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Fried Scorpions

Taste: Talking myself into was the fucking hard part. The only reason I wanted to do it was because of the fat bald guy [Andrew Zimmern]. It was crispy, and tad bit rubbery. They put some kind of pepper sauce on it, so it wasn’t so bad. It tasted like that fried brown thing in you find in your fries McDonald’s that you’re not sure is a fry or not.

Place: Beijing China, in the main plaza

Verdict: I would try it again if I were with someone who was afraid to do it alone.

Side Effects: I swallowed it and I’m still alive


Live Octopus

Taste: The taste of san nakchi (live octopus) is comparable to extremely fresh and rare pork. The texture is surprisingly chewy but you can definitely feel the tentacles sticking to your throat. Be sure to slather your writhing piece in sesame oil so that it glides don’t your throat and doesn’t strangle you on its way down. That would be no bueno.

Place: I tried san nakchi in the coastal town of Pohang, South Korea. It’s relatively easy to find a seafood restaurant that serves live octopus in South Korea. Just be ready to fight your food into submission.

Verdict: I would eat it again in a heart beat. I wish I could find it somewhere in Seattle. It’s a little addicting.

Side Effects: If anything, conquering san nakchi made me feel invigorated. I had to struggle with my food. I was wrestling it to death with my jaw. I suffered no real side effects but there have been cases of others choking from not properly preparing their bite. Just remember that sesame oil is key!


Lemon Flavored Ants

Taste: Well, our guide sold them to us as “lemon-flavored ants”, and while I wouldn’t say they tasted exactly like lemons, there was definitely a sour, citrusy burst when you mashed them on your tongue. I guess they tasted like lemon in the same way that lemongrass tastes like lemon; close enough that you wouldn’t compare it to anything else. (For what it’s worth, there was no other flavor. No ant-y aftertaste!)

Place: We found these ants on a day-hike through the middle of the jungle inthe Amazon basin. We booked our tour from an operator in Baños, Ecuador.

Verdict: Would I try them again? Well, I can’t say that I’d ever plop myself down in front of a nest and go all anteater on them, but you know what? I might be convinced to eat a plate of grilled chicken with these little guys crawling all over it. If you dared me…

Side Effects: No side effects from eating the ants only had 4 or 5 in my mouth, really. Besides the initial burst of lemon, I wouldn’t have even known they were there. However, my wife, Oksana, was a little slower in crushing her ants and had one bite her tongue!

Fried Blowfish

Taste: It was delicious. Although it was fried on the spot, the fish was still tasted very fresh

Place: Fukoka, Japan

Verdict: I would definitely try fugu again. Maybe next time I will be more bold and try it as sushimi.

Side Effects:


Raw Horsemeat

Taste: It was uncooked meat, but it didn’t really taste any different from other meat. I expected it to taste gamey but it didn’t.

Place: Beppu, Japan, don’t know the name of the restaurant, recommended by the hostel I stayed at

Verdict: I would probably not try it again. I’ve tried a lot of weird foods, dog soup, balut which is cooked duck embryo in the shell. Most of these I would probably not need to try again.

Side Effects: There was no side effects. None of these strange foods have had any side effects. Supposedly they are ‘good for man’ but unfortunately can’t even say that happened!

Dancing Shrimp

The Taste:
Dancing shrimp are salty and crunchy, flavored with fresh herbs and lemongrass, and finally bathed in a nice limey dressing. When the dish is served, the little shrimp are still alive, so it’s quite entertaining to eat them as they jump around in your mouth.

The Place:
I ate this dish on a street known as “Thanon Rangnam” in Bangkok, Thailand. Dancing shrimp are available in select markets throughout Bangkok. They are almost exclusively sold by mobile street vendors, so it can be hard to pinpoint where to get it, unless you just stumble upon it.

The Verdict: Yes, I would try it again. Actually despite its strangeness, the flavor is great, I enjoy eating it.

The Side Effects: Nope, no side effects this time!

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Pai Reggae Festival. Thailand

No surprise that Thailand’s annual reggae festival would be held in one of the most hippie travel destinations in the world. Located just outside Chang Mai in North Thailand, Pai is hippie haven surrounded by mountains and all things green. The Pai Reggae Festival is a three-day long event where Bob Marley wannabes bring their tents and camp out to sounds of classic reggae music.

Ostróda Reggae Festival. Poland

You have probably never put the words ‘reggae’ and ‘Poland’ in the same sentence, but the Ostroda Reggae festival in Ostroda, Poland is one of Eastern Europe’s largest concerts for reggae music lovers. Now in its 12th year, the three-stages festival attracts world-renowned reggae and dub artists, international diplomats and thousands of reggae fans from across the world. The message: promote respect, tolerance and peaceful coexistence of all nations, nationalities and colors of the skin.


