1. Batu Caves, Malaysia
Flickr | Shubert Ciencia
The beautiful Batu Caves are a popular tourist attraction in Selangor, Malaysia, and are also a great spot for Hindu worshippers. The caves are broken up into three parts, which encompass separate temples and Hindu shrines. A large statue of a Hindu god resides by the entrance, and the cave is also home to many monkeys that frolic about. In fact, keep your eyes on your wallet! These monkey’s are the type that truly do get up to some, well… monkey business. Adrenaline junkies may also try their hands at rock climbing.
Beware, there are 272 steps that you must climb in order to get into the caves. At least you will not have to work out on the day you visit!
2. Bamboo Forest, Japan
Flickr | Yiannis Theologos Michellis
In Kyoto, Japan lies the bamboo forest, which besides being a spectacular sight to marvel at, also forms interesting shapes and patterns with the light and shadows. Walking trails in the area provide excellent picture-taking opportunities for tourists, and workshops in the area create an assortment of goods such as bamboo baskets, tea-whisks, cups, chopsticks and other common Japanese items.
Bamboo has been a precious resource to Japan for many years and for good reason. Its fibres mean that the material is both strong and flexible. In fact, some houses made from bamboo have successfully combated 9.0 magnitude earthquakes. It grows back so quickly that it is actually considered the fastest growing plant on Earth, which makes it a wonderful renewable resource. In the 30 to 50 years it takes for a tree to grow back, bamboo can do the same in only six months. It is no wonder that the bamboo forest of Kyoto, Japan is an highly valuable area!
3. Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls, Zambia
Flickr | Charles Haynes
Just near the Zambia/Zimbabwe border at Victoria Falls, lies Devil’s Pool. Despite having a dangerous appearance from photographs, it is actually quite safe, more or less. Naturally, sitting at the top of the falls, right where the water goes over the edge and taking pictures such as the one above is a popular tourist activity. During the dry season, travelers and thrill-seekers race to the top of the falls for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
You would have to swim quite some ways out to risk actually fall over the side of the cliff, but if you really are nervous then you can always stay back. Fortunately, Devil’s Pool is so safe that even children swim in its rushing waters.
4. Naica Mine, Mexico
Flickr | Paul Williams
The Naica Mine’s crystal formations exist in the Cave of Crystals, or Cueva de los Cristales as it is called in Spanish. Discovered only as recently as the year 2000, the cave was found by the Delgado brothers who were drilling a thousand feet below ground in the Naica mine. Once the discovery became public, the question on every scientist’s minds was ‘how did the crystals become so huge?’
The trek into the mine is actually reasonably dangerous. Due to magma below the surface, temperatures inside the cave can reach 50 degrees Celsius and up with 90 to 100 percent humidity. It takes about 20 minutes to get into the caves by a van ride. Explorers and visitors who wish to enter the caves must wear special equipment with ice packs and layers to insulate themselves against the heat. Even with the special equipment, explorers can only survive in the cave for a maximum of one hour.
The caves are separated into four parts called the Sword’s Cave, Candle’s Cave (the most recently discovered), Queen’s Eye Cave and Crystals’ Cave. More information about the attraction can be learned on the Naica Mine website.
5. Pamukkale, Turkey
Flickr | miss_ohara
Feeling a little bit hot after reading about the mines? Well things are not about to get any cooler, despite that the picture above looks like snow. Pamukkale is an amazing place to visit on Earth and is called one of the most important highlights of Turkey. The name ‘Pammukkale’ literally translates to ‘cotton castle,’ which is aptly named that way due to the formation of limestone-laden thermal springs.
The water in the springs is heated at 33 degrees Celsius and contains calcium salts and carbon-dioxide that runs off the plateau, but only deposits the calcium below. Over time, the dazzling white cotton-like formations were developed.
Besides its beautiful appearance, the water of Pamukkale is famous for having healing benefits to both the eyes and the skin. It also has been known to cure the ills of asthma and rheumatism. Today, the ‘Scared Pool’ that contains mineral water from Cal Mountain above, exists inside of the Pamukkale Hotel and can be swum in.
6. Zhangye Danxia Landform, Gansu, China
Flickr | 达 李
Perhaps one of the things that makes the Zhangye Danxia landforms such an amazing place to visit on Earth is that few tourists take the time to visit, at least when compared to many other popular tourist attractions. Due to the location of the mountains being off the beaten trail and being somewhat difficult and expensive to get to, opting to go there often ends in opting out.
The magnificently coloured mountain land formations have come to be that way as a result of red sandstone and mineral deposits, which have been gradually laid down over a vast period of 24 million years. The same tectonic plates that formed the Himalayan mountains buckled the rock into place, and then wind and rain carved all of the natural shapes and colours. While the attraction does take some commitment to visit, boardwalks and roads have been constructed to encourage more tourism and exploration of these incredible rock formations.
7. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Flickr | Haceme un 14
The astonishing salt flats of Bolivia may just be one of the rare places in the world where it ranges between difficult to impossible to distinguish just where the sky and ground meet at the horizon. The glassy and icy appearance of the flats creates an amazing spectacle that looks like visitors in the area are literally dancing on ice. The salt flats of Bolivia contain so much lithium that it actually makes up half the entire world’s supply. This lithium is used in batteries for phones and computers, as well being a key component of electric cars.
For visitors who are looking to stay at the salt flats a little bit longer and gain a more authentic experience, they can opt to live with peasant families for only $15 a day. Would you be able to get used to living without any running water or electricity for that long?
While the salt flats and all of these other locations are certainly among many amazing places to visit on Earth, they are not the only ones. What other amazing places to visit would you like to recommend?