Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Top 5 Most Extreme Rollercoasters

Kingda Ka: the world's tallest and fastest roller coaster

Arms down, head back and hold on. With only 28 seconds, the Kingda Ka may not be very long, but it's bound to leave you wide eyed and twitching. Located at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, USA, it's the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. The train is launched by a hydraulic launch mechanism to 128 miles per hour (206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds. At the end of the launch track, the train climbs the main top hat tower, reaching a height of 456 feet (139 meters)! At a cost of US$25 million, the Kingda Ka opened to the public on May 21, 2005, was closed several times for different technical problems and was also struck by lightning in early May 2009.

Dodonpa: the highest launch acceleration, 2.7 g

Steel Dragon 2000: the world's longest track length, 8,133ft

Built by Morgan Manufacturing, this gigacoaster at Nagashima Spa Land Amusement Park in Mie Prefecture, Japan, opened in 2000 — "The Year of the Dragon" in Asia. It debuted only months after Millennium Force and surpassed the Cedar Point coaster as the world's tallest complete-circuit coaster. You might be used to getting on a roller coaster and stepping off much sooner than you hoped - scream, scream and it's all over. Not on this ride - the Steel Dragon is quite the endurance coaster. It's so long that you might actually deplete your ability to scream by the end of the record breaking 8,133ft long track, the one record it still holds.

Top Thrill Dragster: Kingda Ka's arch rival

Thunder Dolphin: Tokyo's most terrifying ride

Known for its unique design around buildings in central Tokyo's Dome City Attractions amusement park, the Thunder Dolphin starts off with a dizzying 218 foot lunge at a steep 80 degree angle. You then race around the track at speeds in excess of 80 mph making this impressive 3,500-foot long, 26-story tall a mental joyride. The ride passes through both a hole in the LaQua building, as well as through the Big-O, the world's first hubless Ferris wheel. Thunder Dolphin's maximum speed is 130 km per hour, or 80 miles per hour.

Top 5 Weirdest Theme Parks

Harmonyland (Japan): entirely devoted to Hello Kitty

When it comes to themed attractions and cuteness, Japan has it all. The crown princess of cute, of course, is Hello Kitty, and Japan has a entire theme park devoted to this magical feline: the outdoor Harmonyland, a one-and-a-half-hour flight away in Oita. Any Hello Kitty fan worth her hair bow favors Harmonyland, which has more pink fuzzies and sparkly rainbows per square foot than a Care Bear convention. The formula is basically to re-create the amusement-park standard bearers in the likeness of Sanrio characters—you've got your Hello Kitty spinning teacups, your Hello Kitty Ferris wheel, your Hello Kitty variant of "It's a Small World." But where Harmonyland really shines is in its parades and stage shows.

Suoi Tien Park (Vietnam): a buddhist park

Vietnam's Suoi Tien Park is a Buddhist-themed amusement park. In addition to a giant splash park and various thrill rides, the "amusement park" features Heaven Palace, the Park's vision of eternal life for people who manage to escape the torments of hell after years of gambling, adultery, and taking drugs. If hell isn't enough to scare you straight, the park also features "Bat cave with innumerable bats, and an air bike suspended over a crocodile farm.

Diggerland (England): a construction themed park

The British are so crazy for construction equipment that they have not one, not two, but four theme parks devoted to it. All of the Diggerland parks in England allow you to live out your Bob the Builder fantasies racing dump trucks and backhoes around massive lots of dirt (sure cuts down on the landscaping costs, doesn't it?). Sure, if you like rides made from converted bits of heavy machinery, like the Spindizzy, a modified Tilt-a-Whirl in which guests sit in the bucket of a giant excavator. And don't forget the Dancing Diggers, a stunt show performed in a front-end loader. At break time, head to Dig Inn (get it?) for burgers.

Dickens World (England): featuring the dark side of the industrial revolution

Charles Dickens drab portrayals of the United Kingdom during the industrial revolution come to life at Dickens World, resembling a Tim Burton movie set. Located in Chatham Dockyard in Kent, the English amusement park is filled with the lovely memories of disease, pestilence, dysentery, the elite world of Victorian England and, just for a rollicking good time, starving orphans. They even have a log flume based on Great Expectations.