Reggaetown. Australia

For 10 years in a row, Reggaetown has been bringing a dose of ‘Jam Rock’ to the land down under. Situated amidst the rainforest, adjacent to the World Heritage areas of Barron Falls National Park in the small village of Kuranda near Cairns, Reggaetown is the perfect spot for dreaded Aussies to lay down their surfboards and catch some of the biggest acts in reggae music.

Summerjam. Germany

Deutschland hosts quite a few reggae festivals throughout the year, but none of them compare to Summerjam. For 27 years, that’s right, 27 years Cologne has played host to quite possibly the most well-known reggae festival in Europe. Acts like Black Uhuru, Stephen Marley an Sean Paul have graced their stages and rocked out for tens of thousands of people. Held in the beautiful city of Cologne, Summerjam is a MUST for a summer Euro trip.


One Love Jamaica Festival. Japan

The Japanese have had an obsession with reggae music since the 70′s. At the famous Dancehall Contest in Montego Bay Jamaica, Japanese dancer Junko Kudo, was the first non-Jamaican ever to take the grand prize home. So it’s no wonder that the annual One Love Jamaica Festival at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo is the largest and most well-known reggae music festival in all of Asia. The festival lasts two days with famous reggae talents and Jamaican food with a Japanese twist.

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. USA

Dedicated to nurturing peace and promoting conscious music, Sierra Nevada Reggae and World Music Festival has been in existence for over 20 years. For three days, festival-going peace seekers camp out and jam out to the sounds of reggae and world music from some of the most popular artists around the world.


Garance Festival. France

Paris is awesome, but so is the southern region of France. 100 km right outside of Marseilles at Arthur Rimbaud Park in Bagnols-sur-Cèze is the home of France’s largest reggae festival. This past year Garance saw more than 45,000 festival goers in attendance to see acts like Rita Marley and the ‘Queen of Reggae’ Martha Griffiths with an incredible line up of the best deejays in dub.

Rototom Sunsplash Festival. Spain

Over 25,000 people from 96 countries, no sponsors, a legendary lineup on the beach in Benicassim, Spain. Apparently at the Rototom Sunsplash Festival it goes down and for a good cause. The Rototom non-profit collective donates all its proceeds to humanitarian charity efforts so you can feel good about yourself after partying all night.

Back to Africa Festival. Gambia

Why “Back to Africa”? Because for the founders of the festival the message represents “Black is Beautiful”. And although the three-day festival is in its freshman year, it welcomed 400+ international tourists and featured over 35 artists and DJs. The event was launched in January 2012 by one of the most successful reggae labels, Ariwa Sounds, to celebrate 30 years of making good music. The festival’s host, Mad Professor is known for mixing reggae with different genres so expect to hear dubstep, dancehall, roots and lovers rock.

Uppsala Reggae Festival. Sweden

Uppsala has been dubbed the “The Reggae Mecca of Scandinavia” and it’s the home of Scandinavia largest strictly reggae festival in Scandinavia. Located in Sweden fourth largest city and approximately 44 miles north of Stockholm, the Uppsala Reggae festival has featured great acts such as burning Spear, Third World and Kymani Marley for the past 25 years. Founder Yared Tekeste, calls it “a meeting place for people who need to express and experience love and togetherness. We call it Oneness. Our contribution is Oneness.”


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Whenever you travel abroad I find that you have time to relax and maybe do some flirting. It is therefor no surprise that you will hear some really bad pick-up lines. Below some of my friends have shared their best of the worst pick-up lines from around the world.


Where: Vancouver, Canada

The Details: My friend and I had just left a Tim Horton’s. A man wearing a sweater vest without a shirt underneath and a cowboy hat rushed to follow us out of the store. When he caught up with us, he looked me in the eyes and said “I just heard you order those Timbits, and I want you to know that you have the sexiest voice I have ever heard”. Then, before I could respond, he jumped onto a moped, strapped a helmet over top of his cowboy hat and scooted away forever.

[Jess] from shows her readers how travel and relocation can be possible for anyone and everyone who has ever wanted to see the world.

Where: New Delhi, India

The Details: “There are 206 bones in the human body… do you want another one?” then since he already had one beer too many, he proceeded to add (just in case I didn’t understand him), “You’re like a prize winning fish. I don’t know whether to eat you or take you home.”!!! Needless to say, he went home ALONE.

