In a world where all-inclusive holidays can now be booked from a click on your mouse, it can hard to remember what it truly is to ‘see the world’. Regrettably, the temptation to choose an ocean of sun loungers and mountainous theme parks now often takes priority over the waters and sights that have been on this planet for hundreds- or even millions- of years!
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the list of the world’s natural features really could go on forever! As we speak, our planet is changing to expose and create hundreds of new sights that could etch a moment in our memories. Ranging from infamous to obscure- here are the top 10 that should be on every backpacker’s bucket list…
1. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland
Photo Credit: pixabay | adriankirby
At 60 meters, it is not the height or breadth of this waterfall that makes it the only of its kind in the world. The true beauty of Seljalandsfoss is the fact that it is possible to walk behind it!
2. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Philippines
Photo Credit: Flickr | paweesit
Rated by ‘New 7Wonders of Nature’ as one of the seven wonders of the world, this underground river boasts an abundance of spectacular rock formations and notably contains a full mountain to sea ecosystem which provides a significant habitat for wildlife conservation.
3. Tah Prohm (Strangling trees of Angkor Wat), Cambodia
Photo Credit: Flickr | shankar s.
While Ta Prohm is the modern name of a temple built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the natural phenomenon that grows over it is what has made it a true landmark in Cambodia. Fig, banyan and kapok trees have spread their colossal roots over the stones, creating a stunning fusion of history and nature.
4. The valley of Geysers, Kamchatka, Russia
Photo Credit: Flickr | Robert Nunn
With the second largest concentration of geysers in the world, the valley of geysers is well worth the helicopter ride it takes to visit them!
5. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Photo Credit: Flickr | audrey_sel
With its name directly translating as ‘descending dragons’, this bay also features in many lists of the seven wonders of the world. Known for its jade tinted waters and thousands of immense limestone islands topped by rainforests, Ha Long Bay is the perfect environment for scuba diving, climbing and hiking.
6. Giant’s causeway, Ireland
Phot Credit: Flickr | Tony Bowden
Rich with Irish heritage and surrounded by scenic coastline, the Giant’s causeway is an extensive interlocking area of about 40,000 basalt columns. According to Irish legend, this natural monument was built by the giant Fionn mac Cumhaill.
7. Kampung Kuantan Firefly Park, Malaysia
Photo Credit: Flickr | mutolisp
A trip to Malaysia would simply be incomplete without riding down the Selangor River to experience the plethora of fireflies that naturally accumulate around the river’s banks to feed on its mangroves.
8. Serengeti, Tanzania
Photo Credit: Flickr | Marc Veraart
Covering 14,750 square kilometers of grassland plains, riverine forest, savanna and woodlands, the Serengeti offers the opportunity to see nearly 600 mammal and bird species thriving in a vast and diverse ecosystem.
9. Milford Sound, New Zealand
Photo Credit: Flickr | Bernard Spragg. NZ
With towering cliffs rising vertically out of a dark glacial fjord, Milford sound can be explored by foot, kayak or even diving- allowing the chance to experience unique marine life, spectacular landscapes and awe-inspiring glacial features.
10. Mount Sinai, Egypt
Photo Credit: Flickr | alljengi
Mount Sinai is a feature rich with biblical links. Watching the sun rise from the top of this mountain is an experience reputed as one of the most monumental in a traveller’s career.
While barely scratching the surface, this list should give you plenty to be going on with for now. Stunning landscapes and the memories they create are one of the true desires of backpackers and these 10 provide just that.