Traveling to other countries is fun for many reasons, but one of the coolest parts of going abroad is seeing things you've never seen before. And we don't mean the beautiful and famous tourist sites that only exist in certain places; we're talking about weird, unexpected parts of everyday life that you never even realized existed. So please buckle your seatbelts and prepare for take-off as we adventure through this list of surprising stuff travelers have encountered around the world.
Brazil's Police Casually Ride Around Town on Buffaloes
Most of us have heard of police officers on horses, but cops going through the neighborhood riding buffaloes is a first. But that's exactly what you might see if you pay a visit to the beautiful country of Brazil. So if you go there, don't be alarmed to see officers patrolling the streets on top of buffaloes; it's just another day in Brazilian life! Pretty cool, isn't it?
We're just left wondering one thing: did these police officers have to go through specialized buffalo riding training? They couldn't have just known how to do this from birth.
Copenhagen Is Letting Kids Bike on the Street Alone (sort Of)
So, get this: some genius person living in Copenhagen had the incredible idea of building a special zone for children to learn the rules of the road. This place is meant to simulate the mean streets of the big city, except there aren't actual cars. This lets the kids get used to the feeling of biking around the city and teaches them important safety and traffic rules. Plus, the miniature set-up looks super cute.
Biking is a huge thing in Copenhagen. It's many people's mode of everyday transportation, and learning to ride bikes in the busy city is a right of passage for kids there.
The United Arab Emirates Has Vending Machines That Sell Gold
When you think of the United Arab Emirates, what comes to mind? For us, it's looming skyscrapers and a scenic desert landscape. And now, we can add a gold vending machine to that imaginary photo in our heads. And we don't mean a vending machine that happens to be the color gold - we mean a vending machine where you can literally buy gold. That's right. You can buy sodas in USA vending machines and golden nuggets in the UAE.
Imagine being so rich that you not only have use for a gold bar but need one in such urgency that you go out and take one from a vending machine.
Naples, Italy Makes Sure Everyone Can Enjoy Its Beautiful Views
We all know how important it is to make buildings and spaces accessible to everyone, but what about making gorgeous views accessible? That's what this viewing sight in Naples, Italy did when they decided to add a feature that would allow people with any vision impairment to enjoy this stunning view fully. And how did they manage that? By inscribing braille into the sight's railings. It's a pretty simple thing, but the consequences are incredible!
Now, what's written on those railings, you ask? A detailed and colorful description of the view behind it, of course! Cities around the world should take note of this feature and copy it!
Play Traffic Light Ping Pong With the Person Across the Street in Germany
So this isn't something that happens at every traffic light in Germany, but a few of them have this fantastic feature built into them. We all know how frustrating it can be to wait aimlessly at a pedestrian traffic light. That's why this neat little idea is so cool; it's the perfect way to alleviate traffic light boredom - a game of ping pong with the people on the other side.
Just be careful because things could get intense, and it might be awkward to pass your opponent as you cross the street. But hey, who said ping pong shouldn't come with a side of danger?
Karaoke Booths on the Train? Only in South Korea
So if you ever needed another reason to travel to South Korea - here's one for you. Apparently, they've got private karaoke booths on their trains there. Just another instance of South Korea's subway system making everyone else's public transport look a bit on the shabby side. After all, if we could choose between boarding a train with private karaoke booths for our entertainment versus boarding a train without one, we'd go for the first option.
Though if you do go there, you probably should go ahead and brush up on some popular Korean songs. We can't guarantee these machines have international music so go listen to some K-Pop.
Saying "Russia Gets Cold" Would Be an Understatement
No, this is not photoshopped. This is an actual picture taken by someone visiting Novosibirsk, Russia. We're not sure why they decided to go ahead and eat their meal outside instead of in the comfort of their hotel room, but that's what they did, and they have this picture to show for it. The weather was so cold that their frood froze in place, making for this incredibly bizarre photo.
Imagine just how quickly that egg had to freeze for it to be like that. It must have been colder than we could even imagine for that to happen.
This Tokyo Store Is Dedicated Solely to Selling Chopsticks
So here's something you probably didn't know about Tokyo, Japan. Somewhere in that huge city is a cool store that exclusively sells chopsticks and nothing else. Now, what sets this chopstick's store apart from the many other chopsticks stores across the country is that this place looks more like where you'd buy luxurious sunglasses; or at least to those visiting, it does. So if you're ever in Tokyo, we recommend buying a souvenir here.
