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Bali: The Royal Cremation in Ubud

Royal cremations in Ubud simply don't happen very often - so when they do you can expect a large turnout of both locals, who come to pay their respects, and tourists eager to witness the ceremony. Ubud is, in many ways, the artistic and cultural epicenter of Bali and it's former royal family still hold huge influence and respect there. So when Tjokorda Istri Sri Tjandrawati, the wife of Tjokorda Gde Putra Sukawati and the leader of that family, passed away on the 14th of October it called for a palebon agung cremation ceremony. Palebon agungs are reserved only for royals, as opposed to the more common ngaben ceremony for normal Balinese, and are noted for their splendor - so it was with great expectations that I traveled up from … Read More...

Recent Posts

Riding Tibet – Lhasa’s Old Tibetan Quarter

Riding Tibet was the culmination of many years of wondering what this mystical region on the roof of the world was really like and while there are manifold ways to prepare for such a journey, for me there were only two real options - research it all in advance, or just … Read More

Getting to Sertar in the Kham Region of Sichuan

Getting to Sertar was probably the toughest journey I have ever made in China - 14 hours of grueling driving with virtually no amenities along the way. The journey was particularly bad because it was done in May 2015 at the peak of the highway re-construction that … Read More

A Night in North Korea

Mixed feelings probably best describes my reaction to the offer of a night in North Korea - I was in the scenic and historic Chinese city of Hangzhou on a business trip and had accepted an offer of dinner. When I asked where we would be eating, the answer came back … Read More

Buying a Vespa in Bali – Not Quite What it Seems!

Buying a Vespa in Bali was something I always promised myself I would do one day and a couple of years ago, after we had built our house here, I decided to make good on that promise... Vespas were the standard village transport prior to the onslaught of the … Read More

The Humpback Whales of Tonga

Winter comes early in the Antarctic and by May each year the humpback whales of Tonga know that it is time for them to leave their rich feeding grounds and start their annual migration north in to the Pacific Ocean. The "Tongan Tribe" will swim some 6,000 kms … Read More

Face to face with a Tibetan Sky Burial

My Chinese friend Jun Quan and I had traveled through the Amdo area of the Tibetan Plateau, in the north-east of Sichuan in to Gansu province to visit the two well-known Serti and Kerti Gompa Buddhist monasteries in the town of Langmusi. We spent most of out time at … Read More

Photographing Borobudur in Central Java

Borobudur is simply one of the most spectacular cultural monuments in Indonesia. But it is also one of the country's most visited tourist attractions, so it can be quite challenging to photograph without having dozens of people in the frame. But with some careful … Read More

Pampang Dayak Village in Kalimantan

The Dayaks of Borneo are the original, non-Muslim, indigenous people of this huge island  – the third largest in the world. Traditionally they lived in the dense rainforest areas along the upper reaches of the big rivers of Borneo, in small communities of 200 to 300 … Read More

Featured Article

The Humpback Whales of Tonga

Winter comes early in the Antarctic and by May each year the humpback whales of Tonga know that it is time for them to leave their rich … Read More

Portfolio Image

Portfolio Image: Sunset on the Marovo Lagoon

The sunsets on the Marovo Lagoon, on the south-east tip of the main island of New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands, are quite spectacular! I stayed at … Read More