12 February 2019

We love a bit of "weird world" at The Career Break Site, and we've rounded up the most weird places on earth for you.

If you're looking for weird places that are breathtakingly beautiful or that everyone's heard of, you're in the wrong place. When we said weird, we meant weird, so here you'll find obscure places, tourist attractions that no-one in their right mind would ever visit, and a whole load of creepiness.



Weird place one: Principality of Hutt River, Australia

Hutt River Province, or the Prinicpality of Hutt River, micronation in Australia
Credit: Western Australian Newspapers

Have you ever thought that you are fed up with your country, its stupid laws and its boring stamps? Ever thought of setting up your own nation?

So did the people of Hutt River, which is a micronation in Australia - a tiny country recognised by literally no-one else. Established in 1970, it declared itself independent after its founder, a farmer, had an incredibly boring  argument with the authorities about wheat.

The nation has its own currency, passports, stamps... and massive stone heads of the first king. Also its website is a delight for the senses, do go and visit it if you're nostalgic for the early days of the internet.


Weird place two: Island of the Dolls, Mexico

Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls), Mexico City, Mexico
Credit: Flying Crimson Pig

Not actually an island (it's a floating garden), and not actually dolls but the spirits of dead children, if local legend is to be believed. That's right, if hundreds of dolls hanging from trees isn't creepy enough for you, the legend is that they're possessed by a dead girl who drowned nearby (and possibly other people too). Locals say they've seen them move and whisper to each other.

As with many of these places, the Isla de las Muñecas (Spanish for "Why did you come here? You know Mexico City has plenty of non-creepy places to visit, don't you?"] was started by a local "eccentric". He apparently hung a doll up that he'd found in the canal after he couldn't save a little girl who drowned. Then, as with so many things involving weird behaviour, it just sort of spread. He's dead now too, but visitors bring their own dolls to hang in the trees. Because what the world needs is more dolls in weird places.

Weird place three: The largest cross in America

Biggest cross in the USA, Effingham, Illinois, USA
Credit: Todd Huffman

This is somewhere your correspondent has actually visited. In my defence, there's not a great deal else to do in Effingham, Illinois. Or most of the rest of the American Midwest, for that matter.

So, what is the largest cross in America? Um... it's just a massive cross. There's the ten commandments at the bottom and... er... that's it really. It's 198 feet tall, which is 61 metres, so it's big. It's white. That's pretty much all there is to say about it.

Except they're now building a bigger cross in Texas.


Weird place four: This road in Nepal

Weird places on earth - this mountainous region in Nepal has dangerous roads
Credit: Matt Zimmerman

Do you fancy visiting the Supa Deurali mandir temple in Arghakhanchi? That's somewhere in western Nepal in case you didn't know. The temple is a site of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Muslims, as well as a tourist attraction thanks to a legend involving an Indian soldier.

The only thing is though, this is how you get there:

Do stop vomiting at the back there.


Weird place five: The Winchester House

The Winchester House, California - weird places on earth to visit
Credit: re_nakaba

Imagine the sort of house a short, rich, ghost-obsessed nutter would build. Times that by about fifteen and you'll have the Winchester House.

This is another place on our list that your erstwhile correspondent has visited - on my honeymoon in fact, because nothing says "romance" like tiny stairs, seances, and endless building work. The Winchester House was occupied by the widow of the bloke who founded the Winchester Repeating Arms company, and felt guilty about all the people those guns had killed. The house is an enormous, confusing, sprawling place designed to disorient the ghosts who are supposed to occupy it so they wouldn't find Mrs W.

A place that will simultaneously make you feel creeped out, sad and slightly sick? What more could you ask for?


Weird place six: Ilha da Queimada Grande

Pit viper - weird places on earth to visit - snake island off Brazil
Credit: ryanacandee

The Ilha da Queimada Grande is a small island off the coast of Brazil. If your Portuguese is a bit rusty, that name means "Island of beautiful sunshine, great food and sexy sexy people who want to be your close personal friend."

Not really. It's known in English as "Snake Island". On account of the fact that it's full of snakes - according to estimates, one per square meter which even the most ardent herpetologist would agree is just too much. The snakes are all a kind of pit viper, and are so venomous that a bite from one will actually melt your flesh.

You're only allowed to visit if you're in the Brazilian navy, or a researcher, but that does beg the question: why the hell would you want to?


Weird place seven: Kunda Cement Factory

Weird places on earth to visit include a cement factory in Estonia
Credit: Tina Johnson

If you're ever short of things to do in Estonia, and you have yet to reach the point of wanting to kill yourself, why not visit an abandoned cement factory? Certainly somewhere to visit if you feel you haven't seen enough grey stuff.

There isn't much to see in the factory itself, seeing as it's derelict, but you will be delighted to hear that there's a cement museum in the same place. If you feel like you already know as much as you wanted to about cement, fear not! There's a section where famous Estonians have left their handprints.

If you can name a famous Estonian who's not Arvo Pärt, I will personally give you as much cement as you can carry.


Weird place eight: The Big Pineapple

Weird places on earth to visit include a massive pineapple in South Africa
Credit: Tyrone Adams

Bathurst, in South Africa, is apparently the pineapple capital of South Africa. Under the assumption that somebody, somewhere would care, they build a giant pineapple to celebrate the fact. It's the biggest artificial pineapple in the world, being a full 70cm taller than the one in Australia. (That's right. There's more than one enormous pretend pineapple in the world).

There doesn't seem to be much to do there apart from stare at it. Oh no wait, there's a 12-minute film on  pineapple agriculture.

12 minutes.


Weird place nine: Jumping Cat Monastery

Weird places on earth - a jumping cat monastery where the cats don't actually jump
Credit: Dan Lundberg

Located on the edge of a lake in Myanmar, the beautiful Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery is better known as the jumping cat monastery. Why? This Buddhist monastery is full of cats that jump through hoops!

Or at least it was.

The original Buddhist monks got bored of buddhisting around all day, so for something to do, they taught their Burmese cats to jump. But the jumping cats all died, the new ones can't really be arsed, and thanks to the increased tourism, the monks have a bit more going on.

And if you don't believe a cat can be taught to do anything it doesn't want to do, here's a short video clip:


Weird place ten: Japanese Ramen Museums

A noodle tunnel (not a euphemism) in a Japanese ramen museum - one of the most weird places on earth
Credit: Chee Hong

That's not a typo - it really is museums plural. In our list of weird places on earth, our final feature is actually 3 in one. Because Japan has 3 ramen museums!

They're not all the same of course - one is a normal ramen museum (if there is such a thing), one is an instant ramen museum, and one is dedicated to Cup Noodles. All of them serve ramen so you'll at least get fed (if not entertained), and at two of them, you can even make your own.

So if you like Pot Noodles, and you want to pretend you're multicultural, one or more of these museums would be right up your street. Or, as one of them features, an instant noodle tunnel. Is it just me or does that sound like a euphemism?


Weird places on earth - in summary

This was definitely one of my favourite round-up posts to research and write - I even decided not to include some weird places that I found because they were either not weird enough or they were just too gross. Even for me, which is saying something.

What weird places on earth have I missed? Shout us on Twitter or Facebook and I might include them in a future post!


Written by Rachel Morgan-Trimmer, founder of The Career Break Site and lover of all things weird and wonderful.