Top Five Bizarre Sights I’ve Seen Around the World


Top Five Bizarre Sights I’ve Seen Around the World

We have all had bizarre and crazy experiences at some point during our travels that tend to leave lasting impressions. I have had my share in various ways – food, culture, eye-watering sights – and I thought it might be fun to try and put down my top five. So, here goes in no particular order.


Fumes constantly rise from Kawa Ijen's placid lake
Fumes constantly rise from Kawa Ijen’s placid lake

Kawah Ijen, Indonesia – the sulphur lake

When I peeped down from the edge of the crater into the one of the most serene and deep blue lakes I have seen, little did I know that I was also looking at the world’s largest highly acidic lake. Miners bear the fumes that spew thick, and cart huge blocks of sulphur down the mountain in frail wicker baskets. Yes, I did try to lift one, and no I couldn’t budge it. This was one experience that was mesmerizing, suffocating, and extraordinary all at once.


The plaintive sight that greets you at the Plain of Jars
The plaintive sight that greets you at the Plain of Jars

Plain of Jars, Laos – a vast plain eerily dotted with huge stone jars

After seeing young backpackers tubing down the Nam Song river, in Vang Vieng, in a tyre with a beer in hand, and after cycling through the sleepy town of Luang Prabang, the Plain of Jars in Phonsavan was a jolt of bizarreness. For miles around me, all I could see was life-sized, empty stone jars, lying around as if waiting for someone to fill them. Theories on the use of these jars, that date back to prehistoric times, range from serving as burial sites to vessels used for winemaking.


The steps where Julius Caesar was murdered, and now a feline sanctuary


Torre Argentina, Italy – scene of a murder and happy felines

Rome is filled with history, so much so that you can’t turn a corner without having to read a story about it. So, it’s quite easy for history buffs like me to have my fill of history without asking for more. But when a site is a portmanteau of a darkly glamourous incident as Julius Caesar’s stabbing and a cutesy poster for adorable felines, I have to go looking for it. Torre Argentina was a bit difficult to find but it was worth it. It has the ruins of the Theatre of Pompey, where Julius Caesar was killed  and is also the location of the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary where volunteers feed and shelter homeless cats. They obviously got the maximum clicks from all the tourists. Move over Caesar.


One of the bizarre tableaux in Haw Par Villa - a war scene with mice
One of the bizarre tableaux in Haw Par Villa – a war scene with mice

Haw Par Villa, Singapore – this is not your cliched garden walk

I loved Haw Par Villa for its bizarre entertainment value. An entire garden dedicated to Chinese folklore with statues that seemingly appear to have no purpose, tableaux that are strange, and figures that appear otherworldly. Built by the brothers who own Tiger Balm, Haw Par Villa is one of those things that bring an amused smile to your face along with a shake of your head. Several times.


Hidden houses that are hard but a delight to find!
Hidden houses that are hard but a delight to find!

Tiny houses set between walls, The Netherlands (Amsterdam)

The Dutch are known for being charmingly quirky. I got a small taste of it when I came across a picture of tiny houses nestled in between two walls. The description intrigued me even more. It said that house numbers between 54 and 70 were missing on the Westerstraat in the Jordaan district, and so advertising agency Natwerk decided to build these tiny models and place them there to make up for those missing houses! This was a little hard to spot but I was so happy I walked the street two times to find it!

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6 Responses
  1. Dave

    Swati – What an eye you have. I remember the Life Magazine secret to exceptional photography: “F8 and be there.” You sure do have the “be there” part and your camera skills go way past “F8.” We want more. Dave

  2. I think Kawa Ijen was just painful, not bizarre. And Laos. DON’T REMIND ME. You forced me to go to this stone place! And you had the audacity to suggest Stonehenge when we went to London. Sigh. But I love this post. I will have to do something about this silly theme you have.

  3. N

    I love this post so much, this is the second time I’m reading it. Each of these places live up to the post title in such unique ways. Would love to see them all. The Singapore one particularly.

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