Here in Thailand, foreigners are greeted through the immigration gates of Suvarnabhumi airport with a pretty innocuous looking passport stamp.
Don’t get us wrong, it does what it’s meant to do – there’s no mistaking when we should usher ourselves out of the country – but it’s not particularly cool.
And this is true for most countries in the world.
But a few nations, cities and landmarks have really gone above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to the design of a truly funky passport stamp. They’re making the sort of stamps worth showing off about when you finally get back home. It’s really an ingenious tourism ploy if it helps draw in the punters over the border…
Here are a few of our favourites.
1. Churchill, Canada
We had never heard of Churchill – a small town near Hudson Bay in Canada – but after seeing their passport stamp, which brands them as the Polar Bear Capital Of The World, it’s safe to say that it’s been added to the bucket list.
As you’d expect, Churchill is home to a large population of polar bears, which migrate to the shores of the bay every winter time, and is one of Canada’s fastest growing ecotourism destinations.
The principality of Monaco is known worldwide as one of Europe’s playgrounds for the rich and famous – in 2014, around 30 percent of its population were recorded to be millionaires. The passport stamp reflects this with its rich red coloration and the inclusion of the principality’s coat of arms, which symbolises the 1297 conquest of Monaco by François Grimaldi.
3. Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is a historic Inca sanctuary located almost 2,500 metres above sea level in the Andes Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the 7 wonders of the world. Predictably, it attracts its fair share of tourists and (also predictably) the authorities pander to it by providing visitors who attempt the Inca Trail with a souvenir passport stamp of the site.