If you’re an explorer or adrenaling junkie, you probably get bored really fast. Today’s world is much smaller than it has ever been, and with the rise of globalization, faster modes of transportation and the Internet, the Earth is more accessible than ever. However, there still remains several areas that are largely mysterious and unexplored. Although humans have come a long way in exploring the Earth – and outer space – there are still areas that remain uncharted. Most of these areas are dangerous, while all are inaccessible for one reason or another. Here are 12 places on Earth that might get you excited and planning for your next adventure.
12. Gangkhar Puensum
Gangkhar Puensum is a mountain that lies on the border of Bhutan and China and, at 7,570 meters above sea leve. It is generally touted as the world’s highest un-climbed mountain, and for a reason; the mountain remains unexplored because it’s actually illegal to practice any form of mountaineering on it. Any mountain higher than 6,000 meters in Bhutan is off limits for two reasons: many locals consider mountains to be the homes of sacred spirits, and there exists no methods to rescue those who might become injured or trapped on mountains.
11. Mulu, Borneo
Gunung Mulu National Park boasts the world’s largest cave system, and, as less than 10% of the world’s caves have been explored, it’s an area ripe for discovery. Mulu is relatively easy to reach, but despite this accessibility, once you reach Mulu, there’s plenty of exploration to be done, since most of the park’s caves and jungles remain undiscovered.
Namibia, Africa’s least densely populated country, is the only place on this list to contain a desert. The Kalahari Desert stretches into Namibia from Botswana and South Africa. Much of Namibia, especially the Kalahari, remains unexplored, and offers something for every type of explorer. Fascinating wild animals can be found in Namibia, from lions and cheetahs to wildebeests and ostriches. And didn’t the guys at Top Gear take the madness toward this location, at one time?
9. Greenland Ice Sheet
The Greenland Ice Sheet covers nearly 80% of Greenland and measures nearly two miles thick, at its thickest point. As one can imagine, there is still an abundance of unexplored territory on the Greenland Ice Sheet. In fact, in June of 2014, scientists discovered an entirely new “underworld” hidden more than a mile beneath the Ice Sheet. And this unique underworld is only a hint towards what unexplored regions exist underneath and above the Ice Sheet.
8. Kamchatka, Russia
Siberia, located in the north of Russia, is infamously cold and inhospitable. Although it makes up 77% of Russia’s physical landmass, only 27% of the population can be found there. Approximately 300,000 live on the Kamchatka Peninsula, but the majority is uninhabited and remains largely unexplored thanks to its remote location and stormy winters.
7. Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest is largely unexplored due to its sheer size: spanning nine countries and 5,500,000 square kilometers, it’s the largest rainforest in the world. 10% of the world’s species can be found in the Amazon, and new species are frequently being discovered, especially in the rainforest canopy.
6. Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is not only one of the least explored places in the world, but also one of the most threatened. The Great Barrier Reef faces several serious threats, including warming oceans and irresponsible human beings. Over 900 islands and 2,500 reefs are contained within the Great Barrier Reef, so there’s no end to exploration. All you need is a diving certificate and a little gumption to do a little exploring of your own.
5. Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is ripe for scientific exploration. The entire country is largely unexplored in the Western sense, although it is home to several indigenous tribes. Because Papua New Guinea is covered by dense vegetation, exploration is difficult but rewarding. A lack of paved roads and limited infrastructure mean that tourism is scarce and hasn’t damaged this thriving and unique ecosystem.
Myanmar, also called Burma, is largely unexplored, although expeditions have been taking place during the past couple of years. Myanmar boasts 135 ethnic groups from the North to the South, and the entire country is alluring for historians, scientists and explorers.
3. Congo Rainforest
The Amazon might be bigger, but the Congo is even less explored. The Congo Basin, which covers an enormous 15% of Africa, has long been a fascinating subject for both locals and foreigners alike. Native pygmy tribes tell tales about dinosaur-like creatures that stalk through the Congo, while foreigners like to debate the possibility of pygmy tribes.
2. Lake Vostok, Antarctica
Antarctica remains a mystery even in the 21st century. Most expeditions to this icy land depart from Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego, one of the southernmost points of the country. Lake Vostok is hypothesized that ice covered this lake 15-25 million years ago; thus, it is likely that fossils and unusual forms of life will be found here. Although the lake was discovered in 1993, it has not been thoroughly explored and the samples taken from it have not yet been examined.
1. Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench is the least explored region of the ocean. The Mariana Trench is the deepest segment of the ocean, particularly at its deepest point entitled the Challenger Deep, which reaches down to a whopping 6.85 miles. What we do know about the Mariana Trench is fascinating – it’s filled with strange and unique creatures that have accustomed to the intense pressure of the water and the extreme temperatures.