My job allows me to travel across the world photographing all sorts of different places. Last month I was in Indonesia shooting the tropical paradise and tourist delight that is Bali.
I'm now back in London and the role of travel photographer seems a distant memory in this winter chill. However hopefully these snaps will hopefully warm you up.
The Tegalalang Rice Terrace is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bali. It's not like anything you have seen before and the raised terraces at the road side allow for an incredible view across the paddy fields. Almost 70% of the people in Bali are farmers and rice is their main crop. It's eaten twice a day (people in Bali only have two meals) and is the base of the diet there.
Bali is predominantly a Hindu country though also has a fairly large Muslim population. Outside most doors, on the street outside restaurants and shops you will see offerings to the Hindu gods. Baskets woven from coconut leaves are filled with flowers, incense sticks, money, cigarettes and small portions of food (mainly rice) are left to appease them. Most homes have a small shrine which also house these offerings along with incredible stone carvings.
Another popular destination is the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. The forest lies within the village of Padangtegal, which owns it and sees it as an important spiritual economic, educational and conservation centre for the village.
The park homes approximately 6-700 Crab Eating Macaques known as the Balinese Long Tail Monkey. The monkeys are cared for by park keepers and fed papaya and sweet potato throughout the day. Tourists come from all over the world to feed them and see them play, fight and groom each other and can sit with them in the parks paths.
Close by to Ubud is the Tegenungan Waterfall. A long walk down in above thirty degree (celcuius) heats and incredible humidity but totally worth the trip. The plush greenery surrounding it combined with the sheer scale make it a real sight to see.
Most of the time you can swim in the river underneath it but our guide said it wasn’t recommended as it had recently rained pulling a lot of dirt into the river. Despite signs saying not to swim there were still plenty of people enjoying the water.
The highlight of my trip was climbing active 1,717m high active volcano Mount Batur. We woke up at 1.30am to be collected by our driver and driven for an hour or two to the bottom of the volcano. Along with our local guide Eke and a few torches we made our way up the volcano in the very early hours of the morning, with the aim of reaching the top for sunrise. As we climbed a huge storm was passing by another volcano and our route was lit up by the giant flashes. We really were out with nature and it felt brilliant.
Above: The volcano after our climb. Below: The promised sunrise.
We made it to the summit at 5am and sunrise was due at 6. We got extremely lucky with the weather as we were able to see the island of Lombok in the distance.
Above: The sunrise. Below: Admiring the view
Here you can see the run back down the ashy slopes. Far off in the distance on the right you can see the mark left by the last eruption about twenty years ago.
On our journey back to our driver, Eke took us a different route running through a forest. This took us by more local farmers growing aubergines, chillies, tomatoes and spring onions amongst other things. Its incredible how we would drive past fields and fields of farms at home and not bat an eyelid but seeing them in another country and situation drew my attention instantly.
Finally after a very early start and a gruelling trek both up and down the volcano we were taken to the local hot springs to relax. The water comes straight from the volcano and the view over the lake was breathtaking. What was even better was that the whole thing could be enjoyed with a beer in hand.
Finally as someone who primarily works in food, I of course looked for local hotspots to dine in in the evenings. Here is my pick of the pops.
The food here was ok, I've had much better mexican but it was a destination for atmosphere. Margaritas and slightly cheesy party tunes could see you returning home in the early hours.
A fantastic low budget option. Really good cost effective pizza served with a Bintang (local beer) in a rock and roll setting. I opted for a Sid a bolognese topped option but was equally drawn to their bianco options.
This place has nothing to do with Jamie Oliver's London name sake but is an Aussie set up celebrating BBQ. They are most famous for their suckling pig but their sides and roast veg was equally remarkable.
The most expensive meal we had by some way was in thai hotspot Mama San. You'll need to book but it's totally worth it. We ordered way too much but I can safely say it was the best thai curry i've ever had. And the short rib? Wow.
Potato Head Beach Club
A great place to spend the day with table service at sun beds, a bar in the pool and a cinnamon bun that will change your life. This Soho House styled beach front spot is also the perfect place to watch the sunset
Finally Sisterfields. I could have gone every day, for every meal. I could have ordered anything on the menu! It was exceptionally understated with simple flavours but my recommendation is banana french toast and the lamb neck ragu with parpadelle.