Photo feature

The year’s most breathtaking travel destinations, from National Geographic’s 2015 Traveler Photo Contest

The scenes range from city heights to sacred caves.

With over 23 million Instagram posts already hashtagged #vacation, competition is increasingly fierce for most photogenic holiday background. Those looking for a little inspiration might consider checking out the latest batch of travel photo submissions from National Geographic’s 2015 Traveler Photo Contest.

Curated especially for Quartz, and captioned by the photographers themselves, the scenes below range from city heights to sacred caves and offer inside tips to the most remarkable views in Thailand, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Greenland, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.


A group of young monks visiting Khao Luang cave in North Phetchaburi, Thailand.(Carlo Murenu / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



A cyclist passes through the City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia(Angiolo Manetti / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



Aerial image of a woman doing kayak in Lagoa da Conceição, Florianopolis, Brazil.(Chris Schmid / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



A stunning sunset colors the floating icebergs of the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Iceland. It was a cloudy day so this amazing sunset has been unpredictable, but once we were there, it’s been like living in a dream.(Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



People relaxing in hammocks around 40 meters above the ground. This took part in an annual highline meeting in Monte Piana, in the Italian Dolomites last autumn. For some it might look like a nightmare to dangle so far above the ground but for some this was just the way to take a rest.(Sebastian Wahlhuetter / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



Whitefrost over Pestera village in Romania(Eduard Gutescu / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



A diver stand up front of the Hilma Hooker wreck. He look this boat and seem think it will never go away…it is sure. Also the bubbles seem make an interrogation point. The Hilma Hooker is a 200ft boat wreck. It rests with 100ft of water in the Caribbean Sea in Bonaire (a famous destination for scubadiving).(Marc Henauer / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



The photo is taken near Andaman islands while diving with a unique elephant, who likes to swim in the sea. It is one of the brightest experiences I’ve ever had.(Mike Korostelev / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



A shot at the church in lake Bled at sunrise.(Ruzdi Ekenheim / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



On a very cloudy day, the shoot was taken from a hotel in Copacabana. The wind was strong, so clouds were passing by very fast. I had a brief moment to take the photo capturing the whole Corcovado in the background, before the clouds covered it again. Due to a visual effect, the shoot looks like it was taken from above, but in fact was taken from below the Corcovado.(Hector Olea / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



It’s hard to find words to describe this scene other than “wow.” By the time the sun finally made it above the horizon on this day in early January in the Lofoten Islands, the entire world had turned cotton-candy pink. We sprinted around trying to capture every possible angle in the perfect light…only to realise that it wasn’t going away. In the end, it lasted for over two hours — the entire time that the sun was on the horizon before it set around 1.15pm.(Kristin Repsher / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)



A monochrome version of Paris viewed from Montparnasse. I wanted the city reflects in the background behind the Eiffel tower. The bright sun from the sunset in the west brightened up the left portion of the image.(Jaco Marx / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Enter your own photo on the National Geographic website. The grand prize is an eight-day National Geographic photo expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, for two. 

This article was originally published on qz.com.

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

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Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.