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Wonders of the world, heritage sights and bucket-list musts – there’s no shortage of fascinating places the world over waiting to be explored. But as October draws to an end and Halloween beckons, we turn our focus to destination hotspots of a different kind. From the most obscure and unusual to the downright scary, these destinations have been bewitching tourists for years.

Visit if you dare.

1. Fish Tail Mountain, Nepal

Rising nearly 7,000m into the sky above Nepal’s Annapurna mountain range, Machhapuchare – or Fish Tail mountain – is perhaps the most untouched place on earth. Since 1957 there’s been a climbing ban in effect thanks to the mountain’s sacred significance in the region – meaning that its untouched status isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Locals who live near the mountain tell tales of rapidly growing hair and fingernails and the early onset of ageing for anyone who gets too close. So, go and marvel at this monster’s legend-steeped double summit, just don’t get too close – the best place to view it from afar is in Pokhara.

Fly to Kathmandu from Dubai with Emirates, FlyDubai or Nepal Airlines from Dh1,300 return, including taxes. The flight takes four hours.

2. Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

Not quite terrifying, but strangely mesmerising, the damp caves of Waitomo on New Zealand’s North Island are pitch black with the only source of light coming from the thousands of indigenous glowworms that call this place home. Hop aboard a wooden boat and sail through the stillness of a surreal world as an expert guide explains more about the 120-year history of this galaxy of tiny living lights. If you’re feeling brave, spend the night in the nearby Waitomo Caves Hotel (waitomocaveshotel.co.nz) voted New Zealand’s most haunted. Dating back to 1908, it has a history of supernatural happenings and staff will tell you tales of countless inexplicable occurrences.

Fly direct to Auckland from Dubai with Emirates, prices start at Dh6,000 and it’s a 16 hour flight.

3. The hanging coffins of Sagada, Philippines

While many cultures bury their dead out of sight, in Sagada’s Echo Valley coffins have been blatantly hung from cliff faces for centuries. In a mountainous province, about 400km from Manila, this mysterious village near the Chico River is a world away from the tropical image usually associated with the Philippines. Boast-ing pine trees instead of palms and mist-covered caves in place of sandy beaches, the local Igorot tribe believe that hanging their dead from coffins nailed to cliff sides brings their dead a step closer to the after-life. While many concur that, at least logistically, this makes some sort of sense, it certainly makes for a creepy spot of sightseeing.

Cebu Pacific, Emirates and Philippine Airlines make the nine hour direct trip to Manila with fares starting at Dh1,600 return.

4. El Mercado de las Brujas, Bolivia

With its dramatic setting, some 3,600m above sea level, La Paz is Bolivia’s capital of cool and home to the country’s most unusual marketplace. The Witches’ Market is run by local witch doctors and is popular for anyone seeking to exact revenge on a cheating lover or cast a spell of longevity. Expect impromptu fire ceremonies, bubbling cauldrons, talisman peddlers and an abundance of llama foetuses – the locals believe the latter brings good luck. Check in to the nearby La Casona Hotel (lacasonahotelboutique.com), a colonial mansion with original 17th-century features and a gorgeous patio, it’s so pretty that you might not believe it’s haunted, at least not until you’ve spent the night there.

Fly to Bolivia with Emirates and Gol Transportes Aereo via Sao Paulo. Fares start from Dh5,000 with the journey taking around 24 hours.

5. Midlothian Castle, Ontario

Peter Camani is a Canadian sculptor and artist who has spent the past 25 years creating the fantastical Midlothian Castle in the village of Burk’s Falls. Inspired by druids and the ancient Britons, Camani has filled his castle with dungeons, sculptures of fire-breathing dragons, arches shaped like crying mouths and an eerie garden that’s known locally as the Screaming Heads. With over 100 giant screaming sculptures, each around 6m tall, you’re free to wander the grounds but be warned – you enter at your own risk. With future plans to garnish the site with ashes of cremated humans, this place is what nightmares are made of.

