One of the most wonderful parts of the internet is how it connects us with under-advertised, under-appreciated, or just plain undiscovered travel secrets. That’s what Roadtrippers is all about, after all, but with the vast knowledge-base of the internet comes a downside: the tricksters who love to weave a little fantasy in with the truth. Before you plan your trip to that gorgeous monastery you found on Pinterest, you need to read this!

Collège de Valleyfield

Looks cool, no? This gorgeous building is the subject of a viral photograph that shows an enchanting waterfall cascading from it. Unfortunately, the waterfall is photoshop magic, but there is some good news! The building itself is very real and very beautiful.

Facebook/COLLÈGE DE VALLEYFIELD

Located in the heart of downtown Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and only 45 minutes from Montreal, Valleyfield College offers you the opportunity to discover the most beautiful technical education school in Quebec. The college is close to health services, grocery stores, shopping streets, cinema, restaurants, green spaces and shops supermarkets… but no waterfall.

The Buddha at Ngyen Khag Taktsang Monastery

Can you imagine the kind of man hours that would have gone into creating such a beautiful temple carved out of solid rock? According to an interview recently conducted by Paleofuture, it might be a lot less then you’d expect. As it turns out, the amazing photo is a not-so-amazing fake.

The original title of the image is the “Buddha at Ngyen Khag Taktsang Monastery”, though a little internet sleuthing turns up nothing as far as a destination with that name goes. Also worth noting is the complete lack of an actual Buddha in the image…which didn’t help its case. Earlier this year, Matt Novak interviewed Archistophanes, a member of the pixel-twisting internet hoaxers Graffiti Lab, who copped to the creating the fake. Why did he do it?

In his own words:

“I started to play with search entries: what was popular on Tumblr, or what images come up first on a Google image search,” he explained, describing how he got the idea for the monastery in the first place. The undoctored image was floating around under the hashtag #landscape. Monumental architecture or sculptures are also hugely popular so I glued two together.”

Via Flickr/Ken Marshall

Unfortunately, whether you want to believe Graffiti Lab or not, there’s no denying that the Buddah at Ngyen Khag Taktsang is a fake, not because of the lack of Buddhas, or even because Ngyen Khag Taksang isn’t a real place, but mainly because it’s actually a photo of the unmistakably beautiful Wulingyuan Scenic Area in China… and trust me when I say, this place doesn’t need any help in the awe-inspiring department.

The Lost Temple of Lysistrata

This picture of the incredible Forgotten Temple of Lysistrata in Greece has been making its rounds on the internet recently, but is this stunning location as genuine as it appears? Ugh, you guys already know what I’m going to say.

Unfortunately, it isn’t. The image was created by photoshopping a combination of the Pantheon in Rome with the famous image of the Benagil Cave in Algarve, Portugal. The ‘shop job has been gaining some serious traction on Pinterest, keeping travel-loving pinners busy arguing about whether or not the location of the temple lays in Portugal or Greece.

The best part? This is another production of Graffiti Lab.

“What interests me is how often someone can see an image and not realize that some change has transpired,” Archistophanes said. “At some point the original has been swapped out and a new ‘improved’ version is in its place.”

Scotland’s Fairy Pools

The next time you see this eye-popping photo passed around on Pinterest as the “Fairy Pools from Scotlands Isle of Skye”, you’ll know better than to believe it. In fact, this image is actually a heavily manipulated photograph of Shotover River in New Zealand, which is most definitely not purple.

The Castle on a Rock in Dublin

Passed around on the internet with the generic name of “castle island in Dublin” isn’t an island in Dublin. In fact, it’s actually a photo manipulation by Jan Oliehoek (no relation to Ren Hoek).

The truth behind this seemingly crazy photo is that the weird rock island does exist (in Thailand, where it’s called “James Bond Island”… seriously), but without the castle, which is actually from Lichtenstein Castle, Wurtemburg, Germany. As to where Dublin came from? You guess is as good as mine.

Sure, it might be a bummer to find out that you’ll never be able to visit some of the beautiful sights you’ve seen while scrolling Tumblr, but hey, knowledge is power, and it sure beats showing up in Dublin, Ireland and having the locals laugh in your face when you ask to see the castle on the rock island.

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