Reed Flute Cave – A Natural Lime Stone Cave in Guangxi

The Reed Flute Cave, also known as “the Palace of Natural Arts” is a landmark and tourist attraction in Guilin, Guangxi, China. It is a natural limestone cave with multicolored lighting and has been one of Guilin’s most interesting attractions for over 1200 years. It is over 180 million years old.

Now a popular destination for tourists and fans of lighting design alike, China’s Reed Flute Cave has evidence that the cave was a revered hideaway at least over a thousand years ago even though it was only rediscovered in the 1940s and it is now creatively lit to create a multi-colored subterranean wonderland.

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

The now-popular cave is named after the copious amounts of reeds that grow at the entrance to the site which is often collected to makes flutes and other small wind instruments; however, it was not this harvest that led to the discovery of the cave. It was actually discovered in modern times by a group of refugees who took refuge in the cave while fleeing Japanese forces during World War II. However, later explorers of the cave discovered ink writings on the stone that dated back to 792 CE, during the time of the Tang dynasty, proving that pilgrimages to the cave are nothing new.

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

The interior of the cave is a veritable show gallery of gorgeous geological formations. Created by millennia of water erosion on the soft limestone, the cave features stalactites, stalagmites, and tall columns of stone reaching from floor to ceiling. The walls also consist of rippling, eroded patterns which have dripped into the rock over centuries.

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

reed flute cafe

Today the Reed Flute Cave is dramatically lit by countless, multi-colored lights hidden in the cracks and crevices of the space. The effect is almost surreal as the lights turn the otherwise dark space into a strange mix of bright neon colors and rough natural erratics. It is quite the sight, practically ensuring that the cave will not be forgotten for another 1,000 years.

Original Source

Raja Ampat – The Maldives of Indonesia

Far from the view-blocking skyscrapers, dense and hectic concrete jungles, congested traffics, flickering electric billboards, endless annoying noises, and all the nuisances of modern cities, you will find a pristine paradise where Mother Nature and warm friendly people welcome you with all the exceptional wonders in Raja Ampat, the islands-regency in West Papua Province. With all the spectacular wonders above and beyond its waters, as well as on land and amidst the thick jungles, this is truly the place where words such as beautiful, enchanting, magnificent, and fascinating get its true physical meaning.

raja ampat dive lodge
raja ampat dive lodge
papua explorers resort raja ampat
papua explorers resort raja ampat
raja ampat dive lodge lobby
raja ampat dive lodge lobby
raja ampat dive lodge sorong
raja ampat dive lodge sorong

Located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province, Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau. The Raja Ampat archipelago is the part of Coral Triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth. Most of the archipelago is in the Southern Hemisphere, with a few small islands northwest of Waigeo such as Sajang Island in the Northern Hemisphere. Some of the islands are the northernmost parts of the Australian continent.

open trip raja ampat 4days night
open trip raja ampat 4days night
raja ampat dive lodge front office
raja ampat dive lodge front office
raja ampat dive lodge room double bed
raja ampat dive lodge room double bed
beautiful scenery of raja ampat at night
beautiful scenery of raja ampat at night

For underwater enthusiasts, Raja Ampat definitely offers the some of the world’s ultimate experience. The territory within the islands of the Four Kings is enormous, covering 9.8 million acres of land and sea, home to 540 types of corals, more than 1,000 types of coral fish and 700 types of mollusks. This makes it the most diverse living library for world’s coral reef and underwater biota.

diving at misool eco resort raja ampat west papua indonesia
diving at misool eco resort raja ampat west papua indonesia
diving misool raja ampat
diving misool raja ampat
tropical fish raja ampat archipelago
tropical fish raja ampat archipelago

According to a report developed by The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International, around 75% of the world’s species live here! Raja Ampat’s sheer numbers and diversity of marine life and its huge pristine coral reef systems are a scuba dream come true – and a fantastic site for snorkelers too.

While its underwater splendors are beyond exceptional, the landscape above the surface is equally breathtaking. As if it was carefully designed and placed with such aesthetic, the rock islets amidst the clear blue water and bright blue sky in Piaynemo offers some of the most spectacular sceneries on the face of the earth. Looking down from the top of the hill, it almost as seems that Mother Nature painted her finest artwork and offers a glimpse of paradise. Further, at Wayag Island, you will also find an amazing rock islets formation in an even bigger scale.

raja ampat beautiful pictures
raja ampat beautiful pictures
raja ampat beautiful jewel in east Indonesia
raja ampat beautiful jewel in east Indonesia
amazing view of raja ampat islands
amazing view of raja ampat islands
raja ampat vacation
raja ampat vacation
kabui gulf raja ampat
kabui gulf raja ampat

The incredible wildlife of Raja Ampat does not stop underwater. Amidst the many thick jungles within the islands, ones can still find various bird species including the spectacular Cendrawasih or the bird of Paradise. There is also an endemic species of cuscus, the Waigeou cuscus or Waigeou spotted cuscus (Spilocuscus papuensis) which is a species of marsupial in the family Phalangeridae.