Ferrari World (Abu Dhabi): a high tech park inspired in Ferrarris

Located just across from Iran, the nearly-completed Ferrari World Theme Park sits on Abu Dhabi's largest natural island. It's a "high-tech" theme park featuring simulator rides, roller coasters, an interactive museum and a theatre with an Italian-themed play and a race track, as part of the $40 billion dollar transformation into one of the world's premier luxury tourist destinations. Work only began on the 4,200 acre facility in November, 2007, but as things have a way of doing in the UAE, work is progressing incredibly rapidly. Ferrari World is scheduled for completion this November. An amazing process from Sarlacc pit-like sand trap to prancing stallion princess castle!


Top 5 Most Unusual Stadiums

World Games Stadium – Taiwan

Taiwan has what is being touted as the largest solar-powered stadium in the world, the 'World Games Stadium'. It comes with massive and gigantic solar panels which harnesses all the solar energy in order to generate electricity that could be used by the stadium. It has a 14,155 square meter roof and it harnesses about 1.4 gigawatt hours of electricity every year. The coolest part of the stadium is that when the stadium is not being used, 80% of the neighborhood around the stadium can also be powered through the electricity generated by the stadium on days when it is not being used.

Allianz Arena – Germany

The Allianz Arena is located in the north of Munich, Germany, and it is home to the Bayern Munich and to TSV 1860 München. With a capacity of 69,901 spectators, this is the first stadium in the world that has a full changing color outside. It is lit up in red when Bayern Munich play, in blue when 1860 Munich play and in white when in use by the German National Team. (thanks, Tim).

Estadio Municipal de Aveiro – Portugal

Estádio Municipal de Aveiro is a football stadium in Aveiro, Portugal. It was designed for the UEFA Euro 2004 by the Portuguese architect Tomás Taveira. It has an ambitious design that combines a simple and endearing shape with a liveliness of colours of every kind throughout the entire stadium. The seats have different colours and are distributed in a random way. Red, green, yellow, blue, white, and black seats offer an original and chromatic animation and a strong feeling of dynamism and cheerfulness - even when the stadium is empty it looks as if the party has already started!

Marina Bay Floating Stadium – Singapore

The Float at Marina Bay, also known as Marina Bay Floating Platform, it's the world's largest floating stage. It is located on the waters of the Marina Reservoir, in Marina Bay, Singapore. Made entirely of steel, the floating platform on Marina Bay measures 120 metres long and 83 metres wide, which is 5% larger than the soccer field at the National Stadium. The platform can bear up to 1,070 tonnes, equivalent to the total weight of 9,000 people, 200 tonnes of stage props and three 30-tonne military vehicles. The gallery at the stadium has a seating capacity of 30,000 people.

Fujieda City Stadium - Japan

The Fujieda City Stadium accommodates 13,000 spectators, for either watching soccer games or having a picnic. Instead of using concrete steps designers created two terraces with grass, where you can sit back and watch the match.

Top 5 Fascinating Swimming Pools

World's biggest swimming pool

If you like doing laps in the swimming pool, you might want to stock up on the energy drinks before diving in to this one. It is more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, has a 115ft deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water. The Guinness Book of Records named the vast pool beside the sea in Chile as the biggest in the world. This pool took five years to build, cost nearly £1billion and the annual maintenance bill will be £2million. Its turquoise waters are so crystal clear that you can see the bottom even in the deep end. It dwarfs the world's second biggest pool, the Orthlieb, nicknamed the Big Splash, in Morocco, which is a mere 150 yards long and 100 yards wide. An Olympic size pool measures some 50 yards by 25 yards.

Blood-red pool

The island of Koh Samui's infamous Chaweng Beach is littered with hotels, but none of them comes close to the Library in terms of that all-out beach bliss-out factor. This elegant and modern boutique hotel is most remarkable for its amazing blood-red pool and the tall trees that seem to grow in, around and through the building. The aforementioned red pool serves as the focal point, with daybeds, Thai antiques, and an open air mini-library.

