Dambulla: an Illustrated Guide to Sri Lanka’s Cave Temples

Dambulla temple is Sri Lanka’s best preserved cave temple complex, one of the country’s fantastic UNESCO world heritage sights. At the top of a tall hill, the caves are filled with incredible wall fresco paintings, images of past kings and queens, and many golden statues of the Buddha.

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Koyasan: an illustrated guide to visiting Japan’s most sacred mountain

There was a quiet excitement and sense of mystery as we travelled towards the secluded temple town of Koyasan, taking smaller and smaller trains through rural areas and up into the mountains. It began wending up a high mountain line, past tiny train platforms bulging with tree roots and overgrown with rich green creepers, some seemingly forgotten stations covered in leaves, being swallowed by the forest.

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Experiencing Fushimi Inari: an illustrated walkthrough

Near the top of the mountain, we walked into a perfect view of Fushimi Inari’s torii gates. We turned a corner, and there it was waiting for us, with no tourists or anything. A long tunnel of vermillion was being illuminated by a perfectly angled sun, turning every gate a different shade of bright orange, deep and rich in front of us, and golden at the end.

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Making a whole day trip out of Arashiyama bamboo forest

Kyoto’s eye-catching bamboo forest is called Arashiyama, and you’ve probably seen photos of it before. The forest is so dense and tall, that one feels completely enveloped in the beauty of these hollow giants. The effect is a striking natural pattern of straight lines, and a beautiful medley of different shades of green, from rich forest greens, pale and almost yellow.

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Encountering big fat greedy monkeys in Uluwatu

The beach was at the bottom of the cliff, and inside a cave. At low tide, Suluban Beach at Blue Point in south Bali can be an amazing place to see some coral reefs. We came at high tide, however, and only those with surfboards braved the strong currents. Up high, a string of bars clung to the cliff top viewpoints like Bintang-serving barnacles. German and Scandinavian youths ate burgers, smoked, and drank in the sunshine whilst they leaned on long wooden bar counters. Ahead of them lay nothing but sparkling blue ocean, and the umbrellas and rocks far below. A network of crude M.C. Escher staircases slithered past the bars at the top of the cliff, winding downwards past a faux favela of gift shops (and more bars).

Sea stack rock forms at Blue Point

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