Category Archives: Did You Know

The world is full of interesting facts, interesting people, interesting places, and interesting events. You can now enjoy all the abnormal, out of the ordinary, weird, funny, fascinating and jaw dropping news on this thread. We research and write, and you read, enjoy, laugh and share!

Henn-na Japan: The World’s First All Staff Robot Hotel

Welcome to Nagasaki, Japan. The name of the hotel is “Henn-Na Hotel” which literally translates to “Strange Hotel”. This the world’s first all Robot staff hotel. 

The choice of robots as the staffs is not about creating a futuristic, sci-fi world but rather to cut operating cost. When you first walk into the Henn’na Hotel there are only three employees. The first is a dinosaur with a soft voice who (which?) can help you check in.

The dinosaur can speak and communicate in English. I mean, just imagine that! I would visit this hotel for just this experience alone.

© HUIS TEN BOSCH

“Excitement meets comfort. Introducing state-of-the-art technologies, Henn na Hotel is the world-first hotel staffed by robots.”

The next employee is a beautiful young woman. She only speaks Japanese. She can check your luggage and even store it in a locker for short stays. 

Looking at her face, you wouldn’t think twice and would instinctively trust her just as you would any other human staff.

© HUIS TEN BOSCH

The third employee is about one foot tall. He’s blue and white and can find your room number for you. He will also use facial authentication to verify your identity. 

At the cloakroom, the robotic arm will store your luggage for you, and the porter robots will carry them to your room.

Credit

THE ROBOT HOTEL

Henn’na is the first ever hotel that’s staffed with only robots. It’s located in the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Nagasaki, Japan. This may seem all too mechanic, but guests are reporting otherwise. These robots do seem to be somehow human (maybe because they can talk with you), and the fun moments with these robots will warm your heart.

© HUIS TEN BOSCH

Furthermore, once you register your face with their face recognition system, you will be free from the hassle of carrying the room key around or worrying about losing it.

Now, that’s a marriage of technology and convenience. Staying at the Henn-na Hotel is filled with unexpected and delightful surprises. The unique experience will take you one step into the future.

© HUIS TEN BOSCH

The hotel has been in the business for just a year and it has a 3.5-star average review on Tripadvisor. But, I would not worry too much about the reviews and ratings at this point.

The hotel is actually cheaper in comparison to other similar grade hotels in the area. Not having any employees to pay to definitely makes the operating cost lower.

© HUIS TEN BOSCH. People are waiting to be checked in and exploring the hotel hobby.

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180th Meridian and International Date Line Mystery

Did you know that the 180th meridian navigates the entire surface of the Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole? It exists 180° East and 180° West of the Prime Meridian.

Starting at the North Pole and heading south to the South Pole, the 180th meridian passes through Arctic Ocean, Russia, Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, Amchitka Pass (east of Alaska), Tuvalu, Cikobia Island, Fiji, and Antarctica.

However, the only place where roads cross this meridian, and civilization exists, is in Fiji.

180th Meridian

Photo by Paul Lenz shared under CC BY 2.5 license

The 180th meridian is used as the basis for the International Date Line (IDL) because for the most part, it passes through the open waters of the Pacific Ocean without much international water disputes or boundaries.

International Date Line

In reality, the International Date Line (IDL) does not exist. It is an imaginary line roughly based on the meridian of 180° longitude. I would love to go to Fiji and change my day by just taking a step.

If you cross the date line moving east, you subtract a day, whereas if you are moving west you add a day. For example, if today is Friday and we crossed the International Date Line from west to east then it would be Thursday. 

When you cross the date line, you sort of become a time traveler! Cross to the west and it’s one day later; cross back and you’ve “gone back in time.”

Look at the man standing in the center of the past and future (pictured above). This is almost mind-tripping. At one moment you could be in the present and yet another moment you could be still living in the yesterday. How cool!

Around the World in Eighty Days

The concept behind the International Date Line was used as a plot device in Jules Verne’s novel “Around the World in Eighty Days” published in 1873.

Original book cover

The book’s main protagonist, Phileas Fogg, travels eastward around the world. He had bet with his friends that he could do it in 80 days. To win the wager, Fogg must return by 8:45 pm on Saturday, 21 December 1872.

However, the journey suffers a series of delays and when Fogg reaches London, it’s 8:50 pm on Friday, 20 December, although he believes it’s Saturday, 21 December and that he has lost the wager by a margin of just 5 minutes.

The next day, however, it is revealed that the present day is still Saturday, not Sunday, and Fogg arrives at his club just in time to win the bet.

Verne explains:

In journeying eastward Phileas Fogg had gone towards the sun, and the days, therefore, diminished for him as many times four minutes as he crossed degrees in this direction.

There are 360 degrees on the circumference of the earth; and these 360 degrees, multiplied by 4 minutes, give precisely 24 hours — that is, a full day unconsciously gained.