The global warming swimming pool

No, New York is not underwater (yet, anyhow) – that's a clever ad for HSBC by Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai ad agency in India. The bank wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of global warming, so the clever ad guys glued an aerial photo of a city's skyscrapers to the base of aswimming pool … the effect of a submerged cityscape is fantastic!

World's deepest indoor Swimming Pool

The Nemo 33 diving pool in Belgium is, oddly enough, over 33 meters deep. It is filled with 2,500,000 liters of non-chlorinated, highly filtered spring water maintained at 30 °C (86 °F) and contains several simulated underwater caves at the 10 m depth level. There are numerous underwater windows that allow outside visitors to look into the pools at various depths.

World's largest indoor swimming pool

“Ocean Dome”, located in Miyazaki, it's the biggest indoor swimming pool in the world. It's 300 meters long and 100 meters wide, and it's located 500 meter from the sea. The temperature inside the pavilion is always around 30 degrees, the roof is sky-blue and it has even “clouds”. It has an artificial volcano and also an artificial wave generation system.

Top 5 Amazing Hotels

The De Vrouwe van Stavoren Hotel (Netherlands): made from recycled wine barrels

The De Vrouwe van Stavoren Hotel in the Netherlands salvaged four wine casks from Switzerland and converted them into rooms. Formerly filled with 14,500 liters of Beaujolais wine from the French chateau, each now holds a modest two-person room with standard amenities and even an attached bathroom and a sitting room.

The one thing that might bother you, if you're not a wine enthusiast, is the smell of wine that the barrels still maintain. All in all the Barrel Hotel, in Stavoren, northern Netherlands, makes for a very pleasurable experience. General rates for a cask room are from 74-119 Euros a night with discounts of up to 75% off depending on season. If you go in the wintertime, a wine cask room can be as low as 18 Euros a night, cheaper than most hostels.

Poseidon Undersea Resort (Fiji): an underwater hotel

By early 2009, travelers will have the opportunity to stay at the grandiose Poseidon Undersea Resort. Nestled forty feet below the surface of the clear blue Fijian Lagoon, the underwater suites will be accessible by elevator. 70 percent of each suite is enveloped in Acrylic walls that allow for spectacular views of the ocean. Guests are invited to interact with the surroundings. At the push of a button the fish are fed, and a flip of a switch turns on the sparkling underwater lights.

Hôtel de Glace (Canada): made entirely out of ice and snow

Made entirely of ice and snow, this unique one-story structure has been rebuilt each year since 2000. The 9th season of the Ice Hotel lasted from January 4th through March 29th 2009. The Ice Hotel has become an unparalleled and world-famous winter experience. It takes 5 weeks, 500 tons of ice, and 15,000 tons of snow to craft the Ice Hotel with its ceilings as high as 18 feet, walls covered with original artwork and furniture carved from ice blocks. 

Giraffe Manor (Kenya): where you dine with a friendly giraffe

This small and exclusive hotel -- surrounded by 140 acres of indigenous forest just outside Nairobi -- is famous for its resident herd of giraffes. It's the only place in the world where you can enjoy the experience of feeding and photographing the giraffe over the breakfast table, at the front door or while you dine, and the giraffes poke their heads through the window.

As well as the giraffe, the property is also home to many species of birds, large families of warthogs and the elusive Bush Buck. 

Das Park Hotel (Austria): where rooms are made of concrete pipes

A hotel with rooms made of giant concrete sewage pipes might sound a little odd, but this artistic creation can be recreated to provide cheap lodging anywhere. These 9,5 tonne concrete sections are a standard item in near all concrete factories and the oden floors, a really comfortable double bed, minibar and room service through to 1am. For night owls, the reception is open 24hrs.

