Mount Hua Shan, China
Located in China’s Shaanxi Province, Hua Shan is a courageous feat. You must be brave, or perhaps just foolish, to take on this striking mountain. Considered the most dangerous hike on Earth, the hazards here are not difficult to spot.
Unable to resist? You’re not the first. The views from Hua Shan’s summit are spectacular, and the route is all laid out, but you shouldn’t expect this to be a simple ascent. You’ll need to balance on the narrowest ledges, cross the terrifying plank walk and negotiate the impossibly-steep steps that have been hewn into the craggy mountainside.
If someone approaches from the opposite direction, there’s little room to get past, and your position being precarious, the best you can hope for is a chain to cling on to. There are no official statistics on deaths toll on Mount Hua Shan but it has been estimated that about 100 people die every year.
Running Of The Bulls
Planning a summer trip to Pamplona? Held here on an annual basis, the Running of the Bulls continues to prove popular and those taking part are taking their lives in their hands. We do not recommend to sign up for this.
The bull run is an ancient tradition here, involving running in front of a small group of six to ten bulls that have been let loose in the town’s streets. It originated in northeastern Spain in the early 14th century. Whhile transporting cattle in order to sell them at the market, men would try to speed the process by hurrying their cattle using tactics of fear and excitement. After years of this practice, it started to turn into a competition, as young adults would attempt to race in front of the bulls and make it safely to their pens without getting hurt.
Some 15 people have died taking part in Pamplona’s bull run since records began in 1910 and the risks involved are obvious. Goring causes the most injuries, although crushing is a major hazard as those fleeing the charging cattle run for their lives. Pamplona is the most famous, but the Running of the Bulls also takes part elsewhere in Spain, as well as in Portugal and Mexico. Such is its popularity here, Pamplona’s bull run is even broadcast live, so it’s probably best to watch on TV.
Hawaii Active Volcanoes
Visitors flock to Hawaii to sample laid-back island life at its finest. With sea, sand and surf aplenty, the attractions here are obvious. But make no mistake: there is trouble in paradise. Hawaii’s active volcanoes are a constant hazard.
Take Kilauea, for instance. This is an awe-inspiring sight, for sure. But it’s also classified as the most dangerous volcano in the United States and those planning a trip to the Big Island are advised to always exercise caution. Kilauea has been erupting since 1983 and no-one knows when it might next blow its top. Factor in Hawaii’s other active volcanoes, including Mauna Loa, Hualalai and Mauna Kea, and it’s clear that this is a perilous place indeed.
Spotted a fresh lava flow? Don’t get too close, wear proper shoes and always stick to the designated paths. Recently-cooled lava fields can collapse into the ocean without warning and for those who take chances with Hawaii’s volcanoes, the consequences can be dire.
Valley Of Death, Russia
The name says it all. Russia’s Valley of Death is a destination to avoid at all costs. Those who do get too close risk never returning.
Lying beneath Kikhpinych, a stratovolcano on the remote Kamchatka Peninsula, the Valley of Death traps the poisonous gases that emerge from countless cracks in the Earth’s surface. Hydrogen Sulfide, Carbon Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide and other dangerous elements make for a toxic brew. With no wind to disperse the deadly gases, just breathing the air here can be fatal.
Innumerable bird and mammal carcasses lie all around in what has become an eerie animal graveyard. Those heading here risk suffering a similar fate, and visitors are not encouraged. Since the Valley of Death was first discovered in the 1930s, many adventurers have found the lure too hard to resist. If you ask locals, they’ll tell you 80 people have known to have been lost in the valley of death.
Devil’s Pool, Zambia
Victoria Falls are a spectacular sight that demand to be seen. More than 5,000 feet wide and over 350 feet tall, this Zambian jewel is classified as the world’s largest waterfall.
It is allowed to swim here but taking a dip in Devil’s Pool is a dangerous pursuit. Located close to the Zimbabwean border, adventure seekers flock here in order to test their courage. Thinking about joining them in the warm river waters? You’ll be taking quite a chance.
Devil’s Pool sits right on the edge. There is a rock ledge that, in theory, prevents bathers from going over. But thrill seekers do die here and the warnings should always be heeded. If the falls themselves are not dangerous enough, other hazards lurk in the mysterious Zambezi River. Look out for the giant crocodiles that prowl beneath the surface or, better still, find somewhere safer to cool down and kick back.
Yosemite Half Dome
Half Dome is a Yosemite icon. Once believed to be impossible to scale, this striking rock beckons those keen to reach its fabled summit. Located in the National Park’s awe-inspiring eastern fringes, Half Dome is accessible to all; but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe to climb.