The entire concept is really special and beautiful. And we're willing to bet all of our souvenir money that there are some one-of-a-kind chopstick designs in there.
An Introvert's Dream Shopping Experience
Shopping abroad is so much fun. It's like an adventure to just stroll through the different aisles, but there is one thing we hate about shopping: some stores train their employees to latch onto you. These employees will ask you if you need help at least twenty times per minute, which might not be bad for some. But for others, it's a total nightmare, which is why we love this!
If you want store employees to approach you for assistance, take a pink basket. If you prefer to be left alone, take a black one. It's so simple and yet oh so clever!
Hockey Sticks Instead of Flagpoles? Doesn't Get More Canadian Than That
Have you ever seen a flag held up by an ice hockey stick instead of a flagpole? If you haven't, you probably just haven't traveled to Canada. The person who snapped this photo didn't expect this to be one of their trip's highlights when they hopped on a plane to visit the northern country. But seeing Canadians use hockey sticks as flagpoles is too funny not to snap a photo.
We just have a few questions: Did they use those hockey sticks because they didn't have a flagpole? Or is this just the Canadian way? Canadians sure do love their hockey!
Denmark's Pedestrian Lights Have Little Vikings on Them
Traffic lights are one of those things that you never expect to change between cities, but they do. This traffic light in Denmark featuring a nice little Viking guy with a helmet and an axe is proof of that. More countries should jump on board this trend. Customized traffic lights based on a country's history or culture might - and should - be the next big thing if you ask us.
We wonder what other traffic light designs are out there, just waiting to be noticed by some wandering tourist. One could probably make a nice book compiling them all.
How Italian Construction Workers Go on Strike
When confronted with unsatisfying working conditions, what do most people do? Well, they strike! But some people are better at striking than others. After all, protesting is an art form. And it seems nobody does it better than Europeans. That much is evident just by looking at this picture. And the helmets mean more than you might realize: each one is supposed to represent a contractor that lost his job.
You know what - that is sad. We guess this picture is a lot sadder than it initially seemed. But it's still a pretty cool thing to witness while traveling abroad.
Forget Gold Vending Machines - Germany Has Sausage Vending Machines
Just when we thought Germany couldn't get any better. It's as though they gathered the country's finest minds, had them all sit around one table, and tried to figure out how they could make the country the coolest and most German it could be. Well, they surely succeeded with this sausage vending machine. It's got our stomachs growling and upset with our city municipality for not setting up the same thing.
Those products really do look appetizing; the actual meat seems pretty nice. So who wouldn't want a vending machine selling high-quality meat at your convenience?
Japan's Deer Are Law-Abiding Citizens
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who knows a bit about Japan that the Japanese people are, as a general rule of thumb, quite orderly. This attitude extends to the rules of the road as well. For example, people who've visited the beautiful country say that people are much more mindful of crossing the street only when the traffic light shines green (as opposed to the rest of us crossing on red).
And apparently, it's not only the Japanese people who adhere to strict traffic laws. It's the Japanese deer, too! Just take a look at the photo above for proof.
Seoul Subways Come With a Miniature Library
So Seoul seems like one of those cities that's just filled to the brim with really eccentric and interesting things. This library in the subway is just one of those things. We're not sure whose idea it was to have a public library in the subway, but it was definitely a good one! It keeps riders entertained while encouraging Korean citizens to read. That sounds like a win-win to us.
We wonder what kinds of books you can find in these libraries. Also, what's the policy? Can you take it home? Do you have to put it back before getting off?
No Address? Iceland's Mailperson Will Get It Delivered Anyway
So there's a bit of a story behind this picture right here. The original poster of this picture had a package to send while visiting Iceland. The only problem was that he didn't have the exact address of the place he wanted the package sent to. So he did what any reasonable man would do in his position - he drew a map with instructions for the postman to adhere to.
Now, the wild thing is that this actually worked. This is just how dedicated Icelandic mailpersons are to their jobs. This is the type of thing that could happen in only a few other places.
Holland Is Tackling the Dangers of Texting While Walking
Holland said, "If you can't beat them, join them." Facing the prevalent issue of inattentive texters wandering into oncoming traffic, the Dutch just went ahead and decided to accommodate the traffic lights to our newfound compulsive habits of constantly checking our phones. What they did was beyond clever; they installed lights on the actual crosswalks (like on the ground) so that even the texters would notice them.
This is great for people like us who cannot take their eyes off their phones for more than a minute. Sorry not sorry; we're addicted.
