Rock Column Forest
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
China’s skyscrapers have got nothing on the Rock Column Forest, a collection of thousands of sandstone pillars that pierce the clouds. One of the tallest, the Southern Sky Column, has been renamed Avatar Hallelujah Mountain because it inspired the movie (because why not, right?). A ride up the nearby Bailong Elevator, the world’s tallest outdoor lift, reveals a full, enthralling view of the scenery.
Kasar Devi/Crank's Ridge
Pop culture buffs, here’s the newest destination on your bucket list. Throughout the 20th century, Crank’s Ridge, a sleepy northern Indian town, was a pilgrimage site for musicians, psychedelic psychiatrists, and Tibetan monks alike. During the ’60s and ’70s, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Ravi Shankar, and Allen Ginsberg all spent time here (so did baby Uma Thurman!). Call it a more laid-back alternative to Goa -- hippie backpackers, with the peaceful energy of the Himalayas.