Getting to the top of Padar Island is hard work in the heat – but so worth it for the view from the top. We did a day trip around Komodo National Park, leaving from Labuanbajo at sunrise. Our first stop was Padar Island, but even first thing in the morning it was incredibly hot. The 45 minute hike up with no shade didn’t help, but come one – for that view I’d happily do it again!
Ubud is very, very firmly on the tourist trail these days – it’s no longer the quiet little town it once was. But it has managed to retain a certain classiness – excellent restaurants, tasteful boutique shops, and if you wander down side streets you can still find quaint little shops like this one selling kites and textiles.
A few dozen kilometers west of Ende on the island of Flores in Indonesia lies Blue Stone Beach. It’s named after the beautiful blue stones that wash up on the shore. Apparently it used to be covered in them and locals have gradually taken them away (presumably to sell) – but there are still plenty lying around on the black volcanic sand.
Bali is one of those touristy places where it can be hard to get away from all the crowds – and let’s face it, it’s not fun sharing with so many people! But if you make the effort, you can still find some hidden spots. Batukaru Temple probably isn’t the most hidden, but we turned up in the late afternoon and had the place to ourselves. We were the only non-locals there when we arrived, and in the hour or two we were there we only saw two other couples. It’s a beautiful temple, surrounded by jungle; some of the statues and buildings have been there so long that they look like they’re part of the jungle now.
As we entered we encountered these three beautiful women who were just leaving the main entrance and gave us a great smile as we passed each other – also not something you always get in the touristy places!
High up in the hills on the island of Flores in Indonesia are several beautiful Ngada villages, where traditional ways of life are still relatively well preserved. We rented a motorbike for the day and headed out on our own to visit several of these villages.
I came across this woman in Bena village, a short drive from the town of Bajawa. She was sifting through rice, removing the small pieces of husk.