Yes, These 10 Places Really Do Exist

From airplane graveyards to ancient monasteries, open your eyes to more of the world’s wonders.
By Josh Sampiero

The world is full of amazing places. But since they're not all so easy to get to, we rounded up some pics of a few spots that caught our eye – some of them natural, some man-made, and all of them awesome.

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Make sure you see our first collection – 12 incredible places to set your travel compass – but wait until you scroll down to check out an airplane graveyard, the world's tallest uninterrupted waterfall, and the door to hell that's been on fire for nearly 40 years.

The Airplane Graveyard, Arizona, USA

 

Decommissioned Boeing B-52 bombers parking at an airplane graveyard in Arizona, USA.
Airplane graveyard, Arizona © Getty Images

Where do airplanes go to die? Here. Decommissioned Boeing B-52 bombers span their wings across the sand in Arizona, in southwest USA. There are over 5,000 sitting in the 'boneyard'.

Why Arizona? The dry desert air slows the decomposition of the planes – but somehow, we think it's highly unlikely any of these birds will ever fly again.

Shiprock, New Mexico

The impressive Shiprock Landform seen from above.
Sail to Shiprock, New Mexico © Getty Images/Universal Images Group

Standing 500m (1,640 feet) above the New Mexico desert, Shiprock was a cultural centerpiece of the Native American Navajo community (and is still governed by the Navajo Nation). While it may look like a ship sailing across the desert, 'Shiprock' is also the name of the nearest town, about 17km (10.5 miles) away.

It's been featured in numerous movies and novels, and remains a point of interest for rock climbers – and naturally photographers.

Tiger's Nest Temple, Bhutan

Taktsang temple complex located upper the Paro Valley in Bhutan.
Bhutan's temple of the Tiger's Nest © Getty Images

400 years old and 3,000m (9,800 feet) high, the Taktsang temple complex in Bhutan is located around a series of natural caves held sacred by the Buddhist religion.

Properly named 'Paro Taktsang', the monastery is sited at the spot where the Guru Padmasambhava (who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan) is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the eighth century.

Door to Hell, Turkmenistan

Pleaple watching the Door to Hell in Turkmenistan.
Door to Hell, Turkmenistan © Getty Images/Flickr RF

The Door to Hell is a man-made fire – sort of. The site of a natural gas reserve in Turkmenistan, it was lit on fire by Russian engineers to burn excess gas back in the 70s.

It was expected to burn at most for a few weeks. It's been burning for nearly 40 years. The hole is 70m (230 feet) wide, and in the centre boiling mud and flames can be seen. Will it take you all the way to hell? We're not sure, but if you stand too close, there's a good chance you'll get to find out.

The Champagne Pool, Waiotapu, New Zealand

Steam rising off a geo-thermal pool.
Geothermal sacred waters of Waiotapu © Getty Images/Flickr RF

It's where Maori warriors came to soothe their aching muscles and spirits. The famous Champagne Pool of Waiotapu in New Zealand forms part of a series of springs said to be sacred. It was formed 900 years ago (that's like yesterday in geological terms) during a hydrothermal eruption.

What gives it the unique colour? Metallic compounds present in the rock surrounding the pool. But the name comes from the constant bubbling thanks to the constant release of carbon dioxide (CO2 – just like a glass of bubbling champagne.)

The Great Blue Hole, Belize

Aerial view of the Blue Hole
The Great Blue Hole, Belize © Getty Images

While SCUBA divers can name numerous 'blue holes' this is one of the most iconic. The 'Great Blue Hole' is 124m (407 feet) deep and part of the famous Lighthouse Reef, 70km (43 miles) from mainland Belize.

Why is it so famous? The father of SCUBA, Jacques Costeau, called it one of the 'top 10 places to dive in the world' – and it's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's not the deepest though. For that, you'll need to head to Dean's Blue Hole, in the Bahamas, but it's unlikely you'll be able to appreciate its depth – it sinks to just over 200m (656 feet) – out of reach for all but the most extreme divers.

The Seven Giants, Siberia, Russia

Stefan Glowacz standing on top of a rock formation in Russia.
Stefan Glowacz stands on one of the Seven Giants © Klaus Fengler/Red Bull Content Pool

"The Seven Giants" jut out of the plains north of the Ural mountains deep in Siberia. The legend says they were originally soldiers in a race of giants on a mission to destroy the local Mansi people.

While remote (the average human needs a snowmobile or helicopter to get there) they are well known among Russians as one of the 'wonders of Russia'. The 30-40m (98-131 feet) peaks were considered unclimbable until Stefan Glowacz ascended one in the Red Bull 7 Giants project.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

A unique view from above on the Angel Falls.
Long way down © Airpano.com

Angel Falls in Venezuela is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world – cascading down from nearly 1,000m (3,280 feet) above Auyantepui mountain in the Canaima National Park. You may know it from the Pixar movie 'UP', even though they called it 'Paradise Falls'.

Why is it called 'Angel Falls'? The first person to fly a plane over the site was American aviator Jimmie Angel. He even landed a plane above the falls, which sunk its wheels into the marshy land – and stayed there for 30 years.

Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria

Light comming through the damaged roof of an abandoned military base in Buzludzha, Bulgaria.
Abandoned Soviet monument in Bulgaria © rebeccalitchfield.com

No, this isn't the remains of Darth Vader's spaceship after a rebel attack. It's Buzludzha, an abandoned Soviet monument in Bulgaria, opened in 1981 that's fallen into ruin.

Murals of Soviet and Bulgarian history adorn the walls, but the roof, which was made of valuable copper, has been stripped off, leaving the inside exposed to the harsh winters. The picture above is of the massive central auditorium.

Split Apple Rock, New Zealand

Split Apple Rock in New Zealand © Chris Gin

Just off the coast of New Zealand lies a highly interesting geological absurdity – Split Apple Rock. It's in the Tasman Bay, and in shallow enough water that you can wade to it, making it a popular spot for tourists to visit.

So, meteorite from space? Bowling ball of the gods? How it got like that no one knows.

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