[Mei] is from one of Malaysia’s Top Luxury Travel and Food Blogs – She also runs a fitness and health blog called that shows women how to stay fit and hot!


Where: Bangkok, Thailand

The Details: I was hanging at the bar with a group of friends when a fragile-looking guy in what looked like his dad’s suit approached us and began to introduce himself. When he got to me he said, “I have to tell you this: don’t get scared if you google me”. I laughed at the shameless plug but in my head I was screaming SECURITY! The next day I did google his ass and found out he was an indicted politician facing some serious jail time.



 Where: Washington, DC, USA

The Details: During a night of drinking at one of my favorite Washington, DC dive bars, my ears perked up at the sound of a Nordic accent. I love chatting up European men, but most of them stick to classier establishments. So I took the opportunity to approach the tall, blond, dashing man from Denmark. After a short and flirtatious exchange, I caught him gazing at my chest. He looked up at me quickly, knowing he had been caught, and attempted to remedy the situation by asking “What did your motha feed you?” I laughed in his face, but continued talking to him anyway. After all, how many more opportunities would I have to meet a beautiful, Danish man in a place called “The Big Hunt?”

[Alena] at features vacation stories, destination descriptions, and touring advice from a 30-something travel junkie.

Where: Sydney, Australia

The Details: I was traveling in Sydney and met up up with one of my guy friends while there. I suspected he had a crush on me, but then one day, while we were shooting shots of Jameson at late-night bar, he told me without the slightest hesitation, that he would “drink my bath water”. As disgusting and unromantic as that might sound, we ended up dating.

[Ashlea] is ambassador for Nomadik Nation – aiming to be the dopest travel and culture blog on the world-wide web.


Where: Bangkok, Thailand

The Details: I was out with a friend in Bangkok when we ran into a huge group of American frat boys. The rowdy boys invited us to join them at a well-known club and even paid for our entry fee and a bottle of Hennessy. After explaining to one drunk boy that I live in Bangkok, he replied,”So, Shanghai Karisa, I bet it’s been a while since you’ve kissed an American…” as he went in for a kiss. EW! My friend and I ditched them shortly after that!

[Karis] from is one to ask for travel advice. She’s made her way around 27 countries and is currently exploring and writing in Asia.


Where: Paris, France

The Details: I know this may be soo 2007, but as a little Canadian girl studying at SciencesPo Paris I was shocked/mildly entertained/intrigued (?!) by this pick-up line. While in an Aussie bar around Chatelet, a young man asked me, “Have you ever had an Australian Kiss?”

“A what?”

“You know, a French Kiss..down under.”

It was the last time I went to an Oz bar. Most time these ridiculous pick up lines happen when we are all beyond the point of effective self filtering and clear memory! Which is to say I really don’t remember too many except for this one, and a guy bragging that he was a white, male gynaecologist and that made him better than a female. I dunno. We ended up making out.

[Felicia] is kicking ass and taking names over at Lil’ Fel Rocks the World. Check out her advice from how to go clubbing in Paris to how to conquer mountains.


Where: Bahia, Brazil

The Details: I was walking with one of my girlfriends and these group of rowdy Baianos were in front of us. We had to pass through them to get to our house. One of the guys shouted, “Eu vou pegar uma gringa! Mmmm,” which basically translates to “I’m going to fuck or pick up a foreign girl tonight.” And all his friends laughed. My girlfriends snapped back something really witty in Portuguese, which caught him off guard because he didn’t think we spoke it. He then apologized, felt bad, and said for God to bless us. Too much Skol and alcohol brings out the worst in some men!



Where: Philippines

The Details: I was bound for Biri Island, Northern Samar to check out the Biri Larosa rock formations at the Eastern most part of Philippines. Commuting via van, I was assigned to a seat where I would be sardined between the driver, and an older man on the passenger seat. Since I was not too keen to sitting there with the back of driver’s hand brushing on my legs every time he switched gears for +8 hours, I asked if they could change my seat to still available ones. While I was explaining why I wanted to take another available seat, I did not realize that a crowd of men has formed behind me. The guy over my shoulder said, “Honey, I can sit on that passenger seat, and you can sit on my lap for as long as you want to!”. I was all sweaty, too tired, and I could not help but reply out loud, “No, I do not want that, but thank you.” before gladly taking the more comfortable seat the gave me.

[Lisa] is sharing her travel stories, one cup of coffee at a time over at She’s also avid about environmental awareness and sustainable travel.


Where: Italy

The Details: I don’t remember anything that was strange enough to stick in my mind other than some random nude men at a nude beach in Italy asking to be in photos with me (and my friend).