Japan's KFC Mascot Isn't a Colonel - He's a Samurai
So, if you didn't know, KFC is a really big deal in Japan. People visiting Japan have reported that the country has this wide-eyed fascination with Colonel Sanders. In fact, it's become somewhat of a tradition to go to KFC on Christmas day and get a KFC chicken bucket meal. But there's one crucial difference between Japanese KFCs and the rest of the world: Colonel Sanders isn't a colonel.
The fast food chain's mascot in Japan isn't a colonel; he's a samurai. Check him out in the photo above, decked in samurai gear. We love this look!
Elderly Citizens in Singapore Swipe Their ID to Get More Time at the Crosswalk
So apparently, there's this card you can acquire in Singapore that you swipe at pedestrian traffic lights across the city to gain more time for walking across the street. Not only is this generally a cool idea, but it's also a lifesaver for those who need more time to cross the road, such as the elderly. We're sure this neat feature has saved many people a lot of stress.
In many places, pedestrian traffic lights don't provide enough time for people with trouble walking to make it across. This idea solves that problem and keeps everything running smoothly.
This Unique Mini-Burka
Traveling in Arab countries like Dubai or Morocco, you'll see many women wearing burkas. But this mini-burka look with fishnet stockings and high heels definitely isn't what you'd expect. While it is admittedly a great look, the whole point of the burka is to keep its wearer modest, and we doubt that this is considered modest (even though this woman is totally covered up!). So what's the deal?
This was actually part of a project by filmmaker Hicham Lasri, meant to protest against masculine behavior and how men treat women in his native Morocco. We definitely see it!
We Wonder What This Device Is for
Japan is famous for its quirks and uniqueness. Japanese inventions like a baby onesie fitted with a dust pad for the baby to clean the floor as it crawls, or a pillow that looks like a woman's lap to rest your head on boggle the mind and have been circulating the web in recent years. There's also a growing market for companion robots, that can move, speak, and do all sorts of activities humans usually perform - unheard of in the rest of the world, not-so-unheard of in Japan.
So, this animatronic mouth and nose seem to fit right in with the rest of the weird inventions so common there. Our only question is, what does it do?
All Are Welcome in Germany, Including Giants
"How big can a simple wooden bench be?" is something that you'll regret saying if you ever visit Germany. Do not underestimate the potential size of German benches. Those guys will, for no apparent reason, build a huge bench, proving you wrong and making you look like a fool. This gigantic bench is in Oy-Mittleberg, a small village in southern Germany, and it might just be worth a visit.
Like, just look at it. It's so incomparably huge. We've never seen a bench close to being so big, and we are willing to bet that we probably never will.
Gas Stations in Seoul, South Korea Are Built Different
Seoul has some of the weirdest pieces of urban designs in the world. There's something about that city that just promotes cool, zany design choices. This, naturally, is a great thing. This gas station, for instance, has its gas pumps hanging from the roof. Now, this is obviously really cool, but it is also practical, too. You can just use the pumps and let them hang when you're done.
Yup, no need for fumbling around with those annoying gas pump holsters that most gas stations have. It's a cool idea. We wonder how prevalent it is in Seoul.
This Unrecognized Country Uses Plastic Chips as Currency
This photo shows the currency of a little-known place called Transnistria, officially termed the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. The thing is, this republic broke away from the country of Moldova but hasn't, as of yet, been recognized as an independent country. This has led to quite a bit of trouble on all fronts. One of those, naturally, is the nation's currency, which, as you can see, consists of plastic chips.
The nation's actual currency is composed of plastic chips. Now isn't that something? We just hope they've figured out a system to ensure people can't make fakes.
Here's Why the Dutch Hang Backpacks on Their Flagpoles
So the Dutch (specifically, Dutch families) have quite an adorable tradition. Whenever one of their kids passes his or her's highschool exams, they take said kid's schoolbag and hang it out their window with a flag pole for all the neighbors to see. While a bit strange to the uninitiated, this tradition is super cute and wholesome. It's basically just parents showing how proud they are of their children.
If that isn't a nice little familial tradition signifying the inevitable yet heartwarming process of growing up, then we don't know what is. Credit to the Dutch for thinking of such a neat little ritual.
We Don't Recommend Taking a Sip From These Cans in the U. K.
