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Six images in a weekly photo blog

The first time we visited the town of Ubud on the island of Bali was about 20 years ago and the place has mushroomed out of all recognition. When you’re one of them, you can’t knock the thousands of tourists who crowd the streets and restaurants, otherwise clogged with minibuses and motor scooters. Even less when you’re a travel writer/photographer, sharing with the world the hidden treasures of the world, making them less hidden. Although this is purely a holiday – no commissions, no pressure to deliver, no scribbled notes about hotels and restaurants.

Just the same, I’m glad we chose to stay outside the town, in the cooler, calmer hills surrounded by rice paddies and lush, jungle-covered valleys. In the mornings, the cockerels provide a rousing alarm, and the night falls to a chorus of cicados and the croaking of frogs and geckoes.

The locals aren’t complaining either – tourism is the source of a substantial livelihood and affluence. But it’s good to see that the unique Balinese culture and traditions, rooted in a hybrid Hinduism far from the religion’s original Indian home, remain as strong as ever. The essence of what makes Bali attractive has survived, even if some of its mystique has been eroded.

Here are a few visual souvenirs from my strolls through the nearby rice fields.


Burning discarded waste and old baskets at a basketware market near Ubud.


Innocent but spectacular pleasures: Bali’s skies are dotted with kites of all shapes and sizes.


Levelling the rice paddies for planting the rice is tough physical work.


The rice fields of central Bali are exquisite attractions in themselves, but keeping them in good shape is hard work – for all the family.


There’s only so much rice field work a kid can take. He’s seated in front of one of the countless shrines dotted around the paddies.


Sun goes down over the flooded rice fields near Ubud.

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