In other words, while Phileas Fogg, going eastward, saw the sun pass the meridian eighty times, his friends in London only saw it pass the meridian seventy-nine times.

Fogg had thought it was one day more than it actually was, because he had forgotten this simple fact. During his journey, he had added a full day to his clock, at the rhythm of an hour per 15 degrees, or 4 minutes per degree.

So what do you think? Would you like to explore the 180th meridian and make it in some sort of trip idea or bucket list? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Game of Thrones Maps of Westeros & Seven Kingdoms

Beautiful maps of Westeros and the rest of the known world as shown in Game of Thrones. Below you have Game of Thrones Westeros map of all the Houses: Stark, Lannister, Tyrell, Martell, Baratheon, Arryn, Mormons, Tully, Targaryen, and Greyjoy.

Map by guydouglasdesign from Tumblr

Photo by twipzdeeauxilia CC BY SA 2.0

Game of Thrones Maps

The world of Game of Thrones is divided into four major landmasses divided into seven kingdoms.

Dubrovnik, Croatia / Photo by Hans Permana CC BY-NC 2.0

Credit: https://fuckyeahfictionalmaps.tumblr.com (Tumblr)

The Seven Kingdoms

The story’s main focus is on Westeros and King’s Landing (pictured above). Everybody and every kingdom and city-states are fighting everyone else to gain control of the entire Westeros and the seven kingdoms.

Everyone wants to either sit on the Iron Throne or be in a good relationship with the person sitting on the Iron Throne.

At the very bottom of Westeros, you have Dorne. It is separated from the rest of Westeros by Red Hills. To the west, you have The Reach. It is the most fertile region in the continent.

Above Dorne, you have the Stormlands. This one is a rocky and marshy land and also contains many forests. Above it is Crownlands (Waters), the seat of the Iron Throne. The capital city of Westeros, King’s Landing, is in the Waters region.

To the west, you have the Westerland, a mountainous region with gold and silver mines. They are the richest household. The region in the center of the continent is called Riverlands, a medley of plains, hills, forests, and numerous rivers.

The islands to the west are called the Iron Islands. The seas around the islands are very stormy and destructive and have also destroyed and eroded most of the Pyke castle.

To the islands’ diametric right, we have The Vale, a high mountainous region.  Lastly, the North is the largest of the seven kingdoms, and it is called Winterfell. 

Another continent, Essos is further south and the weather is hotter and it is a region made up of several free city-states.

Credit: The Huffington Post

Photo by TaylorHerring CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bonus: A spectacular dragon skull the size of a double-decker bus appeared to have been washed up on Charmouth beach on Dorset’s Jurassic coast in the United Kingdom.

Hope you enjoyed this collection of Game of Thrones maps! Many thanks!

5 Things Not To Do In Mauritius As A Tourist

Mauritius, also known as the paradise island, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, famous for its beaches and scenic beauty throughout the globe.

Millions of people visit it regularly, and there are a variety of things you can do. However, while tourists do most of the things they should do, they also happen to do the things they shouldn’t do.

This may spoil the trip or lessen the fun that you were having already. The Art of Travel recognizes this, and therefore, it has created a list of things you should avoid doing in Mauritius.

Read: Top Things All Honeymooners Must Do In Mauritius

WHOLE DAY BEACHING

While Mauritius is famous worldwide for its beaches which can make you wish that you had forever to spend there, it isn’t wise to spend an entire day on the beach. Being a tropical island, the sun is present on every part of the island throughout the day.

While sunbathing and getting a tan may feel good at the moment, the UV rays of the sun can damage our skin cells that might even result in skin problems. Therefore, if you are planning to lie on the beach and enjoy the sun, do take along your sunscreen.

It is advisable to choose a water-repellent cream; otherwise playing along the beach will make the sunscreen futile.

Read Next: Top 10 Places To Visit In Mauritius

LATE NIGHT BUS TRIPS

Late night bus trips in Mauritius aren’t really a good idea. Even locals tend to avoid bus services after 6 pm. You would find it hard to travel around the city on public transport late at night. Even if you get to where you wanted to go, coming back would only be a hassle.

Bus companies stop their operation at around 7 pm. Therefore, it is wiser to make your daily itinerary likewise. Hiring a car and driving yourself would always be the better choice.

HIKING WITHOUT A GUIDE

Hiking without a guide is a very unwise idea and is highly not recommended. Mauritius has a lot of places like thick forests and landscapes which are untouched by human interference.

It is a sight of beauty to visit these places, and at the same time, it is very easy to get lost there. Therefore, it is recommended that you hire a guide before hiking. There are local guides that can be hired on the spot. It is better to check a few of them for competitive pricing.

FOLLOWING GOOGLE MAPS BLINDLY

It might seem adventurous to you, setting out to explore all the places Mauritius has to offer. You would be thinking that since you have Google Maps, nothing can make you wander from your path. You are HIGHLY wrong.