raja ampat liveaboard and kayaking
raja ampat liveaboard and kayaking
raja ampat forest views
raja ampat forest views
misool eco resort raja ampat
misool eco resort raja ampat
trip wayag raja ampat
trip wayag raja ampat

With all its spectacular wonders inland, on the shore, and beyond the waters, and distinct serene ambiance that you rarely find anywhere else on earth, Raja Ampat truly offers the ultimate experience ones can only dream of.

dive resort raja ampat Indonesia
dive resort raja ampat Indonesia
raja ampat resort from above
raja ampat resort from above
raja ampat resort
raja ampat resort
wayag island raja ampat
wayag island raja ampat

So, whether you are an avid diver, occasional snorkeler, or just someone who appreciated beauty in every sense, Raja Ampat welcomes you to the Heaven on Earth.

voyage kayak raja ampat
voyage kayak raja ampat
raja ampat tourism photo
raja ampat tourism photo
raja ampat view from above
raja ampat view from above
restaurant of papua explorers dive resort in the evening
restaurant of papua explorers dive resort in the evening
saving kayaking in raja ampat
saving kayaking in raja ampat
tropical sunset bliss raja ampat
tropical sunset bliss raja ampat

References:

7 Mountain Views to See Before You Die

by Steve Casimiro

Outdoor enthusiast Steve Casimiro has spent the past 30 years writing and photographing remote corners of the world, documenting these experiences on his travel website, Adventure Journal. He shares his must-see mountain views.

1. Mirador Condor (Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile)

Mirador Condor 7 Mountain Views to See Before You Die

Patagonia is notorious for having some of the wildest weather on earth, so views of the iconic Torres del Paine massif (it’s the inspiration for the logo for outdoor gear brand Patagonia) are a gift. Any of the perspectives from the frosty blue waters of Lake Pehoé will take your breath away, but a 40-minute hike to the Condor Lookout reveals an angle you’ll never forget.

2. Tre Cime di Lavaredo area (Dolomite Mountains, Italy)

Tre Cime di Lavaredo Area 7 Mountain Views to See Before You Die

The limestone of northern Italy’s Dolomite Mountains is craggy and rough-hewn, as if the DNA of its past life as ocean reefs must show through the curtain of the ages, and wherever you look you see another peak suitable for national park status. Tre Cime di Lavaredo, also known in German as Drei Zinnen, justify their acclaim, but these three sentinels are to some eyes gaudy and monumental. Turn south, toward the resort town of Cortina, and there, with little fanfare, is a ridgeline less heralded but with more classic mountain beauty.

3. Denali, Alaska

Denali, Alaska 7 Mountain Views to See Before You Die

One view of Denali is enough to satiate for a lifetime, but getting two glimpses of North America’s highest point at once defies words. Accessible by car, Reflection Pond at Wonder Lake is some 85 miles into Denali Park, and when the light is right and the wind at abeyance, it’s one of the world’s most magnificent mirrors.

4. Mount Shasta from Heart Lake, California

Mount Shasta from Heart Lake, California 7 Mountain Views to See Before You Die

Mount Shasta can been seen almost anywhere you go in northernmost California, a distant speck on the horizon or a looming hulk of glacier-clad white guarding endless green farmlands. But perhaps the sweetest angle is from the west, when you drive to Castle Lake, then hike another mile to a delightful pocket pool called Heart Lake.

5. Mont Blanc, Chamonix, France

Mont Blanc, Chamonix, France 7 Mountain Views to See Before You Die

The roof of western Europe is the birthplace of alpinism and home to one of today’s most vibrant mountain sports communities, so it’s a given that Mont Blanc and its subsidiary peaks needn’t bow to any mountains, anywhere. It’s needlelike, gothically drawn skyline is the kind that inspires poets and painters.

6. Angels Landing, Utah

Angels Landing, Utah 7 Mountain Views to See Before You Die

Canyons don’t typically get lumped in with mountains, but Zion National Park in southwestern Utah is studded with peaks all around its signature valley, and no view is better than that from Angels Landing, a three-mile hike that is perhaps the most dramatic in the entire Lower 48.

7. Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand

Aoraki-Mount Cook, New Zealand 7 Mountain Views to See Before You Die

Pick an angle, any angle: New Zealand’s highest point looks stunning from every vantage point. Don’t want to leave the comfort of the lodge at Mount Cook Village? Your eyes will widen at the view through the huge windows, the peak framed by dark green scrub. Got adventure in your veins? Take the ski plane up to the Tasman Glacier and you will be gobsmacked by the sight of the ice-encrusted north face.

Via

6 Eye-Catching Asia’s Luxury Hotels

From the frenetic streets of Seoul to the azure waters of the Maldives, these stunning hotels are sure to deliver a room with a view.

