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!

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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.

Kandy Poya Day Dancers

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My visit to Kandy in Sri Lanka coincided with a Poya Day – a full moon day, which is always a public holiday in Sri Lanka and they are used to commemorate important Buddhist events.  This meant that there were hundreds of people singing, dancing, and playing music in the streets, in a procession starting from the Temple of the Sacred Tooth.  These men were doing a traditional dance, accompanied by drummers (in the background).

Blue Hour at Shwedagon Pagoda

Blue Hour at Shwedagon Pagoda

This is a shot of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon during blue hour, on our last day in Myanmar.

From Wikipedia: Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar, as it is believed to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas of the present kalpa. These relics include the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Koṇāgamana, a piece of the robe of Kassapa, and eight strands of hair from the head of Gautama.  The base of the stupa is made of bricks covered with gold plates. Above the base are terraces that only monks and other males can access. Next is the bell-shaped part of the stupa. Above that is the turban, then the inverted almsbowl, inverted and upright lotus petals, the banana bud and then the umbrella crown. The crown is tipped with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies. Immediately before the diamond bud is a flag-shaped vane. The very top—the diamond bud—is tipped with a 76 carat (15 g) diamond.

Shot using a Hoya NDX400 filter and a 30 second exposure time.

Inthein Route

Inthein Route

On my last day at Inle Lake, I hired a boat to take me to Inthein (sometimes also spelled Indein), a village on the western shore of the lake.

Slightly less touristy than the rest of Inle lake, you travel through narrow canals to get to the village. Just behind the village is a small group of ruined stupas, with vegetation growing out of the cracks. Inside you can still find Buddhas statues, and wandering through them in the morning on my own I felt a little bit like Indiana Jones!

Following the covered stairway to the top of the hill, you eventually reach Shwe Inn Thein Paya, which is a temple complex that apparently has over 1,000 additional stupas. Some of these are very new, but there are some more ruined stupas; these are the ones in this picture. It’s very atmospheric, without many people; standing among the stupas at the top with wind chimes gently swaying was a great experience!

This is a shot of the covered walkway leading from the canal up to the temple complex, with vendors lining the sides and a small group of traditional Shan women ahead of me.