World’s Most Unearthly Landscapes

Posted on September 5, 2011 by

Eerie, dramatic and enigmatic: certain landscapes on Earth can be so unworldly, they’re reminscent of scenes from outer space. Many of these hotspots have been sculpted by the hands of Mother Nature, moulded into intriguing destinations that have captivated the imagination of modern-day travelers. While space travel still seems to be a far stretch for average travelers, why not check out these mind-blowing outer space destinations for now.

Cappadocia, Turkey

An expanse of sandy brown plateau topped by cascading cliffs, Cappadocia in Central Turkey features whimsical fairy chimneys, bizarre cave churches and maze-like underground cities. There are various ways to see it: on a hot-air balloon, on a jeep or by foot (the area has excellent hiking trails and open-air museums). Although its extraordinary landscape is now dominated by lavish cave hotels and restaurants, it remains a rather unique yet accessible place to visit. 

Click for more of my Cappadocia photos.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Spanning across an area of 13,000 square kilometres, the dazzlingly white Uyuni Salt Flats resemble landscapes from the Moon. The shimmering salt fields are so clear they reflect the sky in perfect symmetry. In the immensity of the desert, it’s easy to fantasize about space travel, or even aspire to visit the Moon someday.

Click for more of my Salar de Uyuni photos.

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Affectionately known as the Valley of the Moon, Wadi Rum is a rose-red desert, sprinkled with jagged peaks in Southern Jordan. As the backdrop of various epic films, the desert has long drawn on the imagination of curious travelers. Camping in the Wadi Rum desert is definitely an amazing experience – picture sliding down sand dunes, watching sunset over the cliffs then sleeping under the stars by night.

 Click for more of my Wadi Rum photos

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

A volcanic island by nature, Lanzarote features bizarre lunar landscapes dotted with lime-green lagoons, craggy underground volcanic tunnels and massive fields of tar-like volcanic ashes (as a result of previous eruptions). It’s a place unlike no other, and you’d least expect to see such extraordinary terrain on a holidaymaker’s playground. Here, you’ll also see contemporary art weaved magically into nature – a result of Cesar Manrique’s contribution.

 Click for more of my Lanzarote photos

Tsingy de Bemahara, Madagascar

Climb above the canopies and sharp rock cliffs of the Tsingy de Bemahara in Western Madagascar and enter the world of outer space as imagined by the Flintstones. Tsingy forests feature sharp, grey rock karsts that poke vertically into the skies; some growing as tall as 200m. Formed millions of years ago by tectonic plate movements, these rock karsts were believed to form the ocean bed. In the Tsingy de Bemahara, harnessed climbing is only possible with a local guide.

Click for more of my Tsingy de Bemahara photos.

White Desert, Egypt

Get spooked by the vast whiteness of the Sahara el Beyda, where oddly-shaped chalk rock formations are strewn randomly throughout the desert amidst brown sand. Found in the Farafra Depression in Western Egypt, this desert is blanketed in a off-white, cream color, thanks to the result of occasional sandstone in the area. Camp out in the White Desert under the stars, sipping tea while listening to Bedouin tales – the magical setting will stir your imagination.

 Click for more of my White Desert photos

Socotra Island, Yemen

As one of the most isolated islands in the world, Socotra is rightfully home to some peculiar lifeforms and habitats. A combination of the long geological isolation of the Socotra archipelago and its fierce heat and drought have created a unique and spectacular endemic flora. Over a third of the lifeform found here are exclusive to the island, including the striking dragon’s blood tree – an obscure umbrella-shaped tree with red sap.

Photo by Boris Khvostichenko from Wikipedia Creative Commons.

Been to any other unworldy sites? Charm us with more space-like destinations!

Comments

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the co-founder of WildJunket. As a professional travel writer with a special interest in offgrid destinations and adventure travel, she scours through the world in search for a slice of undiscovered paradise. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, swam with sealions in the Galapagos and built a school in Tanzania.

27 Responses to “World’s Most Unearthly Landscapes”

  1. Abhijit September 6, 2011 4:42 am #

    Great post Nellie! I love looking at these impressive and mindblowing landscapes!

    Another place, I would recommend, is Ladakh (India). After looking at your post, I just wrote a post about the landscape of Ladakh here: http://idrinkmyteasweet.com/2011/09/05/unusual-is:)

    • Nellie September 6, 2011 3:34 pm #

      hey Abhijit, thanks to the recommendation! I'd almost went to Ladakh last year when I was in India, but due to the flashflood, I had to change my plans. Such a pity! It looks really amazing.

  2. Panete September 6, 2011 2:38 pm #

    Wow, Wadi Rum really looks like the surface of Mars!

  3. Nancy $ Shawn Power September 6, 2011 6:22 pm #

    Incredible Mother nature is for sure… and now much more appreciated because of your pictures.

    Thank you!

    Nancy & Shawn

  4. Mark Levine September 6, 2011 8:37 pm #

    No need to travel as far from the US or UK for otherworldly places. Try Bryce Canyon and Rannoch Moor.

    • Nellie October 17, 2011 5:45 pm #

      True enough, I've been wanting to go to Bryce Canyon for a while now. Tell us more about Rannoch Moor!

  5. Renner September 6, 2011 10:05 pm #

    Another incredible Place is the Crates of the Moon in Idaho, US. It really look like you are in the surface of the moon!! But about Wadi Rum I have to agree, spending a night under the stars there was one of my greatest experiences !!

  6. Maria @latinAbroad September 15, 2011 1:16 am #

    Tough t o choose ONE – I want them all!! personally been to the White Desert in Egypt and WOW, it is like walking on the MOON! =D

  7. Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad September 15, 2011 2:38 pm #

    I totally agree that Salar de Uyuni is really a surreal place. And I've definitely added Socotra Island on the list of places I want to go see.

