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10 surreal destinations you won’t believe exist on Earth

During these difficult times, we're all dreaming of when we can travel. While you might not be able to journey around the world just yet, these otherworldly destinations will inspire you to spread your wings once we can see the world again.

1. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Frozen in the depths of winter, the world’s largest salt flat is transformed in to a giant sky-reflecting mirror during rainy season (September-May). The pools left over from this monumental prehistoric lake create a shimmering, illusory horizon, making it one of the best places to visit in the world if you like a good trick shot or selfie.

Salar de Uyuni Bolivia

2. Northern Lake Baikal, Russia

Another amazing lake, this one is located in southern Siberia and is the world’s largest freshwater bit of blue. The water round these parts freezes into sheets of turquoise ice in winter that might look more at home in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Temperatures can plummet to -19°C from December to February, so don’t forget to pack a thermal onesie. 

Northern Lake Baikal Russia

3. Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang, Laos

Already a top holiday destination for backpackers, the Laotian city of Luang Prabang is temptingly close to Kuang Si Falls, a three tier splash spectacular with waters so clear and blue it’ll be hard to resist jumping straight in. Hike the trails around the area to escape the tour groups and find your own secret slice of paradise.

Kuang Si Falls Laos

4. Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Admire the amazing Andes and visit one of South America’s most beautiful National Parks. Get your llama legs on and go hiking over mountains loaded with the white stuff and across glorious glaciers.

Torres del Paine National Park Chile

5. Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming, USA

More wet stuff to blow your socks off, this time in North America. This natural pool, with its rainbow coloured waters, is found in Yellowstone National Park and is the third largest hot spring in the world.

Grand Prismatic Spring USA

6. Huacachina, Peru

Catch a glimpse of this impressive desert oasis, built in the 1930s around an existing watering hole. In true otherworldly style, keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of the lake’s legendary resident… a mermaid.

Peru’s also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu and a brilliant holiday destination!

Huacachina Peru

7. The Door to Hell, Turkmenistan

Ok, so it’s actually a geyser, but ‘Door to Hell’ sounds much catchier doesn’t it? Plus, this burning pool of lava in Turkmenistan’s Karakum Desert looks just how you’d expect a gateway to the underworld to look: red and hot and steamy.

Door to Hell Turkmenistan

8. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Hunan Province, China

No this isn’t the set from a futuristic science fiction film, this place actually exists. Ascend through the towering rock formations on a cable car and admire the otherworldly views from above. You would be forgiven for thinking the Zhanghjiajie Park seems familiar as the ancient landscape inspired the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar.

Zhangjiajie National Fords Park China
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park © John Philip / Flickr

9. Mount Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia

A couple of days of tough climbing is well-rewarded at the summit of Mount Rinjani, the second highest active volcano in Indonesia, with this spectacular view. A crater lake, affectionately known as ‘Child of the Sea’ by locals, sits pretty at the top of this epic climb.

And don’t miss the chance to see dragons while you’re in Indonesia, at Komodo National Park.

Mount Rinjani Indonesia

10. Marble Caves, Patagonia

Patagonia is known to many as the beginning of the end of the world, so it’s no surprise that it’s here where you’ll find landscapes like no other. One of Patagonia’s most surreal sites is found at the centre of General Carrera Lake, also known as Lake Buenos Aires. Here, you’ll find the Marble Caves, the Marble Cathedral and Marble Chapel, named so for their domed ceilings and reverential atmosphere. Only accessible by boat this must-visit destination is closed off from most of the world.

Marble Caves Patagonia
Marble Caves © Javier Vieras / Flickr

Still dreaming of a time when you can travel again? These articles will keep you inspired during lockdown:

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