Everyone enjoys shopping for souvenirs when they are traveling to other countries. A recent survey found that 56% of travelers felt that shopping was an important part of their holiday and 20% of them said that they spend more than $500 each holiday on gifts. Finding the perfect gift can often take time and usually involves browsing in smaller shops and markets.
Bizarre and wacky gifts can certainly give a surprise to the recipient, but after the initial shock, they are often felt to be an extra special gift as they certainly have a unique story to tell and can be a real conversation piece!
If you are off on a holiday, look out for bizarre souvenirs to buy and see if they beat this collection!
1. Select a bottle of cobra wine!
If you are visiting Vietnam, you will definitely see bottles of rice wine on display – each containing a dead coiled cobra! Apparently, the poison of this venomous snake is neutralized by the alcohol, so the wine can be enjoyed – safely! In fact, this wine has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac. If you prefer spirits, you should be able to track down a bottle of grain spirit containing a tightly coiled snake.
2. Opt for a kangaroo back scratcher
You may be surprised to learn that you can buy kangaroo products as after all the Australians, love their ‘roos’. This is absolutely true and they are certainly protected, but every year, the Australian government has to control their numbers. There are various souvenirs available including ‘roo paw’ back scratchers – and they are effective too.
3. Delight relatives and friends with a scorpion!
There are a number of different wacky souvenirs that you can buy made with scorpions! If you are traveling through Phoenix, Arizona, watch out for the large glass paperweights containing scorpions or the colorful scorpion lollipops – which are said to be totally safe to eat! If you are in Thailand, you may well have the opportunity to buy a chocolate scorpion. Really scorpions are first oven-roasted until they are crispy, cooled, and then dipped in thick plain chocolate. After being left to dry thoroughly, the chocolate-coated scorpions are then popped in presentation boxes. Fans of this bizarre chocolate treat report that chocolate scorpion is tasty as it has a crispy, smoky flavor.
4. Grab a can of fresh NY air!
Surprise, surprise this is one of the more bizarre gifts you can pick up in New York. Sold in a distinctive and smartly designed can, the air is carefully collected from eight different locations in the city – all well-known attractions – to ensure that your can really does contain the ‘real’ thing!
5. Indulge in superb coffee- made in a very strange way!
Would you believe it? Smooth, strong coffee made from elephant dung? This is definitely a more unusual souvenir from Thailand! The coffee beans are fed to the elephants and eventually they reappear in the animals’ dung. They are collected and processed and produce a really excellent cup of coffee! The most expensive coffee in the world is made in a similar way in India and is called Kopi Luwak. In India, the coffee beans are fed to Asian palm civets which are rare forest animals and are collected and processed in a similar way.– with the same results, truly excellent coffee.
6. Think elephant dung gifts!
A strange but wonderful range of gifts can be found in Chiang Mai (Thailand) in a shop called ‘Elephant Poopoo Paper’. The elephant poop is scooped up regularly, processed, and turned into paper including pretty purple poop notepads! The poop paper is also made into colorful chunky beads that are strung into necklaces or fitted with clips for earrings. Visitors to the ‘poo-tique’ are invited to take a tour of the pavilions behind the shop to learn how these amazing products are made!”
If you are visiting the Natural History Museum in London, you will definitely be able to buy some 100% natural elephant poop and in Japan you may be able to track down some elephant poop beer! The beer is called Kono Kuro and one of its ingredients is black ivory coffee beans that have passed through some elephants! The beer is described as a ‘stout’ and is comparably expensive, but nevertheless, regularly gets sold out!
7. Choose a beautiful Bezoar stone in India
These lovely stones are available in grey or chestnut brown and are speckled. They are much coveted in India where they originate, as they are said to have healing powers. They certainly make an attractive gift, but many would be less than happy if they knew that the stones are removed from the gall bladders of goats or camels.
8. Buy some souvenirs made from Finnish tar
In Finland ‘terva’ syrup is a thick, strong-smelling syrup that is made from pine resin. The terva was originally used on ships’ decking and ropes. Although it doesn’t sound very appealing, terva is certainly a popular topping for pancakes! If you aren’t feeling brave enough to give the syrup a go, you can always buy a bar of soap made from the tar.
9. Give the ultimate toothpick!
If you are in Morocco and trying to find a gift for the person who has everything, take yourself for a wander in a bazaar and track down some Berber toothpicks! They are made from the dried head of a plant (Ammi visnaga) and the idea is that you pull a frond or two from the stem and use it to clean between your teeth. Definitely the perfect gift idea as they cost very little and are light and easy to pack!
10 Hold your business card in place with an alligator claw
Whilst you are visiting the United States, a rather unusual if not bizarre souvenir is a business card holder that is made from alligator leather to keep about a dozen business cards in. On top of the container, there is a real alligator claw for holding a card in place, ready for you to hand out. Certainly weird and the rightful place for an alligator claw is on a live alligator!