7 Destinations You Won't Believe Exist
While the world has arguably become a much smaller place and more easily accessible, there are still some hidden wonders which take your breath away. It is quite easy to sit at home or your office and dream of far distant worlds without realising there's plenty to explore here on Earth.
We are exceptionally lucky, as our world holds a number of wonderful places that look like you have just landed on another planet, most of which you can easily book a holiday to. Below is a list of some of the most unique places on Earth that you won't beleive exist! Get ready to explore lunar valleys, misty exotic forests and white crystalized lands.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
Buried deep in the Hunan province, the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, part of the greater Wulingyuan Scenic Area, holds the esteemed title of being China’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is easy to see the comparison between Zhangjiajie’s mountains and those of the mythical Pandora. The unique geological formations that have formed over the ages are almost unparalleled in their impressiveness.
The park is extremely large and you can spend days wandering around its beautiful forest trails and walkways. This really is a place of awe and humbleness. Walking around, you would really think that no one had ever set foot here or that it had ever been seen by human eyes. Of course, the real highlight is the famous viewpoint where you can view the giant sandstone and quartz monoliths peeking over the surrounding cliffs, standing tall like upright javelins. This beautiful forest will really feel like your own unique adventure to a different world.
Antelope Canyon, USA
You would be pretty hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of the Grand Canyon. However, this Mars looking landscape is only a few hours away from it and feels like an entirely different world. Antelope Canyon is a stunning natural wonder and is split into the Upper & Lower canyons. They are protected by the Navajo Parks and Recreation and only authorized tour companies can take visitors to the canyon.
The canyons were formed over aeons by churning flash flood waters and fine grains of sand buffeted by gale force winds. The interior of the Upper Antelope Canyon is a kaleidoscope of subtle earth tones, constantly changing in depth and intensity as the sun moves overhead. If you loved Matt Damon’s – The Martian, then you are going to love visiting this red planet.
If you are a big fan of ancient ruins and natural wonders, then this is the perfect place for you. The Pamukkale city in Turkey is home to one of the most popular tourist attractions – the stunning and pristine white travertine terraces. The word Pamukkale means cotton castle, and we can see why! From a distance, that's exactly what it looks like. The turquoise blue water is very striking against the white terraces, making for an incredible sight. You can take a dip in the warm mineral-rich water (which has great health benefits) or you can cover yourself head to toe in the mud! This amazing natural wonder is definitely a must-see when you visit Turkey.
This gem of an island has remained relatively undiscovered and really does feel like another planet entirely. Even though it's categorized as a beach, Sarakiniko isn't a typical “beach”. There is a small patch of sand but it's at the end of an inlet that divides Sarakiniko in half magnificently. The remaining 90% of the surface is a combination of various geological materials, including eroded volcanic rock, sandstone, and pumice stone and ash. Formed by volcanic rocks, the island is coloured completely in a bright white, making an interesting contrast with the deep blue and turquoise of the surrounding waters. This amazing scenery gives one the impression of standing on the surface of the moon.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
More than just a blindingly white expanse, the alien landscapes of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni and its surreal surrounding deserts have become a rightful highlight of the South American gringo trail. This is the world’s largest salt flat and it really leaves you mesmerised.
According to legends, the origin of Salar de Uyuni is far more mystical than the idea that mother nature helped to create it. Many who believe the Aymaran legends, say that the mountains surrounding Salar de Uyuni were gods. Their belief is that the mountains were once people and that Tunupa mountain and Kusku mountain were married. Tunupa at some point deserted his wife Kusku for Kusina. Kusku was left heartbroken and her tears are what formed the salt flats.
Namib Naukluft Park, Namibia
With the highest sand dunes in the world, the photogenic Deadvlei full of tree skeletons, and a massive salt pan known as Sossusvlei the Namib-Naukluft Park is one of the most popular attractions in Namibia. Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan that was created by the Tsauchab River that flows through the Sesriem Canyon every 5-10 years. The river does not reach the Atlantic Ocean even during the wet years, but drains away between the dunes.
The famous scorched acacia trees in Deadvlei had the chance to grow when the river previously flowed through the area. However, due to a drought, all of the trees died. Since there was not enough moisture for the dead trees to decompose, they remain perfectly preserved, standing for over 900 years now, and possibly for centuries to come. Sossus means “place of no return” and you can easily see why it has earned this nickname. Are we even on planet Earth anymore?
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
This psychedelic spring feels like something straight out of a fantasy world filled with unique beings and vibrant landscapes. Its name is very apt and is one of the largest hot springs in the United States. The stunning rainbow colours give it a surreal, other-worldly appearance and is one of the most photographed thermal spots in Yellowstone Park.
This place was so mythical that in 1869 when Yellowstone was first discovered by Charles Cook, he wrote a seven-page article for Lipponcott’s Magazine titled ‘Where Hell Bubbled Up’. His editors responded: ‘Thank you, but we do not print fiction’.
Each and every one of these places will leave you speechless, making you marvel at the beauty of our planet. So are you ready to book your ticket? Check out which of these places you can travel to now on our State of Travel Map! Want to enjoy some of these beautiful places, but don't want to leave home? Also possible! Read our list of world attractions that you can see virtually. No matter how you wish to spend your summer, we've got you covered.
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