For some, the word ‘travel’ invokes peaceful images of relaxation on a charming, sandy beach. For others, it means a chance to explore ancient architecture or learn more about history. For others yet, it invites tantalising thoughts of excitement and adventure.
Whether you are a veteran thrill-seeker or are taking your first steps into extreme travel adventures, we have rounded up some of the most extreme destinations in the world.
Do you enjoy soaring heights, or do you prefer freezing temperatures? Either way, we got something for everyone.
Lut Desert, Iran
For those willing to face the heat and unbearably dry climate, Lut Desert is one of the hottest and driest places on earth. It holds the record for having the Earth’s hottest surface temperature. With temperatures that soar as high as 70 degrees Celsius and beautiful but strange sceneries, it will burn- oops- we mean blow your socks off!
Gansbaai, South Africa
People looking for the ultimate thrill have been frequenting Gaansbai for many decades to cage dive with Great White sharks. It has one of the densest populations of these magnificent sea creatures in the world, and many marine buffs come here to get up close and personal with these deadly sharks.
Deemed the most treacherous on earth, Gansbaai’s waters are no joke. However, those who want to maintain a safe distance do not have to miss out on the fun: whale watching from the sandy white shores of Pearly Beach is another option for visitors.
This is the closest point on the earth’s surface to outer space or the farthest point from the earth’s centre. The inactive volcano on Mount Chimborazo is over 6,000 kilometres high. It has several routes for brave climbers despite its peak being entirely covered by glaciers. Many courageous people are tempted to take their chances, as this is the closest to outer space one can reach on foot.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
These falls are Venezuela’s top tourist spot, despite it being hard to reach as it is surrounded by the harsh, isolated jungles of the Canaima National Park. The falls are around 3,212 feet (approximately 1 kilometre) high, making this waterfall the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, with a quarter-mile of rapids and slopes making it picturesque and spellbinding to behold.
Dubbed ‘the Wettest Place on Earth’ by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1985, this town in India receives approximately 11,872 millimetres of rainfall every year. In one particular year, it saw a whopping 26,000 millimetres of rain, after which it was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. Tourists interested in trekking through subtropical climates often come here.
Atacama Desert, Chile
The soil in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth, has been compared to that on Mars. NASA even tested its Martian rover on its arid landscape. This area is known for going the longest period without rain (almost ten years!). It is the only true desert to receive less precipitation than the polar deserts. It also happens to be one of the best places to appreciate the Milky Way. Tourists who come to experience the parched terrain are treated to geysers, golden sand dunes and colourfully striped cliffs know as Rainbow Valley.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
This is the world’s largest salt flat, and one of the most remarkable sights to behold in South America. Formed by a prehistoric lake that has long since evaporated, the 4,000 square miles (around 10,300 square kilometres) salt landscape is fashioned into polygonal patterns. This impressive and stark, bright-white salt flat attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year.
This is one of the five remaining active volcanoes, with molten lava within its crater. Avid adventurers and thrill-seekers come here for bungee jumping with a twist- they can bungee jump to within 200 metres of the molten lava and then travel over 100 kilometres suspended below a helicopter. Talk about extreme!
With temperatures of -71.2 degrees Celsius recorded in 1924, this is the coldest inhabited place on earth. This little Russian town has less than 500 inhabitants and was at one point only used as a place for political exiles. Popular attractions here are skiing, ice hockey and ice fishing. The ground here is frozen all year long, and it currently has only one hotel.
Tristan da Cunha, United Kingdom
For those looking for a real getaway that is far from civilization, Tristan da Cunha, known as the most isolated place on earth, is the perfect destination. The island has no airport and has a population of less than 300. It is over 3000 kilometres away from the nearest land in Africa and can be approached only by sea. This is the only spot in the world utterly isolated from the rest of mankind. Extreme? We think so.
Mount Thor, Canada
Although it is not the highest peak that exists (it is about 5,495 feet, or 1.6 kilometres tall), Mount Thor (also known as Thor Peak) is the world’s steepest peak, boasting a 4,101 foot (or a 1.2 kilometre) vertical drop at an average angle of 105 degrees. Named for the Norse god of thunder, this is a top-rated destination for dedicated mountain climbers looking for a challenge. It is also a popular site for BASE jumpers and paragliders hoping for the ultimate adrenaline rush.
Vostok Station, Antarctica
No list of extreme travel destinations is complete without Antarctica- the land of extremes, as it is the coldest and driest continent on the planet. Russia’s Vostok Station is located here. Daring visitors come here to trek, but only under the guidance and supervision of experienced and knowledgeable guides. Antarctica, in general, is renowned for its breathtaking scenery and is often visited by nature and wildlife enthusiasts.
It goes without saying that, wherever you choose to go, make sure you have a well-stocked first-aid kit with the necessities and medicines you may require when visiting these extreme destinations. If your travel date is coming up and you have not had a chance to get the medications you think you will need on your trip, order them from registered online pharmacies, like Click Pharmacy, that will deliver over-the-counter as well as prescription medications right to your doorstep.
For tips on how to travel in extreme climates, check out this helpful post on the Young Adventurers blog.