It’s day 43,012 of lockdown. It’s cold and miserable outside. To be frank, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably stuck indoors longing for sunshine and sea air. Dreaming of a sunset view, Pina Colada in hand with the sand between your toes…! Well, I might not be able to whisk you away to some secluded South Asian Island, but I can show you some of the world’s most fascinating places – albeit virtually.
Ready? Let’s go
First stop on our journey around the world is Wat Bang Kung
Wat Bang Kung is a place steeped in folklore and mystery. Engulfed by the roots and branches of large Banyan trees over the course of centuries, the ancient site is the perfect place to cherish the beauty of nature and spiritualism.
The historic significance of the shrouded temple and its ethereal natural surroundings alongside the western bank of the Mae Khlong river in Amphawa district are often not fully known.
Inside the temple lies the iconic golden Nila Manee Buddha Statue, which is a popular place of worship for locals. If you do ever decide to visit the sanctuary, don’t forget to gild the gold leaf on the statue for good luck.
Next up is a trip to see the S.S. Adelaide
Just off the shores of Australia lies a sunken steamship that’s been well and truly reclaimed by mother nature. Cloaked in mangrove trees, the 19th Century wreck now looks more like a piece of art, but is in actual fact the remains of the S.S. Adelaide.
Launched from Glasgow, Scotland in the 1860’s, the S.S. Adelaide started out as a passenger steamship. The vessel was later converted to a barque for use as a cargo transport and was in operation for over 50 years. In 1912 the vessel was gutted by fire, and in 1916 the burnt hulk was run aground in Cockle Bay, Magnetic Island, Australia where it still rests to this day.
Moving on let’s stop off at the Marble Caves of Patagonia
One of the most magnificent, natural wonders of the world, the marble Caves of Patagonia are over 6200 years old. They’re made up of enormous marble deposits, which have been worn away by the water of General Carrerra Lake.
The caves are only accessible by boat or kayak, but they’re definitely worth the effort.
Now, let’s take you to the Outback’s hidden city – Coober Pedy
Deep in the South Australian outback lies one of the strangest settlements on earth – Coober Pedy meaning “white fella’s hole in the ground”. It’s a horribly remote, fiercely hot place that looks as if it’s straight out of a film, but that’s part of what makes it so very interesting.
Temperatures in the shade can reach a sweltering 113 degrees in the shade, so it’s no surprise that most of its inhabitants choose to live below ground.
Today, the subterranean community includes underground museums like the Umoona Opal Mine & Museum and churches like the Serbian Orthodox Church, whose sandstone walls are decorated with intricate carvings of saints. Many of the local watering holes and half of the Desert Cave Hotel’s rooms also sit underground, letting guests experience the strange peace of life beneath the surface.
Fancy a dip in the hot springs in Pamukkale?
Tucked away in a town in western Turkey is Pamukkale – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Made up of snow-white travertine terraces and warm limpid pools, it is one of the most spectacular places on earth the visit.
Founded as a thermal spa in 190 BC by Eumenes, people have flocked to the otherworldly site to marvel at the desert glacier for nearly two millennia! WOAH!
Let’s head back to South America to see the Nazca Lines in Peru
The Nazca Lines make up another UNESCO World Heritage Site and are situated in the soil of the Nazca Desert. They form a collection of gigantic geoglyphs, which are estimated to be around 2000 years old.
The Nazca people’s geoglyphs depict various plants, animals and shapes including a spider, hummingbird, cactus plant, monkey, whale, llama, duck, flower, tree, lizard and dog and can only be fully appreciated by air, given their enormous scale. Despite being studied for nearly a century, they’re still a mystery to researchers, anthropologists and academics.
Last stop, Cat Island, Japan
Last up on our adventure is Cat Island, Japan. A short ferry ride from Japan’s east coast lies Tashirojima, which is inhabited by just 100 humans, who are greatly outnumbered by, you guessed it, cats!
It’s believed that the cats were first introduced to deter mice from destroying the island’s silkworms and are now cared for and worshipped by the island’s human residents.
As well as deterring pests, the cats are also believed to bring the local fishermen good luck. So much so that there’s now a small, cat-sized shrine on the island (Nekokamisama).
We hope you enjoyed the trip
There’s no doubt that the world is a weird (and wonderful) place. From magical temples to a Japanese island ruled by cats, we hope we’ve inspired you to seek out new adventures and when we’re finally able to, enjoy everything our amazing planet has to see.
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