Places I want to see before I die…

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Places or events I want to see before I die – this was something I was planning for so long, but was never able to sit and pen down. Many thoughts, many reasons for these places or events to be in list of must do things before my immortality comes to an end. If you go through my list, you may find that most of the places you have not heard, until now.

Well, I was in the same boat until I started reading an article-a-day on Wikipedia and often came across many places I have never heard. This was either through Featured articles, or random search. I am fascinated by these places or events simply by exclusivity of or rare nature.

There are many places in the world worth seeing once in your life time.

1. Tokelau (Place)

Tokelau lies north of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The nearest big country is New Zealand, which overseas the collection three tropical coral atolls namely Fakaofo, Nukunonu, and Atafu. It is one of nature’s wonderful creations and the country is unique. Travelling to this location could take up to 1 week depending on the ferry timing. If you start from New Zealand, your first destination will Apia in Samoa. Apia’s airport code is APW, and can be reached with direct flights from Auckland, New Zealand. There is only hotel, The Luana Liki Hotel in Nukunonu. Homestays have to be arranged with help from the Tokelau Liaison office in Apia, West Samoa.

The atoll of Fakaofo, southernmost of the Tokelau Islands.
The atoll of Fakaofo, southernmost of the Tokelau Islands.

Travelling to Tokelu: Once reaching Apia, your only option is to check at The Tokelau Liaison Office, who will let you know the exact time and date of MV Tokelau the only boat that travels to Tokelau. Ideally, this ferry service runs once every two weeks and timings is subject to change and often unreliable. One thing that makes me really go to this place is how hard it is to reach there. (exactly opposite of how I prefer πŸ™‚ )

Any change in global sea levels will hold the key to this nation’s survival on the Map. The atolls hardly have any place above 2 meters at sea level, which makes them extrememly vulnerable. Who knows, with Global Warming and sea level rise, our future generation may not even be able to see this beautiful country. My heart really goes after the less than 1500 people who are natives of this wonderful place.

2. Chachapoya, Peru (Place)

The Chachapoyas, also called the Warriors of the Clouds, was a culture of Andean people living in the cloud forests of the Amazonas Region of present-day Peru. Chachapoyas were conquered by Incas, before Spanish invasion. (source: Wikipedia)

Chachapoyas settled in high mountain forests of Amazonian Andes as their greatest defense from other intruders, before being conquered by the Incas. Word has it that men and women had unusually fair-skinned. They were unique in many ways. They stored bodies of their dead in mountains, and preserved them much like Mummies in Egyptian pyramids.

Walls in Soloco - Chachapoyas.
Walls in Soloco – Chachapoyas.
Image at inside of KuΓ©lap.
Image at inside of KuΓ©lap. (Photo credit: JosΓ© Porras)

If there is a culture I want to visit, it is to this place. They may not have a great culture to talk about, but certainly ask for my attention πŸ™‚

3. Aurora (Event, not to be mistaken with an Indian surname, btw πŸ˜› )

Picture taken in Alaska by United States Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang
Picture (original, not retouched) taken in Alaska by United States Air Force by Senior Airman Joshua Strang

Auroras are natural light displays seen in high latitude regions, caused by collision of charged particles with atoms in thermosphere. They are beautiful to look at and are often seen around Antartic and Artic regions. They happen throughout the day and due to sunlight are not visible. Videos of Earth from International Space Station have captured these Auroras.

Video: Aurora Australis south of Australia – Source Wikipedia

The familiar Mac desktop background image is inspired of Auroras
The familiar Mac desktop background image was inspired from Auroras

They have fluorescent, bright colors, and are so beautiful. The closest to Antarctic and Arctic, you can see them in Canada, Serbia / Upper Russia, Australia and southern most part of South America.

4. Antarctica

It is our planet’s southernmost point and it is the driest and coldest of the all continents. I am sure you all know about this place, and wondering why I would want to go there, having known it is 98% of ice and is one of the coldest region on Earth. I have often in my childhood wondered what is it like to be in Antarctica or Artic for that matter. Antarctica holds distinction of being the tough-to-survive climate. While the continent does not have any native inhabitants, at any given point of time there are about 4000 researchers on the continent conducting research activities.