"You alright, mate?" This is what you would be hearing if you ever took a sip from one of these bad boys and a British person saw you. Why? Well, because you might just pass out from shock if you take a sip from one of these cans. Based on the type of can and the colorful packaging, you might assume this is some sort of drink, but you'd be wrong.
These are cooking sauces. We have "fajita and taco" and "enchilada" sauces from left to right. Isn't it just so unapologetically English to sell sauces in a can?
Italian Plumbers Aren't the Shy Sort
When the original posters of this photo had a few issues with the plumbing in their house, they did what any sane couple would do - they called upon a plumber. Once summoned, the plumber got to fixing the pipes, and once the pipes were fixed, he decided to put himself out there and ask the native English-speaking couple for some help studying for his upcoming English exam.
It's definitely hard to put yourself out there like that, especially when you're just coming to somebody's house to fix an issue with their plumbing. We're happy he took the risk.
Iceland's Hotels Provide a "Northern Lights Wake-Up" Service
A lot of people go to Iceland for the phenomenal and stunning views. One of these views is none other than the famous Northern Lights - the auroral phenomena renowned across the entire world for being one of the most stunning things one could ever hope to see. The thing is, such beauty is a rare thing, and it is incredibly hard to predict when the Northern Lights will show up.
That's why this hotel has its own Northern Lights Wake-Up service. That way, you can sleep easy knowing you won't miss out on the gorgeous view. It's a brilliant idea, to be honest.
You'll Never Get Lost in an Airport in Seoul
So the people who designed the airports in Seoul must have been really scared of people getting lost in their illustrious buildings, so they came up with a neat little trick to combat the phenomena known as airport disorientation - they drew little maps leading flyers to their respective gates on the back of the boarding passes. There's a perfect word to describe this, but it's eluding us right now. Oh wait, we got it - genius!
So if you ever find yourself worrying about getting lost in a Korean airport - fret not. That just isn't going to happen. As long as you can read maps, that is.
Forget the Traditional Mailman or Woman - Estonia Has the Mailrobot
Yeah, nothing to see here. Just your friendly neighborhood robot making its rounds, delivering a bit of mail here and there. You know, typical Estonian mail delivery robot things. What else is a mail delivery robot in Estonia supposed to do if not just that? Okay, we're going to stop acting as though mail-delivering robots are totally normal things, but they are in Estonia. Don't ask us why.
This is definitely one of those things that make you think, "Huh, well, maybe I should go ahead and book myself a flight to Estonia." That is, at least, how we reacted.
These Australian Traffic Signs Were Made to Keep Drivers Awake and Attentive
If there's one way to wake up somebody who's just about to snooze off, it's to hit them with a head-scratching conundrum. Yeah, that's right - nothing gets the blood going more than a thoughtful, thought-provoking question. That is, at least, what the Australian government probably thought when they installed these cool traffic signs. We're not sure how effective they are, but they do make for a cool Instagram picture.
We do wonder how much these signs actually managed to prevent car accidents stemming from tiredness. We wonder if somebody actually took the time to research this at some point.
Cyprus's Special Red License Plates Are a Warning to Other Drivers
Drivers driving around Cyprus know to look out for these red license plates. You see, driving in Cyprus is very much like driving in England, where you drive on the left lane and not the right. This has caused quite a bit of confusion for tourists. So what the people of Cyprus did was think of a way to mark those people coming in from foreign countries and renting a car.
That's what the red license plates are for. Drivers in Cyprus are extra vigilant when coming across a red license plate, given the possibility of foreign drivers getting confused for a bit and causing an accident.
In Holland, Ranch Flavored Doritos Are Called "Cool American"
This totally makes sense. Listen, we're going to have to face the music at some point - it may just be worth admitting that there's nothing more American these days than ranch. It's just become such a staple of American cuisine that it's impossible to ignore. That being said, this is something America should take pride in! Ranch is incredible! It's absolutely delicious. Ignore anything the soulless ranch-despising haters have to say.
Now, while we do understand the "American" part of the name, what's with the "cool"? Like, what's so cool about the ranch? We're not quite sure, really. Hopefully, the Dutch can give us an answer to that one.
Japan Turns Their Manholes Into Pieces of Art
Hey, don't these Japanese manhole covers resemble something? Oh yeah, they do! They look exactly like that Mount Fuji everyone's been talking about! We guess that shouldn't come as a surprise given that they're located at Fuji, the city located comfortably beside the great Mount Fuji. Still, it's a nice touch of urban design that gives the city a special charm. Talk about adding personality to your hometown.
