TOP 10 TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 

BY JORD HAMMOND

 

MEET JORD HAMMOND

Jord Hammond is a 25-year-old freelance contemporary travel photographer and storyteller from the UK. After living and working as a teacher in South-West China for a year, he developed a passion for photography which has led him to all corners of the earth; from the mountains of Peru to the rivers of Varanasi in India and everything in between. Jord’s use of colour and light brings a fresh new perspective to the world of travel photography, which has landed him jobs with some of the biggest travel brands out there. Through documenting the people and places he encounters on his travels to some of the most remote regions of the world, Jord has built an engaged community on social media, and strives to encourage people to explore more for themselves.

 

Jord: "Throughout my photography career, I have been incredibly lucky to have been able to travel to and photograph countries that I have dreamed of visiting since I was a child. And, there is still so much of this beautiful world that I haven’t seen yet, but it’s on my list. Here are my top 10 destinations that I have travelled to, and the reasons why you should travel there too."

 

1. Zhangjiajie, China

Known as the Pandora of China, it is thought that Zhangjiajie was taken as inspiration for the movie Avatar, and you can definitely see why when you visit. Tall, karst pillars rise hundreds of metres above the ground, and in the mornings the low fog engulfs the landscape and turns it into something from a dream. It is one of my favourite places to visit and photograph in China, and I would love to see Zhangjiajie in every season.

 

2. Petra, Jordan

Jordan was a place I had wanted to visit since I found out that there was a country which shared my name, and so I was delighted when I got invited late last year to explore. And, despite being the most visited site in Jordan, Petra still took my breath away. We arrived early in the morning and spent the whole day in Petra, walking around the entire site and finding different spots as we went to take photos. It was my favourite trip last year, and I can’t wait to visit again soon.

 

 

3. Kawaguchiko, Japan 

Japan and China are my two favourite countries to visit, and Kawaguchiko in Japan is a small slice of paradise. On a clear day, you can watch the sunrise over Mt Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi, before cycling around the Fuji Five Lakes area. I’d recommending spending the evening relaxing in the Japanese hot springs, known as onsens, which are incredibly popular amongst locals. A couple of days in the area is enough to enjoy the nature and landscapes, just make sure you keep an eye on the weather for your best chance at witnessing Mt Fuji in all of its glory.

 
 

4. Hong Kong

I make an effort to visit this incredible city a few times a year as a welcome change from the island life of Bali, and yet it amazes me more every time I visit. The urban jungle is renowned for its density, its food and the crazy neon lights, but there is so much more that Hong Kong has to offer. On my most recent visit, I was taken to experience the Green Tourism of Hong Kong, and deep in the New Territories lies some of the most beautiful beaches, fishing villages and hikes I have ever seen. Hong Kong is a fantastic place for a long weekend whilst in Asia, and I can’t wait to return soon.

 

5. East Java, Indonesia

Bali has been at the forefront of the Instagram Influencer boom in recent years, and whilst it is an incredibly idyllic island, there are only so many floating breakfasts and rope swings one can see before wondering what else Indonesia has to offer. Enter East Java. Java is reached easily by taxi and ferry from Bali, and some of the best spots on the island are only a stone's throw away from the ferry port. My top recommendations for East Java would be the sunrise hike to the top of Kawah Ijen, visiting the most beautiful waterfall in Indonesia, named Tumpak Sewu, and shoot till your heart’s content at Malang Rainbow Village. You’re welcome!

 

6. Jaipur, India

It is true what they say - India really is an assault on the senses. The good kind, though. Jaipur is one of my favourite cities in India, particularly for photography as the opportunities are endless. The forts and palaces look incredible through a lens, and taking a walk through the colourful streets is great for portrait photography. Hike up to the Amer Fort viewpoint for sunrise one morning for panoramic views over the fort and city beyond.

 
 

 

7. Rainbow Mountains

Having spent most of my photography career travelling throughout Asia, I was thrilled to be invited to Peru in 2017, which still stands as the only country I have visited in South America. Understandably, the first thing that enters people’s mind when thinking of Peru is the iconic green peak of Machu Picchu. Whilst it is definitely worth the visit, there is so much more Peru has to offer, including Rainbow Mountain. Despite the gruelling hike we partook in to get there, the views and photographs were out of this world. Hiking there also gives you a true appreciation for the nature surrounding it and an insight into local village life deep in the mountains of Peru. Get there soon though, before the rest of the world picks up on this other-worldly landscape.

 

 

8. Florence, Italy 

Oh Italy - what’s not to love? The mountains, the beaches, the architecture and, of course, the food - Italy has it all. Whilst tourists and photographers alike flock to places like the Dolomites and the Amalfi Coast, I found that Florence took the hat for my favourite place in Italy, and I can’t wait to return one day with more time. I’d highly recommend taking a zoom lens and heading up to Piazzale Michaelangelo for magnificent views over the city, and gaze upon the grandeur Renaissance architecture as far as the eye can see. 

 

9. Kaohsiung, Taiwan

I have been travelling through mainland China regularly for the past 3 years, and have seen virtually every corner of the massive country. However, it dawned on me earlier this year that I had never been to Taiwan, and so without thinking I booked the next flights there. Taipei has now become one of my favourite cities in the world, but it was Kaohsiung that really stole the show for me. The city has so much to offer, and is yet so underrated. The night markets are some of the best I have been to in all of Asia, and the Lotus Pond is a fascinating place to push your photography boundaries and shoot some of the most intricate and bizzare buildings you will ever witness. Make sure you head to the umbrella street near the main station too, and enjoy the street art throughout the city. You won’t be disappointed.

 

10. Dalawella Beach, Sri Lanka

Last but certainly not least is a place that is very close to my heart. When Soph and I left China to travel and pursue a career in photography in 2016, Sri Lanka was one of the first countries we visited. On our last few days, we headed down to the nearest beach to our hotel, and met the wonderful family that owns Dream Cabana on Dalawella beach. We became great friends with their youngest son, who hopes to become a photographer one day, and revisited earlier this year to stay with them. The beach is a true paradise, and is virtually empty in comparison to other beaches nearby. What’s more, you can spend all day on the rope swing outside the Cabana and get enough photos to last your Instagram feed a lifetime.

 

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