I hope you enjoyed our collection of the best of the worst pick-up lines from around the world.

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The one thing that each passionate backpacker or hiker requires, is a good pair of hiking boots. There are so many types of boots available on the market, that selecting a proper pair may be a little confusing. In hiking boot reviews 2015, I’ll talk about things to look for when purchasing walking boots, after which I will briefly review a few of the top-selling new pairs.

When purchasing hiking boots I suggest not getting too cost sensitive. Slightly more pricey boots could very well be worth the additional cost.

What to consider if you are looking for a new pair:

    The primary factors when purchasing hiking boots is the comfort level, weight and toughness. Because of advancements in the designs and materials, utilized in hiking boot production, there are far more boots that excel in all three of these aspects.

  1. Make sure there is double stitching on all the seems that you can see. This aids in toughness.
  2. Boots with deeper thread have a tendency to provide you with improved grip.
  3. The material around the ankle ought to be well padded, this helps reduce chafing.
  4. Hiking boots which come higher than the ankle, can help save you from twisting an ankle.
  5. There should not be holes above the feet, the boots should have metal hooks instead.
  6. Keep in mind that you might be putting on thick socks underneath your boots and you might get some inflammation of your feet. Because of this you might like to think about purchasing a size or half a size bigger than you typically use.


GTX Boots from Vasque

Here we have light hiking boots, with a weight of just 2 pounds, 9 ounces per pair. Don’t be misled however, it is a tough pair of boots. The Breeze’s quality is actually superior because of the reinforced stitching and Nubuck leather panels.

The boots are available in two designs: non-GTX and GTX . That is a reference to the Gore-Tex liner that makes the pair waterproof, but still lets them breathe. If you hike in a warm climate it might be somewhat uncomfortable, you will be better off going with the non-GTX version.

The Breeze uses a rigid, plate-reinforced sole. In addition the insole of the Breeze is well-padded improving comfort during off-road walks.

Simply speaking the Breeze GTX is my top pick as best hiking boots of 2015, since they’re tough, offer excellent support and great grip.

Hi-Tec Men’s Midland

If cost is a significant concern for you I would suggest the Midlands, they are a respectable pair of inexpensive backpacking boots. These are Suede hiking boots, as a result they are much more comfortable, but a little less rugged than standard leather boots.

Underneath, the outsole is made of sturdy carbon rubber MDT. In my opinion this bottom sole, provides you with pretty good grip. The boots can be purchased in a non-waterproof and waterproof model. The waterproof one uses additional Suede and much less fabric. Personally I wouldn’t suggest these boots for use in snow or very wet conditions.

The metal parts on the Midlands are manufactured from brass, that doesn’t rust.

With the Midland boots Hi-Tec builds on their track record for inexpensive, quality boots.

Asolo Stynger GTX for Women

The thing I don’t like about most women’s hiking boots is that they’re men’s boots, which have just been modified a bit. That’s not the case with the Asolo Stynger, these boots where designed exclusively for women. That’s why they have a sleeker less masculine look. Don’t be misled though, the Asolo Styngers have similar features the most heavy duty products available.

With a weight of just 2lb 7oz for both boots, the Asolo Stynger GTX lets you to walk further, with less effort. Because of it’s Gore-Text liner these hiking boots will keep your feet dry even in difficult circumstances. The clever lacing system will keep your feet more stable, making your hikes safer.

These Asolo Styngers work best on feet with medium high arches and more narrow heels. Owners reported shorter break-in time and fewer blisters than with other boots.

In order to make the most from your hiking boots, utlize these simple tips

  • Use water and a brush to clean your boots after every walk.
  • Take out the insole inserts to get the boots dry after use.
  • Store them at room temperature.
  • If hiking boots spring a leak go to your local shoe shop and get them to do a waterproof treatment.

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If you are a fisherman octopus is great bait for many types of fish. There are of course also many tasty recipes for preparing octopus.

The best time to catch octopus is at low tide. What you are looking for is rocky pools with lots of food for the octopus. It also helps if there are some sandy bits nearby.

Octopuses can change colour and they like to stay in cracks and under rocks. So while there may be many octopuses around you may never actually see them.

Octopuses have beaks, not unlike parrots. If they get into the right position they can give you a nasty bite. Although octopus bites are rare you should wear gloves when catching them and try to be careful.

Legislation on what you are allowed to use to catch octopus varies. The best tool to use is a gaff with an attached homemade lure.  The lure should look like a small red octopus. Red is their angry color. When you jiggle the lure next to a crack, with an octopus in it, it will probably try to grab onto the lure.  Then you try to get it with the gaff. They aren’t as effective, but I have seen simple lures that weren’t red, made from plastic bags.

