Tourists Invited To Strip Down In South Korea

nude beach
Memphis CVB, Flickr

While South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, might be a big tourist draw card with plenty of Gangnam Style flair to attract visitors, other parts of the country have had to get more creative when it comes to promoting tourism.

Gangwon Province in the country’s northeast figures nudity might be just the ticket to increasing visitor numbers. It’s planning to open South Korea’s first nude beach in the hopes that tourists will set their sights beyond the capital and venture up north for a bit of skinny dipping.The beach primarily will be aimed at foreigners and may even be open to just overseas visitors initially, as many locals balk at the idea of stripping down at the beach. “Koreans actually love nude beaches when they’re traveling abroad, but the problem with having one within Korea is the fact that Korean society is so interconnected. They won’t be able to comfortably go to a nude beach due to the thought that people they know will find out about it quite easily,” a local reporter told CNN.

Korean tourism officials say they hope to eventually create all sorts of different beaches aimed at families, couples and even pets. They plan to have the first nude beach up and running by 2017.

Will a $16 Fee to Get Into Thailand Bring Classier Tourists?

Siim Teller, Flickr

Tourists to Thailand may soon be charged an entrance fee of 500 baht. That comes out to about $16, not really overkill for getting into a country that’s full of street markets, pad Thai and full moon parties, now is it?

The proposed entry fee is backed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Ministry of Public Health and the Royal Thai Police, and the collected fees would of course go back into government initiatives. But it’s not necessarily raking in fee money that has the Thai government behind it. It has to do with who they want and don’t want in the country. And they want better tourists.”Now is the time for us to have quality tourists,” said Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong to the Bangkok Post.

Take that dread locked, sandal wearing, backpackers!

The travel industry however isn’t necessarily excited about the proposed fee. “The plan will affect the tourism industry, both in the short run and the long run, because tourists will feel bad about Thailand and they may feel they are being cheated,” Sitdiwat Cheevarattanaporn, chairman of the Association of Thai Travel Agents said.

Might be time for the Thai government to figure out another way to keep the riff raff out.

There’s a Japanese Travel Agency for Stuffed Animals (Because of Course There Is)

Unagi Travel, Facebook

You think you’re feeling cooped up and need to get out and explore? What about that teddy bear of yours that hasn’t emerged from your storage closet since 1985?

A Japanese travel agency, Unagi Travel, which calls itself a “travel agency for stuffed animals,” has been taking plush animals on trips for the last three years. Why? To allow their owners to live vicariously through them. In fact, many of Unagi Travel’s customers are physically impaired. Well, and photos of traveling stuffed animals are cute.​”I want to see and walk around the sights that I viewed through my stuffed animal’s journeys someday,” said a 51-year-old woman, impaired by an illness that makes it difficult for her to walk, to the Japan News.

Unagi Travel’s Sonoe Azuma has shepherded more than 200 stuffed animals on trips. Be it a bike tour of Tokyo or a cross-Pacific journey to the United States, Azuma posts many of the photos of the traveling stuffed animals on Unagi Travel’s Facebook page (which is about to become your time waster of the day).

Stuffed animal travel is decidedly more affordable than the human kind: tours are priced between $20 and $55, depending on what the stuffed animals are getting up to. And just in case your stuffed animal likes the element of surprise, there are mystery tours, where your stuffed friend takes off to an unknown location.

Sound weird? Azuma’s clients love it; according to her about 40 percent of her clientele are repeat customers.

“I’m happy if my activities encourage those who can’t be positive to take a step forward,” Azuma said.

Just like your garden gnome taking a trip around the world, but better.

Ancient City Of Mohenjodaro May Disappear In Twenty Years

Mohenjodaro
Wikimedia Commons

The remains of the world’s oldest planned city may crumble to dust in twenty years if action isn’t taken, the Telegraph reports.

Mohenjodaro, a 5,000 year-old city in Pakistan, is under threat from extreme temperatures and monsoon rains, which leave deposits of salt on the unbaked clay bricks that were used to create its buildings. That salt leeches out any moisture in the bricks and slowly turns them to dust.

A crew of workmen is coating the ancient structures with salt-free mud, but there are far too few people on the job and very little money.

The Bronze Age city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was founded around 3,000 BC and shows a remarkable amount of urban planning. There were toilets in every house, separate water systems for drinking and sewage, roads laid out on a grid system, a large communal bath shown in the above photo, and a communal granary. It was the center of the Indus Valley civilization and traded as far away as Mesopotamia, using a set of standardized weights and measures to regulate commerce.

UNESCO officials met with Pakistani archaeologists last week to draw up a plan to save the site, which includes burying some of the most threatened structures. It remains to be seen whether Pakistan’s government, strapped for cash and stuck in a grueling war with the Taliban, will foot the bill.

I visited Mohenjodaro back in 1994 when Pakistan was safer to visit than it is now and found the place to be enchanting. The layout can be clearly seen and it almost feels like you’re in a living city. It would be a shame if such a landmark of human development disappeared.

Gangnam Style Tourist Police Dance Up A Storm In Seoul


South Korea has been riding the wave following the global success of “Gangnam Style,” the catchy song made famous by singer Psy’s quirky music video — and the country has just launched another tribute to the song.

The country’s capital, Seoul, unveiled its new tourist police force this week, inspired by performer Psy’s unique sense of style. The same costume designer who outfitted Psy for his Gangnam Style video designed the uniforms for the law enforcers, decking the men and women out in bold blue jackets and a sleek pair of shades.Given the inspiration, it should come as no surprise that the famous song was also the backdrop to the inauguration ceremony held this week in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square. The 101-strong police force even performed a number of famous dance moves from the viral Gangnam Style music video, including the good old horse-riding sequence.

Seoul has seen tourist numbers rise in recent times, but this has also been followed by an increase in complaints from visitors about issues such as being overcharged. The new multilingual police force will assist travelers, crack down on taxis that try to gouge visitors and generally maintain law and order in the tourist hotspots.