Google Maps isn’t really at its best when it comes to Mauritius. It is wise to check out for directions now and then from the locals, as the locals are a bunch of cozy nice people. If you blindly keep following the GPS, you would soon find yourself in the middle of nowhere.

SCAM VENDORS

Buying things at the local vendors can make you feel disappointed at times because some of the vendors are just scam artists selling inferior things passing them as original and costly.

So be careful of them. This is especially true if you buy spices at Port-Louis Central Market.

The vendors selling spices or crafts there are nothing less than tricksters. If you give into them, you would end up buying items for many times the original price.

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121 Fun Facts To Know Before You Travel To India

Traveling to India? India is a vast country with thousands of years of culture and history. in this blog post, we are outlining some fun facts about India that will make you sound you smart and well-read in bars and at airports. 😉

Kama Sutra is an ancient Sanskrit literature (2nd century) written by Vatsyayana describing human sexual behavior. “Kama” which is one of the four goals of Hindu life, means “desire” including sexual desires and “sutra” means a “thread” that holds things together.

Yuktibhasa, written by Indian astronomer Jyeshtadeva, is considered to be the first mathematical treatise on calculus.

The Directive Principles in India, which are guidelines for the government while framing laws and policies, were inspired by the Irish nationalist movement.

Chakara is a rare and peculiar marine phenomenon observed along the coastal waters of Kerala.

St. Thomas the Apostle performed the first baptism in India in 52 A.D and established India’s first Church the same year.

The state of Punjab gets its name from the fact that five tributaries of the river Indus – Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej – run through the state.

The Indian film industry is the largest film industry in the world (by the number of films produced).

Cherrapunji in India is the wettest place in the world with the maximum amount of yearly rainfall.

Kuttanad in Kerala is India’s only region below sea level. Chicken’s Neck (a narrow strip of land that connects mainland India to its north-eastern states) is only 24 km wide.

The Indus Valley civilization is one of the oldest civilization in the world, dating back at least 5,000 years.

 

India is the 2nd largest country by population (currently approaching 1.3 billion). Soon it will overtake China to become the World’s most populous country (likely by 2040).

India is the 12th largest economy in the world in terms of currency conversion and 4th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power.

World’s first university was established in Takshila, India in 700 BC.

Kolkata, India is called the City of Palaces because of its abundance of European-style buildings.

The Casino Goa in Goa is the only legal casino in India.

Singer and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was born to Indian parents in Zanzibar and studied in St. Mary’s High School in Mazagaon, Mumbai.

Indian physician Susrutha (6th century BC) is called as the “Father of Surgery”, for his seminal and numerous contributions to the science of surgery. Sushruta authored a series of medical treaties, collectively known as Sushruta Samhita, in which he describes over 120 surgical instruments, 300 surgical procedures, and classifies human surgery in 8 categories.

Wearing the Gandhi cap became a steadfast tradition during the Indian independence movement that is continued by Indian politicians to this day.

A small village in Tamil Nadu called Naluvedapathy remained unscathed by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami because of a record 80,244 casuarina saplings planted on the coast two years earlier.

The Kandariya Mahadeva is considered one of the best examples of Hindu temples preserved from the medieval period in India.

Nivedita Bhasin of Indian Airlines is the youngest woman pilot in world civil aviation history to command a jet aircraft at the age of 26.

The cast for the Academy Awards-nominated movie Little Terrorist had never acted in a movie before, and the crew worked for the movie free of charge and even traveled to India at their own expense.

Shuka Saptati, originally authored in Sanskrit, is a collection of 70 erotic love tales narrated by a parrot to prevent its mistress from committing adultery while her husband is away from home.

Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy is the longest single-volume novel ever published in the English language.

The Cellular Jail in the Andaman Islands in India had a forked structure and derived its name from the fact that it comprised only isolated cells.

Maulana Mehmud Hasan organized an armed rebellion against the British Raj with Turkish support but was arrested just before his return to India.

A USD $500 million ski village project promoted by Alfred Ford in Himachal Pradesh, India was rejected by the local priests claiming gods spoke to them about the project being detrimental to the population of Kullu.

The Cheraman Juma Masjid, the oldest mosque in India, was originally constructed in traditional Hindu architectural style.

Colóquios Dos Simples e Drogas da India was a scientific text published in Goa in 1563 that included the first published verses by Luís de Camões, Portugal’s national poet.

Kolachal was the location of a battle in 1741 where for perhaps the only time in Indian history, an Indian kingdom defeated a European naval force.

Human sacrifices were once offered in Chitpur, now home to Kolkata’s latest passenger railway terminal.

In 1932, Paramahansa Yogananda urged young people to pool resources, buy land, and create World Brotherhood Colonies, nearly 40 years before the intentional community movement of the late 1960s.

