As we await the release of the second Avatar movie, Avatar: The Way of Water, check out some places on Earth that offer landscapes as stunning as those in the movie.
The movie took the world by storm in 2009, and awed many with its mesmerising mix of jaw-dropping landscapes, ethereal bioluminescence, and otherworldly creatures. If you’re someone who has been drawn into the world since it hit the screens some 13 years ago, know that you are not alone.
However, a visit to Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom isn’t the only way to immerse yourself in the magical world. Turns out there’s a handful of real-life places around the world that has inspired the blockbuster’s unforgettable visuals, each as worthy as the next for your bucket list.
Now, as we wait for the second instalment of the film, we take you through some of these remarkable places that may have inspired the stunning landscapes in Avatar, so you too can experience what life on Pandora might be like.
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(Hero and featured image credits: Matteo Colombo/Getty Images & @glowwormcaves)
10 places on Earth that’ll transport you to Pandora in Avatar:
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is located in the Hunan province in China, and is said to have been the main inspiration behind the floating mountains Hallelujah Mountains in Avatar’s Pandora. The grandiose landscape here is filled gigantic, pillar-like rocks, that are a result of years of erosion due to the expanding ice in winter, the moist weather, and the dense foliage on these mountains.
Huangshan Mountains, China
While Zhangjiajie was definitely the main inspiration behind the floating mountains in Pandora, the Huangshan Mountains and its pillared landscape is another place that’s said to have inspired the visuals in the movie. Also known as ‘Yellow Mountains’, these stunning structures have intrigued poets, artists, and more over the years.
(Image credit: @ beautiful.nature_experience)
Angel Falls, Venezuela
Located in Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State is Angel Falls, Angel Falls is the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall with a height of 979m and a plunge of 807m. Little wonder then, that it’s also said to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, and is said to be the inspiration behind the location where Jake Sully and Neytiri try to catch the bird dragon.
(Image credit: @bluemarbleedu)
Mount Roraima, Venezuela
Mount Roraima, a picturesque flat-topped mountain, is also located in Venezuela and marks the border between the country and Brazil. The place is surrounded by clouds and seems to be floating in the air, making it a featured destination in other famous movies, such as Disney’s Up.
(Image credit: @geology_peru)
Wisteria Tree at the Ashikaga Flower Park, Ashikaga, Japan
If you were enchanted by the Tree of Souls in Avatar, you can witness the same scenic beauty at the Wisteria Tree in Japan’s Ashikaga Flower Park. The country is known for its stunning landscapes and beautiful blooms, and one of the most Instagrammable ones are the Wisteria flowers, which hang from trees sporting a delicate purple hue.
(Image credit: @m.yama1118)
Luminous Lagoon, Jamaica
The microscopic organisms in the waters of the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica create the perfect replica of the waters in Pandora, as well as the bioluminescent skin of the Na’vi people on the moon. The natural wonder is a beautiful place for those who want to feel the mystical world of Pandora.
(Image credit: @kosvino)
Socotra Island, Yemen
What makes Socotra Islands worthy of a spot on this list is the fact that its trees are almost alien in structure. The island is home to hundreds of rare plant species, including the dragon’s blood tree, which is one of the plants that is said to have inspired the world of Pandora in 2009.
(Image credit: @socotraisland)
Northern Lights, Finland, Canada, Alaska and more
The Northern Lights can be witnessed in several spots across the world, with Canada, Alaska and Finland amongst the most popular destinations for aurora chasers. The stunning phenomenon, seen only for a short part of the year in the skies, are said to have inspired the skies of Pandora.
(Image credit: @michael_ulriksen)
Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
If you want to see the night sky underground, or simply want to know how Jake Sully must have felt when hundreds of woodsprites laid on him and Neytiri, you only need to head to Waitomo’s Ruakuri caves in New Zealand. Dotted with thousands of glowworms, these captivating caves show that natural beauty can indeed go beyond one’s imagination.