Here at MyTravelMoney.co.uk, we admit not liking averages very much; they’re boring, subject to change and not all that challenging. So to this end, we have compiled a list of the most extreme places on earth: the highest, lowest, coldest, hottest, wettest and driest destinations for you to visit should you share our passion for all things exaggerated.
All right, so you all know this one already! Mt Everest is indeed the highest peak on this wonderful planet of ours and it’s yours for the taking. Provided you don’t mind risking your life in pursuit of such foolery! Of the two most popular routes you can take, the southeast ridge from Nepal is by far the easiest (as compared to what we ask?) and is the most frequented. There are at least a dozen secondary routes for you to choose from, but no matter which one you take, you’ll be oxygenally challenged before you even start climbing. Most attempts are made just before the monsoon season, when it is said winds are at their weakest. Physical training is recommended for up to 12 months before your intended hike. We’ll be right behind you.
The lowest place on earth is the Dead Sea, a body of water between Jordan and Israel. Its elevation is -423 meters and its salinity the highest in the world. This lake is so dense you can’t actually swim in it…you sort of just bop around in it. Easily reached from the Jordanian capital, Amman, a visit here is infinitely easier than a hike up Mount Everest! Many resorts which line its shores offer day passes so you can experience this quirky phenomenon without needing overnight accommodation. Indeed, the slat has a way of sneaking up your inner organs and a bop is only bearable for a half an hour at most.
It seems only logical that the southernmost continent on our planet, Antarctica, is also the coldest. Oddly enough, Antarctica is actually a desert, recording minimal yearly rainfall. The lowest temp ever recorder here was a balmy -89.4°C; quite a perfect temperature should you happen to be a penguin. Keep in mind that the only humans living in Antarctica are scientists, and visitors come aboard ice-strengthened cruise liners in the summer months. The coldest inhabited place on earth happens to be Siberia, where winter temps can drop to below 50°C. As you can imagine, life at low temps has its challenges: children only play outside for 20 minutes at a time, a trip to the supermarket is a race against time and we assume taking a leek behind a tree is out of the question. So next time you’re about to winge about the cold in London…spare a thought for the Siberians.
Another title to be shared is that of the ‘hottest’ place on earth. Considering over a third of our planet is deserted, it seems only fair that we give all credits where they are due. The highest temp ever recorded, 66°C, was in El Azizia in current day Libya. The ghibli however, an ardent sand wind typical of the area, can be responsible for a rise in temps of up to 20 °C in just a few hours, and this greatly contributes to the average heat. A close contender for the title is of course Death Valley in California, where temps have been recorded at 56°C several times. Spare a thought for the Tunisians as well, who must endure summer temps of over 50°C. Unfortunately only the very rich can afford air-conditioning in Tunisia, making the heat one of the biggest causes of death in summer.
The Atacama Desert in Chile is considered the driest place on earth, even though it snowed when we were there. At first we thought we’d taken a wrong turn, but it turns out it does sometime snow in the Atacama, albeit rarely. One of the most interesting places to visit here is Death Valley just outside San Pedro de Atacama. The ground is so dry and drenched in salt that it crumbles under your feet. It’s quite a surreal feeling and it seems as though you could break through earth’s crust if only you jumped. Which we did.
The Indian city of Mawsynram holds the record for being the wettest place on earth. Whilst average yearly rainfall is a drenching 11 meters, the town received no less than 25 meters of rain in 1985! There are various theories brought forward by meteorologists as to why this particular place is always so waterlogged; but they are all basically related to the town’s unique geographical position. The nearby Khasi Hills cause a cul-de-sac effect for moisture clogged winds coming from the Bay of Bengal, causing the town of Mawsynram to receive almost continuous rain during the long monsoon period.
So go somewhere extreme on your next trip! Before you leave home, don’t forget to check out MyTravelMoney.co.uk and compare travel money prices today.