Kadambini Ganguly was one of the first female graduates in the British Empire and the first female doctor (allopathy) in South Asia.

The Urdu movement, which sought to establish Urdu as the lingua franca of the Muslim communities of India, emerged from the fall of the Mughal Empire and became an integral part of the Pakistan movement.

A monkey named Ramu in Orissa was jailed for 5 years on the charge of disturbing communal harmony.

There are significant breeding populations of 35 mammalian species in Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India, of which 15 are threatened species according to the IUCN Red List.

The world’s tallest statue of Hindu god Lord Shiva is located in Murudeshwara, a coastal town in Karnataka, India.

A Vihara is an Indian Buddhist cave monastery that takes its name from the Sanskrit word for “a secluded place in which to walk”.

The Kalka–Shimla Railway track, a narrow-gauge rail track in Himachal Pradesh, has a length of 96 KM, passing through 102 tunnels and crossing 864 bridges.

The Siribhoovalaya, a unique work of multi-lingual literature composed by Jain monk Kumudendu Muni is written entirely using Kannada numerals, without the use of any alphabets.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was the second railway in the world that was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

More than 500 varieties of mango are showcased in the International Mango Festival held in Delhi.

The three universal Hindu icons are the Aum, the swastika, and the Sri Chakra Yantra.

 

Poet Rabindranath Tagore was the first Asian Nobel Prize winner.

The women courtiers in the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom were expected to be adept in 64 arts, with Kasuti embroidery being one of them.

The town of Channapatna in India is known as the “Toy-town of Karnataka” due to the popularity of the wooden toys manufactured there.

Mother Theresa University, in Vilpatti Panchayat, South India, is the nation’s only university exclusively devoted to women’s issues.

Patacara, who became a Buddhist while disconsolately wandering naked through the Indian city of Savatthi, rose to become the foremost bhikkhuni of Gautama Buddha in her mastery of the Vinaya.

The relics of Sariputra and Mahamoggallana, Gautama Buddha’s two chief disciples, were the subject of more than 2 million Sri Lankan pilgrimage visits after their discovery by Sir Alexander Cunningham.

Kosambi, a city in ancient India which was a frequent site of sermons by the Buddha was one of the places considered suitable for his Parinibbāna.

One of the largest rainwater harvesting projects in the world is being implemented in the rural areas of the state of Karnataka, India.

The world’s first birth control clinic was set up in 1930 in the Mandya district of the state of Karnataka, India.

Roman trade with India was so large that it almost drained gold resources from Rome and involved the despatch of 120 ships full of gold every year.

Shivappa Nayaka, a king in 17th century Karnataka, India, introduced a unique and variable tax system called Sist.

In 1985, Texas Instruments became the first multinational to set up a base in Bangalore.

Ghum is the highest railway station in India at 2,225 m (7,407 ft).

Vijaya Dasa, an 18th-century Hindu saint from the Karnataka Haridasa tradition, composed about 25,000 devotional songs in the Kannada language.

Narayana Hrudayalaya, located in Bangalore, India and one of the largest pediatric heart hospitals in the world, offers a telemedicine service for FREE!

Government Sanskrit College was one of the first modern college established in 1791 in ancient India, in the city of Benares (aka Varanasi).

 

The St. Philomena’s Church in the city of Mysore in India was built in a Neo-Gothic style drawing inspiration from the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.

Romulus Whitaker won the Whitley Award for establishing a rainforest research station at Agumbe in India to conserve King Cobras.

The biggest walk-through aviary in India is located on the shore of the Karanji Lake in Mysore.

In the Indian Gaarudi Gombe ceremonial dance, dancers are required to wear full-body doll-suits made of bamboo sticks.

Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha, in the city of Hubli, is the only unit in India authorized to manufacture and supply the Indian Flag.

The Sangam poems, an important source of ancient Tamil history, were composed by a total of 473 poets over a period of a few centuries.

Some rocks at the Kupgal neolithic site, near Bellary, India, produce gong-like musical tones when struck with boulders.

The Oleoresin extracted from Byadgi chili is used in making nail polish and lipstick.

The Kumortuli neighborhood of Kolkata supplies images of Goddess Durga to Indian communities in about 90 countries.

Karnataka is home to the largest concentration of Siddis (a tribe of African descent) in India.

The Roman merchants who traded with ancient Tamil country used the monsoon winds to reduce the travel time between Egypt and India to forty days.

The Narasinganavar family residing in the Indian state of Karnataka is one of the largest undivided families in the world.

The Kallanai Dam, built by Karikala Chola to support agriculture in the ancient Tamil country, is considered the oldest water-regulation structure still in use.

Hindus in the ancient Tamil country worshiped different deities depending on the landscape of the region they lived in.

