Whalebone Weather Tourism Bureau Presents: The Field Guide To Weather Tourism

For when you gotta go where it’s warm

(Or cold, or rainy, or snowy, or however you like it)

Written by Sylvia Dean & Illustrated by Alex Balosie

Some might travel for a view or to put their feet in the sand or to see ancient relics and ruins or in search of buried treasure or for more exotic food than they can get at the food court of the local mini-mall. But there is another type of adventurer who seeks not just sunshine, but rain—sheets and sheets of it—snow, ice, cold, monsoons, lightning, thunder and calamity. It takes all kinds. The good news is, there’s somewhere on this planet that has the forecast for you. Unless you prefer cloudy with a chance of meatballs. Still Campania, Italy for that.

The Whalebone Weather Tourism Bureau has compiled this list of the rainiest, sunniest, coldest and most extreme places on Earth.

The Rainiest Place

If you’re a fan of waking up to the sound of soothing water droplets, jumping in puddles, and singing in the rain, you might consider making your way to the eastern part of India that wraps around Bangladesh but is still India nonetheless.

Where to go: Māwsynrām, India

What to wear: With 467 inches of annual rainfall, you’re going to want to bring more than a pair of galoshes. To ensure you’re following the cultural standards of India, wear your rain boots, ankle-length pants or skirts, and a thick-but-breathable rain jacket. It’s rainy but also hot. As for the ladies, you can either bring an umbrella to cover your head or be the first to fashion a waterproof ghoonghat. We want a percentage of the fortune you make with that genius idea.

While you’re there: Explore the Mawjymbuin and Mawsmai Caves and see the natural pillar resembling the Hindu God Shiva, which constantly has water running down it from stalagmite that hangs above (because rain).

The Sunniest Place On Earth

Not sure if this counts as walking on sunshine, but you’ll definitely be walking in sunshine pretty much all the time. If you like big old Mr. Sun, dry desert air, and plenty of cacti, head on down to southern Arizona and don’t forget your sunglasses. Come on, you had to have known it was going to be somewhere in Arizona.

Where to go: Yuma, Arizona, USA

What to wear: With 4,000 sunlight hours per year (an average of 11 hours of sun a day) the first thing you’re gonna want to slap on is the sunscreen. Don’t let the endless sunshine deceive you, this is the desert we’re talking about. So depending on when you go you’ll either need a swimsuit or a scarf. And at certain times of the year, you’ll need both. One thing you’ll want regardless is a hat.

While you’re there: The Colorado River runs directly through Yuma, so you can spend your sunny days on the river rafting, paddle boarding, fishing, or anything else you can do with, on or in a river. Then settle into your Wild West surroundings. A mining museum and ghost town are Yuma’s biggest attractions. Aside from the sunshine, of course.

The Snowiest Place

Do you want to build a really, really big snowman? Well, head to the very northern tip of that banana-shaped island off the coast of South Korea. Skiing, snowboarding, sake and sushi. You really can’t go wrong here if you enjoy fresh fish and a whole hell of a lot of snow.

Where to go: Aomori City, Japan

What to wear: Snowshoes. The city receives 312 inches of snowfall per year so you’re going to want your best snow gear. Add some goggles and a ski mask if you’re going to hit the slopes and you’ll be set. Probably some of those heavy wool intarsia sweaters with snowflake patterns and some mittens. Better sweaty than sorry.

While you’re there: A ski or snowboarding trip would be ideal. Carve through the fresh powder (lots of it) on the Hakkōda Volcanic Mountains, through snow-covered trees at the Aomori Spring Ski Resort, then finish your day with some fresh seafood and sake. A true winter wonderland, even if it isn’t winter.

The Windiest Place

You probably won’t be able to skateboard with a trash bag as your sail here without taking flight and plunging into the freezing Southern Ocean. The penguins would be jealous if you did though. You probably question if people even live here, but if you don’t mind messy hair, glaciers, and you’re after wind gusts of 150 mph, the bottom of the globe is where you’ll want to be. To answer your question, people do actually live here, just not exactly permanently.

Where to go: Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica

What to wear: The most intense windbreaker ever. Along with winter clothes that will keep you warm in peachy 1 °F weather before the constant katabatic 50 mph wind chill. Perhaps a parka will do the trick. And probably eighteen packs of HotHands. If you go in the latter months of the year, be sure to bring some sunglasses. The sun barely sets in Antarctica in December.

While you’re there: Sleep in a canvas tent—the only thing that can really withstand the wind—tacked into a glacier wall. Your permanently-dressed-for-a-black-tie-dinner feathered neighbors are quite curious and were never taught not to stare, so you’ll have some company. You can search for the South Pole, either geographic or magnetic. Good luck finding the magnetic pole; apparently it doesn’t like to stay in one place.

The Driest Place

The longest country on the planet is also home to the driest place on earth running along the west side of the Andes Mountains. If you hate the word moist, have a very large water bottle, and enjoy barren terrain, The Western coast of South America is the place for you.