But even if these manhole covers weren't a symbol of municipal identity, they would be beautiful nonetheless. Look at the details! Whoever made this sure put their heart into it. That much is for certain.
Canada's Sylvia Hotel Changes Colors Every Season
So this little-known hotel in Canada is renowned for its incredible aesthetic. The foliage covering the entire outer layer of the building, as in the part of the building that people can see from the outside, is incredibly sensitive to weather at large and the changing of seasons in particular. This means that it actually changes colors every season. It's definitely something to marvel at. Truly beautiful.
Truth be told, it's quite an ingenious design choice. The idea is so good that we're not quite sure why other hotels haven't done the exact same thing. Like, why isn't this the standard for buildings across the world?
The Netherlands Sells Online Stamps and People Just Write the Code Before Mailing
Well, this isn't entirely accurate. It's not like people have totally outgrown the use of stamps in the Netherlands; it's just that they've reformed the stamp system to be more in tune with the advent of digital technology. Nowadays, people in the Netherlands can buy a digital stamp online and write down its code on the back of the envelope or package they're sending. That's actually a really smart idea.
So if you're ever in the Netherlands and need to send something through the post ASAP, don't fret - just go ahead and get one of those digital stamps!
Don't Forget to Bring Your Snow Shovel if You're Visiting Iceland
Okay, imagine looking out the windows in your house in order to take in the view only for you to see this - a monstrous heap of snow bundled up against your house. Is this guy living in an underground snow bunker? Was his house swallowed hole by an avalanche? Nope. This is just your typical North Icelandic ground-floor view. It's incredible just how much it snows there. Really.
Like, this photo almost looks photoshopped. That's just how unbelievable the amount of snow outside this guy's house is. How do you even get out of the house like that? What did this guy tell his boss?
Berlin Supermarket Has Entire Aisle Dedicated Solely to Haribo Candy
Now isn't that just the most Berlin thing you've ever heard to have a huge aisle completely dedicated to Haribo candy? Yeah, it is. It's also one of the best reasons to go ahead and book yourself a flight to Berlin. Like, who doesn't love Haribo? Well, obviously, the people of Berlin enjoy their gummy candy, given just how much space they have dedicated to it in their supermarkets.
There must be so many different Haribo flavors tucked away on those shelves that we've never even heard of before. Imagine having that much Haribo to choose from. Is this what heaven's like?
Iceland's Volcanic Eruptions Made These Beautiful Black-Sand Beaches
We would have booked ourselves a ticket to Iceland if we knew that it had beautiful black sandy beaches such as this one. This is just one of Iceland's many unique landscapes. Seriously, that country has it all - volcanoes, waterfalls, black beaches, steamy geyzers. It's almost as if it were imported from an alien planet. Iceland's definitely one of the most unique countries in the world in terms of scenery.
As it turns out, the sand on this beach turned black due to all of the violent volcanic eruptions that have taken place over the years on the island.
Australian Cops Aren't Like Regular Cops - They're Cool Cops
So when the original poster of this photo was having a game of urban cricket somewhere out there in the great land of Australia, they had for sure thought that the cop coming their way was about to tell them to pack it up and go home. What actually happened was much more surprising. The policeman came up to the young cricket players and politely asked if he could join in on the fun.
Guess this is what policing could look like in some alternate universe - friendly neighborhood cops just hanging out with the citizens they're supposed to be protecting. Oh, what a world.
Forget Gold and Forget Sausages - The Netherlands Has Fresh Milk Vending Machines
Well, if you're from the Netherlands, you probably do have milk, yes. You see, these are milk machines set up by the milk farmers themselves. They provide customers with fresh milk, and the money goes straight to the milk farmers. Good on them for figuring out a way to cut out the middleman. More power to them (and more milk to us). This is definitely one of those things farmers around the world should consider trying.
We're also going to go out on a limb here and bet that the milk is to die for. Way better than the milk you usually get at grocery stores.
This Bundle of Cash Is Only Worth 30 USD
Traveling in Mongolia can get heavy. We mean this both in an emotional sense - as in, you'll be fatigued given all the wonderful and unique experiences you'll be having - but also in a physical, monetary sense. You see, all the money in this photo is worth approximately 30 bucks. Yeah, that's all. That means you'll feel as though you're working your triceps with a dumbbell whenever you bust out your wallet to pay for something.
So, on the one hand, you're pretty much sure to be filthy rich in Mongolia. On the other hand, you'll have to carry all that money around with you. A fair trade.