Bangalore Palace in India, which was built to resemble Windsor Castle in England, has hosted music concerts of bands like Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, and Deep Purple.

Women in the Early Pandyan Society dressed their hair differently according to their marital status.

The Indo-Burma barrier, a 1624 kilometer-long barrier between India and Burma, is being built to curtail gun running and illicit drug trafficking.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is one of the most frequented religious sites in India, drawing nearly 2 million pilgrims annually.

The 16th century Indian musician-composer Miyan Tansen laid the foundations of Hindustani classical music by mixing Sufi and Bhakti musical traditions.

Although in present-day India the former Princely states and their princes have lost that status, the Raja of Rajnagar still wears his ancestors’ tattered royal attire twice a year.

The Plaza film theater in Bangalore was modeled after the Piccadilly Circus in London.

Shakadvipi (Bhojaka) is the only division of Brahmins whose origins are said to be outside India.

Sanskrit is the liturgical language for many Indian religions and languages, it’s not spoken by common people.

Vasantha Habba, an annual cultural event organized by Nrityagram in Bangalore, is considered to be the classical Woodstock of India.

In Hindu mythology where Shiva’s consort Parvati performed penance to show her devotion to him, is Pampa Sarovar lake in the state of Karnataka.

The Hindu serpent goddess Manasa, the “destroyer of poison”, is worshiped mostly in the rainy season when the snakes are most active.

Colombia is one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relationship with India. These two countries joined hands on January 19, 1959.

India became independent in 1947 while Colombia became independent in 1810, thanks to General Bolivar.

According to Hindu mythology, the Tandava, a vigorous dance by Hindu god Shiva, is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation, and dissolution of the universe.

 

The “maidams” were burial sites of the Ahom Kingdom’s royalty and aristocracy that were similar to the Egyptian pyramids, but much smaller in scale.

The Saraswati River, a distributary of the Bhagirathi in West Bengal, is now dead but was active till around the 16th century AD.

Shaukat Usmani was a candidate for the Communist Party of Great Britain in the 1929 UK general election while imprisoned in India.

Before the launch of a satellite, a group of scientists from ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan offer prayers to a miniature model of the satellite and donate it to a temple in Dharmasthala.

The early Indian Christians were Nestorians until the arrival of Portuguese in the 16th century introducing Roman Catholicism to the country.

By the end of the 19th century, there were an estimated two thousand English language schools in the Kingdom of Mysore.

The Mahāvyutpatti (Sanskrit and Tibetan), is the first substantial bilingual dictionary known to the world.

One of the first discoveries of atmospheric neutrinos was made at India’s Kolar Gold Fields.

Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was buried in St. Francis Church in India.

Kochi in Kerala, India is where Chinese fishing nets are mostly used outside of China.

Mysore Palace, a tourist attraction in the city of Mysore, is one of the most visited monuments in India, even more than the Taj Mahal.

Tibbia College, with 84 patents in herbal medicine, is the only medical institution in India to offer education and training in two ancient systems of medicine –  Ayurveda and Unani.

Due to its numerous attractions such as Lal Bagh, Bangalore, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka, is known as the “Garden City of India”.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary in Kerala, India, receives migratory birds from far away Siberia.

Every year 70,000 to 80,000 migratory birds visit Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary, an artificially created forest in West Bengal, India.

Entally was home to the poor and the depressed, and a neighborhood where Mother Teresa started her active life in Kolkata, India.

Dhakis, traditional Bengali drummers, kill more than 40,000 egrets, pheasants, herons, and open bill storks every year to decorate their instruments with feathers.

Abani Mukherji, the co-founder of the Communist Party of India, died in Soviet captivity (under communism) in the 1930s. Talk about irony!

In parts of the Kerala Backwaters, the paddy fields are at a lower level than the water in canals, held back by dikes.

Sheesh Mahal (the Palace of Mirrors) in Lahore Fort was originally decorated with frescoes that were later replaced with pietra dura and convex glass and mirror mosaic.

Migrants from India form over 40% of the total population of the United Arab Emirates.

Charyapada is a collection of poems written in the earliest-known precursor to the Indo-Aryan languages.

Birhor people are a tribal forest people, traditionally nomadic, living primarily in the Indian state of Jharkhand.

A rock edict of Emperor Ashoka found at Maski in the Indian State of Karnataka in 1915, was the first one to refer him by the name Asoka.

According to Hindu mythology, the deity Revanta was born from the union of the sun-god Surya and his wife Saranya in the form of horse and mare.

The discovery of horse bones at the archaeological site of Hallur in south India refuted the theory that horses were introduced to this region as part of the Indo-Aryan migration.

Chamunda (a fearsome aspect of the Hindu Divine Mother), was worshiped by ritual human and animal sacrifices along with offerings of wine.

Photo by Steve Browne & John Verkleir CCBY 2.0

Swami Rama Tirtha was one of the first Hindu swamis to teach Vedanta in the West.