In places where you can’t use lures or gaffs, you just use a stick. You jiggle the stick around promising looking rocks and you see if an octopus comes out, to investigate. You can also feel underneath rocks with a stick. What you are looking to feel is a soft spot. Then you pull the octopus out by hand.

Once you have caught an octopus you can kill it by cutting off it’s head. If you want to keep the octopus intact you can stab it between the eyes. The legs will keep moving, even after the octopus is dead.

Next you need to tenderize the octopus right away. If you don’t the octopus’s flesh will become very tough. You really need to beat the octopus against a rock hard, for at least 5 minutes. This needs to be done whether you plan to use the octopus for food or bait. Every now and again a tourist will see this and post on some forum about how they saw someone beating a poor octopus to death. In any case now you know better.


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I, as have many, have fallen in love with the Harry Potter series of books and enjoyed watching the words come to life in the movies.

Many of the scenes from the movie have been shot on locations scattered all over England. Visiting these locations can make for a magical journey for the whole family or lone fan, as the case may be.

London Zoo
The snake pit at the London Zoo is where Harry first discovers his magical abilities. In the movie there is a python in the display, in real life they keep a Black Mamba in there.

Kings Cross Stationplatform 3
Kings Cross Station is one of London’s major railway terminals.This is of course also the station where Harry catches the Hogwarts Express. There is no platform 9 and 3/4. When the movies were filmed they used the wall between platforms 4 and 5.

Now, the wall is quite solid, so do everyone a favour and don’t run into it.

Goathland Station, Yorkshire England
The Hogwarts Express then takes them to Hogsmead ,which is set at Goathland station. The castle in the background has been edited in. Some of the town’s residents played extras in these scenes.
Lucky gits.

Goathland Station

The Dursley house
This is the house where Harry lives as he grows up: Number 4, Privet Drive in Little Whinging, Surrey, home of the Dursleys.Number 4 is actually a middle class suburban home in an ordinary neighbourhood, 12 Picket Post Close in Martin’s Heron near Bracknell, Berkshire.

Alnwick Castle Northumberland
Many of the outdoor flying scenes were filmed here. For instance the quidditch games and the flying lesson scenes. The flying car in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” entered Hogwarts through the Lion Arch at the side of the castle.

Parts of Mary Queen of Scots with Vanessa Redgrave and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves with Kevin Costner where also filmed here.

Alnick Castle
Alnwick Castle

Glenfinnan Viaduct
The Glenfinnan Viaduct was constructed in 1901 in Gllenfinnan on the Scotish Higlands. The viaduct is most notable in Harry Potter and the chamber of Secrets.

Bodlean Library
Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library

The library scenes in Harry Potter where filmed here. Such as the scene where he sneaks in, to look for information on Nikolas Flamel.

This is actually part of Oxfort University.

Christ Church
Also located Oxford several of the scenes where shot here. The Great Hall was used as the Hogwarts hall.The cloisters in this 1000 year old building was the setting for various scenes. For example the one where Harry is shown his father’s quidditch trophy.

They hold services here, so you need to time your visit around that.

Glouchester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral
The cathedral featured heavily in the third Harry Potter film.In the area you may also enjoy visiting Selsey Herb Nursery. They grows many of the herbs from the movie, Mandrake, Monkshood, Wolfbane, Fluxweed and Beladonna.You can also visit the National Birds of Pray Center, home to more than 60 species of owls, eagles and hawks. They have an “Owl Experience Day” where visitors can learn to handle and fly the creatures.

Lacock Abbey
The Abbey’s cloisters and side rooms were transformed into the classrooms at Hogwarts School while the location was also used for Harry’s discovery of the Mirror of Erised,in which he saw his parents.

Diagon Alley

Charing Cross Road in London was used as part of Diagon Alley, as was Leadenhall Market in London.

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Osaka is the second largest city in Japan with 2.6 million people. As you would expect with a large city there is a wide variety of child friendly attractions to choose from.

Kaiyukan Aquarium

Kaiyukan Aquarium is a large aquarium with a diverse collection of sea creatures on display. They have sharks, dolphins, whales, turtles, jellyfishes and penguins. The ticket prices are a little high for an aquarium, but you should expect to spend 2-3 hours there. The best time to visit the Aquarium is when they are feeding the animals.

There are also a few other nice attractions in the area. You can see the giant Ferris wheel in the video below or take a cruise in Osaka Bay on the “Santa Maria” a replica of the sailing ship that Columbus sailed to America.

