7 Trippy Places Around the World That “Alice in Wonderland” Fans Will Love
Ready to fall down the rabbit hole?
Oftentimes, we use vacations to escape reality. But if luxuriating on a sandy beach feels too grounded, consider a trip to somewhere so surreal you’ll swear you just downed a potion labeled “Drink Me.” Such a destination might look like one of the following locations, where, post-visit, you’ll be left wondering if it was all really a dream.
Plain of Jars
A landscape filled with thousands of giant stone jars—or, above-ground rabbit holes, if you will—this site is among the most historic in Asia, dating back around 2,000 years. Research shows that the jars, some of which are up to 10 feet high, were associated with either burial rituals or as a form of storage for food, but a concrete confirmation has yet to be reached. They’re quite a sight to behold and something that wouldn’t feel out of place in the countryside in Wonderland.
The odd, somewhat menacing Cheshire Cat is one of the standouts of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, and so, it’s only natural that “Cat Island” be added to this list. This one fishing village in the Ehime Prefecture is home to just 15 human residents. Stray cats, however, make up a much larger part of the island’s dwellers, mostly because fishing boats utilized them to keep mice at bay; there’s also a belief here that they bring wealth to a family’s household. While it may not be as ostensibly trippy as some of the other places on this list, just picturing an island with cat residents going about their cat business hurts my head in a great way.
Fun Fact: While Aoshima is the most popular, it’s not the only one of Japan’s cat islands.
The Giant’s Causeway
WHERE: Northern Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway is one of those geographical wonders that prompts you to ask, “How is this on Earth?” It’s the outcome of a volcanic eruption millions of years ago (though, legend has it the causeway was constructed by a giant), the result of which looks like an otherworldly set of puzzle pieces or some sort of demented Jenga game that the Red Queen can’t enough of. Anyway, it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland and if it’s not already on your bucket list, it should be.
Kawachi Fuji Gardens
WHERE: Kitakyushu, Japan
One of the most well-recognized, fairytale-esque botanical gardens in the world, the long tunnels made of wisteria trees at Kawachi Fuji Gardens (five hours from Tokyo) are striking in their colors and their arrangements. A stroll down one of them (either April or May is ideal) is reminiscent of tumbling down the certain dwelling of a woodland creature.
Queen Califia's Magical Circle
WHERE: Escondido, California
A literal work of art, this sculpture garden resembles what I would imagine the Red Queen’s backyard looks like. The attraction is one of the last works by French-American new-realism artist Niki de Saint Phalle before her death in 2002. In the garden, which is only open on select days of the week, you’ll spot numerous sculptures that pay homage to the Golden State’s mythic roots, built using mosaic tiles and marble, a maze entryway, and a “snake wall.”
Alice in Wonderland Town Trails
WHERE: Llandudno, Wales
A guided walk through a small town may not sound particularly psychedelic on paper, but toss in numerous Alice in Wonderland homages dispersed around the area in the form of statues (and the fact that author Lewis Carroll reportedly found inspiration in Llandudno and family-friend Alice Liddell’s adventures in it) and you’ve got a bonafide scavenger hunt, straight out of the titular tale.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
WHERE: Waitomo, New Zealand
An experience straight out of a storybook, while on a boat trip through these otherwise-pitch-black caves, you’ll have more than one opportunity to be in the company of thousands of glowworms, which call the caves’ ceilings home. The cave system, first officially explored by local Chief Tane Tinorau in 1887, is also said to have amazing acoustics, and visitors are encouraged to sing during their explorations.