Has your mind ever played tricks on you? Sometimes even the most impressive CGI creation looks tame in comparison to real life scenery.
From bizarre African islands to Antarctic shipwrecks, these 11 locations are so amazing you might doubt you’re still on earth.
1. Socotra, Yemen
Considered the biodiversity jewel of the Arabian Sea, the island of Socotra is home to some of the world’s most incredible scenery. As one of the most isolated islands on earth, Socotra has developed its own bizarre species of plant life.
From upside-down trees to five-foot stalactites, Socotra’s scenery is equal parts an acid trip and a Salvador Dali painting. It’s one of the few places on earth that could easily double for an alien planet.
2. Wonderland Amusement Park, China
In 1998, the Chinese government halted construction on Asia’s largest amusement park. Wonderland Amusement Park, as it was known, sat completely abandoned for over 15 years before it was razed by the Chinese government in a cleanup project.
From the gigantic concrete castle to the half-finished rides, this spooky amusement park is right out of a 1980s horror movie. While the park was abandoned, farmers from local towns used the structures to grow crops and store their equipment.
3. Mar Sem Fim, Antarctica
Brazilian research yacht Mar Sem Fim sank while patrolling Antarctica on April 7th 2012. For over a year, the yacht was stuck not on the ocean floor itself, but under more than 10 feet of Antarctic sea ice, creating this amazing and truly unbelievable image.
While the crew of four was rescued during the sinking, the yacht itself spend more than a year under the Antarctic sea ice before it was recovered by a team of rescue divers in early 2013.
4. Pripyat, Ukraine
More than 27 years ago, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded, releasing a huge amount of radioactive particles into the atmosphere over Eastern Europe. Workers in the town of Pripyat – specially built to service the plant – were evacuated within days, turning the entire area into a terrifying ghost town.
Today, Pripyat is still in the same condition as it was during the evacuation, albeit with a few valuables missing. From the chilling pictures of Lenin left on classroom desks to the eerie Ferris wheel, the town of Pripyat might be the creepiest place in all of Europe.
5. Tianzi Mountain, China
Paging James Cameron. China’s Tianzi Mountain area looks like an environment out of the 2009 movie Avatar. Filled with limestone pillars, the Tianzi Mountain region’s scenery is so dramatic and beautiful it’s hard to believe it’s really on earth.
Scientists believe that the dramatic scenery is the result of geological activity and an extreme amount of water erosion. Some of the region’s limestone mountain pillars are so tall they reach into the clouds, creating the incredible landscapes seen in the photo above.
Other amazing limestone destinations in Asia include Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay and Vietnam’s famous Ha Long Bay.
6. Lake Kaindy, Kazakhstan
At first glance, Kazakhstan’s Lake Kaindy doesn’t look that amazing. Look closer and you’ll see why this lake has amazed photographers for years – underneath the water is an incredible forest home to hundreds of decaying trees.
Nearly 30 meters deep, the lake was formed after a huge limestone landslide pushed an entire forest under the water. Today, the trees sit under the lake’s surface, slowly rotting away under the lake’s beautiful turquoise waters.
7. Lake Hillier, Western Australia
Look at a black-and-white photo of Lake Hiller and you might not understand what makes it so special. Surrounded by sand and woodland, Lake Hiller is a typical lake in Australia’s isolated Western region – typical aside from its bright pink color.
Don’t worry – it isn’t radioactive fallout or unusual chemicals that make this lake so bright and eye-catching, but the organisms dunaliella salina and halobacteria. These interact with the huge concentration of salt in Lake Hiller’s water and give it a bright pink hue.
Scared of getting in? Don’t be. Although the bright pink water makes the lake a scary swimming destination, the water isn’t known to have any negative health effects on humans.
8. Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
Step into a dark, wet cave deep under the ground. Then, as you open your eyes, see a beautiful blue light pattern produced by millions of glowworms. The Waitomo Caves are located in New Zealand’s North Island and are regarded as one of the country’s most amazing natural attractions.
Discovered over 100 years ago, the caves look like something out of a science fiction movie. Beautiful blue light is reflected off the river that runs through the caves while dramatic stalactites and stalagmites emerged from the cave’s surface.
9. Christ of the Abyss, Italy
Dive beneath the sea of the Italian Riviera and you might discover the world’s most amazing Jesus Christ statue. Known as ‘Christ of the Abyss,’ this incredible statue is submerged beneath 17 meters of water in the Mediterranean Sea.
Surrounded by coral reefs and local sea life, the amazing sculpture looks completely at peace with the world. The amazing statue honors Guido Galletti – the first Italian to successfully use Scuba diving equipment.
10. Abraham Lake, Alberta
It’s beautiful, interesting, and explosive. This remote lake in Alberta is home to ‘ice bubbles’ – bubbles formed when methane gas freezes as its approaches the surface of the lake.
The plants at the bottom of Abraham Lake produce methane – a highly explosive gas that rises to the surface of the water during winter. As it approaches the surface, it freezes and creates the incredible ‘ice bubbles’ that make the lake such as popular destination for photographers.
11. Derweze, Turkmenistan
In 1971, Soviet geologists were drilling for oil in remote Turkmenistan. They hit a cavern filled with massive amounts of natural gas and, not wanting to let the huge gas deposit leak out into the nearby area, set it ablaze.
40 years later, the gigantic natural gas pit is still burning. Locals have dubbed the amazing cavern the ‘Gates of Hell’ and believe that it could be decades until the gas inside the crater runs dry.
Question of the Day:
Have you ever seen anything you didn’t believe was really on earth? Where?
Let us know in the comments below!