Antarctica - white until end of horizon
Antarctica – white until end of horizon (Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

The closest you can get to this awesome, full white landscape will be in Rann of Kutch, Gujarat in India. US Bonneville Salt flats too bears a resemblance and so does many other salt flats, however at both places, it will not as white as you see in this picture. And it will be hot!

How to go there? Best way to visit Antarctica is by getting on a cruise ship via Ushuaia, Argentina. Antarctica is a neutral territory, which means you do not need a visa to travel there. However, you will need to travel to either Australia or Argentina (the closest). Qantas has flights that can give you a from the top glance of Antarctica.

5. Serengeti – The Great Migration (Event & Place)

I am unsure of how many of you have heard of this place, but it is one of the most awesome wild life phenomenon ever discovered by humans. For those who are hooked on to Discovery and NatGeo channels on TV, this should be a known phenomenon. Serengeti ecosystem stretches from north of Tanzania to south western Kenya (where it is known as Maasai or Masai Mara). It plays host to the world’s largest mammal migration in the world.

Wildebeest during Great Migration
Numerous wildebeest photographed after having crossed the river Mara from Serengeti to the Mara

Every year, and around the same time, this circular great Wildebeest migration of begins around south of Serengeti plains. This is a natural phenomenon determined by availability of grass and as rain moves throughout the 800 kilometer plain. During migration, you can see large heard of approximately 750,000 Zebras and 1.2 million wildebeest. The great wildebeest migration starts in the month of January when the calving season begins (approximately 500,000 are born and is a remarkably synchronized event).

Wildebeest crossing river - Stefan Swanepoel
Wildebeest and a few Zebras crossing river – picture by Stefan Swanepoel

This is one of the natural wonders you do not want to miss. Seeing such huge number of animals moving around plains of Serengeti is a feast, and moment you never want to miss.

There are more to this list, and I will add places/events over this week. So please do come back and check.

Feature Picture from NASA Earth Observatory

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12 Comments

  1. Arti says

    Hemal, you have taken this article from ‘Nice’ to ‘Awesome’! Well done! It’s nice to see you getting back to the blogging groove in full steam. Keep at it, looking forward to more! πŸ™‚

    1. Hemal says

      πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ thank you!!

  2. Avada Kedavra says

    after seeing the pics, I have to agree.. all these are really beautiful places.. hope you will be able to visit all these.

    1. Hemal says

      Thank you Avada!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I hope to visit them for sure…

  3. Arti says

    Nice. These are exotic and each event / place very diverse from the other. As you have rightly pointed out, I have never heard of any of these before but they are arouse intrigue, nevertheless. I hope you (and Annie πŸ™‚ ) get to visit these places someday and return with lots of pictures and a few exclusive souvenirs for us folks back home. πŸ™‚

    1. Arti says

      *they arouse intrigue * …typo πŸ˜›

      1. Hemal Shah says

        dont worry about the typo πŸ™‚ its understood

    2. Hemal Shah says

      I am hoping for it to happen to me and Annie… πŸ™‚

      these places have been on my radar for quite a while now, but truth is it takes huge passion and money in bag to be able to be there. Once I have the bag, I will not left any stone upturned to be there. πŸ™‚

  4. Avada Kedavra says

    Hmm interesting list. But why do you want to visit #1 and #2? I mean what is special about these particular places?
    #3 is on my list for a long long time now.

    1. Hemal Shah says

      Hey Avada, the place #1 and #2 have special interests I have…

      the #1 is an atoll which may or may not see the next hundred years – that makes me really go to this place, once in my life at the very least. It is a beautiful place to see from top, I will add pictures that could help understand what it looks like.

      #2 was a culture I came to know about from a documentary on NatGeo. After seeing it, I felt this urge to be there, and see it live. They had one of the most advanced construction techniques at their time, in their area. Others may have better, but unknown to them.

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