Think pink lakes, glow-in-the-dark caves and dancing lights.
For those who are looking for an extraordinary travel experience, there are also many naturally-occurring wonders that are guaranteed to make an indelible impression in your life.
From pink lakes to glow-in-the dark caves to pretty dancing lights, here are 10 mind-blowing natural phenomena to see before you die. Believe us when we say these photos don’t do the actual sights enough justice – you have to see them for yourself.
Basalt columns are extrusive rock structures formed from basaltic lava that rapidly cools over time, taking the shape of unique polygons and prisms. While there are many popular basalt columns aroung the world, arguably one of the most stunning of all is the Svartifoss in Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland, highlighted by its iconic waterfall.
Sandstones are composed of sedimentary rocks and sand minerals that takes centuries and a lot of heat and pressure to form. They are usually white, brown or black in colour; however, certain elements can combine to create colours in sandstones. Dubbed the ‘Rainbow Mountains of China’, the Zhangye Danxia National Park has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in China for its colourful sandstones in the vivid shades of red, blue, green and yellow.
Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis
You have probably already heard of the Northern Lights from a song or in a movie, so it is no surprise that this natural wonder has made it onto our list. Formally known as Aurora Borealis, this phenomenon occurs when charged particles of the sun collide with atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere, releasing little bursts of light known as photons. As the Northern Lights are only visible near the North Pole (go figure), one of the best places to witness the bright dancing auroras is in Norway, especially during winter.
Ironically, salt flats are like desert lakes because they are formed in deserts where large expanses of salt and minerals dissolve in evaporating water, leaving behind a solid layer. Although it may not seem very impressive at first glance, visitors have claimed that just watching the vast mirror reflection of the sky induces the feeling of heaven on earth. Experience that dreamy atmosphere for yourself at the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the biggest salt flats in the world.
There is something romantic about taking a night stroll along the beach with your loved one; but can you imagine how much cooler it would be if the sea was lit up? Turn that imagination into reality at Planktons Beach, Maldives, where thousands of bioluminescent planktons emit bright blue lights like constellations in the night sky, except it’s on the surface of the water.
If you’re a fan of all things pink, this should be your next destination to visit: Lake Hillier in Australia. While the Land Down Under is famous for several pink lakes, Lake Hillier is the only permanently pink lake. Even if you take the water out of the lake, it still remains pink! The lake’s bubblegum pink colour is attributed to the microorganisms that combine with the salt in the water to create an unusual dye. Unlike most other pink lakes which have adverse effects on the skin, you can actually swim in Lake Hillier.
We often think of winter as a time to build snowmen and ski down mountains. But here’s something else to do when the next winter comes – observe natural displays of frost flowers. No, frost flowers are not flowers that are frozen by ice, but rather natural ice sculptures in the shape of flowers. They are formed by the combination of winds, tides and currents and when the atmosphere is much colder than the ground temperature. It is a rare sight found only in several places in the world, one of which is Swiecajty Lake in Poland.
Grand Prismatic Spring
Think the Pink Lake isn’t wow enough? Well, there is the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, famed for its vibrant rainbow-like colours. It may seem like a photoshopped thermal filter, but rest assured, it’s 100% natural and real. In fact, there is a science behind it – each colour in the spring is produced by different heat-loving bacteria, giving it its prismatic hues.
Here’s a great idea for an educational yet memorable family holiday – visit the Waitomo Glowworms Cave in New Zealand, home to thousands of glowworms that are unique to the country. Complete with an informative tour around the luminescent cave, visitors get to experience over 120 years of cultural and natural history.
Blue hot springs
There’s no reason why you should have to choose between having a relaxing holiday and seeing the best of what the world has to offer. At the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, you get to pamper yourself in their world-famous hot springs while enjoying the captivating blue landscape all around you. It’s the ultimate spa experience that gives you the best of both worlds.