Fandom Travels: Pop Culture in Unexpected Places


Have you ever traveled overseas and come across something that does not quite seem to belong? Every now and then elements of pop culture, whether it be Batman memorabilia or a film location from a sci-fi classic, pop up on the map when you least expect it. Pop culture fans can indulge when they travel if they know where to go. Here are a few favorite examples.

The Dark Knight Strikes Taiwan

You can release your inner Dark Knight at the Eden Hotel in Taiwan with their Batman themed room. Above the bed is a painted Gotham skyline with cave-like walls. There is even a Nolan inspired Tumbler chair!  The Hotel also has an Alcatraz-themed room complete with jail bars and barbed wire, an Andy Warhol room, a jungle themed room and around 50 other themed rooms. On a side note, if you’re a Batman-hungry traveler, you can also visit Batman Street in Melbourne.

Bagus Heroes

You can even find all your geeky needs on the streets of Bali, Indonesia. You can find many hand-crafted items in the street market stalls in Kuta, Bali. Wooden trinkets like beaded works and canvas paintings are ubiquitous. However, you wouldn’t expect to find hand carved wooden cats painted like Batman, Spider-man and other superheroes. Like Minions? Minions are everywhere! It doesn’t end!  Canvas paintings, t-shirts, hats and belt buckles in the markets frequently feature our fan favorites from popular culture. Forget Amazon. Hit the street market.

Hello Air travel

If you happen to find yourself traveling via Taiwanese Eva Airlines, you may fly on a plane decked out with Hello Kitty. Eva Airlines recently announced their new aircraft featuring the Sanrio character Gudetama, which will start running in 2017. Hello Kitty planes are nothing new. The first ones launched in 2005. The planes feature the characters on headrest covers, napkins, cups, pillows, safety cards, menus, wrappers and playing cards, as well as the painted exterior of the aircraft. The Eva Airlines Hello Kitty fleet have different themes for each season and even the food is Hello Kitty themed! Last year Eva Airlines was ranked third in the German aviation magazine, Aero International, in the Global Airline Safety Index.

Your First Crusade?

If you are backpacking around the Middle East, you may stumble on the set of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Petra, located in Jordan, is a city carved into the rocky cliff-face which has not been inhabited for 2000 years. The third Indiana Jones film used this historic city as a filming location. If you’re looking for the Holy Grail, it is unlikely you will find it, but the site is worth a visit if you’re a superfan.

The Force of Adventure

You might find yourself 40 hours west of Petra in Tunisia, while you are on your backpacking adventure. This area is the site of filming locations for five of the first six Star Wars films (not Episode V). The interior of Lars Homestead was filmed at Hôtel Sidi Driss, while the exterior was filmed in Chott el Jerid. Oung Jmel is a camel-shaped-rock near the lake Chot el Gharsa and the filming location for Mos Espa. Many of the sets still remain standing.

Middle Earth

You can immerse yourself in part of the Hobbit world in New Zealand’s north island. The location for Hobbiton sits two hours south of Auckland. You can take a guided tour or have a drink at The Green Dragon Inn. If you’re a true Lord of the Rings fan, you’ll want to visit some other filming locations while you’re there. You can find filming locations for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies in other parts of New Zealand including Wellington and Christchurch.

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