By JP Chartier
Here are a few places to add to your bucket list, they are mysterious and surreal, yet overwhelmingly beautiful! Yes, these places really do exist, so get ready for a short journey to 13 Surreal Places You Won’t Believe Exist! Enjoy.
Paro Taktsang is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist monastery also known as the “Tiger’s Nest” in the Paro Valley in Bhutan, it’s a sacred site that contains a temple complex that hangs precipitously from a cliff 3,000 ft. above the Paro Valley. The temple complex was first built in 1692 around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave where Guru Padmassambhava meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the 8th century.
Most days the monastery is shrouded in clouds and gives off its eerie feeling of remoteness. Tourists are allowed, but cameras are not.
Chatillon Car Graveyard
The Chatillon Car Graveyard is located in southern Belgium and is one of the largest car burial sites in the world. American troops stationed in Belgium during WWII began to acquire classic cars, but when the Axis Powers surrendered in 1945, the American troops were called back to the U.S. The prized automobiles were too expensive to ship to America so the military commanders ordered that the vehicles be left behind.
The soldiers drove nearly 500 vehicles deep into the woods near Chatillon to hide them so they could be retrieved at a later date, but that date never came. The stash spot over the years has become a cemetery where mother nature has had her way with the beloved vehicles, turning shiny paint to rust and reminding us that nothing stays beautiful forever.
The Fly Geyser, also known as Fly Ranch Geyser is located 20 miles north of Gerlach, Nevada and is not an entirely natural phenomenon; it was accidentally created when drilling for a geothermal well in 1964. The well wasn’t capped correctly and dissolved minerals began to rise and accumulate, creating the travertine mound on which the geyser sits and continues to grow even today.
The geyser is only about 5 ft. tall – 12 ft. if you count the mound it sits on, and spews water 5 feet into the air. The vibrant colors of the geyser are due to thermophilic algae.
The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec, in the Czech Republic. I couldn’t believe something like this existed, and the first time I seen it it blew my mind! The skeletons of up to 70,000 people are situated into bizarre, yet artistic decorations and furnishings for the chapel.
There is an enormous chandelier made from all the bones in the human body hanging from the ceiling in the center of the nave, and skulls drape the vault, and yes you can visit here if you like – over 200,000 people do every year.
Socotra is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean, the largest island, also called Socotra, is about 150 miles east of the Horn of Africa. The island is very isolated and a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet, one of the most striking trees on the island is the dragon’s blood tree, which is a strange looking umbrella-shaped tree that has red sap, thus the name “dragons blood.” It has been described as “the most alien-looking place on Earth”.
Socotra is considered the jewel of biodiversity in the Arabian Sea.
Cave of Crystals
Cave of Crystals or Giant Crystal Cave is a cave connected to the Naica Mine 980 ft. below the surface in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico. The main chamber contains giant selenite crystals, some of the largest natural crystals ever found.
The cave is extremely hot with air temperatures reaching up to 136 °F with 90 to 99 percent humidity. Without proper protection people can only endure approximately ten minutes of exposure at a time, the cave is relatively unexplored due to these factors.
Iguazu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentina province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. Legend has it that a deity planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In a rage, the deity sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.
The falls has been included in at least 15 movies over the years.
Phraya Nakhon cave
Phraya Nakhon cave is located in the Prachuap Khiri Khan province in Thailand and consists of two caverns, illuminated by a huge hole due to the collapse of the roof. The cave is best known for the Kuha Karuhas pavillion in the main chamber, which was built in 1890 for the visit of King Chulalongkorn.
The drive out to the cave is almost as beautiful as the cave itself, you go through the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, which has some magnificent beaches, mountains and forests.
When the rays of the sun shine in through the massive hole in the roof it illuminates the cave giving it a surreal and mystical appearance, the tranquil and serene atmosphere only adds to this feeling.
Badad-e Surt Samaee
Badab-e Surt Samaee is a natural site in Mazandaran Province in northern Iran. It’s comprised of a range of stepped travertine terrace formations, which were formed over thousands of years. There are two mineral hot springs that deposit carbonate minerals on the mountainside, giving it its wonderful coloring. The water from the springs have medicinal properties, able to cure some skin diseases and skin conditions.
The Stone Forest or Shilin, is a massive set of limestone formations located in Shilin Yi Autonomous County, Yunnan Province in China. The formations were caused by the dissolution of limestone and are believed to be over 270 million years old.
Legend has it that the forest was the birthplace of Ashima, a beautiful girl of the Yi people. She fell deeply in love with a forbidden lover and turned to stone because of her grief. Every year on the 34th day of the sixth lunar month, many Yi people celebrate the Torch Festival, which features folk dancing and wrestling competitions in her honor.
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon near Page, Arizona that has two separate photogenic sections referred to as the Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon. The canyon was formed by the erosion of the Navajo Sandstone, mainly by the flash-flooding that occurs in the area. During the monsoon season, rainwater rushes through sections of the canyon picking up speed and sand as it goes, reforming the passageways in the process.
Antelope Canyon is very popular with tourists, especially photographers, and is a source of income for the Navajo Nation.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is where you’ll find Igloo Village, a very unique ice hotel located in Finland. There are three different types of accomodations to choose from: The Snow Igloo, for an authentic arctic experience; the rustic log cabin; and the warm glass igloos, where you can watch the Northern Lights from the comfort of your bed.
At the Igloo Village, you receive insulated sleeping bags, socks and headcover. They sleep up to five comfortably.
There is a record-breaking restaurant on the premises too that boasts it’s the world’s largest snow restaurant, able to seat up to 150 guests in a single igloo. There is also an Ice Bar, Ice Chapel and the Ice Gallery to explore.
The Hanging Restaurant Fangweng
Fangweng Restaurant is located in China, in Hubei Province. The area around the restaurant is very scenic, including cliffs, caves, mountains and a river.
The restaurant balances on the side of a cliff, hundreds of feet above the ground, giving stellar views of the surrounding area. There is even a bungee jumping platform for the more adventurous.
Upon entering the restaurant, you go down some steps which take you to a cave lobby. To the right there is a 30-meter long bridge that has been built on the side of the cliff, this leads to another cave which has been transformed into a dining hall. The inside is dimly lit, a warm orange glow illuminates the inside with a tranquil and serene feeling. Be sure to sit in the part of the dining hall that hangs out of the cave, where you will get a magnificent view of the valley and the river below.
Hi my name is JP Chartier and I write for Gutter Pup Adventures.com where you can expect to read well-written and entertaining articles about the people and places that often get overlooked at many popular vacation destinations around the world. You will also find articles on camping, hiking, kayaking and several other popular vacation activities here too.
My goal is to seek out the hidden ‘gems’ for you and bring them alive through my writing and photographs, so your next trip or vacation will be a much more rewarding and fulfilling experience.