By Andrew Nelson

Asia is seeing a hotel boom, especially for those catering to affluent travelers. At the regional edition of the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) held each summer in Shanghai–and next year in Singapore, too–hoteliers preview the continent’s newest head-turning properties.

Hurawalhi Island Resort 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Hurawalhi Island Resort

“Every year, Asia’s luxury bar seems to be set higher,” says ILTM portfolio director Alison Gilmore. “The hotels grow more spectacular and there’s a notable rise in experiences based around fashion, cuisine, privacy, and off the grid escapes.” If you’re planning to travel to Asia and want to put some glamour in your visit, here’s a list of eye-catching hotels recently opened or about to do so:

THE MURRAY, HONG KONG

How do you say Mad Men in Cantonese? This 1969 25-story commercial skyscraper is being reimagined for the Niccolo Hotel chain by famed British architect, Sir Norman Foster. Plans call for 336 rooms and suites and five restaurants offering views of the city as well as the park holding Hong Kong’s Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The Murray is scheduled to open in late 2017, according to hotel representative Anton Kilayko.

The Murray Hong Kong - a Niccolo Hotel Exterior Night View 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
The Murray Hong Kong – a Niccolo Hotel Exterior Night View
The Murray - a Niccolo Hotel - Guestrooms and Suites 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
The Murray – a Niccolo Hotel – Guestrooms and Suites

SIGNIEL HOTEL, SOUTH KOREA

Housed in the ultramodern 123-story Lotte World Tower, the recently opened Signiel Hotel is Gangnam style indeed. The high-rise hostelry’s 193 rooms offer guests expansive views of the South Korean capital, a Michelin-starred restaurant, duty-free shopping mall, an anti-aging spa, concert hall, champagne bar, and a personal shopper service.

Signiel Hotel - Seoul 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Signiel Hotel – Seoul
Signiel Residences - Living Room 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Signiel Residences – Living Room
Signiel Residences at Lotte World Tower 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Signiel Residences at Lotte World Tower

CAPELLA SHANGHAI JIAN YE LI, CHINA

An urban oasis in Shanghai near the Nanking Road in the city’s former French Concession, Capella’s Jian Ye Li Hotel was originally built by French real estate developers in the 1930s. The property is set amidst a cluster of 55 elegant villas incorporating the last remaining cluster of historic shikumen, or stone warehouse gates. The opening is set for late summer 2017.

Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li - Guest drop off Courtyard 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li – Guest drop off Courtyard
Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li - Living Room 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li – Living Room

SIX SENSES ZIL PASYON, SEYCHELLES

Located in the Seychelles islands, the oceanic crossroads between Asia and Africa, is the Six Senses resort called Zil Pasyon. Built on the private island of Félicité, the property features 30 villas, each with a private pool and ocean views. Outdoor activities include kayaking, fishing, and snorkeling. There’s also a “no meat” restaurant, several other eateries, and a spa specializing in African-inspired treatments.

Six Senses Zil Payson, Seychelles 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Six Senses Zil Payson, Seychelles
Six Senses Zil Payson Hotel 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Six Senses Zil Payson Hotel
Six Senses Zil Pasyon Resort On The Private Island Of Félicité, Seychelles 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Six Senses Zil Pasyon Resort On The Private Island Of Félicité, Seychelles

KUDADOO PRIVATE ISLAND, MALDIVES

Only 15 one and two-bedroom villas built on a lagoon make up Kudadoo, a 7.4-acre private island run by the Hurawalhi resort chain. Each villa comes with its own pool and butler, but if you’re feeling chatty after a bout of kayaking, windsurfing, or parasailing, there’s a dining hall where guests can meet.

Kudadoo Maldives Private Island by Hurawalhi 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Kudadoo Maldives Private Island by Hurawalhi
Hurawalhi Undersea Restaurant - Kudado Maldives Private Island 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Hurawalhi Undersea Restaurant – Kudado Maldives Private Island
Hurawalhi Aquarium Deck - Kudado Dining Area 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Hurawalhi Aquarium Deck – Kudado Dining Area

SIX SENSES, BHUTAN

The Six Senses hotel chain is building a series of five luxury lodges in the Himalayan country of Bhutan, scheduled to open in 2018. Located in Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang, and Paro, the lodges offer different experiences. The property in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, for example, focuses on Bhutanese culture and is decorated with artifacts and local furniture, while others are set in forests or rice terraces.