With the amazing view below there is little else needed, except if you're staying in bed past 10am, when pajamas would be a wise thing to wear, as although you can look out - tourists can look in.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top 5 Most Amazing Ghost Towns

PRYPIAT (Ukraine): Chernobyl workers' home

Prypiat is an abandoned city in the "zone of alienation" in northern Ukraine. It was home to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers, abandoned in 1986 following the Chernobyl disaster. Its population had been around 50,000 prior to the accident.
Until recently, the site was practically a museum, documenting the late Soviet era. Apartment buildings (four of which were recent constructions not yet occupied), swimming pools, hospitals and other buildings were all abandoned, and everything inside the buildings was left behind, including records, papers, TVs, children's toys, furniture, valuables, and clothing, etc. that any normal family would have with them. Residents were only allowed to take away a suitcase full of documents, books and clothes that were not contaminated. However, many of the apartmentbuildings were almost completely looted some time around the beginning of the 21st century.[citation needed] Nothing of value was left behind; even toilet seats were taken away. Some buildings have remained untouched. Many of the building interiors have been vandalized and ransacked over the years. Because the buildings are not maintained, the roofs leak, and in the spring the rooms are flooded with water. It is not unusual to find trees growing on roofs and even inside buildings. This hastens deterioration, and due to this, a 4-story school partially collapsed in July of 2005.
SAN ZHI (Taiwan): a futuristic resort

in the North of Taiwan, this futuristic pod village was initially built as a luxury vacation retreat for the rich. However, after numerous fatal accidents during construction, production was halted. A combination of lack of money and lack of willingness meant that work was stopped permanently,and the alien like structures remain as if in remembrance of those lost. Indeed, rumors in the surrounding area suggest that the City is now haunted by the ghosts of those who died.
After this the whole thing received the cover-up treatment. And the Government, who commissioned the site in the first place was keen to distance itself from the bizarre happenings. Thanks to this, there are no named architects. The project may never be restarted thanks to the growing legend, and there would be no value in re-developing the area for other purpose. Maybe simply because destroying homes of lonely spirits is a bad thing to do. San Zhi can also be seen from an aeriel view here.
CRACO (Italy): a fascinating medieval town

Craco is located in the Region of Basilicata and the Province of Matera. About 25 miles inland from the Gulf of Taranto at the instep of the “boot” of Italy. This medieval town is typical of those in the area, built up with long undulating hills all around that allow for the farming of wheat and other crops. Craco can be dated back to 1060 when the land was in the ownership of Archbishop Arnaldo, Bishop of Tricarico. This long-standing relationshop with the Church had much influence over the inhabitants throughout the ages.
In 1891, the population of Craco stood at well over 2,000 people. Though there had been many problems, with poor agricultural conditions creating desperate times. Between 1892 and 1922 over 1,300 people moved from the town to North America. Poor farming was added to by earthquakes, landslides, and War - all of which contributed to this mass migration. Between 1959 and 1972 Craco was plagued by these landslides and quakes. In 1963 the remaining 1,800 inhabitants were transferred to a nearby valley called Craco Peschiera,and the original Craco remains in a state of crumbling decay to this day.
GUNKANJIMA (Japan): the forbidden island

This island is one among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture of Japan about 15 kilometers from Nagasaki itself. It is also known as "Gunkan-jima" or Battleship Island thanks to its high sea walls. It began in 1890 when a company called Mitsubishi bought the island and began a project to retrieve coal from the bottom of the sea. This attracted much attention, and in 1916 they were forced to build Japan’s first large concrete building on the island. A block of apartments that would both accommodate the seas of workers and protect them from hurricanes.
In 1959, population had swelled, and boasted a density of 835 people per hectare for the whole island (1,391 per hectare for the residential district) - one of the highest population densities ever recorded worldwide. As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960’s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima’s mines were no exception. In 1974 Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine, and today it is empty and bare, with travel currently prohibited. The island was the location for the 2003 film ‘Battle Royale II’ and inspired the final level of popular Asian videogame "Killer7".
ORADOUR-SUR-GLANE (France): the horror of WWII

The small village of Oradour-sur-Glane, France, is the setting of unspeakable horror. During World War II, 642 residents were massacred by German soldiers as punishment for the French Resistance. The Germans had initially intended to target nearby Oradour-sur-Vayres and mistakenly invaded Oradour-sur-Glane on June 10th 1944. According to a survivor’s account, the men were herded into barns where they were shot in the legs so they would die more slowly. The women and children, who had been held in a church, all perished when their attempt to escape was met by machine-gun fire. The village was razed by the Germans afterward. Its ruins still stand today as a memorial to the dead and a reminder of the events that took place.