Even though there are hundreds of breathtakingly beautiful places to see on our planet, most of them are more or less the same boring varieties of beaches, mountains, lakes, waterfalls and the odd rainforests. But every so often, nature gets bored of recreating that perfect sunrise all over again and decides to get creative.
This is not a list of those places. This is a list of those times nature goes “screw it” and ends up throwing everything she can in creating the weirdest, most bizarre combination of landforms. And when that happens, you end up with trippiest natural locations on the planet.
Zhangye Danxia landform in Gansu, China
According to legend, the Zhangye Danxia landforms were formed when the rainbow god fell across the mountains, imprinting himself on them. Actually, no; I just made that up. But come on, you’d totally buy it that if a guide came and told you that. Look at the place, my explanation probably makes as much sense as any. Located near the Zyange city in the Gansu province, the distinctive colours are due to the deposition of red sandstone and minerals over 24 million years.
Mount Roraima in Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana
If you feel as if you’ve seen Mount Roraima before, you’re probably right (albeit in animated form). Mount Roraima, located at the borders of 3 countries (Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana) was the inspiration for Paradise falls in the movie Up (although you might want to go there before your spouse dies and you end up old and cranky)
Glass Beach, California
There are hundreds of reasons why you should recycle and not pollute our fragile natural environment. Glass beach in MacKerricher State Park, California offers the counter argument that we should keep polluting the environment. Initially a dump site in the 40’s and 50’s, the saline water and ocean waves broke down the glass bottles and pottery to create smooth, round glass pebbles called sea glass.
Door to hell, Turkmenistan
Another man made location on our list, the Door to Hell was originally a natural gas field in the middle of the Karakum desert. In 1971, a group of Soviet scientists tried to drill the gas out. But the residents of hell didn’t like lab coat wearing Russians drilling into their doors, so they caused the ground below to cave in, pulling the drill into a giant crater. Apparently that was not metal enough, so naturally the gases in the crater caught fire, creating a 45 year old inferno which is still ongoing.
The Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia has to be one of the whimsiest places on the planet. For one thing, they are called Fairy Chimneys. And if that was not enough, everyone collectively decided that the best way to witness the beautiful rock formations would be to take a hot air balloon ride. There have been no confirmation about a unicorn park in the area but I’m guessing it’ll be up soon.
Thor’s Well, Oregon
Incidentally, not the weird cave well in Avengers 2 where everyone’s favourite Australian Norse god sees a lot of crazy visions. Thor’s Well in Oregon is what would probably happen if Thor decided to punch a giant hole in the middle of the ocean. Probably the most dangerous place to visit on this list (except maybe the Door to hell); the waves fill the hole with such force that it causes the water to shoot up about 20 feet in the air.
The Tianzi mountain, China
The best part of Avatar probably is the surreal landscape of Pandora. It was completely alien, with all those floating mountains- except if you are someone living in Zhangjiajie in the Hunan province, China. In which case, it looked just like that tall bizarre mountain in the neighborhood. The Tianzi mountain is part of the Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, which has around 3000 of these anorexic mountains (including one which officially changed its name to Avatar Halleluiah Mountain).
Whitehaven Beach at Whitsunday Island in Australia
Do you hate your phone? Take it to Whitehaven beach, where the sand is so very fine that it damages electronic equipment by getting inside the chipsets. The sand there is made of apparently 98% pure silica, which has been deposited over millions of years by the ocean waves.
Lake Hillier, Western Australia
Lake Hilier is pink. Completely, utterly pink. But that’s not the reason why it’s here on our list. There are other pink lakes out there, but those are mostly due to the presence of bacteria and change in colour after a few days or so. Not lake Hilier- it’s permanently pink, even the water retains the colour when it’s taken out and nobody knows why.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the largest salt flat in the world. According to Wikipedia, it means that it’s a vast area covered with shining white salt covering 10,582 sq. Kilometres. But that’s not the coolest part of Salar de Uyuni- when it rains, it turns into the largest mirror in the world.