Wat Phu Tok: the most dangerous temple in Thailand?

In Thailand, a country where the majority of inhabitants are Buddhist, there are temples scattered everywhere, even on mountains which are not that practical to build a worship place. Welcome to Bueng Kan province, far in the northeastern Isan region. It’s one of the lesser visited provinces, and you will love it if you are in search for peace, nature, and something off the beaten path. Without a doubt, Wat Phu Tok (วัดภูทอก) is one of the most unique, thrilling, (and scary) temples in Thailand. And, above all, a visit…

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Arthur Muir, the retiree who took up mountaineering at 68 and conquers Everest at 75

A 75-year-old retired attorney from Chicago recently became the oldest American to ever conquest Everest, the world’s tallest mountain top. And the craziest thing is that he had only started mountaineering 7 years prior. Arthur Muir, a married father of three and grandfather of six (a child in his family was born while he was climbing the mountain), had been fascinated with mountain climbing ever since his father gave him a book about the Himalayas when he was a child, and his passion grew when Barry Bishop, a legendary climber…

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California’s “Dark Watchers” that have been spooking hikers for centuries

For at lest 300 years, hikers in California’s Santa Lucia Mountains have been reporting sightings of shadowy, mysterious silhouettes popularly known as “dark watchers”. If you want to see one of them, you should wait until the late afternoon. As the sun begins its descent behind the waves, look to the sharp ridges of the Santa Lucia Range, the mountains that rise up from the shores of Monterey and down the Central California coast. If you are lucky, you might see figures silhouetted against them. Some say the watchers are…

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Cementerio del Andinista: a cemetery dedicated to the mountaineers who perished climbing Mount Aconcagua

At 6,962 metres (22,840ft), Mt. Aconcagua is the tallest peak in the Americas and, nestled high in the Andes near the border of Argentina and Chile, it’s the highest mountain anywhere outside of Asia. To mountaineers, it’s not a very technical trek, as it doesn’t require any specialized equipment to reach the summit, even though the hike can be deceptively dangerous for those who are unprepared. Not by chance, Aconcagua is believed to have the highest death rate of any mountain in South America, around three a year, which has…

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Ajdovska Deklica: an unmistakable facial pareidolia in the Julian Alps and her fantastic story

Ajd literally means “heaten ” in Slovenian, but it also denotes a sort of supernatural quality. This rock formation, known as “Ajdovska Deklica” but traditionally known to English speakers as the “Heathen Maiden” that resembles a human face can be seen in the northern face of Mount Prisojnik near Kranjska Gora, in the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia. When you arrive at the top of the Vršič Pass, park your car and take some time to admire the high mountain peaks that look at the valley below: they are the…

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Mission Ruins of Venn’s Town: the remains of a 19th-century school perched atop a mountain surrounded by a thick tropical forest in Seychelles.

We are deep in the Morne Seychellois National Park where, perched on a mountaintop, lies the ruins of a mission named after Henry Venn (1796 – 1873) an Anglican missionary who in 1799 together with William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833), the English abolitionist, co-founded the Church Missionary Society to spread Christianity to the natives of Africa and Asia, as well as creating orphan asylums for children of slaves. Getting there is easy, it’s about 6 km drive from the city centre of Victoria, capital of Seychelles. A sign points at…

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The mystery of Brown Mountain Lights

Near the town of Morganton, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies the so-called Brown Mountain. Interestingly, as far back as the early 1900’s, people have observed a ghostly phenomenon in the skies around the mountain that has become known, not coincidentally, as “the Brown Mountain Lights”. However, some of the earliest reports of these ghost lights came from Cherokee and Catawba Indians, but also settlers and Civil War soldiers, and thousands have witnessed the spectacle, which is ongoing to this day. Ghost hunting is a…

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Pyramidenkogel: the world’s tallest wooden observation tower.

In Carinthia, Austria, there is a mountain called Pyramidenkogel, reaching 851 metre above sea level. That’s not very tall compared to the real Alps, only about a quarter the size, but add the world’s tallest wooden tower to the top, and now you’ve got yourself a breathtaking view: from the Hohe Tauern in the north, to the picturesque lake valleys, to the neighbouring countries of Italy and Slovenia in the south. In German the mountain is called Pyramidenkogel, but in nearby Slovenia, a short 20 kilometers to the south, its…

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And you have a wheel of cheese to be eaten at your funeral?

Imagine setting aside a wheel of cheese at your wedding. What would it look like if it were served at your  funeral? Probably shriveled and brown, pockmarked from decades of mite and mouse nibbles and, above all, hard as a rock! You’d need an axe to slice it open and strong booze to wash it down. Of course, this is the cheese you  don’t want to cut even though it’s aged to perfection. However, a fossilized funeral cheese means you lived a long life! Jean-Jacques Zufferey’s home in Grimentz, high…

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Mount Roraima: a floating island shrouded in clouds

Deep in the rainforests of Venezuela, mysterious highlands rise to more than 2,700 meters above sea level, but seen from above they look like islands floating on a sea of clouds. They are the tepuis, which in the native Pemón language means “the house of gods”, and the most popular of which is called Monte Roraima. Mount Roraima is surrounded by three different countries (Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana) whose borderlines intersect on the massive shelf, with all four sides being sheer 400-meter high cliffs. Mount Roraima, part of Venezuela’s 30000-square-kilometer…

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What the top of Mount Everest is really like?

The ascension of the Everest mount is the fantasy and the dream of any passionate climber, despite all the dangers it represents. Every year, people die while trying to reach the top, but the death risk that the mission represents doesn’t stop the motivated adventurers. Perhaps not everyone knows reaching the top of Mount Everest, the highest point on the planet with its 8.848 meters, located in the Mahalangur mountain range in between both Nepal and Tibet, is a feat only about 5,000 people have accomplished. The trek to the…

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New Mexico: a view from Cabezon Peak~

With an elevation of nearly 2500 meters, Cabezon Peak is the largest of over 50 volcanic formations that dot the otherwise barren and otherworldly desert shrubland of the Rio Puerco Valley, in New Mexico. It is a steep-sided and symmetrical basalt volcanic plug that formed during the eruptions of the Mount Taylor volcanic field millions of years ago. The basalt monolith is one of the most prominent landmarks in northwestern New Mexico, dominating the landscape. This area badlands, canyons, and a diverse flora and fauna, and It is also here…

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