Yes, I acknowledge that it’s ridiculous, reductive, and totally unrealistic to try to represent all the beautiful scenery on a continent in one post. I am not an expert. I don’t pretend to be an expert. That said, these photos of the crazy mountains that inspired Avatar’s landscape, a real-life stone forest, and yes, RAINBOW MOUNTAINS are too incredible not to share.

Know of another gorgeous landscape that warrants placement on this list? Comment on the post, and I’ll keep updating with your favorites!

1. Lenticular Clouds on Mount Fuji, Japan

Lenticular clouds have been blamed for some UFO sightings. Betcha didn’t know that.
Lenticular Clouds on Mount Fuji in Japan

2. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan

As long as you’re in Kyoto, may as well visit the Tenryuji Temple.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan

3. Mount Sanqing, China

It’s just a renowned Taoist sacred mountain 25 miles north of Yoshan Country in the Jiangxi Province. “Sanquing” means “Three Pure Ones” in Chinese, and Mount Sanqing’s three main summits, Yujing, Yushui, and Yuhua, represent the Taoist trinity. Or at least that’s what Wikipedia says.

Sanqing Mountain, China

4. Shilin Stone Forest, China

Actual, but maybe boring, fact: The formations are caused by the dissolution of limestone and are likely more than 270 million years old. More interesting legend: the forest is the birthplace of Ashima (阿诗玛), a beautiful girl of the Yi people. After she fell in love, she was forbidden to marry her chosen suitor and instead turned into a stone in this forest. Spppooooookkyyyy.

Shilin Stone Forest, China

Shilin Stone Forest, China

Shilin Stone Forest, China

5. Pangong Tso Lake, India-China

Pangong Tso is Tibetan for “long, narrow, enchanted lake.” It’s also in disputed territory. India, China, and Tibet have some things to talk about. This is not new information.

Pangong Tso Lake

Pangong Tso Lake

6. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China

Just start planning your vacation to the park that inspired the scenery in Avatar now. Here’s the tourism site.

Zhangjiajie, China

Zhangjiajie, China

 

7. Red Beach, Panjin, China

8. Jiuzhaigou Valley, China

This whole area is just gorgeous–it has locations called “Five Flower Lake,” “Panda Lake,” and “Primeval Forest.” Read more about it here.

Jiuzhaigou_TibetanChina_002_FiveFlowerLake_Morning4

Jiuzhaigou Valley, China

9. Crescent Lake (Dunhuang), China

It’s a real-life oasis.

Crescent Lake (Dunhuang), China

10. Zhangye Danxia Landform, China

This is not Photoshopped.

Zhangye Danxia

Zhangye Danxia

Zhangye Danxia

Zhangye Danxia

Zhangye Danxia

11. Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines

There are at least 1,260 hills.

Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines

Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines

12. Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines

The longest navigable underground river in the world.

Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines

13. Taal Volcano, Luzon, Philippines

Scroll down for the zoom-out.

Taal Volcano, Luzon, Philippines

Taal Volcano, Luzon, Philippines

14. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

15. Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Just a casual active volcano hanging out in an ancient extinct volcano.
Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Mount Bromo, Indonesia

16. Papuma Beach, Jember, East Java, Indonesia

Just gorgeous.

Papuma Beach, Jember, East Java, Indonesia

17. The Plain of Jars, Laos

What’s the deal with this, right? There’s this area in the Xieng Khouang plateau with THOUSANDS of megalithic jars. In clusters, by themselves, whatever. Folks kinda think they have something to do with burial practices from the Iron Age (500 BC to AD 500), but they’re not sure.

The Plain of Jars, Laos

The Plain of Jars, Laos

The Plain of Jars, Laos

18. Shimmering shores of Vaadhoo, Maldives

Ahh, glowing waves.
Shimmering shores of Vaadhoo, Maldives

Shimmering shores of Vaadhoo, Maldives