakes from around the world
20 baffling menu mistakes from around the world

Restaurants often go to great efforts to translate their menus for English speakers. But sometimes their best intentions, well, just don’t quite go to plan. Detonation eggplant, curried grab and crap sticks sound delicious? That’s just the start of it. We’ve rounded up some of the funniest menu fails from around the world below. 1. We had to try…

14 essential Burmese experiences
14 essential Burmese experiences

Wherever your itinerary takes you, travel in Myanmar (Burma) is sure to provide a wealth of new experiences – whether you’re air-kissing at your waiter in a city teahouse or witnessing your first nat ceremony. To mark the release of our first guide to the country, co-author Jo James shares fourteen of her essential things…

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