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These places would be difficult to visit, let alone to live in.
These people take crazy living places to a whole new level, so keep reading to escape the suburbs or cozy city life you lead and discover six interesting, unique, and absolutely insane places where people really live.
1. The Deserted Capital City of Burma
What do you know about Burma?
The small country sits in southeast Asia nestled snugly between China and Thailand.
Like a lot of their neighbors, it has a low GDP and small population. However, in a questionable turn of events in 2005, Burma’s government decided to build a new capital city. And not just any city, but a giant, massive, much-too-big capital that they definitely couldn’t afford.
Naypyidaw is on the list of our insane living places because it’s four times larger than London, and six times larger than New York.
The capital boasts 20 lane roads, high-speed wifi, and modern hotels and malls. Burma insists that one million people live there, but in reality, it’s a ghost town.
Seriously, check it out.
There are NO cars on the roads, no people in the hotels, and the malls are absolutely deserted. Why was it built and why doesn’t anyone move there? I have no idea, but I’d love to visit someday to find out.
2. Children Growing Up in Prison in Bolivia
The San Pedro prison in La Paz, Bolivia, was made famous when a British inmate began giving tours to travelers in the city in the early 2000s.
Of course, the prison immediately drew visitors because it’s such a unique tourist destination.
This isn’t just any prison though, San Pedro is unlike any other in the word. Most notably, there are no cells. Instead, the prisoners have to buy their own apartments.
The prison is also an entirely self-contained city with restaurants, a real estate system, businesses, and even one of the most active cocaine factories in the country.
What happens when prisoners get sent to San Pedro, but they are too poor to pay rent for their families on the outside along with their apartment on the inside?
They do the only thing they can do and move their families in with them.
Grouping children in with inmates is definitely one of the most insane living places we’ve ever heard of. Kids and wives live together with their inmate fathers in the San Pedro prison, leaving during the day for school or work but returning every night to sleep in the “cells.”
3. The Hottest Place on Earth in Ethiopia
I honestly can’t believe people live here.
This super eerie wasteland is called the Danakil Depression, and it came about because of not one, not two, but three tectonic plates combined to throw up some volcanoes and other stuff like boiling chemical lakes, hot springs, salt flats, and god knows what else.
The depression only gets four to eight inches of rain a year and the average temperature year-round is 93 degrees F…. seriously, think about that for a minute.
Still, though, the Afar people of Ethiopia have made this inhospitable place their home.
By walking weeks at a time to sell salt at “local” markets, and, oh yeah, by adopting over the centuries to need less food and water than other humans. You know, normal stuff.
4. The Highest City on Earth in Peru… Where Miners Work for Free
I currently live in Peru and wondered why tourists weren’t visiting La Rinconada, let alone why I had never even heard of it. A quick Google search told me why: because it’s pretty damn depressing.
La Rinconada sits at over 15,000 ft. and has no running water or sewage. Oh, and the population of 30,000 people is all working their hands to the bone in the super dangerous mercury filled gold mines… children included.
That’s not all though. The second reason why La Rinconada is on our list of insane living places is that none of the miners get paid.
Yeah, the miners work for free all month long, and on the last day can carry out as many rocks as they can lift, hoping to strike it rich.
The city is a dangerous outlaw town reminiscent of the wild west… if the wild west was super cold and high in the mountains.
5. This Futuristic City in the UAE
The United Arab Emirates is famous for Dubai, but did you also know they have a crazy futuristic city as well?
Located in Abu Dhabi, Masdar City is what happens when you have a lot of money and nothing to do with it.
The goal of Masdar city is to be as eco-friendly as possible and become the first zero-carbon city, so it boasts self driving cars, solar powered everything, a wall around the city to regulate temperatures and even a giant wind tunnel in the center to cool it down.
Masdar City was supposed to have 40,000 residents and 50,000 more commuting in, but none of that happened.
When the Abu Dhabi government realized they wouldn’t reach their zero-carbon goal, they pretty much abandoned it, teaching us along the way the important lesson to give up on our dreams when the going gets tough.
It’s now a half-finished ghost town in the desert that I actually visited a few times when I lived in the UAE. All that’s left are a few college students that still stick around studying sustainable industries.
6. The Hidden Underground Town in Australia
The town of Coober Pedy is small (around 3,000 people), remote (over 500 miles north of Adelaide), and underground.
Yep, it gets so hot in this tiny opal mining town that the people would rather dig holes into the ground and live without daylight than deal with the overbearing heat.
This insane living place includes an entire dugout town with homes, motels, and even a church.
The super strange thing about Coober Pedy is that some of the opal mining is done by individuals in their own homes.
When they’re feeling inspired, they just take a hammer to the wall and see what they can find. Some have even struck it rich in the past… well, at least enough of them to keep the hopes up of the rest of the population.
6 Craziest Places Around the World Where People Really Live
So, there you have it.
The list of the top 6 most insane living places around the world. From prisons to peaks, I can’t believe people actually live here (but still would love to check them out someday).
Time to update my bucket list!
Looking for more interesting travel stories? Stick around to discover out the most expensive restaurants on every continent, the man who lives in his Prius, and South America’s deadly suicide showers.
I’ve been traveling full-time for three years, these are the resources that make it happen:
➤ I exclusively use Airbnb for savings and security on long-term stays in furnished apartments.
➤ I use Booking.com for short-term stays in hostels and hotels on weekend trips.
➤ Upwork allowed me to take the leap to travel full-time because they make it so easy to find freelance clients in any field.
➤ The Superstar Blogging Travel Writing Course launched my travel writing career and helped me become a contributor at sites like Cincinnati Refined and International Living, and even get published in the Boston Globe.