The world is a huge, expansive place. Well, duh. So why must our holidays hone in so devotedly on just a few approachable, accessible cities. After Paris’ ticks on the bucket list reach double figures, after we’ve seen Barcelona so many times that graffiti now addresses us by name, it’s probably time to cast the net a little wider, to think a little further outside of the box. So, with that in mind, from unworldly natural formations to strange man made creations, we’ve teamed up with True Luxury Travel to bring you 10 unusual destinations to inspire your IDEAL holiday.
LAKE HILLIER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
No someone has not tipped a load of pink dye into it, however strange it may appear. This milkshake coloured lake, discovered in 1802, is an unusual, spectacular sight and that’s for sure. Its location adjacent to the Pacific ocean (blue, by the way) creates a view of superb contrast and intrigue. The reason for its pastel pink hue is still up for debate by scientists, but as a reaction of salt and bacterias present in the water is one opinion – you should consider visiting to come up with your own theory, hey?
Lake Hillier | © Kurioziteti123 / Wikicommons
THE TIANZI MOUNTAINS, CHINA
Take a cable car from Huangshi village in the Hunan Province of South China to see these immense limestone pinnacles. The Tianzi (son of heaven) Mountains are spectacular in themselves, but what sets them apart is the mystical, atmospheric mist and sheets of cloud which cloak the peaks. Visit in either April or October for the best views and experience.
Taking a dip at this UNESCO World Heritage site in Turkey will blow your mind . Water cascades from natural springs down white travertine terraces and into thermal pools below. Pamukkale translates as cotton castle and when you see it, you’ll understand the nickname, as the ‘turrets’ of the travertine terrace faces are white and appear almost fluffy. The water is warm and rich in minerals, and visually, it’s utterly surreal. Just magic.
Psst. If you’re in Turkey and are a fan of the unusual, make sure you take a trip to cappadocia. This lunar landscape looks so out of this world, it’s been the filming location for a number of Star Wars films.
Pamukkale | © Pixabay
THAMES TOWN, CHINA
For a taste of England that’s not actually in England, head to Thames Town in Shanghai. Designed to look like an traditional English Village, complete with a church, pub and even fish and chip shop, this place couldn’t be further from traditional notions of China. It cost £500 million pounds to build and is generally used by newlyweds for photo opportunities. Apart from tourists and those looking for capturing shots for Instagram, the town is largely deserted.
Thames Town | © Pixabay
A semi-autonomous part of Copenhagen founded by squatters in the 1970’s, Freetown Christiania is a bastion of hippie life and just a crazy place for a stroll. There is an anarchic charm to the place, with much trade occuring in the form of exchange, not through money. Although it’s largely considered safe, be wary of taking photos.
THE NAZCA LINES, PERU
Animal figures and shapes etched into the floor by the ancient Nazca people provides us with one of South America’s greatest mysteries. The 2000 year old archaeological wonder divides academics and scholars as to their purpose, but generally they are considered to have religious significance. Whatever the explanation, these geoglyphs are a fascinating glimpse into ancient Nazca life.
Nazca Lines| © Pixabay
CHOCOLATE HILLS, THE PHILIPPINES
On the island of Bohol in the Philippines lies some odd conical hills that have been nicknamed ‘the Chocolate Hills’. They are covered in green grass that turns a chocolate colour brown during the dry season and have a geological formation which confuses experts. Tourists, however, love them, as they look whimsical and obtuse with the jungle as a backdrop.
Bohol | © Andrewhaimerl Wikkicommons
SALAR DE UYUNI, BOLIVIA
Yes, we’ve all seen the photos of our lucky mates, playing with notions of scale and size on these salt pans in Bolivia. It’s the world’s largest of its kind, and when a film gathers on its surface, also acts as a mirror; doubling the weirdness factor of the great natural wonder.
Salar de Uyuni| © Pixabay
CAT ISLAND, JAPAN
The purrrfect place for cat lovers, Tashirojima has a population of only one hundred people, but many, many more feline inhabitants. Tashirojima is actually one of roughly 12 ‘cat islands’ in Japan, but is probably the most famous. The heavy cat population was brought about by stray cats being fed and nurtured by locals who believed this care brought them good luck, especially with regards to predicting the weather and its effect on the fishing community.
Cats in Aoshima | © 暇・カキコ Wikkicommons
RED BEACH, PANJIN, CHINA
This beach in China is covered by a type of seaweed called Sueda which turns bright red during the autumn, and is one which really needs to be seen to be believed. We’re not talking a rusty, tired looking hue, we’re talking bright, vivid red. The area is also home to a thriving ecosystem, with over 200 types of bird calling it home. So, if you’re into bird watching with a most peculiar backdrop, this could be the place for you.