From snow monsters to incredible icebergs, here are some more mysterious places that the world has to offer. The planet just keeps on giving us beautiful places to feast our eyes upon, so how could we say no to another stunning line-up?
We’ve put together a selection of fascinating images – a mystical temple perched on a rock, a feature on the sand that dumbfounds scientists and the biggest Buddha in the world. If you like that, you’re sure to like our previous collections, 12 incredible places to set your travel compass and 10 places that really do exist.
See incredible snow monsters
Like a scene out of a movie, mammoth white snow monsters trudge across a mountain, with gondolas swinging precariously above. Such a magical scene can only belong to Japan.
Zao Onsen is a top ski resort, situated in the volcanic mountain range at Mount Zao. It also happens to be one of the only places in Japan to feature ‘snow monsters’ – or frozen trees if we are going to break the mystery.
Visit a temple in the ocean
Tanah Lot Temple
Sitting in a gorgeous bay, perched on a lush green island, Tanah Lot Temple makes for a spectacular view. Hopes of a mystical meaning for the word Tanah Lot can stop right here though, as it simply means “small island floating on the sea”.
If it looks a bit like a stage set, you might be closer than you think – one-third of the rock is artificial after the original began to crumble. It’s loved by tourists, but is also important for the Balinese, as one of their most important sea temples.
Visit a tabletop ‘tepui’
Mount Roraima, Guyana
If you’re looking for a lost world, then Mount Roraima is right up your street. Visitors can marvel at huge waterfalls, maze-like stone pinnacles, crystal-covered valleys and quite wild vegetation.
From the air, it is possible to see the unusual flat top of the mountain, locally known as Tepui – meaning “house of the gods”.
It was shrouded in mystery amongst the native Pemon, who dared not venture to the summit in fear of reprisal from the gods, and strange creatures living in the clouds.
Want to see more of Mount Roraima? Check out climber Stefan Glowacz' expedition in this photogallery.
Take a dip in Turkey
The Travertine Pools, Pamukkale
It looks like it has been crafted out of cotton, or an icy haven – it is a true Turkish paradise. The cascading white terraces are of course not made from cotton, but not from ice either. They are formed when water from thermal springs, containing calcium carbonate, pours into the terraces.
Initially, they are very soft but eventually harden and are an inviting place for tourists to relax in the delightful 35.6ºC water. Bliss.
Say a prayer with the biggest Buddha
The Leshan Giant Buddha, China
You can never go wrong with a giant Buddha when it comes to mysterious places and the Leshan Giant Buddha is no exception. The huge statue looks over the confluence of three rivers – the Min, Qingyi and Dadu.
Work began on the statue in the year 713 and was not finished until 803 – taking more than 90 years to carve. All that work wasn’t for nothing – it’s still the biggest stone Buddha in the world! It stands around 71 metres tall and his fingers are three metres long.
Fly a balloon over a winter wonderland
Cappadocia, Turkey, in winter
A fairytale landscape that can only be described as an oddity – a geological one that is. The honeycomb-like structures are scattered over the Anatolian plains and are the result of some complicated natural wonders.
The tall structures are made of a soft stone so historically, local people began building cities underground, and inside them. Underground is just as fascinating as above in Cappadocia, as there is a maze of tunnels and rooms.
Pretend you’re James Bond in Japan
Hashima Island off Nagasaki, Japan
You know it from the Bond flick Skyfall. This now-uninhabited island 15km from Nagasaki, Japan, once housed workers who clocked in at underwater coalmines; when that industry disappeared in 1974, so did the population. In 2009, the spot opened to tourist day boats.
If you did want to pretend to b Bond, you’d have to avoid being noticed by the daily three-hour tours – but these same tours could provide medical evac, should you slip on broken glass shards, or fall from loose balconies or other hazards.
See terraforming in action
Volcanic island in the Ogasawara Chain, Japan
That little speck of brown on the right side of the picture? That's the island of Nishinoshima – but it's quickly being swallowed up by the volcanic eruption, which began in November, 2013. The newly-formed land mass now has an area of 1.58 square kilometers. Impressive? Only when you realise it's eight times the size it was before.
Walk through a forest of stone
Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar
Photographer Olivier Grunewald loves to travel to unique places – that's why he's been to Madagascar three separate times. This time it was to photograph the Tsingy de Bemaraha, or the Forest of Stone as it's sometimes known. It's a labryinth of sharp stone pinnacles and intertwining canyons and crevices.
Stay tuned to the Redbull.com Skate Channel to see upcoming four-wheeled adventure in Madagascar – where some of the world's skaters ditch the city to skate stone.
Visit a Tibetan temple
Key Gompa, Spiti, Tibet
This Tibetan Buddhist monastery rests nearly 4,200m above sea level near the Spiti River. Founded in the 11th century, it's been a home for monks ever since and was visited by the Dalai Lama during a millenial celebration in 2000. While it's still a function monastery, visitors are welcome – provided they're willing to deal with the 210km bus ride from Manali to Kali.