Ha Long Bay has been listed among top 50 natural wonders in the world by CNN Travel.
According to CNN’s Travel, Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam has thousands of small islands and standing stacks, or karsts, overgrown with green shrubbery, protrude from Halong Bay, a peaceful bay.
The popular way to explore is in a traditional Chinese trading ship — the brown-paneled sails of the junks have become as much a part of the landscape as the towering rocks.
Most visitors to Halong Bay come via Hanoi — 170 kilometers away, or five to six hours on a public bus. Private cars can be hired. Even rented helicopters make the journey.
Some of other places in the list include Pulpit Rock, Preikestolen, Norway; Gran Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia; Ngorogoro Crater, Tanzania; Paria Canyon, Arizona, United States; Volcanic eruptions at Stromboli, Italy; Mud volcanoes of Gobustan, Azerbaijan; Jeita Grotto, Nahr al-Kalb Valley, Lebanon; Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail, Wales; Pangong Tso Lake, India-China.
PULPIT ROCK, PREIKESTOLEN, NORWAY
With a 604-meter drop from a flat plateau down to Lysefjord with no safety railings, this is not a place for vertigo sufferers.
Keep well back from the edge and you can still enjoy the fantastic scenery over Kjerag peak, which itself drops 984 meters.
Preikestolen is south of Jorpeland. From the designated car park it’s a 90-minute hike to the viewpoint.
GRAN SALAR DE UYUNI, BOLIVIA
The Gran Salar de Uyuni in southern Bolivia takes in more than 10 square kilometers of salt. It feels more like a desert than a lake.
The flat, white landscape causes optical illusions and reflects colors. There’s even a hotel made almost entirely of salt and an island where giant cacti grow in the middle of the salt lake.
Gran Salar de Uyuni is 533 kilometers south of La Paz and 200 kilometers southwest of Potosi.
GOROGORO CRATER, TANZANIA
The Ngorogoro Crater is Africa’s Eden. Created when a huge volcano exploded 2-3 million years ago, the 300 square kilometer caldera now offers the best chances of seeing Africa’s wild animals.
Lions, rhino, leopards, elephant and buffalo are the “big five” present among around 25,000 animals, and nearly every species present in East Africa, which call the area home.
Besides that, the crater itself offers dramatic vistas, especially at sunrise.
From Kilimanjaro International Airport you can fly or drive the 55 kilometers to Arusha, from where you can organize tours and accommodation inside and outside the crater.
PARIA CANYNON, ARIZONA, UNITED STATES
The Paria River in northern Arizona carved its own smaller version of the Grand Canyon. Some of the rock formations, including The Wave, are just as spectacular.
Visitors need a permit from the Bureau of Land Management — the permit for an overnight trek comes with a “human waste bag,” so if you want to visit this natural wonder, you’ll have to prepare to pack your waste.
The Paria Contact Station is 69 kilometers east of Kanab. You can hire a guide through the Bureau of Land Management.
VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS AT STROMBOLI, ITALY
Part of the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily, Stromboli is a small volcanic island with several hundred brave inhabitants.
Unlike most volcanoes, Stromboli’s is constantly spewing lava fountains, gas and ash. Fascinating for volcanologists, but also great for day-trippers who fancy seeing live lava action.
For natural fireworks, take a boat trip around the island at night. Arrange boat tours from harbors on the north coast of Sicily (Messina, Cefalu, Palermo).
MUD VOLCANOES OF GOBUSTAN, AZERBAIJAN
Mud lovers trek to Gobustan’s strangely Martian landscape, 65 kilometers south of Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, where thick gray mud regularly spews from small volcanoes.
The mud is thought to have medicinal qualities, so don’t be surprised if you see people stripping down and lathering themselves in the goo. Look out for the area’s Roman inscriptions and the petroglyphic rock art.
About 70 kilometers west of Baku.
JEITA GROTTO, NAHR AL-KALB, LEBANON
Eighteen kilometers northeast of Beirut, Jeita Grotto is comprised of underground limestone caves were inhabited in prehistoric times and continue to attract human visitors with their vivid colors and stalactite formations. The biggest stalactite in the world is here.
The caves consist of a network of chambers — with an upper and a lower gallery — stretching out for nine kilometers and accessible by an underground river.
The nearest town is Juniyah, just a few kilometers away. Cave tours last two hours.
PEMBROKESSHIRE COAST PATH NATIONAL TRAIL, WALES
This path twists 300 kilometers from St. Dogmaels to Amroth in southwest Wales. It’s often wet and windy, but if you strike lucky on a sunny day this is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Scented gorse and crimson heather brighten the way.
Paths are signposted — join the path on the coast between St. Dogmaels and Amroth. Details on guided walks and activities can be found on the National Trails website — including self-guided walks with baggage transfer.
PANGONG TSO LAKE, INDIA-CHINA
This saltwater lake deep in the Himalayas at an altitude of 4,350 meters lies astride a disputed border area between India and China-governed Tibet.
Don’t let that put you off — the rarefied air make the colors and clarity of the lake intense.
Pangong Tso is reached by a mountain road from the Indian town of Leh, but you’ll need to get a permit via a registered tour guide.
Get to Leh by road from Jammu, or by plane from Delhi. At Leh arrange a permit and travel by road 4-5 hours to the lake. Permits and tour guides can be arranged through reputable travel agents such as Kuoni.
Wanderlust Tips | Cinet