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1. Nazca, Peru

Why you should go

To witness one of the mysteries of human civilisation.

The Weird Factor

No one is quite sure what motivated the Nazca people of central Peru to scratch out, over about a thousand years, a series of huge and perfectly rendered pictures in the rocky desert floor. Whatever the reason, their drawings of monkeys, birds, fish, and even a ghostly human shape, can still be seen from the air.

The Wonderful Factor

Taking a light plane ride over the Nazca Lines gives visitors the chance to fully appreciate the complexity and otherworldliness of these 2000-year-old marks.

Don’t Miss

Pack your camera, because there are several hundred designs to photograph.

2. Lake Khovsgol, Mongolia

Why you should go

To see Mongolians at their coldest and strangest.

The Weird Factor

In summer this is just any old lake, albeit a beautiful one. In winter, however, it’s an enormous block of ice upon which games including tug of war, wrestling, and horse-drawn sleigh races are staged. This is also home to the Dukha people, an ancient tribe of reindeer herders.

The Wonderful Factor

The natural beauty of the Khovsgol area is reason enough to visit, but this is also home to a unique culture that is all but cut off from the rest of the world.

Don’t Miss

Time your visit to coincide with the Khovsgol Ice Festival in March.

Essentials

Lake Khovsgol can only be accessed by four-wheel-drive – it’s a four-day.

3. Door to Hell, Turkmenistan

Why you should go

This is a photo opportunity like no other.

The Weird Factor

Almost 50 years ago, the collapse of a natural gas field formed a 30-metre-deep crater that began leaking flammable methane. Geologists set it on fire as a way of controlling it, and it has been burning ever since.

The Wonderful Factor

Picture yourself in the middle of a desert, staring into a flaming abyss about the size of a football field. That’s the Door to Hell, and it attracts plenty of thrill-seeking travellers.

Don’t Miss

Be there at dusk to see the flames at their best.

Essentials

The Door to Hell is in Darvaza, a four-hour drive from Ashgabat.

4. Rhyolite, US

Why you should go

To see a true Wild West ghost town.

The Weird Factor

It doesn’t get much eerier than walking through the ruins of Rhyolite, a mining town in Nye County, Nevada, that has been deserted since 1920. The crumbling facades are all that remain.

The Wonderful Factor

It’s a real Wild West ghost town. This isn’t a movie set or a recreation – it’s an actual ghost town. If that’s not cool enough, there is also a series of sculptures by Belgian artist Albert Szukalski nearby.

Don’t Miss

The old bank is the largest of Rhyolite’s ruins.

Essentials

Rhyolite is a two-hour drive from Las Vegas.

5. Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Why you should go

To see one of the world’s most unforgiving coastlines.

The Weird Factor

There is a creepy feeling as you drive down Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, as the waves crash and the fog rolls in on one side, and the featureless desert stretches out to eternity on the other. You can see why so many ships met a tragic end here.

The Wonderful Factor

There is a surprising amount of life in this harsh environment. Colonies of seals occupy Cape Fria and Cape Cross, while desert elephants roam the interior.

Don’t Miss

One of the eeriest shipwrecks is the Eduard Bohlen, which lies half buried in sand at Conception Bay.

Essentials

To explore the Skeleton Coast, hire a car in either Windhoek or Swakopmund.

6. Bermuda Triangle, Caribbean

Why you should go

To sunbathe in one of the most allegedly dangerous places in the world.

The Weird Factor

It’s hard to know what is more bizarre: the fact so many ships and planes have disappeared here without explanation; or the fact that they actually haven’t. While much of the folklore around this part of the Caribbean fails any rigorous examination, it’s fun to indulge in the pretence.

The Wonderful Factor

Being inexplicably lost at sea would be a bad thing, so it’s nice to know that the Bermuda Triangle isn’t really dangerous. It is, however, stunningly beautiful.

Don’t Miss

A stay in Bermuda itself – if you’re brave enough to fly there.

Essentials

For more on Bermuda and the Bahamas