    Some three moths ago I went to New Zealand and to Rotorua, that is also a fairly bizzare landscape there with steaming lakes, bubbling mud pools and neon green ponds. You can see a few photos from there on my blog http://www.arcticnomad.com/2011/06/18/the-geother:)

  8. Aisleen September 16, 2011 5:55 pm #

    I loved Cappadocia – fascinating place! Haven't been to many of the others on here – but one place I would say also looks like the surface of the moon is the 'Sea of Sand' aka Bromo-Tengger Semeru National Park in Indonesia (Java). It's a huge volcanic caldera and very unusual landscape! http://lifesgreatadventures.com/wp-content/galler

    I'd also agree with Jarmo above – Rotorua is like another planet!!

  9. Aisleen September 16, 2011 5:55 pm #

    I loved Cappadocia – fascinating place! Haven't been to many of the others on here – but one place I would say also looks like the surface of the moon is the 'Sea of Sand' aka Bromo-Tengger Semeru National Park in Indonesia (Java). It's a huge volcanic caldera and very unusual landscape! http://lifesgreatadventures.com/wp-content/galler

    I'd also agree with Jarmo above – Rotorua is like another planet!!

  10. Aisleen September 16, 2011 5:55 pm #

    I loved Cappadocia – fascinating place! Haven't been to many of the others on here – but one place I would say also looks like the surface of the moon is the 'Sea of Sand' aka Bromo-Tengger Semeru National Park in Indonesia (Java). It's a huge volcanic caldera and very unusual landscape! http://lifesgreatadventures.com/wp-content/galler

    I'd also agree with Jarmo above – Rotorua is like another planet!!

  11. Aisleen September 16, 2011 5:55 pm #

    I loved Cappadocia – fascinating place! Haven't been to many of the others on here – but one place I would say also looks like the surface of the moon is the 'Sea of Sand' aka Bromo-Tengger Semeru National Park in Indonesia (Java). It's a huge volcanic caldera and very unusual landscape! http://lifesgreatadventures.com/wp-content/galler

    I'd also agree with Jarmo above – Rotorua is like another planet!!

  12. Aisleen September 16, 2011 5:55 pm #

    I loved Cappadocia – fascinating place! Haven't been to many of the others on here – but one place I would say also looks like the surface of the moon is the 'Sea of Sand' aka Bromo-Tengger Semeru National Park in Indonesia (Java). It's a huge volcanic caldera and very unusual landscape! http://lifesgreatadventures.com/wp-content/galler

    I'd also agree with Jarmo above – Rotorua is like another planet!!

  13. Aisleen September 16, 2011 5:55 pm #

    I loved Cappadocia – fascinating place! Haven't been to many of the others on here – but one place I would say also looks like the surface of the moon is the 'Sea of Sand' aka Bromo-Tengger Semeru National Park in Indonesia (Java). It's a huge volcanic caldera and very unusual landscape! http://lifesgreatadventures.com/wp-content/galler

    I'd also agree with Jarmo above – Rotorua is like another planet!!

  14. Aisleen September 16, 2011 4:55 am #

    I loved Cappadocia – fascinating place! Haven't been to many of the others on here – but one place I would say also looks like the surface of the moon is the 'Sea of Sand' aka Bromo-Tengger Semeru National Park in Indonesia (Java). It's a huge volcanic caldera and very unusual landscape! http://lifesgreatadventures.com/wp-content/galler

    I'd also agree with Jarmo above – Rotorua is like another planet!!

  15. Angela September 18, 2011 5:46 pm #

    Wonderful landscapes, I'm dying to go to Yemen!

  16. 50+ and on the Run November 27, 2011 6:27 am #

    Also incredible are the Badlands in South Dakota–feels like you are on another planet.

  17. sarah January 3, 2012 3:42 am #

    Love the blog, stunning photos and inspirational! How about Antarctica for your next unearthly destination?? I was involved in oceanographic research down south went to Antarctica and South Georgia, witnessed some amazing landscapes and out of this world icebergs! http://www.wherethewildthingsgo.com/2011/09/antar

  18. Massoud January 6, 2012 1:03 am #

    Bryce Canyon, Utah should be on the list of most unearthly place.

  19. Feroz June 22, 2012 9:31 am #

    Nice post Nellie
    Looks as though the White desert pic has some sensor dust though

    • Nellie June 22, 2012 11:00 pm #

      hey Feroz, thanks for the comment. Yes the white desert photo was taken awhile back – when we didn\’t have the appropriate equipment. Our photography has improved alot since – check out our latest posts to see the difference! :)

      • Augusma November 21, 2012 2:27 am #

        kai Posted on Hey Chris, Being outside the feneilg of flow is a great way to describe it. Checking in with your flow is a great way to know when it’s time to take a break.Thanks for stopping by.

  20. outlet December 11, 2012 11:36 pm #

    XLNT Video. I proclivity the 8-bit Video Fake mosaics. Lego is another extraordinary ordinary with a view this type of art. Fianc‚e the music as well. Whats the call of the band??Regards, JoeCheck up on my site as accurately

  21. www.expo-fiera.it April 21, 2013 10:19 am #

    Great read. I found your website from a google search, and was glad i did. The details has helped me immensely.

  22. paket wisata bromo October 7, 2013 12:45 pm #

    Yup, Bromo is one of wonderfull place in Java

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  1. Unusual is an understatement: Unearthly landscapes of Ladakh | I Drink My Tea Sweet - September 6, 2011

    [...] of Wild Junket recently wrote a post about World’s most unearthly landscapes. As I read through the post, I was itching to see if there was mention of any places from India. [...]

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