Kids Plaza Osaka

Kids Plaza is a museum where kids, younger than 12, are encouraged to learn through play. There is a section, for kids to do role-playing. They have costumes for the kids to put on and a supermarket to shop for plastic groceries in. The Plaza also has climbing areas, water installations and science experiments. Outside is the playground part of the museum and it has big and small slides.

You should plan on spending at least half a day at Kids Plaza. You can leave to buy food and then come back afterwards.


Universal Studios Japan

This is a theme park with rides, shows and restaurants based on famous movies like Spider-man, Terminator and Jaws. Try to catch the day parade and the night shows while you are there. The park is divided into 9 sections with a 10 section Harry Potter world opening in 2014.

The park can get very busy, so go early and don’t go during the weekend.

The only drawback with the park is that they don’t have enough English speaking staff. Most of their visitors are from Asian countries.

Starlight parade
Starlight parade

Sega Amusement Theme Park

The Sega Theme Park is located on the eighth and ninth floor of a shopping center. They have many arcade games and 8 entertaining hi-tech rides. The rides vary between movies and simulators and there is a Ferris wheel on the roof.

Osaka Castle Park

The castle is spectacular and the park is large enough for you to do a lot of walking in. Castle Park is particularly beautiful during the cherry blossom season.

The area has a some interesting history. It was originally the site of a militant temple. In 1583, Toyotomi Hideyoshi destroyed the temple and built Osaka Castle. During the Second World War the area was used by imperial troops, after which it was turned into a park.

The park also has a large athletic field, a football field, a baseball field, an open air music theatre and a concert hall.

The interior of the castle is a bit of a let down as it’s not in it’s original shape, but from the top of the tower you have a great view of Osaka Bay and Mount Ikoma.

Hirakata Park

Hirakate Park is a theme park for kids.The main attraction at Hirakata Park is the wooden roller coaster. Have a look at the video below to see the roller coaster in action.

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Beijing is the political heart of China and in recent years the government has been spending a lot to make Bejing a showcase for the whole country.
You can get to just about anywhere in China by booking a short flight from Beijing.

Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was the home of Chinese emperors for over 500 years. At the time it was the political and ceremonial centre of the country.

When you look at the architecture of similar size construction in other countries they tend to make visitors feel small and inspire a feeling of awe. The Forbidden City’s architecture however was intended to inspire feelings of balance and tranquility. This makes the Forbidden City a different type of experience.

Throughout the Forbidden City you will see paintings and carvings of dragons. Another notable animal you will see is the Chinese lion. Two playful lion carvings are commonly put outside the entrance of an important building.

Forbidden City
Forbidden City

Tiananmen Square

The Square is located in the centre of Beijing. Many people visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden city in one trip as they are near to each other.

National Museum of China
The building is located on the East side of the square. The museum can be divided into the Historical Chinese Museum and the Revolutionary Museum.

Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao
This is where Chairman Mao is buried.

Monument to People’s Heroes
The monument is in the middle of the square and features 8 large sculptures.

Tiananmen Tower
The tower use to be the entrance to the Forbidden City.

Great Hall of the People
This is where the China National People’s Congress meetings are held.

Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square

YongHeGong Lama Temple

The Lama temple is one of the most impressive functional Buddhism temples in the world. The most notable attraction is a 25 m high Buddha carved from sandalwood.

Temple of Heaven

The temple was built in 1420 during the Ming dynasty. It was rebuilt and expanded during the 16th century.

Currently the temple is a park that showcases Chinese religion, history and philosophy.

Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is a 2.9 square kilometer area with palaces, gardens and lakes. In fact 75% of the space is covered in water.

The Summer Palace is a notable example of Chinese landscape garden design that balances human construction and nature.

Chinese Lion Statue

Old Summer Palace

The ruins of the Old Summer Palace is located near the current Summer Palace. To enjoy the ruins you should really read up on them. The Old Summer Palace was destroyed by British and French soldiers during the Second Opium War. The Old Summer Palace features both western and eastern architecture.

The Great Wall

Currently the Great Wall is a ruin. People have been using the wall for construction material and it has been overgrown with vegetation for centuries. The best way to experience the wall is to visit parts that have been restored and outside Beijing is the best place to do that.

The Great Wall

Ancient Observatory

This is a display that houses early astronomy equipment that predates telescopes. It’s amazing how much they could do in terms of navigation, tracking time and predicting the movement of astronomical objects (for example predicting eclipses) .

