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Lencois Maranhenses national park by MMPOP

Inspiring otherworldly landscapes

Tucked away in the relatively remote corners of the world, or situated near famous mountains are gorgeous natural wonders and national parks that inspires not just us travellers, but also the filmmaking wizards of Hollywood.

Inspire Me

Tucked away in the relatively remote corners of the world, or situated near famous mountains are gorgeous natural wonders and national parks that inspires not just us travellers, but also the filmmaking wizards of Hollywood.

BLUE LAGOON : BRAZIL

Freshwater collects in the valleys between sand dunes, forming pools of turquoise, green and blue lagoons amidst desert-like sand in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in north-eastern Brazil. The landscape has been featured in several films such as The House of Sand and most recently, the planet Vormir in Avengers: Infinity War. One of the best ways to get to the park is a stay in Barreirinhas, which has better amenities and a wider range of hotels. Tour the area in 4x4s or on horseback for the more adventurous amongst us, and be sure to stay for the gorgeous sunsets. The best time to visit is from June to September. Photograph by Ksenia Ragozina

SPECTACULAR COLUMNS: CHINA

Southern Sky Column
Southern Sky Column

For scenery that is unexpected and rather out of this world, travel to China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park’s Southern Sky Column. This mountain range greatly inspired the scenery in Avatar, and the Southern Sky Column has even been officially renamed the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. The UNESCO global geopark sits in the Hunan province and is part of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area. Take in a panoramic view of the canyons from the world’s tallest outdoor lift, and the longest and highest pedestrian glass bridge in the world—the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge. Not for the faint of heart. Photograph by Erwin Hsu

FORESTED HIDEAWAY: CHINA

Wulong Karst
Wulong Karst

Famed for being one of the filming locations for the Transformers: Age of Extinction—and now housesmodels of the famous robots like Bumblebee for travellers to take pictures of—Wulong Karst is located within Wulong County in Chongqing, China, and is part of the South China Karst, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A trip there will also include walking on the three limestone bridges—Tianlong, Qinlong and Heilong, which have an average height and span of 200m, and make up Asia’s largest natural bridge cluster. We recommend either joining a luxury tour there or renting a private car for the day. Photograph by Sienny Wahono

MULTI-COLOURED SPLENDOUR : CHINA

The multi-coloured landforms that make up Zhangye Danxia, in Zhangye National Geopark, China, have been created by the deposits of sandstone and other minerals over the course of some 20-odd million years and sculpted by the elements. The picturesque rocks in multihued blues and crimsons are  somewhat inaccessible and a tour might also include viewing China’s largest reclining Buddha at the Giant Buddha Temple, as well as viewing an important Ming Dynasty fortress. While at the national park, survey the landforms from four viewing platforms; the fourth on a ridge running from east to west is  a great vantage point from which to photograph the sunrise orsunset. Photograph by Thesanetravel

UNDERGROUND EXPLORATIONS : VIETNAM

The largest cave passage in the world gained international renown after Howard Limbert, a caver from the British Cave Research Association, surveyed it in April 2009. The Son Doong cave, in Phong Nha-Ke Bàng National Park, Vietnam is about 9km long, and contains some of the tallest stalagmites in the  world, up to 70m tall. Son Doong is also home to a large jungle, and a passageway leading to 300 million-year-old fossils. Just over 224 visitors are allowed per year, so prior reservations and enquiries are a must. Photograph by Aleksandra H. Kossowska

AQUAMARINE NATURAL WONDER : CHINA

Multi-coloured Ponds by suronin
Multi-coloured Ponds by suronin

In the northwest part of Sichuan, China, lies the UNESCO World Heritage site, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon), located 3,000m above sea level. Huanglong Valley, in particular, is famed for its colorful pools—ranging from blue, green, yellow and brown—that have been created by calcite deposits. The travertine is 3.6km long, and the main body of water begins from the ancient Buddhist/Benbo temple at the peak of the valley, and ends at the Guests Welcome Pond. For the best view of all the pools, ride the chairlift up to the top of the Huanglong scenic area. Other glorious sites here include hot  springs, waterfalls, and endangered wildlife like the Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys and the Giant Panda. Photograph by Suronin  ◼

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© This article was first published in Aug-Sept 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.

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