10 More Ridiculously Offbeat Destinations

One year and seven days ago, I wrote a post called “10 Ridiculously Offbeat Destinations.

It was a fun list to put together.

Lucky for all you wild and crazy travel junkies (myself included), there are plenty of other wacky, ridiculously offbeat places around the world. Cheers to this second gathering!

Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve: Madagascar

Known also as Madagascar’s Stone Forest, the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is a wild expanse of limestone cliffs, housing a remote and mostly inhospitable terrain–strange species of lemurs, wild birds, slotted canyons and preserved mangrove forests. The deep and brittle precipices were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. Check out more information and photos in this National Geographic article.

[photograph from National Geographic’s Stephen Alvarez]

Mount Huashan Hiking Trail: China

The ascent of Mount Huashan in China’s Shaanxi Province can be done in one of two ways–easy…or ridiculously and terrifyingly difficult.  Deemed one of the most exhilarating (and dangerous) hikes in the world, it is estimated that the ascent claims the lives of 100 people each year. The Chinese government has made considerable improvements to the trail, but hikers must still scale narrow and unsteady planks, nearly vertical staircases, and ladders that would make even Indiana Jones cringe in fear.

The wildest part of the Huashan Trail is the “Changong Zhandao,” a 13 feet long, 1 foot wide wooden path. I believe that is what is pictured above.

[photograph from Flickr user Verde PR]

Three Camel Lodge: Mongolia

One of the world’s most remote hotels, the Three Camel Lodge may not have 4 stars…but it’s got a heck-of-a view. Guests can stay in one of 45 hand-made gers, traditional Mongolian tents used by nomadic herders. Felt carpets, indigenous furnishings, and wood-burning stoves can be found inside, and guests can participate in a variety of activities–camel trekking, horseback riding and visiting nomadic Mongolian families.

Make sure to allow enough time to get there. After a two hour flight from Beijing to Mongolia’s capital, Ulan Bator, you must take a 60-minute prop-plane to Dalanzadgad, followed by a 90-minute drive along a remote dirt road.

[photograph from Flickr user jennifer_schuetz]

Lac Assal: Djibouti

Lac Assal, a crater lake in central Djibouti, is the deepest point in Africa and, behind the Dead Sea the second lowest land impression on Earth. Also, outside of Antarctica, Lac Assal is the most saline body of water in the world with nearly 34% salt content. Nearby, the original Planet of the Apes was filmed.

Mataveri International Airport: Easter Island

The only airport on Eastern Island, Mataveri International Airport in the South Pacific is considered the most remote airport in the world. The closest major city that can be reached by plane is Santiago, over 2,000 miles away. Travelers can also come via Mangareva  (GMR) in the Gambier Islands.

[photograph from Flickr user peace-on-earth.org]

Tanggula (Dangla) Railway Station: China

At 5,068 meters (16,627 feet), the Tanggula Railway Station is the highest railway station in the world. The region is completely uninhabited, therefore recently no passenger transport system has been available.

[photograph from Flickr user Calem]

La Rinconada: Peru

Another one of the world’s most extreme places, La Rinconada in the Peruvian Andes (5,100m or 16,732 ft) is officially the highest inhabited city in the world. Just over 30,000 people live here, many of them working at a gold mine nearby. The city has no running water or sewage system.

[photograph from Hildegard Willer]

Socotra Island: Yemen

One of the most alien looking places on Earth, Socotra Island lies in the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Yemen, geographically isolated from mainland Africa for the last 6 or 7 million years.

Similar to the Galapagos Islands, the island flourishes with rare species of flora and fauna. Check this–a third of the plants and animals on Socotra Island are endemic…as in, they aren’t found anywhere else in the world.

Despite the fact that Socotra, one of four clustered islands, has around 40,000 inhabitants, the Yemeni government only recently built roads. Socotra is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.

[photography from Flickr user Martin Sojka]

Pripyat: Ukraine

Pripyat, Ukraine is an abandoned city within the “zone of exclusion” near the former Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, around 50,000 residents abandoned Pripyat, many of them dying from radioactive exposure.

Pripyat’s buildings haven’t been maintained for over two decades, giving the city an eerie, post-apocalyptic feel. Visitors can walk through an abandoned school, amusement park and hospital–seeing peeled paint, broken glass, rotting floorboards, and all kinds of interesting Soviet relics.

Guoliang Tunnel: China

Through the Taihang Mountains in China’s Henan Province, the Guoliang Tunnel twists and carves its way through towering rock. The tunnel is nearly a mile long and was opened in 1977 to traffic.

[photographs from Flick user Toxane]

27 thoughts on “10 More Ridiculously Offbeat Destinations”

  1. This is a great list, thanks putting it together. I thought I wasn’t very afraid of heights, but after see the Mount Huashan Hiking Trail picture, I think I have to rethink that.

  2. This is an unbelievable list and very well put together. I can’t believe it is not more popular. I am going on a one man campaign to promote it some more and then it’s off to China to risk that rope bridge.

  3. Great list! The hiking trail looked scary enough, but then I read the planks were unstable – there is definitely no way I am doing that! Easter Island would be amazing, as well as some of the other destinations on your list.

  4. Mongolia has been near the top of my years, in all excellent list. I’ve hiked challenging trails in Bulgaria and Bali….but what a great photo from the one in China. Also that stone forest looks amazing. Ah, what a world. Adventure awaits those who seek it.

    Stay adventurous,

  5. These are fantastic! I have seen that dangerous trail before and there is no way I will ever do it. that is until Dave talks me into somehow. He always manages to make me step out of my comfort zone. We were supposed to go to Mongolia and China after Nepal (where we are now) but air france gave us a ticket to Europe and we changed our plans. So I guess the locations that you listed above will have to wait for a little bit. I think I am O.K. with that:-) They really are ridiculously offbeat:-)
    .-= Dave and Deb´s last blog ..Our favorites from India: A Photo Story =-.

  6. Just looking at Mount Huashan gave me the eebie jeebies! I’m terrified of heights and there is no way in the world you could get me to go through the Guoliang Tunnel, but it is beautiful nonetheless! Great post!

  7. If you reach the top of the Chinese trail you get free food from the shop on top the mountain…look up more pictures…the trail is insane that’s why you get the free food…it’s an if you make it to the top

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