Indonesia | Bali – Batukaru Temple

Indonesia | Bali - Batukaru Temple

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!


Indonesia | Borobudur Sunrise

Indonesia | Borobudur Sunrise

Watching the sunrise at Borobudur is one of those things you just have to do on a trip to Indonesia. Yes, the crowds are annoying; yes, you have to get up super early; but yes, it’s totally worth it 🙂

Indonesia | Ubud Temple Statue

Indonesia | Ubud Temple Statue

Ubud is a fascinating place, full of hidden corners – it seems like wherever you look, there is a temple, or picturesque doorway, or interesting boutique shop.

This is a statue in the Pura Taman Saraswati temple, which has a large lotus pond in front of it. It’s dedicated to the Hindu god Saraswati, the goddess of learning, literature and art.

Bali | Tirta Empul Temple

Bali | Tirta Empul Temple

Tirta Empul temple on Bali is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. It was built around the year 1000 A.D. Within the temple is a fresh water spring, which is considered to be holy, and so a part of the temple contains a ritual purifying bath, where pilgrims enter the water and bathe at the many fountains. Here a woman is doing exactly that, with some of the hundreds of typical Balinese offerings visible on the ledge above the fountains.

Indonesia | Borobudur Sunrise

Indonesia | Borobudur Sunrise

Another highlight of my trip to Indonesia was watching the sunrise over Borobudur, built in the 9th century and today is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It’s located just outside of the city of Yogyakarta. Unfortunately a lot of tourists go to see the sunrise, so you’re hardly alone at the top! I found it even worse than Bagan in Myanmar – at least there you have hundreds of temples which you can watch the sunrise from, whereas at Borobudur there is just the one. It means you need to bring your patience with you in order to get shots without people! You also have to search for different angles, as the side where the sun rises is covered in people. Still worth it though when I see this shot!

Cordoba | La Mezquita Mihrab

Cordoba | La Mezquita Mihrab

La Mezquita in Cordoba is a fascinating building – the site was originally the location of a small temple, which was divided into Muslim and Christian halves when the Muslims conquered Spain in the 700s. The Christian half was eventually purchased a few decades later and the entire structure was demolished, to be replaced by the grand mosque of Cordoba. When Cordoba returned to Christian rule in the 1200s, it was converted back into a church, and a cathedral was built in the middle in the 16th century.

The result is stunning – the mosque architecture is simple arches on tall columns, but the effect is mesmerizing. The building just seems to go on forever! The Mihrab at the back of the mosque, indicating the direction of Mecca, is particularly stunning as you can see in this shot.

Charles V, the King of Castile and Aragon who granted permission to build the cathedral inside the mosque, famously said “they have taken something unique in all the world and destroyed it to build something you can find in any city” when he saw the end result – in a way I agree with him, but the building is still stunning!