I would love to visit number 5; the marble caves of chile Chico! They looked spectacular😍
My most unbelievable place will probably always be the beach of Egypt. I had never been abroad before but when I was 16 my friends family invited me along in their holiday. I felt like I was in a film, I’d never felt the sun beam so strong!
It's a nice selection, though given the early candidates I was a bit underwhelmed by the top 5. Of the places I've visited a couple of the stand outs would be the White Desert in Egypt and the 4 day funeral ceremonies and burial caves Tana Toraja in Sulewesi, Indonesia. Both are seriously spectacular. If you go to visit the White Desert try to make it to the Siwa Oasis. I didn't go all that way but imagine its very interesting. If you visit Tana Toraja try to go in the holiday season August - September if I recall when most of the funerals take place. If you are perplexed by this, it's because the view is that you ain't dead until you are buried there (or at least have the burial celebration and shoved into the family burial cave. In the meantime they embalm the bodies and keep the dead folks in the house, (sometimes brought out for a bit of an airing) until the family has saved up for a seriously big funeral - appropriate to the dead persons status in life. For a nobody this might just involve the sacrifice of a chicken but a big timer could justify 24 buffalo (maybe even a rare albino) and 100 pigs. Visitors are welcomed as VIPs but it's not for the feint hearted. 100 years ago the sacrafices would (for a big cheese) have probably involved some human sacrafices from a neighbouring village. Thankfully that aspect has died out but you can very much the feel for how it might have been with the chanting and bloodbath during the ritual slaughter.
#7 Actually we went there by accident as part of a very memorable intercontinental blind date in the good old days before the Internet made it too easy to know about everything in advance. I had arranged to meet a girl from Canada who had placed an ad in London's Time Out. As she was in Canada and I was in UK we decided to meet in Singapore with the intention of following the Medan to Padang route through Sumatra. On the flights over to Singapore we both noticed that Sumatra was blanketed in smog due to the fires they used to burn at the time post harvest. When we went to get tickets in Singapore the agent said we should try Sulewesi and Bali instead so off we went. We didn't have any guidebooks etc so we just played it by ear. Someone said we should take the bus to the highland interior of Sulewesi and when we got there the hostel asked had we come for the funeral. At first we thought we might be imposing on a family's grief but we were assured that was not an issue in Tana Toraja as people took a more the merrier approach to funerals with anyone who had travelled a long way being regarded as an especially prestigious VIP guest. So along we went to a 4 day festival to a big cheese who had died a year or two ago. If I recall the schedule was Day 1 chanting and singing procession, Day 2 Buffalo fighting (not so easy to get buffalo's to fight, seemingly nothing much happens until one of them turns round and runs into the surrounding crowd - apparently quite frequently killing a hapless bystander. Day 3 Pig feast. On this day people come from far and wide carrying pigs suspended on bamboo poles. Around 100 got butchered up and cooked. If you have ever heard even a single pig dieing with its throat cut you can imagine this was quite an "in your face" experience. The choisest pieces together with bamboo segments of pig's blood was handed round to the guests and especially the VIP guests such as ourselves. Day 4 was the crescendo. The sacrafice of 24 buffalo whereby the nonchalant buffalo were lead one by one into the village centre then each boy who had been charged with looking after and pampering his buffalo for its entire life was charged with taking his machette and chopping the buffalo's jugular. After all that all the meat was chopped up and distributed by the family to all the visitors /participants as a sort of settling of past favours according to how much favour each family had built up over the years. The dead are embalmed and kept in the house for a year or two whilst the family saves up for the funeral blow out. It was only after the official funeral that the dead person is officially considered dead and the body is taken to the burial caves to be placed among the rather spooky coffins overflowing with ancestors skeletons etc etc.
Undoubtedly a very memorable blind date.
I don't have my own photos here but here are a selection from the net which will give you a good idea.
#9 Certainly not recommended for vegetarians. Of course the buffalo and pigs there have a fantastic life right up to the last couple of minutes, certainly compared with 99 % of the animals served up in our supermarkets. The bodies are effectively mummified I guess with stuff they find in forest, I'm sure they can't afford manufactured chemicals. I think they wheel them outside the house now and then to to get some fresh air. The houses are pretty small so it must be kind of weird growing up with a dead Gramps in the corner.