No matter how old it gets, it’s hard to scrub the word YOLO (You Only Live Once) off anything related to travel.
It’s likely because it’s the most apt term that captures that realization when you’re surrounded by a beautiful landscape, the vast sprawl of creation. Here are a few more places to add to that ultimate travel bucket list –they’re not exactly cheap nor befitting for a weekend escape, but if you’re gonna dream, go all out.
Because, hey, you only live once (or, at least, as far as we know).
Vietnam: Son Doong Cave
Located in the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in the Quang Binh province of Central Vietnam lies the world’s largest cave that was originally discovered in 1991, re-discovered by the British Cave Research Association in 2009, and made open to the public only in 2013. How massive is it exactly? Well, a 747 can fly through its largest cavern, and some sections can contain a whole New York block–complete with forty-story skyscrapers.
Tours for the public have just been made available this year via Oxalis Adventure Tours at around 3,000 USD–not exactly cheap, but that covers five days and four nights of spelunking to see rare species and otherworldly subterranean landscapes comparable to Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Belize: The Great Blue Hole
This jewel off the coast of Belize is named such because that’s exactly what you’ll see if you fly near the center of the Lighthouse Reef: a submarine sinkhole so prominent, it can be seen from space. The great explorer Jacques Cousteau named it one of his top ten diving destinations, but if scuba diving isn’t your thing you can also admire it from a flyby or even skydive right into it.
China: Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge
The Zhangjiaje National Forest Park in northern Hunan province is known for a couple of things: its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list as one of the parks in the Wulingyan Scenic Area, its imposing pillar-like formations all over and its famed “Heaven’s Door Mountain.” What’s been creating the most buzz though is the recently completed glass bridge, now named as the world’s longest and highest. The best part is you can’t just walk on it, you can go bungee-jumping or zip lining from it too.
Chile: Atacama Desert
Chile’s Atacama is the driest place on Earth (aside from the poles), and consequently blessed with extremely clear night skies. It is renowned as the best place for astro-tourism, being home to the revolutionary Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre (ALMA) observatory–the largest one in the world that can capture stars and galaxies from billions of lightyears away. While tours at the ALMA aren’t available at night (since it’s a radio, not an optical telescope), starry-eyed gazers can still get the best view of the skies with or without a telescope in these parts on moonless nights during October to November and March to April.
Venezuela: Angel Falls
Parakupá Vená meaning “the fall from the highest point” or Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall in the Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can marvel at this beauty if you manage to join a group that takes you to the Cainama camp and through the base river trip that leads to the foot of the falls. If it looks familiar, that’s probably because it was used as the inspiration behind Paradise Falls in Up.
Australia: Ayers Rock
Uluru or Ayers Rock might not be the first vacation destination that would come to mind if someone said “Australia,” but it IS one of Australia’s most prominent landmarks. This sandstone formation is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara Anangu, the Aboriginal people of this area abundant with sacred ancient petroglyphs, geysers, springs and rock caves. If you love rock formations, or if you’re looking for a wildly different outdoor dining experience, Ayers Rock makes a breathtaking backdrop.
Do you have any other gorgeous landscapes or landmarks worthy of YOLO travel? Tell us below!