Hawkers in Kolkata, numbering 275,000, occupy pavements and generate annual business worth around 2 billion US dollars.

The 9th-century Navalinga temple in Karnataka, India, is a cluster of nine Hindu temples, each containing a Shiva Linga.

Radha Ramana is the only image of Krishna that remained in Vrindavana during the 17th-century raids by Islamic king Aurangzeb.

The town of Melattur in Tamil Nadu, India is famous for its Bharatanatyam, a classic South Indian dance.

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17 Fun Facts To Know Before You Travel To Nepal

Locked between the snow peaks of the Himalayas and the seething Ganges plain, Nepal has long been home to wandering ascetics and tantric yogis. It has eight of the world’s 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest, the world’s tallest, on the border with Tibet.

Sadhus and Ascetics 

The Nepali flag is the only flag in the world which is triangular in shape.

The word Himalaya means “abode of snow”. It’s a Sanskrit word which has two parts, “alaya” meaning “dwelling or abode” and “him” which means “snow”.

Mount Everest

The geological age of the Himalaya is approximately 70 million years. The Himalayas were formed because of the collision of the Indo-Australian Plate with the Eurasian Plate.

Ravi – Himalayan River

The Himalayan rivers are older than the Himalayan peaks. The five main rivers of the Himalayas are the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej.

In Nepal, there are 8 of the world’s 14 highest mountains above 8000 meters, including Mt. Everest.

Kanchenjunga

Other seven are namely Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and Annapurna.

Nepal has 8% of the total species of birds found in the world.

The highest lake on earth, Tilicho, is in Nepal. It rests at 15,748 feet. It’s higher than Lake Waiau on Mauna Kea in Hawaii which is 13,000 feet.

Frozen Lake Tilicho

Nepal has the deepest lake at the highest elevation. She Phoksundo is 145 meters deep and rests at 3600 meters.

The Kali Gandaki is the deepest gorge on earth, dropping 1200 meters.

Nepal also has the lowest valley on earth, the Arun valley.

Lumbini in Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha – the apostle of peace.

Stupa at Lumbini, the Birth Place of Gautam Buddha

Nepal is the only country where people worship the living goddess called Kumari, a young virgin girl.

Nepal has the densest concentration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Kathmandu valley alone has 7 World Heritage Cultural sites within a radius of 15 kilometers.

In Nepal, there are as many as 80 ethnic groups speaking more than 100 different languages.

Wild honey hunting Gurung tribe in Central Nepal

Dang Valley situated in the mid-western development region of Nepal is the largest valley of Asia.

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Top 5 Online and Global Travel Trends

Economies are changing. Societies are changing. People are changing. Travel is changing. At the core of all new trends related to traveling (both locally and internationally) are three things:

“Traveling increases in a globalized world.”

GLOBALIZATION

People are more connected with one another than ever before in the history of mankind. (How deeply connected is a topic for another time). Most people are also receiving more education today than just 50 years ago.

If you combine literacy with internet access, you get a society which is very knowledgeable about other cultures, places and interested in exploring new opportunities.

“Traveling increases when people have friends from all over the world.”

AUTHENTIC INDIVIDUALISM

The other growing trend that we are currently seeing is “authentic self-expression”. While the social media has done a good job giving everyone a platform to express themselves in whichever way they want, I believe, having such an exposure of the world on your fingertip is a good thing.

For example, young people today from all over the world are interested in coming together for a cause and solving tough problems in creative ways.

“Traveling increases when people’s bank balance increases.”

MONEY

Finally, traveling is a costly endeavor. It is always more economical to just stay home than to go out, even locally. When you are out of your home, you have to spend money on food and drink.

If you are too far out, you have to spend on gas and car, renting a place for the night and if you are traveling too far from your home, you are now also spending on air tickets, insurance, gears and cameras among several other things.

However, as people are earning more (all over the world) and as transportation is becoming cheaper due to better technology and global competition, many more people are now able to afford to travel which would have been impossible just 150 years ago. Think about that.

So, what are the top 5 travel trends of our time?

ADVENTURE

People today wish to experience the world for what it truly is. From skydiving to river rafting to scuba diving, the adventure has become a top reason for people to travel.

One of the major travel trends has become doing “interesting things” or visiting “interesting places” while traveling.

BUDGET TRAVEL & SHARING IS FUN

Luxury travel is going to stay. Luxury feels good. Trust me on this. If you have the money, you would not pick budget travel over a 5-star resort in the Caribbean. If money allows, you would want a full window, balcony suite on a luxury cruise. That said, business such as Airbnb, Home Away, Priceline, Hostels, Time-sharing, etc. are becoming hotter than ever before. Another trend is people now tend to share more. As global trust level is increasing, traveling and sharing things with strangers are becoming a growing possibility.