Six Senses Bhutan Luxury Hotels Resorts 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
Six Senses Bhutan Luxury Hotels Resorts
A journey through the Kingdom of Bhutan with Six Senses 6 Eye-Catching Asia's Luxury Hotels
A journey through the Kingdom of Bhutan with Six Senses

Via: Asia/luxury-hotels

The Dubai Miracle Garden: The Largest Flower Garden Built on the Middle of a Desert

Do you like flowers? If you do, The Dubai Miracle Garden is a must-visited place to visit. The garden that is built on the middle of a desert offers more than 45 million colors of flowers that are very amazing. The flowers found there are imported from many places all over the world. This garden is the biggest in the world and located at North West Quadrant. This tourist attraction is awarded by Guinness Record as the largest vertical garden.

inside dubai miracle garden the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

When you enter this fascinating garden, you will be welcomed by the fragrant smell of the flowers. It has been almost three years since the garden was open in 2013. It is always full of visitors especially when Valentine’s Day and other holidays come.

entrance dubai miracle garden the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

The most interesting part about this place is the Alley of Hearts, a kind of colorful topiary with heart shapes, forming an alley. Of course, it becomes a beautiful spot to take romantic pictures. If you visit this lovely garden with your lover, you should not forget taking photos here. Every part of the garden is really wonderful, just like in a fairytale.

tunnel of love flower in dubai miracle garden the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

dubai miracle garden - largest vertical garden in the worlds the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

Millions of flowers in The Dubai Miracle Garden are also designed in many other shapes such as flags, giant clocks, cars, boats, and houses. The houses are decorated with plants and flowers that are grown on the doors, walls, and tower. Besides, there is a large windmill decorated with flowers that become another favorite spot for photography.

phyramid in dubai miracle garden the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

windmill flower in dubai miracle garden the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

flower house in dubai miracle garden park the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

dubai miracle garden - house of flower the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

This striking place has not only flowers but it also provides comfortable sitting area, praying room, large parking area, and souvenir shops for visitors.

beautiful dubai miracle garden the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

45 million flowers in dubai miracle garden the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

dubai miracle garden - colors in the desert the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

The garden is designed to be eco-friendly in which it has a unique irrigation system where wastewater is recycled. As a result, it can save energy and water up to seventy percent.

discover dubai miracle garden the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

beautiful lands at dubai miracle garden the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

largest natural flower in dubai miracle garden the dubai miracle garden - the largest flower garden built on the middle of a desert

14 Most Dangerous Roads That Take Your Breath Away

Anyone who has ridden a roller coaster at least once knows the expression “to have your heart in your mouth.” However, it’s unlikely this entertainment can be compared with highways built at an altitude of several kilometers over an abyss, in a lonely desert, above the water, or even below it.

We invite you to travel through the most unimaginable roads in the world which overshadow even the coolest rides.

Guoliang Tunnel, China

guoliang tunnel, china 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

The Guoliang Tunnel is 1.2 km (0.75 mi) long and was built through a mountain range leading to the village of the same name. In the 1970s, the inhabitants of the village made this tunnel and the “windows” in it themselves using only hand tools. The width of the tunnel is about 4 m (13 ft), so drivers have to be extremely careful.

Maeklong Railway Market, Thailand

maeklong railway market - thailand 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

At first sight, Maeklong Market resembles hundreds of other Thai markets…but only until you hear the whistle of the train which passes right through the market stalls. The sellers take their goods away and fold their tents in seconds, giving way to the train that moves at a speed of about 15 km/h.

Yungas Road, Bolivia

yungas road, bolivia 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

Yungas Road connects the Bolivian cities of La Paz and Coroico. Descending from a height of 3,300 to 360 m (2 mi to 1,181 ft) above sea level, it forms a number of loops. Despite the fact that the road is very narrow, even trucks manage to pass each other. However, one of them often has to back up for quite a distance.

Eyre Highway, Australia

eyre highway, australia 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

Looking at this highway, one can hardly imagine it’s really dangerous. However, the number of accidents on this 1,600-km (994 mi) stretch of Australian highway, built far from localities, is really high. The reason is quite simple: the landscapes here are so monotonous that drivers simply fall asleep at the wheel.

The “Nose of the Devil” Railway, Ecuador

the nose of the devil railway, ecuador 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

The “Nose of the Devil” railway is built on the rock of the same name at an altitude of 800 m (2,624 ft). Until recently, tourists were allowed to ride on the roofs of wagons running here, but today it’s prohibited.

Pamban Railway Bridge, India

pamban railway bridge, india 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

Pamban Bridge connects the mainland part of India with the island of the same name. In 1964, the bridge was destroyed by the strong winds of the Palk Strait. This is why now, when wind speed exceeds 55 km/h, trains receive a special signal warning of the possible danger.

Karakoram Highway, Pakistan — China

karakoram highway, pakistan - china 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

At 1,300 km (807.7 mi) long, Karakoram Highway is considered the world’s most high-altitude international highway. One of its sections passes at an altitude of more than 4,600 m (15,091 ft). Summer monsoon rains often wash it out and cause landslides. In winter, the highway is closed due to weather conditions and possible avalanches.

Passage du Gois, France

passage du gois, france 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

This seemingly common passage connects the island of Noirmoutier with mainland France. However, during the tides, it’s fully covered with a 4-m (13 ft) layer of water and is available to drivers only twice a day.

Leh-Manali Highway, India

leh-manali highway, india 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

Leh-Manali Highway runs through several high mountain passes, located at an altitude of 4 to 5 km (13,123 to 16,404 ft). The road is extremely narrow, but this doesn’t prevent local drivers from zooming through at high speeds.

Tianmen Mountain Road, China

tianmen mountain road, china 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

A road that’s 11 km (6.8 mi) long with 99 bends leads to the top of Tianmen Mountain where the Buddhist temple is situated. In some sections, the distance between two curves is less than 200 m (656 ft), so drivers have to be extremely careful.

Road through Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

road through salar de uyuni, bolivia 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

The highway running through the dried Salar de Uyuni is located at an altitude of 3,650 m (11,811 ft) above sea level. Local landscapes are so unusual that it’s easy to get lost in them, and cell phones here are mostly useless. Even though it’s safe to go here with a tour group, it’s better to avoid going on your own, especially since at night the temperature falls to −30°C (-22°F).

Road through Skippers Canyon, New Zealand

road through skippers canyon, new zealand 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

Numerous holes and cliffs, steep descents, sudden bends, suspension bridges, and narrowings of the road are far from all the surprises lurking on the crossing through Skippers Canyon. Local car rental agencies don’t even provide insurance for those who are going to conquer this route.

The James W. Dalton Highway, Alaska, USA

the james w. dalton highway, alaska, usa 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

Only 175 km (108.7 mi) of this 666-km (413.8 mi) highway are covered with bitumen, and one has to drive the rest of the way on gravel. There are only 3 settlements, 3 refueling stations, and only 1 medical center throughout the highway. The local police force checks the presence of everything necessary for survival in the difficult Alaskan conditions for everyone who enters this route.

“Train to the Clouds,” Argentina

train to the clouds, argentina 14 most dangerous roads that take your breath away

During the 217-k (134.8 mi) railway journey, the train passes through 21 tunnels, 42 bridges and viaducts, 2 spirals, and 2 more zigzags. It’s romantic name was given to the road thanks to the altitude on which some of its segments are located: sometimes it’s so high that the trains pass right through the clouds.

Via

9 Amazing Tree Houses You Can Actually Sleep In

This hotel trend definitely took root and branched out globally.

By Austa Somvichian-Clausen

Think tree houses are just rickety pieces of lumber crafted into backyard forts for kids? Think again. Tree house hotels are a fast-growing trend that allows anyone to escape the mundane with a new perspective on nature.

Not only are tree house hotels praised for their novel design, but they also have a sustainable edge on traditional hotels. Building tree houses require no clearing of the ground around the grove, and hotel owners (and visitors) have a stake in the health of the tree that supports the lodging. This, along with visitors’ close proximity to nature during their temporary residence, leads to a unique way for them to connect with the natural world around them.

As more tree house hotels take root, the options can become overwhelming. Get a head start on your search with these amazing arboreal accommodations around the world.

tranquil resort in kerala, india 9 amazing tree houses you can actually sleep in
Tranquil Resort In Kerala, India. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY TRANQUIL RESORT

TRANQUIL RESORT: KERALA, INDIA

This 400-acre private estate is situated on a coffee and spice plantation in the northern Kerala rainforest. It features only seven rooms and two tree houses. Accessed by walkways in the forest canopy, Tranquil’s tree houses are made from local coffee wood and overlook the plantation 45 feet below from the branches of a royal poinciana tree. From inside the bedroom, guests can see the tree trunk growing through the ceiling. Take a dip in the resort’s year-round pool, or get an Ayurvedic massage for optimal relaxation. The grounds include 13 walking trails through the plantation, and guests even can take one of their pet dogs along as a guide.

mirror cube at the treehotel in harads, sweden 9 amazing tree houses you can actually sleep in
Mirror Cube At The Treehotel In Harads, Sweden. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY TREEHOTEL

TREEHOTEL: HARADS, SWEDEN

Twilight Zone meets contemporary art gallery at this Swedish hotel only 30 miles south of the Arctic Circle. A different Swedish architect designed each of the seven individual rooms at Treehotel, so every stay is unique. One of their most sought-after is the UFO-themed room, while another looks appropriately like a bird’s nest. Even the bathrooms are special, with combustion toilets that incinerate their contents at more than 1100 degrees Fahrenheit.

the gibbon experience project in huay xai, laos 9 amazing tree houses you can actually sleep in
The Gibbon Experience Project in Huay Xai, Laos. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE GIBBON EXPERIENCE PROJECT

GIBBON EXPERIENCE PROJECT: HUAY XAI, LAOS

Well-known as one of Laos’s most unique accommodations, the Gibbon Experience is a two- or three-day adventure into some of the country’s most pristine forest canopy, complete with a series of navigable zip lines that crisscross the property and some of the highest tree houses in the world. Since its inception in 1996, the project has made it their mission to preserve the rain forest that surrounds it from threats such as poaching, slash-and-burn agriculture, and logging. They have been pursuing two reforestation schemes in recent years—a commercial farm to promote sensible logging practices and reforestation of degraded areas in Nam Kan National Park.

hapuku lodge in kaikoura, new zealand 9 amazing tree houses you can actually sleep in
Hapuku Lodge in Kaikoura, New Zealand. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY HAPUKU LODGE

HAPUKU LODGE AND TREEHOUSES: KAIKOURA, NEW ZEALAND

A deer breeding farm on the South Island of New Zealand is home to Hapuku at the base of the Kaikoura Seaward Mountain Range. The lodge includes five tree houses that are nested in the canopy of a Kanuka grove and designed to complement the natural environment. Hapuku is a family-owned business of native Kiwis that originally moved to the area for farming and surfing opportunities. The lodge eventually found its beginnings thanks to the growth of eco-marine tourism in the area, and now offers its visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the rugged coastline and flourishing maritime environment of Kaikoura.

airbnb's - secluded intown treehouse - in atlanta, georgia 9 amazing tree houses you can actually sleep in
Airbnb’s “Secluded Intown Treehouse” in Atlanta, Georgia. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY AIRBNB

AIRBNB’S SECLUDED INTOWN TREE HOUSE: GEORGIA, U.S.A

This tree house is located just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of-of downtown and was voted Airbnb’s number one most wished-for listing worldwide in 2016. The property was designed and constructed by Peter Bahouth, former Greenpeace executive and current executive director of the U.S. Climate Action Network. It features three separate suites, interconnected by fairy-light-bedecked wooden bridges. The linens are organic, the furnishings are vintage, and the tree houses themselves were created from salvaged materialss—including the 80-year-old windows from a Masonic Temple in South Carolina, leading to the sublime experience.

maguire house at the free spirit spheres in vancouver island, bc 9 amazing tree houses you can actually sleep in
Maguire House at the Free Spirit Spheres in Vancouver Island, BC. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY FREE SPIRIT SPHERES

FREE SPIRIT SPHERES: VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA

Inventor Tom Chudleigh created these handcrafted wooden spheres inspired by sailboat construction and using the practice of biomimicry—innovation that seeks long-lasting, sustainable solutions to human issues by emulating strategies seen in nature. The orbs are suspended in the middle of multiple trees, which they are tethered to. This ensures a stable hang, and since they use the forest for their foundation, the occupants have a vested interest in the health of the grove and are reminded of human connectedness to our ecosystem.

finca bellavista treehouse community in costa rica 9 amazing tree houses you can actually sleep in
Finca Bellavista Treehouse community in Costa Rica. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY FINCABELLAVISTA TREEHOUSE COMMUNITY

FINCA BELLAVISTA: ZONA SUR, COSTA RICA

About a decade ago, Erica and Matt Hogan stumbled upon a plot of land that was marketed as a potential timber harvesting site. Seeing this prompted them to save the land from deforestation and transform it into what is now Finca Bellavista. Presently, the community encompasses nearly 600 acres in the south Pacific region of Costa Rica, including mountainous rain forest, two white water rivers, and organic gardens. The site is entirely off the grid and powered completely by solar energy. The tree houses—both aboreal and stilt-supported—allow for terrestrial migration of animals and growing the majority of the food on-site. A network of zip lines and platforms lets guests explore the rain forest in a thrilling, eco-friendly fashion.

papaya playa project in tulum, mexico 9 amazing tree houses you can actually sleep in
Papaya Playa Project in Tulum, Mexico. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PAPAYA PLAYA PROJECT

PAPAYA PLAYA PROJECT: TULUM, MEXICO

Venture about 80 miles south of party capital Cancun to find this luxurious eco-resort nestled in the coastal town of Tulum. Although Papaya Playa started out with a traditional hotel model, their latest addition is a stunning two-story tree house suite set amongst a landscape of lush Mexican jungle. The design of the treehouse utilizes local timber, and evokes the traditional Mayan building technique “Chukum,” or using tree resin to cool the building interiors. In recent years, Papaya Playa launched their mission to achieve zero emissions and zero contamination community by 2018. Since then, they got started with solar energy, water recycling, and local sourcing of jobs and materials to achieve their goal.

lion sands game reserve in kruger national park - south africa 9 amazing tree houses you can actually sleep in
Lion Sands Game Reserve in Kruger National Park, South Africa. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY LION SANDS GAME RESERVE

LION SANDS GAME RESERVE: KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH AFRICA

Lion Sands calls their tree houses the “ultimate bush bedrooms” for good reason–visitors are almost completely exposed to the vast wilderness right outside of their room. Arrive at sunset with a picnic dinner waiting for you, then enjoy stargazing while listening to the sounds of the animals to spot the next day. On the list: hippos, lions, leopards, hyenas, impalas, and more. Lion Sands offers game drives, walking safaris, and helicopter rides over the Blyde River Canyon. The reserve also takes guests to Henna Pre-School to see firsthand the work they are doing to empower local communities.

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The Amazing Tottori Sand Dunes Japans

Escape the big city lights and get lost in this spectacular desertscape.

tottori sand dunes japan the amazing tottori sand dunes japans
PHOTOGRAPH BY SEAN PAVONE, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Sea winds sweep over Tottori’s rolling sand dunes along Japan’s coast. The area has shrunk in recent years due to changing sea currents and the encroachment of plants.

By Alexandra E. Petri

Stretched along the Sea of Japan just outside the city of Tottori is an unexpected swath of gold: Japan’s only sand dunes. Unlike classic images of Japan—sushi, bullet trains, Shibuya Crossing, and Hello Kitty—Tottori is more like a scene from Arabian Nights. Sand dunes curl nearly 160 feet above your head, camels are a form of transportation, and dreamy desert mirages replace big city lights.

The Tottori Sakyu, or Tottori Sand Dunes, were formed thousands of years ago when sand carried by the nearby Sendai River was dumped into the sea. Strong winds and a strong current deposited the sand along the coast, creating a desert oasis in the land of sushi.

the wind carves ephemeral patterns into the sands of the tottori sand dunes japan the amazing tottori sand dunes japans
PHOTOGRAPH BY YOSHIKI FUJIWARA

The wind carves ephemeral patterns into the sands of the Tottori dunes

thick snow blankets the tottori sand dunes japan in winter the amazing tottori sand dunes japans
PHOTOGRAPH BY JTB MEDIA CREATION, INC./ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Thick Snow Blankets The Tottori Sand Dunes Japan In Winter

At just nine miles long and less than 1.5 miles wide, Tottori is a small piece of something bigger: Japan’s San’in Kaigan National Park, a UNESCO Global Geopark and symbol of the country’s commitment to conservation, cultural history, and biodiversity.

Tottori may not have appeared in One Thousand and One Nights, but its appearance in several other notable works of literature in Japan reveals its longtime cultural significance. Japanese poet Takeo Arishima made the dunes famous when he wrote a poem about an affair he was having with a married woman, describing the deep misery he felt while surrounded by the sands. He and the woman committed a double suicide shortly thereafter.

Decades later, in the 1960s, Tottori set the stage for Japanese writer Kōbō Abe’s book, Woman in the Dunes, a story that was considered ahead of its time and eventually turned into an Academy Award-nominated film.

With more than two million visitors annually, there are plenty of things to do in Japan’s only sand dunes, including camel rides, sandboarding, paragliding, and an impressive sand sculpture museum. Though you won’t find any overnight camping in Tottori like you would in Dubai, impressive views of the desert meeting the sea, together forming an extended horizon, make it worth the trip.

two children are dwarfed by the steep at totori sand dunes japan the amazing tottori sand dunes japans
PHOTOGRAPH BY BUDDHIKA WEERASINGHE, GETTY IMAGES

Two children are dwarfed by the steep sand dunes, which stretch nearly 160 feet into the air.

tottori sakyu tottori japan the amazing tottori sand dunes japans
tottori sakyu tottori japan (commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tottori-Sakyu_Tottori_Japan.JPG)

The World’s Largest Salt Flat – Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni can make for an incredible experience or a logistical nightmare. Plan your trip with these tips.

reflection salar de uyuni bolivia the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
PHOTOGRAPH BY HEIKO MEYER, LAIF/REDUX

A thin layer of water transforms Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni into a striking reflective canvas.

By Elizabeth Unger

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is considered one of the most extreme and remarkable vistas in all of South America, if not Earth. Stretching more than 4,050 square miles of the Altiplano, it is the world’s largest salt flat, left behind by prehistoric lakes evaporated long ago. Here, a thick crust of salt extends to the horizon, covered by quilted, polygonal patterns of salt rising from the ground.

At certain times of the year, nearby lakes overflow and a thin layer of water transforms the flats into a stunning reflection of the sky. This beautiful and otherworldly terrain serves as a lucrative extraction site for salt and lithium—the element responsible for powering laptops, smart phones, and electric cars. In addition to local workers who harvest these minerals, the landscape is home to the world’s first salt hotel and populated by road-tripping tourists. The harsh beauty and desolateness of Salar de Uyuni can make for an incredible experience or a logistical nightmare. Here’s a guide to help:

HOW TO GET THERE

Located at the crux of Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina, the logistics and length of your trip to Salar de Uyuni will depend where you’re coming from. Tours originate from three main places:

Uyuni, Bolivia: The most popular jumping-off point for salt flats tours, Uyuni is a small, dusty town packed with tourism agencies in Plaza Arce, its main square. Travelers can book tours in advance online, through tour offices in La Paz, or they can simply arrive in Uyuni and peruse the options in town. Since Uyuni is so close to the salt flats, tourists can easily book day trips. Flights from La Paz to Uyuni can be booked through Amaszonas and BoA (one hour, about $130 round-trip). Overnight buses from La Paz are available with Trans Omar and Todo Turismo (10-12 hours, $30 to $40 each way).

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile: Agencies drive travelers to the border before handing the tour over to a Bolivian operator. Due to the distance, this is a three-day tour.

Tupiza, Bolivia: This is the best starting point for travelers coming from Argentina. Tour operators recommend four-day tours from Tupiza, visiting Salar de Uyuni on the final day.

night salar de uyuni bolivia the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
The star-studded night sky casts the salt flats shades of blue. During the dry season the ground hardens and polygonal patterns of salt rise from the ground. PHOTOGRAPH BY ERIC HANSON, GETTY IMAGES

WHEN TO GO

Salar de Uyuni has two distinct seasons. The rainy season (December to April) is when visitors come to witness the Salar’s breathtaking mirror effect. Be wary of excessive rain in December and January, as it can cause tour cancelations. During the dry season (May to November) temperatures are colder, the ground has hardened, and travelers can drive across the stark white landscape to places that aren’t accessible in the rainy season. Tour operators consider June through August their high period, and rates may rise accordingly.

CHOOSING A TOUR

While the salt flats are one of Bolivia’s most popular attractions, it’s only a small part of the gorgeous Altiplano region. Many visitors indulge in a three-day tour (or longer) that includes the deserts, volcanos, geysers, hot springs, and high-altitude lakes to the south. Tours out of San Pedro de Atacama and Tupiza are already scheduled to drive through these sites.

Travelers can choose between a shared tour (cheaper and standardized) or private tour (higher-priced and custom-tailored). Shared tours generally provide Spanish-speaking guides who double as the driver and chef. These follow a rigid itinerary that will not likely accommodate individual requests and can hinder certain times of day, like sunrise or sunset. Private tours, by contrast, can be customized to a client’s liking, giving travelers more control over itinerary and the ability to go off the beaten path to volcanos or caves. Private tours also provide an English-speaking guide, chef, and a more comfortable vehicle.

Check online reviews and travel guides to carefully choose a reputable guide. Avoid companies that offer rock bottom prices—they may not provide an accredited guide or working car, which can endanger tourists. Also ask your agency whether they carry an emergency radio and first-aid kit.

HOW TO TAKE GREAT PHOTOS

One of the highlights of Salar de Uyuni is an endless horizon that allows photographers to play with perspective and depth of field. Stage battle scenes with toy dinosaurs, cook your friends in pots and pans, or crawl out of seemingly giant jars of peanut butter. The key to great photos is to get the camera low to the ground and close to your prop. This gives the perspective that the prop is larger than the human subjects, who stand farther away. Don’t let your subjects venture too far, though—the larger the distance between the prop and the subjects, the harder it will be to keep everything in focus. If your camera permits, make the aperture as narrow as possible.

optical illusion salar de uyuni bolivia the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Salar de Uyuni’s seemingly endless horizon allows photographers to play with perspective and depth of field. PHOTOGRAPH BY MIKE THEISS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

ODDS AND ENDS

At nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, visitors may experience altitude sickness if they haven’t properly acclimatized. Symptoms include nausea, headaches, and insomnia among others. Discuss various options for preventing and treating altitude sickness with your doctor before your trip.

Bolivia requires a tourist visa ($160 for U.S. citizens) as well as a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate to enter the country.

Discover other great images from various website below:

piles of salt salar de uyuni bolivia the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Piles Of Salt Salar De Uyuni Bolivia
traveling the world salar de tunupa picture the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Traveling The World Salar De Tunupa Picture
salar de uyuni sky reflection the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Salar De Uyuni Sky Reflection
dakar rally crosses spectacular salar de uyuni salt flats the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Dakar Rally Crosses Spectacular Salar De Uyuni Salt Flats
the dakar bolivia monument in salar de uyuni - bolivia the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
The Dakar Bolivia Monument in Salar De Uyuni – Bolivia
stunning view of bolivia's salar de uyuni the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Stunning View of Bolivia’s Salar De Uyuni
salar de uyuni reflection at sunset the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Salar De Uyuni Reflection at Sunset
salar de uyuni night the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Salar De Uyuni Night
salar de uyuni bolivia reflection - largest natural mirror the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Salar De Uyuni Bolivia Reflection – Largest Natural Mirror
salar de uyuni sunset salt miners the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Salar De Uyuni Sunset Salt Miners
salar de uyuni salt flat the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Salar De Uyuni Salt Flat
salar de uyuni bolivia at night the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Salar De Uyuni Bolivia at Night
photography salar de uyuni the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Photography Salar De Uyuni
lightning over salar de uyuni the world’s largest salt flat - bolivia's salar de uyuni
Lightning Over Salar De Uyuni

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