People travel for various reasons, be it for the grand adventure, to learn something new, discover the unknown or to meet the people and share each others’ cultures. For many it’s purely for the escape from the draining rut of routine, to clear our heads of the hustle and bustle of everyday life in quiet places and rest our minds. If you are in search of the perfect places to literally find silence, here are my top recommendations of where to look.
The key to finding utter silence is not only escaping human noise pollution but the sounds of all life. Ideal places to find this are at high altitude where large human populations tend to avoid, animals won’t thrive and plants can’t survive. The first place that comes to mind is Lake Song Kol in Kyrgyzstan at 9,895ft (3,000m) where only a few nomadic families live in woollen yurts with their select horses and farm animals. Horseback riding just minutes from the local camp where we stayed, away from the sound of their one small generator, we were gifted with a delicious silence. No rustling of leaves, chirping of birds or lapping of ocean waves. So silent, you don’t dare muster a single thought, out of fear of breaking the silence or being overheard.
Such harsh desert terrain is not optimal for life of any kind and the huge vastness of space is how I imagine outer space to be. I’ve been lucky enough to traverse grand deserts in South America, Asia and North America, but the first one that comes to mind is the barren Gobi Desert in Mongolia. A land where the mysterious and glorious dinosaurs once roamed freely now stands still, their bones left covered in deathly silence.
In a batless cave, it’s hard to decide which is more intense, the darkness or the silence. In many cave excursions, the guides will turn out the lights for just a moment to let you experience the full intensity of their depths. When the lights go out, be conscious not only of the thick blackness, but of the deep silence only broken by your breath. Though, most likely, you’ll find yourself subconsciously holding your breath. Don’t miss Royal Palm Hotel’s lava caves for a dose of silence if you’re in The Galapagos Islands.
Too cold and too high for most animals to live, mountain silence is given little to no competition. The thick layer of snow atop jagged, barren rocks high in the mountains absorbs the sound, even covering the trees, muting their rustling leaves. You will experience an entirely new level of silence trekking, for example, in Nepal’s Himalayan mountain range when the sherpas aren’t singing their cheerful tunes.
Houses of Worship
Just because you’re in search of quiet, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to avoid the buzz of cities altogether. Some of the most quiet and peaceful places in the world can be found right in the heart of cities. Take some time out of a busy travel schedule to step into a local mosque, church, temple or monastery. The cacophony of city noises is instantly silenced within their calming walls. The abrupt contrast will leave a silent ringing in your ear. Great places to use this tactic are in busy cities in places like India, China, Egypt, Pakistan and many cities in Africa and Europe. Whenever I go to Amsterdam I always step into the church across the street from the central train station for a moment of quiet amidst the rush and buzz of the capital.
Where is your favorite place to find that numbing silence that eases your soul? Has there been a specific place that, simply thinking of it, takes you to a moment of peace and quiet?
Categories: Savannah Grace
Really enjoyed this! You write that which is really thought provoking, Savannh
I really liked this article. Quite thought provoking!
hi Savannah . i dont think Song Kul is quiet any more . sure u can walk away from the 50+yurts but locals come with their cars and stereos.. destroying the very peace they came to ‘hear’…