Nocturnal Field Trips: 7 World Wonders Best Explored at Night

Bioluminescent Beach on the Maldives Islands, Indian Ocean

bioluminscent beach

bio night light

Vacationing in this remote island nation you may find yourself surrounded by an ocean of stars, or more scientifically: a beach covered in millions of bioluminescent phytoplankton, micro-organisms with similar illumination mechanisms to lightning bugs on land.

bio light beach photos

Emitting light when agitated by waves, these blue-green fireflies of the sea are also found in other parts of the world, including Mosquito Bay in Puerto Rico and Halong Bay in Vietnam (photography by Will Ho).

Ruins of Petra by Candlelight in the Deserts of Jordan

petra ruins by candlelight

As impressive as this carved stone facade is, having stood for nearly 2,500 years, the ruins of Petra provide an entirely different experience to visitors who come at night to see it aglow in the flames of 1,800 candles.

ruins of petra night

On these limited night tours of this one of the world’s seven modern wonders, traditional music and performances by Bedouins add a new dimension to the whole experience. The Arabic singing reverberates off the voids in the stones behind the singers, creating a haunting effect.

Northern Spark All-Night Arts Fest in Minneapolis, Minnesota


Cold winters lasting up to half the year in this state give way to jubilant but hot summers, making summer nights a perfect time to explore the Twin Cities – particularly during the annual Northern Spark festival by Northern Lights.


For one night each year, art galleries, performance venues, outdoor spaces and more are all joined together by bike and bus routes taking people around the city and through various interactive and installation projects until sunrise, many of which involve elements of light.


“On the second Saturday in June each summer, tens of thousands of people gather along the Minneapolis riverfront and throughout the city to explore giant video projections, play in temporary installations in the streets, and enjoy experimental performances in green spaces and under bridges. From dusk to dawn the city surprises you: friendly crowds, glowing groups of cyclists, an unexpected path through the urban landscape, the magic of sunrise after a night of amazing art and experiences. Northern Spark is the one-night arts event people talk about for the rest of the year.”


These are just a few of the world’s nocturnal wonders – for another place to start: the night markets of Beijing, Hong Kong, Morocco, Thailand (and other countries) are a great everyday experience found in many great global cities, even shutting down the streets in some places and case. From moonlit dives in the Caribbean to nocturnal safaris in South Africa and festivals of light all around the world, you may never run out of things to do at night if you look hard enough (or use your night vision, as it were).

FT_BayBridge (3) (1)

Meanwhile, regardless of where your next adventure may take you, be sure to download the field Trip app (via Google Play) and subscribe to WebUrbanist for more stellar finds via both mobile and the web. Finally, a bit more about Field Trip, an automated way to stay in touch with your surroundings anywhere in the world: it is “your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you. Field Trip runs in the background on your phone. When you get close to something interesting, it pops up a card with details about the location. No click is required. If you have a headset or bluetooth connected, it can even read the info to you.”