This Southeast Asia destination is a stunner. Ha Long Bay is located off the coast of northern Vietnam, near its border with China. An extremely popular tourist attraction, the bay is made up of over 1600 thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes, which many travelers liken to the landscape of "Avatar." The greenery-covered karsts set in emerald waters makes for a beautiful scene that's best experienced on a group boat tour or via a sea plane excursion.
Located in central Turkey, Cappadocia is a region known for its "fairy chimneys," which are towering rock formations created by volcanic eruptions and erosion. During the Roman period, persecuted Christians fled to Cappadocia and began building a network of housing and public spaces like churches into the soft rock. Today, visitors often take advantage of the region in two ways: by spending a night in one of the many cave hotels, and by taking a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the dreamy landscape.
Northern Lights, Iceland
While the Blue Lagoon and numerous waterfalls are a major lure to Iceland, it's the country's designation as one of the top places in the world to see the Northern Lights that earns it a spot on this list. The Northern Lights (aurora borealis) are bright dancing lights created from collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere and charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. Iceland's high latitude allows for stellar views of the lights, primarily between the months of September through March, when night's are longest.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
Located in southeastern China, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is also reminiscent of the movie "Avatar," due to its quartz-sandstone formations that jut into the air - made even more ethereal when fog rolls through the pillars. More than 3000 quartzite-sandstone pillars and peaks dominate the landscape, and the park was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. One of the pillars, the 3,540-foot Southern Sky Column, was officially renamed "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain," and it's reportedly the most popular sight within the park.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
The 73,000-acre Plitvice Lakes National Park is a well-known park in Croatia, located close to the country's border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. It's most famous for its 16 lakes - some with beautiful emerald-green and turquoise waters - that are interconnected by a series of waterfalls. Swimming is not permitted in the lakes, but visitors can hike, walk along the boardwalks, or take a boat between sections. Don't miss the Veliki Slap, which at 256 feet, is the tallest waterfall in Croatia.
Waimea Canyon, Hawaii
Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is a large canyon located on the western side of the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The canyon is a whopping 10 miles long, one mile wide, and 3,600 feet deep. Visitors can opt to do a strenuous hike down into the canyon, or make their way to several lookout points dotted around the rim of the canyon for pretty views. Travelers looking to see this Jurassic Park-like landscape from above can also book a helicopter tour that combines Waimea Canyon and the Napali Coast.
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