Travelling is one of the greatest things we can do as humans. We get to experience everything we know from pictures, movies, or songs in real life. And what greater thing than extraordinary moments, breathtaking views, or deeply-felt feelings you will never ever forget? There are many places you can visit where it looks like you’re at the edge of the Earth. And it doesn’t only look like that, it feels like that too. The tingling sensation of standing on a spot makes it seem like the entire world is behind you and you’re looking into the great unknown.
Hum Hod Cliff, Thailand
The Hum Hod Cliff is located in the Sai-Thong National Park in beautiful Thailand. This National Park features waterfalls, extraordinary landscapes, and a breathtaking flower field. Even if you’re not a fan of flowers, trust me, this one will make you. Besides all I’ve just mentioned, the park also has one of the most astounding viewpoints in the world.
A flat rock above a deep abyss overlooks the lush nature and all the wonderful hiking trails. It most definitely is not for the faint-hearted but gives you an absolutely stunning reason to overcome your fears. The mountains surrounding the valley make it seem like you’re at the edge of the earth and nothing comes after them besides more nature.
The tepui Kukenán in the Guayana Region in Venezuela is in Canaima National Park. The 2,680 meters high and around 3 km long table-top mountain has an estimated surface area of 2185 hectares and has a waterfall at its south end. From its base, it looks just like someone put a gigantic block of stone in the middle of nowhere. Standing at the edge will definitely give you an adrenaline rush, since you’re looking down the straight edge of stone. Since it is in a National Park, there’s not much around it, besides, you know, extraordinary landscapes, beautiful greenery, and astonishing views.
Views like this can make you forget there is a world around you and feel like you’re at the edge of the earth. And the National Park has even more of it to offer – more tepuis and even the highest waterfall on the earth Auyán Tepui.
FYI: The scenery on top of the Kukenán was the inspiration for the film Up, and who doesn’t love this movie? One more reason to come see for yourself.
Mount Roraima, South America
It is hard to name the country in which this mountain is, since the complete mountain chain spreads through Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. Mount Roraima is the highest peak of the Pakaraima mountains chain and reaches 2.810 meters. It is famous for its flat plateau which is bounded on all sides by massive cliffs rising over 400 meters. The peak usually stays way high above clouds and fog, giving it an even more mystical look, and putting it on this list of places to experience the edge of the earth.
FYI: If you don’t want to risk anything by ascending the summit yourself, you can also approach it on an airplane.
Beachy Head, England
Some of you might have already heard of it or seen it on TV somewhere, maybe Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Beachy Head in East Sussex is a giant headland directly by the shore. It is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain and rises to 162 meters. Approaching England by sea, the cliffs look like giant marble walls or icebergs.
Walking atop the incline and solemnly looking at nothing but the endless sea truly feels like this is where it ends – this is the edge of the earth.
Sadly, in 2010, it was one of the top three suicide spots in the world. Ever since the number of annual deaths started rising, there are Chaplaincy teams patrolling the area. Furthermore, taxi drivers and pub workers keep their eyes and ears open for anyone hinting at suicidal thoughts and the Samaritans keep a telephone line open 24/7 for anyone in need to call them.
Preikestolen is one of Norway’s many tourist attractions. It is a 604-meter high cliff above Lysefjorden with an almost flat top. Visitors can reach the site via a 3.8-kilometre-long (one-way) hike. Although it definitely does not sound like a far walk, it can take up to two to three hours, depending on your fitness level and the traffic. The elevation differential is 334 meters but the path climbs and descends multiple times.
If you’re not into hiking, it is around 25 kilometers from the city of Stavanger and it takes just under 40 minutes to get there.
Once you stand at the edge of the cliff, there are no fences or safety devices, since they would distract from the wonderful view. Fatalities are extremely rare, but still, suicides did take place here, at the edge of the earth.
Casa Del Arbol, Ecuador
Remember those days when you and your friends used to ride a swing in the schoolyard? Well, I’m here to tell you, riding a swing is not just for kids. This is the wildest one in the world. You can sit on a swing attached to the Casa del Arbol. This treehouse is actually a seismic monitoring station which hikers pass on their way to the Bellavista viewpoint.
There is no safety belt nor anything keeping you from falling. This swing has nothing special in itself. It is made of a metal beam attached to a rope, but the view makes everything worthwhile. If you’re brave enough, you will take your chance and feel your adrenaline rushing as you take on the adventure of swinging over the edge of the earth.
Trolltunga, which translates to Troll tongue, is a rock formation in Vestland county, Norway. It rises to 1.100 meters above sea level. This formation hasn’t always been as popular as it is now. In 2010, only around 800 people hiked the summit, and by 2016, the numbers reached 80,000 hikers per year.
The 27-kilometre trip starts and ends in the village of Skjeggedal and takes more than ten hours. The hike is mostly on very rough terrain and there is no shelter and no supplies the whole way long.
The cliff Trolltunga overlooks the Hardanger region with many mountains reaching a height of 1.500 meters. You’re standing at the edge of the earth with one of the most astounding views this planet has to offer.