GOING LOCAL

Nothing can beat the experience and the opportunity to see your own home country or town. People want to engage with a worthy cause and give back to the local communities. This trend is picking up and becoming big. Traveling which often involves a larger involvement of locals and engaging with the community.

MORE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Seeing the world. Particularly, the continent of Asia and Africa. Today more than ever before, many young people are committing to travel the world.

For some that may mean visiting a country from each continent while for some, it may mean visiting 100+ countries. In the past, Africa was an expensive and exotic destination reserved for only the brave or the rich.

The countries in Asia was also the land of mystery, snakes, and uncivilized tribal communities. We all know now that the truth is far from any of these stereotypes of pre-1950s.

RELOCATION AND WORKING REMOTELY

Technology has allowed us to work from anywhere in the world and be part of a truly global team. A lot of young people are relocating to warmer or cheaper (or both) destinations to work remotely for their employer, who is based in the US or in Europe.

Information Technology, programming, and software and web development can be done from anywhere as long as one has access to fast internet and electricity. No wonder, we are seeing this trend where a lot of Americans are locating to South America and even Thailand to work remotely whether for a short duration or while traveling.

What other travel trends you see? Comment below.

 

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US Green Card Holder: Countries You Can Visit Without Needing A Visa

Updated: Feb 2020

U.S. Green Card Holders (aka Permanent Residents of the United States of America) can travel to 23 sovereign countries and several dependencies without needing a Travel Visa. This is true regardless of your country of citizenship.

As long as you are a US Green Card holder, there are many countries and dependencies that you can visit just like an American citizen with an American passport.

Green Card Visa Free Travel

Photo: A sample green card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

The Reality is that your permanent residency status in the USA doesn’t influence your need for Visas, while your actual citizenship does. So your passport issuing country is more critical to your international traveling abilities.

If you stay in the US as a Permanent Resident, popularly known as the Green Card holder, your ability to travel to other countries without a Visa depends on which country issued your passport.

For the majority of countries (not listed below), you will need to check individually whether they require a Visa from the citizens of your passport-issuing country.

Visa Free Countries for Green Card Holder

Here is a list of countries that will let you in without a Travel Visa, regardless of your citizenship, provided that you are US Permanent Resident (i.e. Green Card Holder).

Listing Alphabetically

  • Albania: Visa free travel up to 90 days with a valid passport and US Green Card.
  • Antigua and Barbuda: Visa free travel up to 30 days with a valid passport (6 months validity) and US Green Card.
  • Bahamas: Passport and green card are necessary when traveling to the Bahamas.
  • Barbados: Visa free travel (30-90 days depending on your passport issuing country). Cruise ship passengers (from any country) arriving and departing do not need a visa. More information here.
  • Belize: Passport must be valid for at least six months past the end date of stay. With prior approval from Belizean immigration, green card holders receive a Visa upon arrival. The fee is $50 USD.
  • Bermuda: A green card is enough when traveling to Bermuda via cruise. Passport and green card are both necessary if flying into Bermuda.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Visa free travel up to 90 days with a valid passport (6 months validity) and US Green Card.
  • British Virgin Islands: Passport, proof of accommodations on the island, and proof of return journey, and your US Green Card is required for the entry. You do not need any travel visa.
  • Canada: Under the “good neighbor policy,” regardless of your country of citizenship, green card holders are allowed to enter Canada without a Visa. When traveling by land or sea directly from the U.S., you will only need to provide proof of your U.S. lawful permanent resident status (such as your Green Card). However, if flying or transiting thorough Canada, you will need to present both a) Green Card, and b) Valid Passport
  • Cayman Islands: Green card holders can stay in the Cayman Islands for up to 30 days without having a Tourist Visa.
  • Costa Rica: Passport & Green Card must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry into the country. (Exception: If you have a refugee status you will need to apply for a restricted visa, a process which may take some time. Read more here.)
  • Dominica: Visa free travel up to 6 months with a valid passport (6 months validity) and US Green Card.
  • Dominican Republic: Passport, green card, and tourist card required. (Note: Anyone who can legally travel or reside in the U.S. does not need a Visa to travel to the Dominican Republic for tourist purposes.)
  • Guatemala: Carry your passport (with 6 months of validity) and Green Card. Up to 90 days of visa free stay.
  • Haiti: You need your Green Card and Passport with at least 6 months of validity. All foreign passport holders traveling to Haiti must pay a tourist fee set at $10.00 at the airport. (Exception: Unfortunately, this Visa waiver does not apply to Green Card holders who are citizens of Syria, Libya, Iran, Vietnam, Yemen, Chechnya.)
  • Honduras:  Carry your passport (with 6 months of validity) and Green Card. Up to 90 days of visa free stay.
  • Jamaica: Passport, green card, and round-trip tickets to the U.S. or onward tickets to another destination required. (Exception: Unfortunately, this waiver does not apply to Green Card holders who are citizens of Taiwan.)
  • Kosovo: Visa free travel up to 15 days with a valid passport (6 months validity) and US Green Card.
  • Mexico: Under the “good neighbor policy,” regardless of your country of citizenship, green card holders are allowed to enter Mexico without a Visa. You must carry a valid passport and your U.S. Permanent Resident/Green Card at all times.
  • Montenegro: Visa free travel up to 30 days with a valid passport (6 months validity) and US Green Card.
  • Nicaragua:  Carry your passport (with 6 months of validity) and Green Card.
  • Panama:  Carry your passport (with 6 months of validity) and Green Card. Up to 90 days of visa free stay.
  • Serbia: Visa free travel up to 90 days with a valid passport (6 months validity) and US Green Card.
  • South Korea: Visa free travel for 30 days for US Permanent Resident. You can transit through and stay in South Korea for 30 days, but South Korea must NOT be your final destination.
  • Taiwan: Visa free travel up to 30 days with a valid passport (6 months validity) and US Green Card.
  • Turks and Caicos Islands: Visa free travel up to 30 days with a valid passport (6 months validity) and US Green Card.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: (Not a sovereign country but a US territory). Anyone traveling between the U.S. and its territories (including US Virgin Islands) is not required to show a passport or green card for entry. This is because they are essentially on home soil. The same applies to Puerto Rico, American SamoaGuam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Visa Free Caribbean Netherlands

