The Colours of the World: Photos from a Year on the Road
It’s been a year since I left my teaching job in Singapore and started travelling full time. This trip has taken me from the mountains of China to the winding medinas of Morocco, from the beaches of Hawaii to the ancient cities of Europe. Here are some of the colourful things I’ve seen along the way.
Blue: The 17 Islands Marine Park, Indonesia / Hanauma Bay, Hawaii
I’ve seen so many shades of blue on this trip but these are 2 of my favourites. Not many people make it to the 17 Islands, but the horrible bus ride is worth it once you see these tiny, uninhabited islands.
You don’t have to get expensive flights to the outer islands to see great beaches in Hawaii. Hanauma Bay is just outside of Honolulu and is a great place to snorkel and swim, although you’ll have to sit through a tedious 10 minute reef protection video first.
Green: The Tea Fields of the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia / a valley near Yubeng, China
I started this year on the road in Malaysia, and after being really disappointed with the Perhentian Islands, I headed for the hills to do some walking, see the biggest flower in the world and check out some tea plantations.
Yubeng is one of my favourite places in the world – it’s a small village surrounded by lush green valleys overlooked by snow capped mountains. It’s a fairly difficult 4-6 hour trek just to there – there are no roads leading to Yubeng (which thankfully keeps the tour buses away).
Orange: Erg Chebbi Sand Dunes, Morocco / the Champagne Pool near Rotorua, New Zealand
Spending 3 days on a bus was definitely worth it – the Erg Chebbi sand dunes in the Sahara desert were amazing – if you want to see an orange desert just like in the movies, pack your bags for Morocco.
Rotorua, in the North Island of New Zealand, is home to some of the most interesting scenery in the country – the Champagne Pool at Waiotapu was probably the stand-out among scores of colourful lakes and bubbling mud pools.
Yellow: A Tram in Budapest, Hungary / a Sunset on the Amalfi Coast, Italy
Budapest turned out to be my favourite city in Europe – the sight of the old yellow trams chugging across bridges and along streets by the river is one my favourite memories of Hungary’s capital city.
The Amalfi Coast is one of the most stunning areas we saw in Europe – the colourful little towns which flow down towards the sea are fascinating places to explore. This sunset was in the small village of Praiano.
White: A Rhino in Chitwan, Nepal / the Port of Naoussa, Greece
We went to Chitwan National Park to see rhinos, and the day before our full day jungle trek we saw this one about 5 minutes walk from our hotel. We saw 1 more during the whole of the next day, and we didn’t get nearly as close!
There are so many stunning villages draped in white in the Cyclades islands it was hard to pick a favourite, but I really loved the small port village of Naoussa on Paros. We stayed on this island for 3 nights and didn’t see any other tourists.
Red: The Poppies at the Tower of London / La Mezquita-catedral de Córdoba, Spain
We didn’t pay to go inside the tower of London; seeing the carpet of ceramic poppies surrounding the castle was good enough for us. The display was a tribute to more than 880,000 Britons who died during WW1 – a poppy for each of them.
La Mesquita la Cordoba is the most unique church I’ve been to; it used to be mosque and now it’s a bit of a mutant (in a good way though). The red and white arches remain from its pre-cathedral days – this place must have been even more amazing back then.
Grey: Lake Bled, Slovenia / the Stone Forest, Yunnan, China
I’d seen amazing photos of Lake Bled basking in sunshine, but we didn’t see anything resembling blue skies for the first few days we were there. Even though the sky was grey it was still such a beautiful place.
The Stone Forest, as with most tourist attractions in China, gets really busy, but walk 5 minutes away from the main photo spots and you’ll have an entire karst wonderland to explore on your own.
Purple: Jacaranda trees, Mexico / Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France
We saw these flowers all over Mexico – they almost look like the famous cherry blossoms of Japan.
We had to queue up for hours to get into Sainte-Chappelle, but the intricate (and huge) stain glass windows that dominate the small room more than made up for the long, cold wait.
Brown: A Tannery in Fez, Morocco / The Nam Ou River, Laos
The tannery we went to in Fez smelled awful but looked amazing – quite a weird combination! We had to walk through endless leather shops on the way down but looking out over the dyeing pits is an experience I’ll never forget.
If you’re after a scenic boat trip in Laos try taking the short ride from Nong Khiaw to Muang Ngoi – these 2 towns are awesome and the journey is just as good.
Pink: The Pink beach, Indonesia and the street lights of Venice
I’ve seen some great beaches during the past year on the road, from the red sands of Santorini to the white beaches of the Philippines. The pink beach, in Komodo National Park, is one of the better ones, and that’s without mentioning the world-class snorkelling just offshore.
Venice isn’t the most colourful of places (except for the island of Burano) so these pink street lights we saw in Piazza San Marcos really stood out.
There are so many more amazing examples of all of these colours around the world, leave me a comment and tell me what you would have put!