Huà Shān, China
Huà Shān is one of the five holy summits in the Shaanxi Province. For many thousand years, people used this place for farming. They grew rice, tea, and oranges. The mountain range is most famous for its steep, but picturesque rock faces and extremely dangerous hikes. The peaks are connected by mountain paths with monasteries, pagodas, temples, and gates along the way.
Although many inexperienced hikers come here, you should do your research before trying yourself. The scenery is truly unforgettable, but the trails can be fatal. Imagine walking over a 1-meter-wide piece of wood attached to the stone of the mountain at a height of nearly 2000 meters. If it doesn’t feel like you’re at the edge of the earth, I don’t know what will.
FYI: If you see any red ribbons, many Buddhists climb up the paths and leave them containing their wishes behind.
Aiguille du Midi, France
The Aiguille du Midi might not be known to many people, but its location definitely is. It is a 3,842-meter-tall mountain next to the Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of the European continent. It is possible for visitors to go on a cable car, which takes them directly to the summit. Because of the great danger, tourists are not allowed to leave the facilities atop of the summit.
The “Step into the Void”, which already sounds a lot like the edge of the earth, was built in 2013. It is a glass skywalk at the top of the peak. You can look down 1,035 meters. Afterwards, it is possible to go on “Le Tube”, which was built in 2016 and is an enclosed tubular walkway all the way around the summit.
Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand
The Mount Aspiring National Park lies in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Many of you might have seen it before, without even knowing about it. It was the set for The Lord of the Rings movies. It feels like civilization, as we know, comes to an end where our middle-earth fantasies cross with ice-edged glaciers, rocky landscapes, and a deep, deep green you’ve never seen before. Landscapes are seldom as untouched as they are here.
You can decide what you want to do once you’ve arrived. Hiking, skiing, rock climbing, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of a place you never knew existed.
North Cape, Norway
The plateau at the North Cape on the island of Magerøya in Northern Norway is one of Norway’s and Europe’s biggest tourist attractions. The cliff at the edge goes down 307 meters and you can enjoy the absolutely stunning view of the midnight sun, a once-in-a-lifetime experience in a place at the edge of the earth.
Norway’s North Cape sits at the very top of the globe and overlooks the Arctic Ocean. Endless skies, clear water and breaking waves stretch as far as your eye can see.
FYI: You can cross two bullet points off your bucket list and see the magical northern lights as well.
Bunda Cliffs, Australia
At the edge of the earth, or at least the edge of Southern Australia, the Bunda Cliffs reach heights of up to 119,8 meters and stretch on for nearly 100 kilometers. These cliffs mark the biggest single slab of limestone in the world, and it is possible to see white sharks swimming in the ocean below. This place is lost, treeless and not populated and nearly as big as the United Kingdom.
FYI: You can get there on the Indian Pacific train, which holds the record for the longest, straightest section on the planet – nearly 500 kilometers.
Makgadikgadi Pan, Africa
Thousands of years ago, a superlake in the Kalahari Desert in Botsuana dried up and left a salt flat behind that is the size of Switzerland. No vegetation and close to no wildlife can exist in the burning heat. The time spent riding a quad or driving a car seems like you’re driving for an eternity. Something about that sounds like experiencing the edge of the earth.
Researchers recently examined human mitochondrial DNA and claim that the modern Homo sapiens actually first began to evolve in this region, which was around 200,000 years ago.
The volcanoes of Kamchatka. Yes, you’ve read correctly, volcanoes, plural, are located in Siberia, Eastern Russia. They mark the most active volcanic region in the world. Imagine the surroundings looking something like this: broken roads, post-apocalyptic-looking cities, old military bases, and in the background, volcanoes. Doesn’t sound too inviting, does it? But to be honest, the scenery of the volcanoes is absolutely breathtaking.
This region isn’t called the Pacific Ring of Fire for no reason. The smoking volcanoes are constantly threatening to destroy every little bit of civilization still left. It is not only about the scenery when you visit this place at the edge of the earth, but also about the feeling you get. The constant visual reminder of danger makes it feel like you’re at the edge of life itself.
“Greenland is the world’s least populated country, so why would I ever want to visit?” – Well, listen here, because I’m about to change your mind!
Visiting Greenland definitely grounds you. There are no roads connecting the towns, and your only option is to switch to a boat, plane, helicopter, or dogsled. My recommendation: go by boat. You can sail through icebergs and, again, see untouched nature. It won’t only feel like you’re at the edge of the earth, with no land in sight, but Greenland’s shores, but also like the edge of civilization, since only around 56.225 people live scattered around the entire country.
Elliot Gillies, a traveler, once said, “Hiking during the summer is more akin to hiking on the moon”.
Why you should experience Earth’s edge
Haruki Murakami once said: “Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.”
Travelling to places at the edge of the earth feels like you’re the only one there. Like nothing is in front of you, and all the world is behind you. It is up to you to imagine what lies ahead of you. Maybe not only metaphorically spoken. It grounds you and it takes your travel experience to a whole new level. These are experiences and feelings you will forever cherish.
Credit feature image: Andrew Neel / Unsplash