  • Aruba: Passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry, and a green card is necessary. No need for a Visa to enter.
  • Curacao: Passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry, and a green card is necessary. No need for a Visa to enter.
  • Bonaire: Passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry, and a green card is necessary. No need for a Visa to enter.

Besides the ABC Islands of the Caribbean Netherlands, you can also travel to the following Caribbean islands (also part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands).

  • St. Maarten: Passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry, and a green card is necessary. No need for a Visa to enter.
  • St. Eustatius: Passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry, and a green card is necessary. No need for a Visa to enter.
  • Saba: Passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry, and a green card is necessary. No need for a Visa to enter.

Travel With Care

Photo: Do your research and travel with care / The Art of Travel Partners

Many of you have messaged me or commented asking how you can keep track of future changes in Visa status? Well, here is the easy answer.

Usually, things don’t change for years or decades. When they do change, they are often excellent or awful.

In other words, either your passport issuing country has made new agreements with another country or a country has severed its ties or changed its Visa rules and/or relationships with your passport issuing country.

Note: Always double-check the destination country’s immigration website before booking any flights or trips. As many of our readers have rightly said, things can change, and you don’t want to be caught off-guard.

Note: Green Card holders who stay out of the US for more than 1-year risk having their green card canceled by USCIS (The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). When you are traveling abroad, remember, your time out of the country must not exceed one year.

Common Question

Question: Can I travel to [xyz destination] with a Green Card only?

Answer: If you are wondering if you can travel to Canada or Mexico with a Green Card only, unfortunately, the answer is you will still need your passport if you are traveling by air. If you are driving through, legally you only need your Green Card but it’s a good practice to carry your passport as well.

PS: Please comment below if I am missing any other countries or territories. This list of Visa-free travel is for U.S. Green Card holders regardless of their country of citizenship.

Read Next

Can You Travel With Valid Visa On Expired Passport Along With a New Passport But No Visa

Can you travel with an old expired passport containing a valid Travel Visa along with a new passport but no Visa? This is a very common question.

Although the answer is simple, there is still confusion around several “what-if” scenarios. Let me try to address all of these concerns in a short, concise paragraph that is easy to read and understand.

Valid Visa On Expired Passport

Individuals with a valid visa on their expired (old) passport may still use that visa by carrying both the old and new passport when they travel. The new passport must be valid and not damaged, of course.

To be on the safe side, the visa on your old passport must have three months of validity left, although it is not required in most cases.

Also, please ensure that the visa you have is an appropriate type of visa required for your principal purpose of travel.

Old Visa Transfer to New Passport

You cannot transfer an old visa from one passport to another. Doing so will require you to apply for a new visa stamp on your newer passport.

If you are just going to travel to a destination for which you already have a valid travel visa, you do not need to worry. Just carry both passports. It is not an uncommon situation. 

 

New Passport New Visa

You can choose to apply for a new visa in the new passport. In such a case, all normal fees and application procedures would be similar to the process for a first-time applicant. So, if it makes sense for you to do so, apply for a new visa.

But note, in that case, your old visa in your old passport will be canceled before issuing the new visa. So, you are not really gaining anything.

Why not apply for a new passport when your current passport is almost 6-8 months away from expiration? Let’s keep the paperwork to the minimum. Let’s focus more on travel and (hopefully) less on travel visas.

Hope this helps! Happy travels!

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