Where to go: Atacama Desert, Chile, South America

What to wear: Although it’s a desert, it’s not as hot as you might think. Dryer than a bone, but the average temperature is a mild 63°F. Lightweight layers are ideal here.

While you’re there: Considering this desert receives a whomping .04 inches of rainfall per year, the precipitation won’t intrude on your plans. Saddle up and view the desert and salt flats on horseback. Visit the Valley of the Moon and Mars Valley for a martian-like, out of this world landscape. With little to no clouds, stargazing in the Atacama Desert is cream of the crop.

The Foggiest Place

Where the warm waters of the Gulf Stream meet the not-so-warm waters of the Labrador Current. If you don’t mind grey skies for 200 out of 365 days of the year, the East Coast of Canada is somewhere you might fancy. The warm waters coming up from the south result in little to no ice in the harbor. But then again, with such limited visibility, who can really tell?

Where to go: Grand Banks, Newfoundland, Canada

What to wear: Your thickest and most durable rain jacket and some really thick socks. And probably a nice selection of extra socks. It’s moist. Depending on when you go, you’ll either need snow boots or a light windbreaker. Head out on the water you’ll be wearing your lunch if you don’t have the stomach of a sailor.

While you’re there: Grand Bank is one of the richest fishing locations in the world. After taking some Dramamine, step to the deck of a fishing boat and make your way out of harbor and on to the quest for dinner. Take in the history with numerous maritime museums and scenic lighthouses if you can find them in the fog.

The Most Humid Place

That one really important forest in Brazil that is vital for the survival of the planet but for some reason everyone keeps cutting it down. Well, because it’s a rainforest, the humidity levels are through the canopy, even during dry season.

Where to go: The Amazon Rainforest, Brazil, South America

What to wear: Anything that will soak up sweat. With the equator close by, the rainforest has an annual humidity average of about 88 percent. A bathing suit underneath your hiking clothes would probably be a good idea, just make sure you aren’t swimming in water that has anacondas or piranhas. Most important is your shoe choice. You’re gonna need some heavy duty, super traction hiking boots for this one.

While you’re there: Hike through the jungle and see all of the excotic wildlife. You can make your way through the rainforest by its waterways or by foot. Kayak, climb some trees, see species you’ve never seen before. If you see a bulldozer, feel free to set up camp directly in front of it and peacefully protest.

The Hottest Place

For lovers of short-shorts, salty skin, and feeling hot hot hot, Furnace Creek is your ideal destination. On the eastern border of The Bear Republic, the highest temperature ever recorded was an incinerating 134°F. One desert, bordering another desert. Not only hot, but also very dry. Did we mention hot.

Where to go: Death Valley, California, USA

What to wear: The most important thing you’ll need is a good hat. One that actually covers your face though, for function, not fashion. Save that for LA. Lightweight layers, sunglasses, one of those backpacks with the water tube. Sunscreen is vital. Otherwise, you’ll be burnt to a crisp and the desert will earn its name.

While you’re there: Needless to say, Death Valley National Park should be at the top of your list. Home to a lot of sand, salt, and the lowest lake in North America. Devil’s Golf Course is on the list of must-sees, but don’t make the mistake of showing up with your clubs, this is more of a dried-up ancient lakebed than a country club.

The Coldest Place

Popular with summering snowmen. The coldest inhabited area on earth tends to average at -58°F and is deep in a valley way over on the eastern side of Russia. Really not too far from Alaska when you look at the map from the right angle, but a lot colder. Closer to the Arctic Circle than a nearby city, but if you like icicles growing on your nose and aren’t afraid of frostbite, this is the place for you.

Where to go: Oymyakon, Siberia, Russia

What to wear: The warmest winter coat you can find, but get three of them in increasing sizes and then layer them. The more you layer, the better off you’ll be, but shoes are by far the most important. The heaviest duty snow boots are what you’ll want here. Also a size or two up considering how many pairs of socks you’ll have on. Your eyelashes might still freeze, but that’s normal.

What to do while you’re there: The Pole of Cold Monument, commemorating the lowest temperature ever recorded in a town where people actually live, is a must-see. The bone-chilling record of -96°F is displayed on a plaque and marked by a statue of a bull, symbolizing the cold. Whatever you do, don’t put your tongue on any flagpoles.

The Stormiest Place

If thunder excites you and you can’t get enough crazy lightning strikes, Central Africa is where you’ll want to be. Not only the stormiest place on earth but also one of the most electric. No need for the sock-and-carpet shuffle. Hear the roar of thunder 242 days of the year along the northern coast of Lake Victoria.

Where to go: Kampala, Uganda, Africa

What to wear: Conscious of the culture, the more conservative your attire, the more likely it is you’ll fit in. Lightweight, but long-sleeved is the ideal option. Some sort of rain jacket or umbrella would do you well for the long rain season. And considering there will be quite a few lightning strikes, we recommend staying undercover, so really, you can wear whatever you want.

What to do while you’re there: Anything but fishing. Out on the water is the last place you’d want to find yourself when those grey clouds roll in. Water tornadoes are a common occurrence as well, so maybe head to the Kasubi Royal Tombs for some history or just watch the storms roll in.