From pastel pink lakes in Australia to incredible colourful mountains in China, we take a look at ten spectacular places that are totally out of this world.
We’re taking our hats off to Mother Nature and her incredible wonders. Featuring crystal caves, starry beaches and strewn stretches of sand dunes, get ready for your mouth to drop with these ten amazing places you won’t believe are real.
Now sit back and let wanderlust take hold.
1. Cave Dwelling at Cappadocia, Turkey
A geological oddity of honeycombed hills, Cappadocia towers over the Anatolian plains. The otherworldly landscape has long been used by people seeking shelter underground in the many fresco adorned caverns. The hiking is brilliant, the stargazing, even better and the dusky orange and cream sky against the formations make for exquisite Instagram-worthy pictures to boot. We recommend staying in one of the many Cappadocia cave hotels and head up in a hot air balloon for epic views of the whole area.
2. Rainbow Mountains at Zhangye Danxia, China
Across the Zhangye Danxia Geopark landscape lies a kaleidoscope of pastel-coloured mountains created as a result of red sandstone and mineral deposits over a million years old. June to September is the best time to see this spectacular land form, when the weather is temperate and when it has just rained the colours become even more vibrant. Get there in the morning or when the sun sets for optimum viewing pleasure.
3. Fields of Blue at Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
Located in Hitachinaka in Japan, fields upon fields of stunning flowers span to the seaside. Each season you’ll find a different variety of flower blossoming over the Miharashi No Oka, a hill with a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. Famous for blue nemophilas – a type of annual flowers with transparent blue petals that springs into life during spring with more than 4.5 million of them creating a fantastical azure sea, nicknamed ‘Nemophilia Harmony’. At other times of the year, the fields are teeming with daffodils and 170 varieties of tulips as well as many other flowers. With woods, gardens and amusements, the park is a decadent feast for the eyes.
4. Blow off Steam at Grand Prismatic Springs, Wyoming, USA
Don’t adjust your colour settings. Discovered in 1879 deep in Yellowstone National Park is a small collection of mammoth-sized springs. Despite its small size and isolated location, the midway geyser possesses two of the largest hot springs in the world. The rainbow coloured Grand Prismatic Springs sit within this area and measure a whopping 370 feet in diameter.
5. Get Starry Eyed at Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
Brighter than the Milky Way, there’s a beach on the Maldives called Vaadhoo Island that glows with little blue lights. Like something from a science fiction film, these little 'lights' are local plankton reacting with oxygen in the sea water. So amazing, the natural phenomenon is called bio luminescence and is hardly ever seen this close to land.
6. A Sea of Sand Dunes in Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil
The 1550 square km national park, Lençóis Maranhenses, is named after its immense expanse of dunes, which look like bed sheets strewn across the landscape. The park also includes mangroves, lagoons, beaches and amazing wildlife including birds and turtles. Situated halfway between Sao Luis and the Piaui border, stay in Lençóis during rainy season from March to September because when the rain filters through the sand, crystal clear pools and lakes form between the dunes making for a truly spectacular sight and even better dip.
7. Discover the Mu Cang Chai rice terraces, Vietnam
In the mountainous northern reaches of Vietnam is a picturesque town, Mu Cang Chai, which is surrounded by soaring terraces of rice fields. Carved into the mountains, the majestic man made fields are stacked in fluid lines increasing in gradient. From February to April, the dramatic hills shimmer as the rice paddies, filled with water, create a mirror-like effect before turning a bright emerald green in May. Get flights to Hanoi and hop on a bus or train to the secluded spot.
8. Unearth Socotra Island, Yemen
Teeming with 800 extremely rare species of flora and fauna, some found nowhere else on earth, Socotra Island looks like it comes straight out of a scene from a sci-fi film. Separated from mainland Africa and nestled in the Indian Ocean, the islands harsh, hot and dry environment includes vast sandy beaches, limestone plateaus full of caves and towering mountains up to 1525m high. Its strange and unique dragon’s blood trees are the most striking part of the landscape, spookily bleeding when cut.
9. Tour the Tianzi mountains, China
Rising from the subtropical and temperate forests of northwest Hunan, 243 peaks quartzite-sandstone formations dominate the scenery of Tianzi Mountains area. Home to more than 3000 distinct plants as well as diverse wildlife, you'll see plenty of cheeky macaque monkeys wander on the main trails while endangered species such as the giant salamander, water deer and the elusive clouded leopard prowl deep within the UNESCO park. Book a tour to see early morning mountain mist roll in around the pinnacles for a breathtaking vista.
10. Get Tickled Pink by Lake Hillier, Australia
Pastel pink and surrounded by a rim of sand and dense woodland, Lake Hillier sits on Middle Island, the largest of the islands that make up Recherche Archipelago. About 600m long and separated from the blue Southern Ocean, no one fully knows why it’s pink but scientists speculate that the colour comes from a dye created by bacteria that lives in the salt crusts. Lake Hillier is situated in a remote location south of continental Australia, in the state of Western Australia so we recommend taking a helitour to take in all of its beauty.
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