Beihai Park

Beihai Park was constructed as an imperial garden in the 11th century. The garden features many historically important structures.

They have traditional activities in the park that you can watch like making toffee, singing and dancing. You can also take a boat ride.

Chinese garden in Beihai Park
Chinese garden in Beihai Park

Imperial Tombs

There are of course other imperial tombs, but I am referring to the tombs of the 16 Ming Dynasty Emperors at the foot of Tianshou Mountain. Here in the suburbs of Beijing the emperors are buried with their empresses and concubines.

The valley with its rich soil and plentiful water is a beautiful location for the imperial tombs.

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London is one of the worlds greatest historical cities. It has something memorable to offer everyone who visits London. Unfortunately, it is also a rather expensive city. If however, you know where to look, you will find that some of the city’s top attractions are completely free. To help you out we have compiled a list of our favorite free activities in top 10 free London attractions.

Museums and galleries

Many of the museums and galleries in London are paid for by the government making them free to visit. I have included a couple of my favorites in the top 10 list, below is a longer list. You may find something there which appeals to your taste, more so than my top picks.

List: British Library, British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Science Museum, Tate Modern, The Tate Britain, Victoria and Albert Museum, Bank of London Museum, Imperial War Museum, London Political Cartoon Gallery, Museum of Garden History, Museum of London, National Maritime Museum, Petrie Museum of Egyption Archaeology, RIBA Architecture Gallery, Sir John Soane’s Museum.

They may have a donation box at the front desk, but those are completely optional.

Palace Gates
The gates of the palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is where the royal family lives and entertains state visitors in London. You can’t go in, but it’s quite spectacular from the outside.

The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place at Buckingham palace at around 11:30 every day, in summer and, every other day, in winter. It’s worth scheduling things so you get to see the ceremony. I recommend coming 15 minutes early to get a good spot.

The Changing of the Guards
The Changing of the Guards

St. James’s Park

St. James’s Park is adjacent to Buckingham Palace. It’s a lovely 23 hectares (58 acres) park in the middle of London. The park is a very pleasant spot, especially on a warm summers day. It has a lake with ducks, geese and pelicans.

The park is the setting for many ceremonial parades and national events.

St. James’s Park also borders Westminster, which where the country’s parliament is located and St James’s Palace.

St. James's Park
St. James’s Park

British Museum


Back when Britain was an empire with colonies all over the world they carried off much of the worlds nicest artifacts. Some of which ended up in this world class museum.

The British museum of human history has 7 million objects, which has been built up since it’s construction in 1753. The collections from the Middle East and Egypt are particularly spectacular. You can’t really see everything it has to offer in one day.

Their web site is pretty good and worth checking out before you visit.

Tate Modern and Britain

There are 4 Tate art galleries. The main two are the Tate Modern, a modern art gallery and the Tate Britain which houses historical art works.

15 inch naval guns
15 inch naval guns

Imperial War Museum

My personal favorite, free attraction in London, is the Imperial War Museum. If you look at the picture above you can see the 15 inch naval guns outside the museum. They are from an age when the outcome of naval battles where determined by raw firepower and not precision. It’s a little hard to see, but they are just enormous. The shells are taller than a man.

These guns where used on the Queen Elizabeth, a battleship in both the first and second world wars and used to shell enemy positions in France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Africa and Madagascar.

Below you can see a picture inside the museum. If you look behind the American fighter hanging from the ceiling you can see a German V2 rocket captured during WW2.

war museum
Inside the Imperial War Museum

Westminster Abbey

Since 1066 all English kings and queens have been crowned in Westminster Abbey. In addition 17 monarchs are buried here.

The present church, built by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most significant Gothic buildings in the country. It is filled with paintings, stained glass, textiles, pavements and other artifacts.

Westminster Abbey is an active church so you can’t visit it on Sundays.

Trafalgar Square

At the center of Trafalgar Square stands Nelson’s Column, which was built to commemorate Admiral Nelson’s victory over the French fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. He was fatally wounded during the battle and his body was buried in the St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Trafalgar square also has a large number of other statues and two fountains. In the north-east corner stands St. Martin-in-the-Fields parish church.

On the north side you’ll find the National Gallery. It houses more than 2300 paintings, including works by Renoir, van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci and Claude Monet.

Big Ben

Big Ben
Big Ben

Big Ben is a large clock tower outside the Houses of Parliament. This is one of London’s most famous landmarks and a great photo opportunity for holiday makers.
Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum contains 70 million items within five main collections: Botany, Mineralogy, Entomology Zoology and Palaeontology. Many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value. Their most famous collections are the dinosaur and Darwin collections.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a piazza type building containing street performers, cafes and small shops. The market place is the perfect spot to do some shopping, browse through the boutiques and gift shops and get a lunchtime coffee. There’s a night time market in Covent Garden in summer.

Covent Garden has been a settlement since Roman times. ‘Covent’ is the old form of the word ‘convent’.

I hope you found top 10 free London attractions useful. Between you and me, if you are in London you shouldn’t just stay in the city. Consider taking a weekend trip outside London to enjoy a bit of the countryside.

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Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

AshmoleanThe Ashmolean opened on the 24th May 1683. At the time the word “museum” wasn’t even in use yet.The museum has extensive collections including both Western and Eastern art as well as an antique coin collection of note. Their Egyptian collection is a must see for any amateur Egyptoligists.If you see just one Oxford’s sights, make this it.

Carfax Tower

Located at the conjunction of St Aldate’s, Cornmarket Street, Queen Street and the High Street. The word “Carfax” is from the French “carrefour” which means crossroads. The Tower is all that remains of the 13th century St Martin’s Church.

It is located in the middle of Oxford and offers a breathtaking view, for those willing to climb it.

Oxford Botanic Gardens

The botanic gardens are perfect if you need to get away from everything and spend some quiet, relaxing time.

The garden was founded in 1621 by Henry Danvers, for the study of medicinal plants. It consists of three sections. The Glasshouses contains tropic plants that need protection from the British weather. The area outside the Walled Garden contains classic garden features such as a Water and Rock Garden. Inside the the Walled Garden are several groups of interesting foreign plants.

St Giles War Memorial

Memorial to the locals who died in the Great War.

Magdalen College

Known for its beautiful tower, many gargoyles, extensive grounds and associations with C.S. Lewis. Taking a binocular with you, on a visit, is a good tip as this will allow you to see the grand Gothic architecture clearly.

Magdalen Bridge

Magdalen Bridge spans the divided stream of the River Cherwell next to Magdalen College, from whence it gets it’s name.

Church of St Philip and St James

This is an Anglican Parish church dating from 1860. The architecture is Neo-Gothic and quite lovely. The church is currently deconsecrated and used as the Oxford Centre of Mission Studies. It is only open only by advanced appointment but well worth looking at from outside.

St. Michael at the North Gate

northgateWas build in the year 1000 making it one of the oldest churches in Oxford. It served as part of the defensive wall at the North Gate(from there the name), which was demolished in 1771 to make room for a road. Over the gate and adjoining the tower was the Bocardo prison.The tower is of Saxon and the church of Norman architecture.The tower makes for a easy and worth while climb, a modest entry fee is charged.

Bodleian Library

The library is know for it’s collection of religious documents. Access to the library is restricted. The best way to see it is on a guided tour.

The library scenes in the Harry Potter movies where filmed here.

The Kilns and C. S. Lewis Grave

C.S. Lewis is the writer of Narnia. The Kilns is where he lived and he is buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church.

All Souls College

All-SoulsAll Souls College was founded by Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury and King Henry VI, in 1438. Its stated purposes were the “service of Church and State” to learning and society.All Souls was founded as a chantry, meaning that its members were duty bound to pray for the souls of those in Purgatory, especially of those killed in France during the Hundred Years War.

University Church of St. Mary the Virgin

st-maryEach of the three anglican bishops, Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer, who were burnt at the stake in Oxford during the reign of the Roman Catholic queen, ‘Bloody Mary’, underwent their trials in St Mary’s.Currently this is the official Oxford church.

Merton College

Build in 1264 Merton College predates all colleges in Oxford and Cambridge. The 14th century chapel has some great stained glass windows.

Oxford University museum of Natural History

The Museum of Natural History houses the University’s scientific collections of entomological, zoological and geological specimens. The Museum is renowned for its spectacular neo-Gothic architecture. Among its most famous features are the Oxfordshire dinosaurs and the dodo.

St Peter-in-the-East

This is a fine 12th-century church in the center of Oxford that now functions as the library for St Edmund Hall, one of the of Oxford University’s colleges. St Peter’s is surrounded by an ancient churchyard, grand old trees and tranquil lawns.

The interior is not accessible.

Radcliffe Camera

radcliffeThis is a building in the Palladian style built in 1750. It was created to house the Radcliffe Science Library. Currently it is in use as additional reading rooms for the Bodleian Library.It is a stunning location, so it comes as no surprise that it has been used as a set in the movies:
Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)
Opium Wars (Yapian zhanzheng) (1997)
The Saint (1997)
The Red Violin (1998)