We have an island run by cats, an eerie network of tombs underneath Paris and the world’s deadliest hiking trail. On the first episode of Ripley’s Round Trip we’re taking you across the globe to check out some “seriously weird” travel destinations. Who knows it may just inspire your next adventure!

A Purr-fect Destination

Beginning first with Tashirojima, an island off the coast of Japan where less than 25% of its population are human! Nicknamed “cat island”, this land was used as a center for silkworm production for textiles, but in order to keep the cocoons safe from rats and mice, they imported a few cats to fix the problem. Well, these fluffy guards were allowed to roam freely which resulted in them eventually outnumbering the less than 100 human residents. If you decide to make your way to the Isle of Cats, here’s a tip, there’s no need to bring them any food or treats no matter how tempting it may be. Locals say these cats are thought to bring good luck and fortune so they are well taken care of with plenty of food, water and cuddles.

A Tourist Hot Spot

We only flame to please with our next seriously weird destination over in Turkmenistan. Famously called the Gates of Hell, the Darvaza Gas Crater has attracted more and more tourists each year with its massive pit of fire that has been burning in the Karakum desert for more than five decades. This Gas Crater is reported to have formed around 1971 while Soviet geologists were exploring for oil and natural gas. When they began drilling they quickly realized they had penetrated a giant underground cavern when the ground beneath their equipment began to subside. Well, If you’re feeling extra courageous on your next trip, be sure to stop by and witness the incredible fiery abyss for yourself!

Karakum desert fire pit

Credit: Benjamin Goetzinger Via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Hellacious Hike

Feeling extra adventurous? At the end of this treacherous death-defying trail in China is a mere tea house, but this Mount Huashan Plank Walk is famed for its adrenaline-raising effects and dubbed the deadliest hiking trail in the world. Hikers ascend the mountain by walking across a few planks of wood bolted into the side of a 7,000-foot peak in order to reach a small shrine and while the hikers are harnessed, it is still a bizarre and terrifying adventure in the sky. Would you walk the plank here, at one of the strangest destinations on earth? Let us know in the comments below.

Catacomb Craze

Our last location lurks deep below the city of Paris, and is one of the most unbelievable places I’ve ever experienced, and one that I recommend having a strong stomach for. Once you’ve finished marveling at the Eiffel Tower or strolling along the Champs-Élysées, don’t forget to make your way down to the Catacombs of Paris. Believe It or Not!, this network of tombs lies directly underneath the city and is home to the remains of over six million bodies. What?! What started as a solution to relieve the city’s overflowing cemeteries turned into a hotspot for tourists everywhere and there’s no feeling quite like being deep underground in the dark and surrounded by millions of skeletons. Keep in mind, there are no elevators down to this area so you will be making the 131 step descent by foot.

Catacombs of Paris

Credit: Tommie Hansen Via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Well explorers, we hope you’ve enjoyed these seriously weird travel destinations and maybe it’s inspired you to add some to your own travel list. This concludes the first episode of our brand new series, Ripley’s Round Trip, where we’re following the footsteps of our favorite explorer Robert Ripley as we take you around the world to experience the best and the bizarre of the travel world. Until next time, happy adventuring!


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