If you’ve had enough of amusement parks, beaches and mountains, and you’re craving for something different – something out of this planet – then don’t bother thinking about joining NASA anymore. Just take a look at this list of the otherworldly places you can visit without getting away from your beloved Earth. You’ll be surprised to know they’re just a plane ticket or car ride away from your home!
1. Dallol Hydrothermal Field, Africa
Known to be the hottest place on the planet, the Dallol Hydrothermal Field displays a spectacular landscape filled with multicolored salt deposits, hot springs and geysers. The field is located in Danakil Desert covering parts of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti.
2. Socotra, Yemen
Socotra is an island sitting in the Indian Ocean away from mainland Africa. It looks like its remoteness enabled it to create its own world and be the home of 800 rare species of flora and fauna, and one-third of these creatures can only be found in the island itself and nowhere else.
3. Kawah Ijen Sulfur Mine, East Java, Indonesia
Witness clouds of sulfur dioxide over the turquoise yet acidic crater lake in Kawah Ijen Sulfur Mine. At night, it’s a magical sight when blue-colored flames created by sulfuric gases stream down the volcano.The crater lake at the top of Kawah Ijen’s volcano is known as the world’s largest lake filled with hydrochloric acid.
4. Yehliu Geopark, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Pot, honeycomb, ginger, or candle-shaped rocks? Whatever you prefer, you’ll see these strangely formed rock formations in Yehliu Geopark where you can also see sea-eroded caves and marine animals. The odd shapes seen on the rocks standing by the sea are sculpted by years of rock decomposition and erosion caused by seawater.
5. White Desert, Farafra, Egypt
The White Desert, or el-Sahara el-Beida is the most popular attraction in Egypt and you can’t blame huge numbers coming in to see its beautiful wind-carved rock formations – all obviously in white. These uniquely-shaped rocks were formed by marine fauna and became all visible when the lake that covered the area dried out.
6. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Covering an area of 12,106 square kilometers, Salar de Uyuni is considered as the world’s largest salt flat. Stepping into the salt flat is a whole new world as you’re only surrounded with nothing but the blue sky, the clouds, the white ground, and the visible horizon.
7. Marble Caves, Patagonia, Chile
Marble Caves, or locally known as Cuevas de Marmol, is a 6,000-year-old majestic cave with interiors displaying swirling patterns created by the blue lake’s reflection. The colors of the cave constantly change depending on the season and water level.
8. Vale da Lua, Chapada Dos Veadeiros, Brazil
Years of the continuous flow of Rio São Miguel’s rushing waters has sculpted the surrounding rocks into a lunar landscape called as “Vale da Lua” (Valley of the Moon). Moreover, the valley can be seen shining brightly from space because of its quartz crystals.
9. Goblin Valley, Green River, Utah, USA
Goblin Valley is a state park that entices visitors with its mushroom-shaped sandstone formations surrounded by eroded cliffs. The valley’s strange landscape has often made it comparable to Mars.
10. Zhanyge Danxia Landform, Gansu, China
The Zhangye Danxia Landform is a unique type of petrographic geomorphology made of reddish sandstone and conglomerate which dates back to the Cretaceous period 70-90 million years ago. The red sandstone walls continued to erode over time that later formed its unusual curves.
11. Door to Hell, Derweze, Turkmenistan
If you’re looking for an evil-looking world, there’s the Door to Hell which is a natural gas field in flames for over 40 years. The flames started when the Soviet scientists tried to stop the large amount of poisonous methane gas and consume it by setting it on fire. What they expected to last for a week ended up ablaze for years.
12. The Wave, Arizona, USA
The Wave has been a popular spot for day hikers and you’ll easily know why once you see its multi-colored sandstone waves. The colors and shapes of these sandstone mountains change depending on the sunlight’s direction.
13. Huanglong Valley, Sichuan, China
Waterfalls, forests, snow-capped peaks, and crystal clear pools in travertine lakes makes China’s Huanglong Valley a land where fairies can possibly live. The pool terraces change their colors depending on the season.
14. Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey
Pamukkale, or “cotton castle” when translated to English, is a series of surreal hot springs and white terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. Nearby the amazing springs, you can also visit the Roman ruins of Hierapolis.
15. Spotted Lake, British Columbia, Canada
The Spotted Lake contains high concentrations of various minerals such as magnesium sulfate, calcium and sodium sulfates, and more. The spots are created after most of the water in the lake evaporates every summer.
16. White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA
443 square kilometers of desert filled with wave-like dunes of gypsum created the spectacular landscape of White Sands. Besides being the world’s largest gypsum sand dune field, the national monument is also home of the Air Force Base.
17. Mono Lake, California, USA
Situated on the edge of the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mono Lake is a 113-square-kilometer saline lake where you can see towering limestone formations known as tufa towers. There aren’t any types of fish living in the lake, but only trillions of brine shrimp and alkali flies.
18. Drumheller, Alberta, Canada
The town of Drumheller is composed mainly by grasslands, hoodoos, canyons, and coulees popular for outdoor activities such as golfing, hiking, and skiing. Add the otherworldliness in your Drumheller trip by visiting the world’s largest dinosaur statue.
19. Giant’s Causeway, Antrim, Northern Ireland
For the place where titans could be staying, there’s the Giant’s Causeway that’s popular for its polygonal columns of layered basalt created by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Giant’s Causeway is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland.
20. Painted Dunes, Lassen Volcanic Park, California, USA
Multicolored pumice fields make up the Painted Dunes, one of the strange-looking attractions in Lassen Volcanic Park together with the Fantastic Lava Beds. The colors seen on the Painted Dunes are created by the continuous volcanic activity of Cinder Cone, a 700-foot cinder cone volcano.
When On Earth Magazine is for people who love travel. We provide informative travel guides, tips, ideas and advice regarding places to see, things to do, what to taste, and much more for world travelers seeking their next dream vacation destination.