Fly to Toronto with Emirates, Etihad or Air Canada. Fares start at Dh4,400 and the journey time is 14 hours.

6. Niddry Street Vaults, Scotland

Expect spine-tingling chills under the streets of Scotland’s capital. Niddry Street Vaults is one of three underground slums – the others being St Mary’s and Blair Street – where, in the 17th century, penniless families took refuge in damp, cramped, lawless underground passageways amidst less-than-legal practices and sky-high mortality rates. It’s rumoured that notorious serial killers Burke and Hare would visit one part of Niddry Vaults to claim their victims, and another part to store the bodies. Today, the site is considered one of the most haunted in the UK with an unprecedented number of paranormal events being reported and one room remaining in perpetual darkness as any lightbulb installed in the past would instantly explode.

The eight-hour flight from Abu Dhabi to Edinburgh with Etihad starts at Dh2,977, including taxes.

7. The mystical walls of Bahla, Oman

About 200km from Muscat, Bahla is one of Oman’s oldest oases and is shrouded in legends of occult forces and evil spirits. Wander past dilapidated structures standing like petrified ghosts and creep around narrow passageways and empty crumbling houses, which the locals say are home to untamed spirits. In the heart of the locale, a 12km wall surrounds Bahla Fort and here the mystery deepens. Dating to the pre-Islamic era, it’s rumoured that many who have touched these walls are cursed or vanish altogether.

Take the one-hour flight to Muscat with FlyDubai, Etihad, Oman Air or Emirates. Prices start at Dh488, including taxes.

8. Bern’s Ogre Fountain, Switzerland

In the centre of Switzerland’s capital stands a huge statue of a colourfully-dressed man who appears to be menacingly guzzling children out of a bag. Erected in the 16th century, the story behind the Kindlifresserbrunnen draws many interpretations, the most common being that it was some kind of folkloric carnival figure. No matter the reason for its existence, it’s downright terrifying. Book a Spooky Bern tour for more ghost stories and mysteries in this otherwise picture-postcard city.

Fly from Dubai to Zurich with Swiss Air or Emirates, from where it’s a 90-minute drive to the capital. Prices start at Dh2,480 and the flight takes seven hours.

9. Roopkund Skeleton Lake, India

High in the mountains of northern India, in the state of Uttarakhand, lies a huge frozen lake around which is scattered the skeletal remains of hundreds of people. The mystery of the bodies – which were discovered in 1942 – remained unsolved until a few years ago when scientists documented that the cause of death was cricketball-sized hailstones. At some 4,800 m above sea level, the cold has preserved bones, hair and flesh and the glacial lake attracts hundred of gruesome-seeking tourists every year. If you plan to be one of them, be sure to pack an umbrella.

Fly to Dehradun via Delhi with IndiGo, Spice Jet or Jet Airways, fares start at Dh917 and the journey takes around six hours, depending on the connection time.

10. Estes Park, Colorado

Near the Rocky Mountains National Park, Estes Park is home to a number of legend-steeped hotels, the most renowned being the infamous Stanley Hotel (stanleyhotel.com), the inspiration behind Stephen King’s The Shining. The story goes that one night, King and his wife checked in as the only guests in what was the only hotel at the time and the author experienced off-the-radar spookiness and a restless night where he was tormented by vivid nightmares and strange sightings. By sunrise, he had the premise of the book, later turned into the cult movie by Stanley Kubrick. Today, The Stanley offers ghost tours and gives guests the chance to book a sleepless night of their own by reserving a ‘spirited room’. Room 407 is said to be occupied by former owner Lord Dunraven, who hovers in the corner and turn lights on and off; room 417 is where ghost children play mischievous tricks on guests; and actor Jim Carrey once fled screaming from the Stephen King Suite 217, where the waiting list is always months long.

Fly to Denver with Emirates via Seattle. The flight takes 19 hours and prices start at Dh4,667.