When people make a bucket list of locations to visit, they add ordinary places like Paris, London, Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, etc. But did you ever think of adding some surreal travel destinations to that list?
Sure, there is nothing wrong with visiting world capitals and other such attractions. On the other hand, this planet is filled with too many wonders to limit yourself to urban landscapes. As such, Agness and Cez of eTramping compiled a list of places that will seem ripped straight out of mythology and folklore. They assure you though, they’re 100% real!
#1 Paro Taktsang – The Sacred Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan
If you’re considering any surreal travel destinations, it’s hard to ignore the Kingdom of Bhutan. It is deservingly called “The Last Shangri-La” and the landmark we’ll present will demonstrate why. You just have to stop by the Taktsang Palphug Monastery on your travels. Because the monastery is located on the cliffs of Paro Valley, it is more popularly known as Paro Taktsang (meaning literally “The Tiger’s Lair in Paro.”)
It is an integral part of the list of Himalayan Buddhist temples scattered across the region. The most impressive part about the whole structure is not that it was built straight into the face of the mountain. It is that the slopes in the area are almost vertically steep.
Considering the fact that the monastery was built in the 17th century without the conveniences of the modern technology, we’d say that adds to the surreal nature of the place. The cliffs are hard to tame for even the most ardent trekkers, but the awesome sights from near the clouds make it all worthwhile.
#2 Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives
What did you imagine when you read that header? Most of you probably thought the sea is especially reflective and you can see the stars above, shining from the sea. Well, you would be wrong. In all actuality, there is a high concentration of phytoplankton that produces the “starry” effect. The call of the sea is strong on Vaadhoo. During the day you will want to go snorkelling to swim amongst the rich sea life. Colourful fish, turtles, and all sorts of inhabitants roam around the area.
By night, however, you can walk hand in hand with your S.O. on the beach and feel as though you’re trapped in a snow globe. Only instead of snow, you have stars surrounding you from every direction. We can’t imagine other surreal travel destinations that would instil such a feeling.
#3 The Great Blue Hole in Belize
We’ve talked about snorkelling in the previous point, so we’ve decided to go deeper… into scuba diving. It’s not in any random diving spot, though. Oh no. The Great Blue Hole off the coast of Belize is 108 m (354 ft) deep. What is most interesting is its almost perfectly round shape. Most travellers to the Great Blue Hole remember the coral reefs around it, however. Scuba divers will enjoy the swim down to the underwater caverns filled with stalactites covered in algae.
Don’t expect to see too much sea life, however. Unless you plan on going snorkelling in the reefs surrounding the Blue Hole.
If you’re not particularly interested in diving, you can also try a flyover tour to get the full picture.
#4 Cappadocia, Turkey
Speaking of flying, here we have an area that is popular for hot air ballooning. While that is a major attraction, and certainly adds to the charm of the place, it is not the only aspect that should interest you. If you’ve ever admired any surrealist painting, you will know why this place made it to our list of surreal travel destinations. The boulders around the area will make you feel like you have been shrunk down to size and put into a field of mushrooms of all shapes and sizes.
It’s almost as if you’ve landed on another planet. And we’re not just saying that for artistic effect. The buildings in the area are built straight into the caves that litter the landscape. You can tell your friends back home that you’ve basically slept in a hotel on another planet!
#5 Kjeragbolten in Lysefjord, Norway
You’ve probably seen pictures of the last one of our surreal travel destinations without even knowing it. That’s because people all around the world come here to take pictures on a boulder. Wait, what?
The Kjeragbolten boulder is actually suspended in a mountain crevasse, above an almost 1 km deep abyss. You can imagine why there are entire lines of tourists waiting for a photo. Before you get up there, however, you have to hike up and down the formations there. Your feet will tire out soon if you’re not in your best shape. We also recommend hiking boots as it can get slippery, especially if it recently rained. Once you get up to Kjeragbolten, you have to jump to reach it. Be careful not to slip! You would definitely not want to fall down over 900 meters into the abyss.
While on the boulder you can take your photo and get to see the fjord below. The view can’t really be put into words. Even the picture we’ll provide will fall short of the feeling of actually being there.
While we’re talking about Norway, we thought we’d give you an extra location to visit. Want to take a guess to what it is? Don’t worry; we won’t keep you in the dark any longer.
When it comes to surreal travel destinations you just have to visit, we couldn’t have missed the Svalbard Islands in Norway. If you’ve always wanted to see the North Pole without actually visiting it – then Svalbard is the place for you. It’s a good place to take a peek at the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). That does, however, mean that you will need to visit in winter.
Why? Well, during summer Svalbard has daylight 24/7, and during winter – you guessed it, it’s night 24/7. That means you have a great chance of seeing the light show even if you catch a few cloudy days on your trip. Most of all, you will enjoy seeing the wildlife close to the North Pole. There are multiple wildlife Svalbard trips available, including the chance to go dolphin and whale watching! Not only will you be able to witness the majesty of the North, you can also gaze in wonderment at these gentle giants swimming along the icebergs. Needless to say, Svalbard will definitely feel out of this world.
All in all, we believe these landmarks have a place on any traveller’s bucket list. You will gain a new appreciation for our planet just from visiting these areas. Just make sure to keep your jaw intact while you’re at these locations. It might drop a few times in the process.
The best part is that there is something here for everybody:
- A majestic temple built into the cliffs – for hikers and those who appreciate architecture and amazing views from the mountains;
- A starry sea on the beautiful coast of the Maldives – perfect for couples;
- A fantastic diving spot for enthusiasts;
- The opportunity to hot air balloon over a city built straight into mushroom-shaped rock formations;
- An adrenaline rush as you look into the abyss of a fjord;
- And finally, an intense natural light show in the cold North, alongside polar bears, whales, and other northern fauna.
So, what do you think? Will you be visiting these places any time soon? Tell us in the comments below, and recommend us some other surreal travel destinations you’ve visited in the past!