Just to get the travel bugs a bitin’ we’re going to remind you that the world is a varied and beautiful thing. From mythical causeways to rainbow mountains here are 5 places to visit before you get old and boring.
Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park, China
Located in China’s north-western province of Gansu this stunning rock formation was voted as one of the best landforms in China. The strange formations and dreamlike colour palette are the result of 24 million years of sandstone and other mineral deposits building up into this spectacular scene.
Sơn Đoòng Cave, Vietnam
This is the world’s largest cave. Located near the Laos border in Vietnam’s Quang Binh province, this gaping hole in the earth had not been properly explored until 2009 when a team of researchers discovered its true size. The biggest chamber stretches for more than 5 kilometers and in it’s largest section is 200 metres tall and 150 metres wide. To picture the sheer scale of this cave, you could fit in Las Vegas’ tallest hotel/casino, The Palazzo, several times over.
The Door to Hell, Turkmenistan
If a giant flaming chasm doesn’t pique your interest then perhaps you’re already old and boring. The Door to Hell is an enormous smouldering abyss located in the Karakum desert, Turmenistan about 260 kilometres north of Ashgabat. The flames are a result of a natural gas fire that was lit by Soviet petroleum engineers in 1971. While searching for oil the engineers came upon a substantial gas deposit. Fearing the release of poisonous fumes the engineers decided to burn off the gas. They predicted that it would run out within a few weeks however more than four decades later the gas is still burning – oopla.
The Maldives are famous for stunning tropical scenery, soft sandy beaches and honeymoon getaways. There is however one more attraction that causes wonderment and delight amongst visitors. Vaadhoo island in the Raa Atol of the Maldives has a beach that glows fluorescent blue at night time. The dream-like effect is called bioluminescence and is caused by phytoplankton known as dinoflagellates. The chemical reaction in the plankton is often stimulated by passing boats, people swimming or waves, creating a truly magical sight.
Giant’s Causeway, Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway is a collection of over 40,000 basalt columns rising out of the ocean on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland. Formed some 50 to 60 million years ago during a period of intense volcanic activity, the columns are the result of highly fluid molten basalt creating a lava plateau. Much like mud drying, deep cracks formed as the mass cooled, leaving the striking pillar-like structures that can be seen today.
A local creation myth tells of a giant named Fion Mac Cumhaill who created the enormous causeway to reach a Scottish giant named Benandonner who had challenged him to a fight. Fion soon realised that Benandonner was much larger than he was so he disguised himself as a baby. When Benandonner saw the size of the baby he feared that his father, Fion, must truly be the largest giant of the land. Benandonner retreated in fear, smashing the causeway behind him. Credence is given to this myth as there are identical basalt formations across the water in Scotland making it appear as though the causeway would have connected the two countries at some point in time.
‘The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.’ – St Augustine.