Park Rangers here are called upon to assist and rescue hundreds of wannabe mountaineers on an annual basis. If you don’t know what you’re doing, It might be best to give this one a miss. One thing is certain: you need to be in decent shape to tackle Half Dome. Climbing to the top involves a 16-mile round hike, and conservative estimates suggest that it’ll take around 12 hours to complete.
The last part is the scariest, with hikers using the cables attached to the granite rock’s smooth surface to haul themselves up the final 400 feet. You don’t need climbing equipment to reach the top, but slipping is a real risk and accidents do happen; since 2005, there have been at least 13 deaths, 291 accidents and 140 search-and-rescue missions on Half Dome.
Feeling brave? You’ll need great courage to travel down the ever-dangerous Death Road. Known also as Yungas Road, this ranks amongst the deadliest routes on Earth. Yet still tourists are drawn to Bolivia to experience the death-defying drive from the capital, La Paz.
Death Road’s nickname could not be more appropriate. Between 200 and 300 people are said to die here on an annual basis. Take a look at the road conditions and it isn’t difficult to understand why.
Death Road was built by Paraguayan prisoners in the 1930s and, although some improvements have been made in subsequent years, it remains hazardous in the extreme. Cut into the striking cliffside, the road is steep and narrow, with countless twists and turns that pose great dangers to those courageous enough to come here. Planning to tackle Death Road? Don’t get too close to the edge. The fall would be fatal so drive slowly and carefully.
Papua New Guinea Trails
Papua New Guinea is a natural wonderland. Boasting lush green jungles and mountainous peaks, this is a tranquil spot that beckons those with an eye for the unspoilt. But those who head here to trek the island’s twisting tracks and trails often discover hidden dangers.
Indeed, the Kokoda and Black Cat Trails tend to prove popular, but both present significant hazards that should not be underestimated. The surroundings might be picturesque, but navigating Papua New Guinea’s trails is anything but simple. There are thick forests, raging rivers and challenging climbs to overcome. And then there’s the constant risk of contracting a tropical disease. Also factor in the ancient tribes that still live here, the ruthless bandits that often lie in wait, machetes in hand, and it’s clear that this can be a perilous place. People have been murdered on these trails so you might want to look for a safer destination.
Death Valley is a perilous place. Located in eastern California’s barren Mojave Desert, this is a land of extremes. It might beckon the adventurous, but this is not a destination to underestimate.
The greatest threat here comes from the deadly weather conditions. The highest temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was over 57C. Get caught in the scorching desert sun and it could be the end. A few unprepared people die every year here, though if you take precautions the risks can be minimised.
Our tips? Drink plenty of water, don’t hike in the heat and always be prepared for a survival situation. Look out for signs of trouble such as nausea and dizziness and don’t take any chances. The temperature poses the greatest threat, but there are other dangers lurking here too. Look out for rattlesnakes and scorpions, and beware the abandoned mine shafts that can often be difficult to spot.
Crocodile Feeding, Thailand
Crocodile feeding has emerged as a trend in recent times with tourists offered the chance to feed giant snapping reptiles using great chunks of meat that are attached to fishing rods.
But such a hazardous practice is not encouraged. The authorities here are keen to close down such enterprises, but still crocodile feeding continues, posing some obvious dangers to those left holding the rods.
This tends to be a popular pursuit in Pattaya, a resort town on Thailand’s sun-kissed eastern Gulf Coast. But those tempted to have a go should think again. Sometimes the feeding is done from boats. But elsewhere, precarious platforms are overloaded with curious participants lured to crocodile farms to test their luck. The featured picture was taken by a shocked motorcycle-taxi rider Jon Nok. It shows hundreds of crocodiles circling the raft in a pond at the Elephant Kingdom farm. This attraction was so dangerous it was shut down in 2016 for 90 days so health and safety checks can be carried.
Skellig Michael, Ireland
Located seven miles off County Kerry’s spectacular coastline, Skellig Michael is a sight to behold. Its twin peaks reach high into the Irish skies, beckoning visitors from the mainland.
Thinking about taking a trip? Do take care. There are three landing points, with each leading to ancient stairways that pose great dangers. Hewn from stone, these are steep and narrow. There is no handrail and the 1000-year-old steps are often slippery. Not realising the risks, tourists often come a cropper and some have even died.
Skellig Michael couldn’t be more exposed, but although the wild weather often takes its toll, this is a place that is well worth a visit. There’s an ancient Gaelic monastery and wonderful wildlife, including puffins, gannets and seals, whilst the island has been used as a location in two films from the new Star Wars series. Tempted? Do take a trip just don’t take a tumble.
