“The world is a book and those who do not travel have read only one page”
– St. AUgustine
The world has SO much to offer that it would probably take ten lifetimes to visit and admire each one. So to add places to your zany checklist, scroll down!
10. Lake Natron, Tanzania
If you are an intrepid, this is the place for you. The climate is extremely dry, dusty and hot! But the phantasmagoric pictures you can click here will be worth the wait.
Lake Natron is probably the most caustic body of water on Earth. The lake is filled with salts of sodium which make it harmfully alkaline (pH almost 12!). It can turn animals into stones (Calcification!). The lake has its own endemic flora and fauna which can endure the extreme alkalinity.
9. Chandipur Beach, Odisha, India
Ever seen the sea disappear before your eyes?
Well no, I am not talking about a tsunami!
This is a unique phenomena in the Chandipur beach where the water recedes by approximately 5Kms twice every day. So basically you can walk straight into the Bay of Bengal for about 5kms OR chase the waves away. How cool is that? Just be sure to come back to the shore before the tide rises again.
As for the reason why it happens twice, every single day, all round the year is still bewildering.
8. The Wave, Arizona
This is a sandstone rock formation in Utah-Arizona border in the United States of America. With numerous magnificently colored cavernous troughs and crests it is a hikers paradise. The erosion of the Navajo sandstone in the Jurassic era has resulted in these wave like formations and hence, the name.
Prone to flash floods this place can be extremely dangerous. So do check the weather before you plan your visit. Also, getting into this place is extremely difficult as the USA department of interiors permits only 20 visitors per day of which 10 are booked in advance and 10 on the same day of visit through lucky draw.
7. Hidden Beach, Marieta Islands, Mexico
Ever felt the need to have a private beach surrounded by a wall on 3 sides? Kind of you like your own safe haven of romance? Well Mother Earth has even that for you!
Marieta islands are a bunch of uninhabited, archipelago islands ( those formed as a result of volcanic eruptions ) to the west of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. At the mouth of Banderas Bay lies Playa Del Amor or more commonly call “Hidden Beach”.
It is rumored that the Mexican Government used these island as military testing sites and one of the bombings resulted in the hole creating the hidden beach. There is no direct entry to the beach. So, to reach it you will have to swim through a small tunnel. The currents might be strong, so if you don’t know how to swim you better learn it or just forget about this cozy nook. Also, the beach is accessible only during low tides for obvious reasons!
6. Enchanted Well, Brazil
This pure spectacle of nature is a bliss to the eyes. It is located in the Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil. The name is pretty apt as it is indeed very enchanting. One can clearly see the bottom of the 60 meters deep pool and at certain times the rays of light penetrate through a small crevice creating a splendid luminescence. The angle of the sun during April to September is perfect for witnessing this phenomena. And the same thing with moonlight is seen from October through March. The limpid water is home to thousands of extremely rare species not found anywhere else in the world.
About 7000 tourists visit this well every year. A small fee is to be paid at the entrance. But please do note that to preserve the pristine water and the numerous rare species found in it the number of tourist entry is limited. So you better book way in advance!
Oh and if you are hoping to take a dip in this lovely water you will have to get a time machine ( or more like build one) and go back to the 1980s.
5. Pamukkale, Turkey
Ever looked down the airplane window and feel utterly bewitched by the vanilla white, fluffy clouds? What if I tell you that there is something as exquisite on the land?
Pamukkale is literally translated to be “Cotton Castle” in Turkish. The surreal, gleaming white travertine terraces with warm, crystalline pools of water in Pamukkale hang like a petrified cascade of waterfall from the rim of a 200m high cliff in Southwest Turkey. This extremely spectacular geological phenomena along with the well preserved ruins of the Greek-Roman city of Heirapolis has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
This unique confluence of nature’s magnificence that is Pamukkale and the remains of the man-made marvel that was Heirapolis, attracts over 2 million tourists annually making it the most visited destination in Turkey.
4. Lake Hillier, Australia
Ever wondered what it would be like to swim in a cup of strawberry slush? Well, if you have an affinity towards the color pink you are in for a treat!
Located on the Middle island, off the western coast of Australia is this stunning pink lake. If you are looking at it from above you will notice how tiny it is ( about 600m in length) but the most amazing part will be the striking difference between the mellow pink of the lake and the vivid blue of the Pacific water.
For the more geeky ones, I know you are wondering WHY is it pink? To be honest, even the scientists are not a 100% sure but there are certain hypothesis that suggest its due to the super high salt content of the water (10x more than sea water) and the algae residing in it (who have this pigment called β-carotene).
This could be the perfect Barbie destination and what’s more you might as well succeed in grabbing a bottle of pink water as a souvenir (Yes, the water retains its bubblegum color even when removed from the lake. No optical illusion that one!).
PS – It is NOT the only pink lake in the world. Lake Retba, Senegal is another beautifully colored lake. Comparatively, it’s a tad bit easier to reach. So have your pick!
3. Lake Baikal, Russia
In eastern Siberia lies the majestic Lake Baikal, which holds credit for being the largest, deepest and oldest (Mesozoic era! That means more than 25 million years old) freshwater lake. It is home to over 2500 species of flora and fauna with almost 2/3rd endemic to the lake. For example the Baikal Seal or Nerpa.
This breathtaking phenomena takes place in winter when the limpid water freezes on the surface to form large shards of turquoise ice. You can have a look at this unreal turquoise sculptures from underwater if you dare to endure the subzero temperatures. In wet suits, of course!
Tours of the lake are provided year round. The lake freezes over from January to June. So if you want a good look at the turquoise ice lake then that would be the perfect time. And the nearest international airport would be Irkutsk.
2. Skaftafell Caves, Iceland
This marvelous, jaw-dropping creation of Mother Nature will leave you with awe. Located in the south of the volcanic island, it was created by the awesome forces of Vatnajvkull ice cap. The caves emerged due the meeting of the glacier with the coastline. The volcanic eruption had expelled all the air out of the ice resulting in the brilliant hues of aquamarine and indigo. Now, while walking through the caves it won’t really be as eerie as you might think or would it? Cause you will be hearing the cracking sounds that the cave makes as it moves with glacier. Woah!
Piece of advice : If you are claustrophobic you really should avoid the caves.
The cave walk/glacier tour would cost about 10,000-15,000 INR. Save up!
1. Salar de uyuni, Bolivia
What if the world was covered with a huge mirror? So that it reflected anything and everything?
Phantasmagoric, isn’t it?
This is no mirror. But about a 10000 sq.km stretch of land made of salt. Yes, salt. It’s basically a desert with salt instead of sand. Underneath the salt lies 70% of the world’s Lithium. Geologists explain that the hyper saline water from the surrounding mountains collated to form a giant lake as there was no outlet. The scorching heat of the Andean sun cause the water to evaporate leaving behind approximately 10 billion tones of salt.
In dry seasons the trance-like experience is worth it. But the wet seasons take the experience to a whole different level, the salt land is covered by a layer a gleaming water, there is perfect reflection of the beautiful blue sky making it almost impossible to say where the land ends and the sky begins. Ah, Nirvana!