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Places That Seem Otherworldly

February 3, 2022

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Our world is full of unfathomable beauty. Mystical and magical places exist in real life, places that are so enchanting they seem as though they are straight out of a fairytale or a fantasy. It is so easy to get caught up in the mundane aspects of life and to stay in our little bubble of where we live and operate. It’s sometimes hard to believe that there are incredible places on this planet that look as though they belong in a different world.

While there are many famous natural wonders of the world – from Mt. Everest to the Grand Canyon – there are many lesser known sites that are equally, if not more, stunning and surreal.

Travelling to these otherworldly spots around the globe will leave you feeling like you have actually left planet Earth. Travel junkies, adventure seekers, and those nomadic souls full of wanderlust will appreciate these breathtaking destinations where your perception of reality may be challenged.

Sea of Stars, Maldives

The Maldives are already known to be a little slice of heaven on Earth, and Vaadhoo beach definitely adds to it… known as the “Sea of Stars,” this special place will make you feel like you’re in a fantasy-like experience. This phenomenon is caused by a natural chemical reaction which occurs when microorganisms in the water are disturbed by oxygen, known as bioluminescence. These microorganisms are called phytoplankton, and these beautiful little creatures that cause this unbelievable glowing effect.

Tianzi Mountains, China

China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park looks as though it has jumped straight off the pages of your favorite fiction book. This magnificent park has towering stone pillars that visitors are able to see from above by taking the world’s tallest outdoor elevator or by crossing the world’s highest and longest glass-bottom bridge.

Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

In New Zealand, taking a trip to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves will make you feel as though you are on a different planet. This magical cave is literally filled with worms that glow, giving you a surreal experience.

Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

Chihuahua, Mexico is home to some of the biggest crystals that are found 300 meters below the surface of the Earth. Ginormous crystals are jutting out of the cave walls that are connected to the Naica Mine, creating a Chamber within the limestone host of the rock mine that is about 109 meters long. Unfortunately, this unbelievable wonder is hard for tourists to visit, as the hot and humid conditions cause hazardous conditions.  

Thor’s Well, Oregon USA

Thor’s Well is a notorious sinkhole that is a fascinating and treacherous feature of the wild Oregon coast. It is an old sea cave that has collapsed, creating almost a “drainage pipe” to the ocean. This rugged and beautiful site is a seemingly bottomless hole that thrashes and sprays water as the waves crash in and out.

Pamukkale, Turkey

Velvet white rocks. White paradise. Magical healing hot water springs… the Turkish have named this majestic place, Pamukkale, which means “Cotton Castle.” Already sounding more like a fairytale than real life, this natural hot spring is situated in southwestern Turkey, in the River Menderes valley. Over the course of thousands of years, this mineral has formed white water pools famous around the world for their healing properties.

Emerald Ice on Lake Baikal, Siberia

Lake Baikal is home to some of the clearest turquoise waters in the world. This stunning lake is a marvel – it is the world’s oldest lake at 25 million years, and contains the world’s deepest and largest freshwater lake by volume, holding roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water. It is also the seventh-largest lake in the world by surface area. Every winter as the temperature plummets below zero, the water freezes and is covered with ice for almost five months a year. Another characteristic that makes Lake Baikal stand out are the “hummocks,” which are heaps of ice splinters that are pushed out onto the surface. Formed during freezing when not-strong-enough ice is smashed by wind and is thrown out on the shore, they usually form along trough cracks or along-shore and can be 10-12 meters high. The hummocks glow in the sunlight like huge pieces of emerald.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona USA

Antelope Canyon will make you feel as though you are on Mars – it is located on Navajo land in Arizona. This stunning, otherworldly slot canyon is notable from the colorful and textured walls illuminated by streaming beams of light. The canyon has “upper” and “lower” portions, each with different natural lighting and formations created by erosion.

Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat. Something truly magnificent happens when a layer of pure water covers Salar de Uyuni – it turns into world’s largest mirror, reflecting the beautiful Bolivian skies. This stunning phenomenon is arguably the most unique in the world, as it looks as though you are walking on the clouds, and seeing the same scenery overhead. This natural wonder occurs during the rainy season from November to April, with the best time being at the end of this period. This is a truly unmissable experience.

Dragonblood Trees, Socotra Yemen

Socotra is a unique place that has long been a gem to Yemen. This is because a third of the plants on this island are found nowhere else on this Earth. The island is quite secluded and is located right at the edge of the Gulf of Aden. The most noticeable feature are the trees which look like flying saucers, really making it seem like you are on a different planet.

Lake Hillier, Australia

One of the most interesting bodies of water in the world is Western Australia’s Lake Hillier, which is a strange pink color. This remote and otherworldly lake is right next to the glistening blue Pacific Ocean. This unique body of water is colored by the microorganisms that live in it, and despite the striking rainbow color, it is safe for humans to swim around in.

Danakil Depression, Ethiopia 

Maybe not a place to visit, but to look at in wonder – the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is scorching hot and one of the most alien places on Earth. In the heart of the Horn of Africa, the Danakil Depression is one of the most remote, inhospitable, and least-studied locations in the world. It lies over 100m below sea level in a volcanic area. It rarely rains, and seas of molten magma ooze just beneath the crust’s surface. The landscape is arguably the driest and hottest place on the planet, with temperatures regularly reaching 45-50 degrees Celsius.

Underwater Waterfall, Mauritius

Off the coast of a small island in the Indian Ocean, there is – what appears to be – a waterfall submerged in the ocean itself. The Republic of Mauritius is an island nation approximately 1,200 miles southeast of Africa, and it left the world in wonder with the discovery of a lost continent beneath it, known as Mauricia. The mystery of Mauritius is something to be marveled at… while there isn’t actually an underwater waterfall in this crystal clear turquoise lagoon, it is an illusion that can only be seen from above. This fascinating phenomenon is located on the southwestern coast of the island known as Le Morne Peninsula.

Whenever you need a break from reality, consider adding some of these magical places to your bucket list for your next destination!

Megan Binder

(B.A. Psychology)


Alimanestiano, B. (2019, August 18). 6 otherworldly destinations straight out of a sci-fi movie. Ecophiles. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from

Lytle, D. A. (2019, January 22). Places on Earth that look like they’re from another planet David A. Lytle. Far & Wide. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from

Romeyn, K. (2020, April 15). 10 magical travel destinations. Well+Good. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from

29 unbelievable locations that look like they’re located on another planet. Earth Porm. (2015, May 13). Retrieved February 3, 2022, from

  1. LeeAnna says:

    Bucket list destinations for sure!

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