Praia De Boa Viagem, Brazil
Brazil is renowned for its beautiful beaches and this one is no exception. Located in Recife, on the country’s stunning north-east coast, the sun shines, the sands are golden and the warm waters glisten.
This is the perfect place to kick back and relax. But you might want to think twice about taking a dip in the ocean. Fearsome tiger and bull sharks patrol the shores and are always searching for their next victim and the beach ranks amongst the most dangerous in the world. Since 1992, 24 people have died of shark attacks, with over 60 registered incidents in the region.
It wasn’t always like this. Marine experts blame the sprawling Port Suape, built not far from here in the 1980s, for disturbing the region’s marine life and making this one of the deadliest places on the planet to take a dip. Stretching for five glorious miles, Praia De Boa Viagem offers ample opportunities for those keen to soak up some rays. If you’re planning to go, just stick to the sand.
Madidi National Park, Bolivia
Located in the Upper Amazon River Basin, mesmerising Madidi is a natural world like no other. Home to countless exotic plant and animal species, this tropical haven beckons those searching for unspoilt lands.
But this is not a place to underestimate, as unprepared adventurers often discover to their cost. The forest here is thick and dense and getting lost is a constant danger. But losing your bearings is just the start.
Dangerous predators prowl the jungle with panthers, alligators and anacondas amongst the animals seeking their next meal. Then there are the plants. There are more than 20,000 species here and many of them are highly poisonous. Factor in the parasites and the venomous spiders and it’s clear that this is a remote spot to approach with caution. Our best advice? Recruit an experienced local guide and never venture out alone.
Bikini Atoll, The Marshall Islands
Bikini Atoll is beautiful. The surrounding ocean shimmers and the coral captivates, but don’t be fooled. There is trouble in this Pacific paradise. Have no doubt about it, this is a dangerous destination indeed.
Sharks patrol the warm waters here, but it is on land that the greatest threat of all can be found. Exposure to harmful radiation is a constant risk.
It was here that the United States conducted controversial nuclear tests in the 1940s and 50s. Several hydrogen and atomic bombs were detonated in the remote region polluting the land and leaving a deadly legacy that remains to this day. Scientists declared it safe to return in the 1990s, but local people who left their homes long ago still refuse to return. Produce grown here is to be avoided at all costs but perhaps the safest option is to avoid the atoll altogether.
Afar Depression, Ethopia
The Afar Depression is a fascinating place. Part of East Africa’s Great Rift Valley, the Depression, also known as the Afar Triangle, is a place of geological wonders.
Covering a vast expanse in Ethiopia, as well as neighbouring Eritrea and Djibouti, shifting tectonic plates deep beneath the Earth’s surface make this an unpredictable place that brims with danger as earthquakes can be commonplace here.
Still thinking about paying a visit? Look out for fissures and cracks in the sinking valley floor and always be ready to run. Home to the lowest point in all of Africa, bubbling lava is never far beneath the surface in the ever-dangerous Depression. Hot and hostile, you need to be very prepared to take this trip safely.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Located in stunning County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher are a breathtaking sight. The views here are to die for. The trouble is, more and more people are doing just that.
Visitors flock to Ireland’s wonderful western fringes to walk the spectacular Coastal Trail that runs alongside the country’s awe-inspiring Atlantic shores. But erosion is a constant danger here and those who ignore the warnings risk paying the ultimate price.
There are signs aplenty, but still people venture too close to the edge in search of the perfect selfie. The grass-topped surface might look stable enough. But with the cliffs here eroding from the bottom up, your next step could well be your last. With persistent rain weakening the land and strong winds a constant hazard, the steep paths and loose gravel should be approached with great caution. A few people actually died over the years by adventuring outside the official walking trail and falling off the cliff.
Lake Natron, Tanzania
Thinking about taking a refreshing dip in striking Lake Natron? You should think again. Located in northern Tanzania, not far from the Kenyan border, this is a strange place that calls to the curious.
The highly-alkaline waters here could not be more hostile to life, and those who get too close tend to regret it. If red spells danger, the warning signs are obvious. This mineral-rich soda lake catches the eye with its vibrant colours and captivating crust. But this is a poisonous environment that is hostile to life and only a few creatures choose to make their home here.
The countless flamingos are a notable exception, with Lake Natron’s shores a major breeding ground for the bright pink birds. Pay a visit, take a trip and satisfy your curiosity. Just don’t get too close to Lake Natron’s toxic waters.
