As evenings get gloomier and the air gets colder, it seems there’s no better time to reveal some of the seriously creepy and rather mysterious natural wonders of the world.
Mother Nature's strikingly colourful looks might win you over most of the time, but on the odd day she might just surprise you with some amazing sights (not to mention give you the creeps). Our seven mysteriously creepy natural wonders of the world are all beautiful in their own weird and wonderful way, yet some of them could also provide the perfect setting for an epic horror movie and could even give 8 of the Scariest Places in the World a run for their money. Work that one out. Whether you're totally creeped out or left scratching your head at these seven wonders, a few might just end up on your bucket-list.
Besides, we like Mother Nature when she's at her mysteriously creepy best. As long as someone else is there to hold our hand obviously.
1. Suicide Forest, Japan
Also known as Aokigahara or Sea of Trees, the Suicide Forest in Japan may look like a place of divine beauty from afar - especially since it sits northwest of the emphatic Mount Fuji - but this is actually one of the world's most common suicide destinations. While this dense forest is blessed with 300-year-old trees, a distinctive lava plateau and the Narusawa Ice Cave, unfortunately its morbid reputation outweighs the good. Said to be home to demons of Japanese mythology and the last stop for hundreds who have taken their lives, many believe that Aokigahara is haunted. Yet even if you don't believe in ghosts, walking among the lush vegetation is sure to give you the jeepers as there's virtually no wind or wildlife thanks to the high density of trees. The result is an eerie, one-of-a-kind type of silence.
Where to Stay? The four-star Oike Hotel in the town of Fujikawaguchiko is a great base to explore Aokigahara as it's reasonably priced and boasts excellent views of Mt Fuji.
2. Madidi National Park, Bolivia
Situated in the upper Amazon river basin in Bolivia, Madidi National Park has been described as a jungle paradise. It's in fact one of the few largely untouched places on the planet and a haven for botanists and animal lovers alike. So what's the catch? Well first of all it's a South American jungle (and god knows what's just around the corner in there). Secondly, just about everything here is poisonous. We're talking insects, plants, moths... even the ticks. So, we hear you asking, why would you dare visit somewhere that is home to some of the most dangerous flora and fauna in the world? Well, plenty of people do, although many of them choose to do so via a guided tour. The risks we take to get up-close-and-personal with Mother Nature eh?! Let's hope those tour guides are handing out Breaking Bad costumes the next time we visit.
Where to Stay? Stay in La Paz and arrange a tour from there. Try the super stylish and modern Stannum Boutique Hotel & Spa for affordable luxury or the quirky Bunkie Hostel if you're looking for a cheap, social stay.
3. Danakil Depression, Ethiopia
If you thought the name Danakil Depression sounded, well, a little depressing, how's 'the Gateway to Hell' for a nickname? The northern part of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia, the Danakil Depression is a geological phenomenon categorised by its active volcanoes, as well as the yellow and orange coloured hues of sulphurous mounds that cover much of the surface. In fact, this area is said to be the hottest place on earth, except what's so creepy about it is that it doesn't look anything like earth at all. Seeing this region first-hand will feel like you've been transported to another planet or been abducted by aliens and zapped to another galaxy. Nevertheless, this is one of the most unique natural wonders you're ever likely to come across. Although, when we tell you it's hot, we mean it's really hot - not your Ibiza heat-wave kind of hot that's for sure.
Where to Stay? Stay in the most popular city Addis Ababa and arrange a tour from there. We suggest the Eliana Hotel which offers great value for money and fantastic views across the city.
4. Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, California
Ooo here's a spooky mystery that needs solving (or does it?). For years there have been a number of theories which have tried to explain why large rocks move across flat dirt in one of the driest, hottest places on earth. Over the decades, people have visited this part of California and been amazed to discover trails left behind by rocks which can't have possibly moved by themselves. However, despite a number of people still suggesting that terrestrial forces play a part, the most feasible theory is said to come from brothers Richard and James Norris who state that ice forms under the stones overnight causing them to move and leave a trail. We don't know about you but we prefer the alien theory - it's a lot more fun. Boo science!
Where to Stay? Las Vegas is just over two hours from Death Valley and if you don't fancy heading out alone, there are plenty of guided tours that depart and return to the city. For affordable luxury we suggest Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino located on the Vegas Strip or alternatively you can usually get a great cheap deal to the Circus Circus Hotel, Casino & Theme Park.
5. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Found mainly in the US state of Wyoming (but also extending into Montana and Idaho), Yellowstone National Park is a beautiful wilderness recreation area serving as one of the country's best hotspots for nature-lovers. Various animals call this place home where swooping canyons, alpine rivers and lush vegetation make for glorious pictures. Yet what makes Yellowstone even more appealing is that it has the highest concentration of geysers on the planet. Over 300 of them can be found here with the most famous 'Old Faithful' experiencing an eruption every 55 to 120 minutes, each lasting two to five minutes. Perhaps creepy isn't the word but it certainly isn't your everyday occurrence. The mean eruption interval continues to lengthen, making this an ongoing place of mystery - even for geologists.
Where to Stay? Some cosy lodges can be found all around Yellowstone National Park although most are extremely pricey. We suggest staying at The Hostel and exploring your surroundings from there if you're on a budget. You can also save some money on transport with pre-booked entry to the geyser which includes hotel pick up and drop off.
6. Gomantong Caves, Malaysia
There were a few caves that could have made this list but Gomantong Caves - found on the island of Borneo in Malaysia - may be the creepiest of the bunch. First of all we should probably mention that these impressive caves are home to an array of species, which is why they are a part of various tours throughout the country. You might expect a few bats flying around but that's an understatement - there are millions. Don't worry if you're terrified of bats though because the giant bat-eating cockroaches will save you. Yay! If they don't sound particularly pleasant either then there are always the resident snakes or massive centipedes to gobble them up and rescue you all over again. Thank god for the circle of life.
Where to Stay? The city of Sandakan is a good base to travel from. We recommend staying at the modern Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan boasting elegant rooms and great sea views.
7. The Devil's Kettle, Minnesota
So here's another attraction with a spine-chilling name that doesn't seem to correlate with its beauty. The Devil's Kettle is a waterfall found in Minnesota’s Judge C. R. Magney State Park that has been baffling geologists, visitors and just about every person who reads about it, for generations. But it looks like any other beautifully cascading waterfall right? Wrong. What makes this natural wonder so creepy is that nobody knows where the water from half of the Brule River goes. It simply flows right into a pothole and vanishes. Many have tossed things into the hole and searched the lake far and wide for their whereabouts but to no avail. Maybe the devil's lair is down there somewhere, where he's enjoying a lovely cup of tea and laughing at us all; although, we aren't about to jump in and find out. This is one mystery that even Scooby-Doo and Co. couldn't solve.
Where to Stay? There are a few lodges and resorts around Lutsen and Grand Marais that are close enough to Judge C. R. Magney State Park. Check out Caribou Highlands Lodge.
Like this? You might be interested in: