Yes, I acknowledge that it’s ridiculous, reductive, and totally unrealistic to try to represent all the beautiful scenery on a continent in one post. I am not an expert. I don’t pretend to be an expert. That said, these photos of the crazy mountains that inspired Avatar’s landscape, a real-life stone forest, and yes, RAINBOW MOUNTAINS are too incredible not to share.
Know of another gorgeous landscape that warrants placement on this list? Comment on the post, and I’ll keep updating with your favorites!
1. Lenticular Clouds on Mount Fuji, Japan
Lenticular clouds have been blamed for some UFO sightings. Betcha didn’t know that.
2. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan
As long as you’re in Kyoto, may as well visit the Tenryuji Temple.
3. Mount Sanqing, China
It’s just a renowned Taoist sacred mountain 25 miles north of Yoshan Country in the Jiangxi Province. “Sanquing” means “Three Pure Ones” in Chinese, and Mount Sanqing’s three main summits, Yujing, Yushui, and Yuhua, represent the Taoist trinity. Or at least that’s what Wikipedia says.
4. Shilin Stone Forest, China
Actual, but maybe boring, fact: The formations are caused by the dissolution of limestone and are likely more than 270 million years old. More interesting legend: the forest is the birthplace of Ashima (阿诗玛), a beautiful girl of the Yi people. After she fell in love, she was forbidden to marry her chosen suitor and instead turned into a stone in this forest. Spppooooookkyyyy.
5. Pangong Tso Lake, India-China
Pangong Tso is Tibetan for “long, narrow, enchanted lake.” It’s also in disputed territory. India, China, and Tibet have some things to talk about. This is not new information.
6. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
Just start planning your vacation to the park that inspired the scenery in Avatar now. Here’s the tourism site.
7. Red Beach, Panjin, China
8. Jiuzhaigou Valley, China
This whole area is just gorgeous-it has locations called “Five Flower Lake,” “Panda Lake,” and “Primeval Forest.” Read more about it here.
9. Crescent Lake (Dunhuang), China
It’s a real-life oasis.
10. Zhangye Danxia Landform, China
This is not Photoshopped.
11. Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines
There are at least 1,260 hills.
12. Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines
The longest navigable underground river in the world.
13. Taal Volcano, Luzon, Philippines
Scroll down for the zoom-out.
14. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
15. Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Just a casual active volcano hanging out in an ancient extinct volcano.
16. Papuma Beach, Jember, East Java, Indonesia
17. The Plain of Jars, Laos
What’s the deal with this, right? There’s this area in the Xieng Khouang plateau with THOUSANDS of megalithic jars. In clusters, by themselves, whatever. Folks kinda think they have something to do with burial practices from the Iron Age (500 BC to AD 500), but they’re not sure.
18. Shimmering shores of Vaadhoo, Maldives
Ahh, glowing waves.