The 5 Most Mysterious Destinations for an Offbeat Vacation
Aliens, moving rocks, impossible architecture. These off-kilter, once-in-a-lifetime adventures offer enticing, unbelievable stories, yet none of the answers. Escape reality and dive into a sci-fi fantasy land with these five mystery-based locations. Even though the thrill of most of these experiences is dependent on the extent of your imagination, this line-up will make for a much-needed break from your average, non-supernatural attractions.
Lost City of Petra, Jordan
For hundreds of years, no one knew Petra existed. Not until a Swiss explorer, Jean Louis Burckhardt, stumbled upon the ruins in 1812. Before it was obscured by giant rocky mountains, it’s said to have been a thriving city with about 30,000 inhabitants. It was, in fact, the capital of the ancient Nabataean empire from 400 BC to AD 106. What’s left of the city are a few ruins, the most exquisite of which is the Treasury, a grandiose building cut into the red cliffs that can be accessed through a narrow mile-long canyon. As for the building’s purpose, no one knows.
Area 51, Nevada
The centre of all alien conspiracies in America, Area 51 might be every sci-fi nerd’s dream destination. In reality, however, it’s just an air force facility, owned by the federal government. Because it’s a highly classified location, you’re not going to be able to see much either. Still, you can get close to its vicinity, and ponder whether the air base is just a cover for an alien technology reverse-engineering facility. If anything, being able to say that you’ve been to Area 51 would probably be the best part of the experience.
Nazca Lines, Peru
These massive lines drawn into the earth, the largest of which are a stunning 30m wide and 9 km long, are a historical marvel. Situated in the barren deserts of southern Peru, you couldn’t even see these ancient, pre-Columbian geoglyphs unless you had a plane or satellite. That’s why it’s such a feat that its Nazca creators are able to draw perfect outlines of plants and animals like spiders at a time when it would’ve been impossible to see them fully at scale. Till today, no one can figure out how and why these geoglyphs (of more than 10,000 lines) were designed, and by whom.
Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
The great pyramid of Giza is the single most legendary, oft-mentioned and oldest monument that’s part of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. No trip to Egypt would be complete without a visit here. It’s the largest of Giza’s three pyramids, never ceasing to render travellers speechless. Built between 2550 BC and 2490 BC, these mammoth tombs have for eons left scientists and architects baffled as to how its builders were able to lift monolithic slabs of stone up the pyramid without modern technology. There’s no question, however, that they’re oddly yet beautifully constructed.
Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park, California
Within the Death Valley National Park in California is a curious patch of land. Known as the Racetrack Playa, this flat, dry lakebed is home to “sailing stones” that basically regular rocks that leave racetrack-like imprints as if they’ve been dragged across the ground. While the myth of the moving rocks has been debunked in 2014 by researchers (they found that when there’s water in the lake, it freezes up in the winter, keeps the rocks in place, and creates a slippery surface when it melts which allows the rocks to travel by the force of a steady breeze), it’s nice to indulge in the idea of living stones.