Sinabung Volcano, Indonesia
Until recent times, Sinabung didn’t appear to pose a great danger to tourists. For more than four centuries, Indonesia’s imposing volcano had lain quiet and dormant. But in 2010, Sinabung blew its top with devastating consequences.
Since then, the eruptions have hardly stopped. Following a 400-year hiatus, Sinabung is back with a vengeance. Having erupted in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the dangers here are all too obvious.
Located in North Sumatra, Sinabung inhabits a picturesque land. But it’s best seen from afar, with those who get too close taking their lives in their hands. There are more than 130 active volcanos in Indonesia, but Sinabung presents the greatest risk to life.
Standing 2,460 metres tall, its threat should never be underestimated. When it erupted in June 2019, Sinabung blasted ash almost five miles into the darkening skies above Sumatra. With earthquakes commonplace in the Pacific Basin’s so-called ‘Ring of Fire’, there’s no question that this is a dangerous tourist destination.
The Danakil Desert, Eritrea
The inhospitable Danakil Desert ranks amongst the most dangerous places on the planet. People do live here, close to the Ethiopian border, but life in Eritrea is tough, so take our advice and reconsider this trip.
The hottest inhabited spot on Earth, temperatures reach 45C on a regular basis. Factor in the toxic gases that make the air hard to breathe and it’s clear that this is a destination to approach with caution.
Lying in a geological depression far below sea level, Danakil is home to countless lava pools, bubbling sulfur springs, volcanos, and acid lakes. Often called ‘The Gateway to Hell’, its nickname is apt. Bleak and barren, a shortage of breathable oxygen means that those taking a trip are also taking a risk.
Mount Washington, USA
Mount Washington’s snow-capped summit beckons climbers and hikers alike. Towering over all in spectacular New Hampshire, this is a popular spot for outdoor adventurers. But make no mistake about it.
Those who underestimate the highest peak in the northeastern United States risk paying the ultimate price. Mount Washington is accessible, but that doesn’t mean it’s suitable for the inexperienced. The weather conditions are erratic here and countless hazards await.
Year-round snowfall can make navigation a constant challenge. But it’s the high winds that swirl around the summit that make Mount Washington so dangerous. The highest wind velocity ever recorded, some 231mph, was here, in 1934, and severe weather continues to prove perilous.
Those unprepared risk being blown off course and getting lost or worse. Unstable snow formations mean avalanches are always a real risk, and more than 150 fatalities have been recorded on Mount Washington’s ever-dangerous slopes. Thinking about taking a hike in New Hampshire? Please do take care.
Shark Cage Diving
If we had to pick an activity for adventurers looking for thrills (and chills), it would be shark cage diving.
While shark cage diving is mostly safe, it’s always a risk to enter a predator territory. Great White sharks can measure up to 6.4 m and weight up to 1000 Kg. So could they actually break the cage? Many people believe that shark cage diving is safe, as quite often sharks just come around to take a peek at the cage, however, it is not always the case.
In 2005, a British tourist in South Africa was attacked by a great white shark whilst cage diving. The shark tried relentlessly to bite through the bars and destroyed one of the parts keeping the cage afloat. The diver was forced to exit the cage and swim to the surface, whilst the boat captain hit the shark to scare him away. There are other incidents of sharks breaking into cages caught on camera, but people usually have time to escape unarmed whilst the shark gets stuck in the cage.
Still fancy diving with great whites? Here are some of the best locations: Port Lincoln in Australia, Guadalupe in Mexico, Bluff in New Zealand, Gansbaai in South Africa, Mossel Bay in South Africa, False Bay in South Africa, Farallon Islands in U.S and Cape Cod in U.S. Remember that shark cage diving doesn’t come without risks! You’ve been warned.
The Cage Of Death, Australia
Crocosaurus cove in Darwin Australia boasts the world’s largest display of reptiles and some of the biggest Australian saltwater crocodiles. It’s also home to the Cage of Death.
The Cage Of Death is a cylindrical see-through cage, immersed in water so you can experience a close face-to-face encounter with a 5 meters saltwater crocodile for 15 minutes. Bear in mind that most of these crocodiles weren’t born in captivity. They’ve been captured in the wild and taken to the Crocosaurus cove.
The attraction is closely monitored. However, technical accidents occasionally occur, and we really wouldn’t want to be stuck under water with a massive crocodile. In 2011 the cable lowering the cage broke with two people inside and the cage hit the bottom of the tank. Also in 2015, a Dutch tourist found herself stuck in the cage for 30 minutes. The staff had to drill the top of the cage and take her out, whilst the crocodile was certainly hoping that she falls in the water. No one was injured (yet) but it certainly isn’t a danger free attraction.