My Top 15 Travel Photos of 2013

Hi guys! I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday. Mine have been nothing short of perfect- snow, siblings and all.

Seeing as the end of the year is upon us I wanted to recap 2013 with my favorite travel shots (I was inspired by The Polar Route’s absolutely beautiful photos.)

Reviewing all of these photos was a lot of fun. As many of you know I adore photography- and not just taking the photos- I also love editing and curating them. My travels in 2013 spanned 15 countries across Europe, North America and Asia, and my photos reflect that (though there is a strong preference for Bali, which was possibly the most photogenic place I visited!)

As I reviewed these photos I noticed a bit of progress as the year went on so hopefully in 2014 my photography will continue to improve! Considering my parents gifted me the wonderful Canon 50mm 1.4 lens for Christmas (thanks SO much, mom and dad!), here’s hoping it will.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite shots from 2013… and I’d love to hear which one is your  favorite in the comments!


The view of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro. Paris, France.


The Hagia Sofia. Istanbul, Turkey.


A bride and groom on the Pont des Arts. Paris, France.

San Sebastian

San Sebastián at sunset. San Sebastián, Spain.


A tree-lined French road in spring. Maincy, France.

Confolens, France

A Roman bridge in a small French town. Confolens, France.


A sushi chef at work. Narita, Japan.


Chinese lanterns above the crowd. Macau.

Angkor Wat

 Angkor Wat at sunrise. Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Canyoning Vietnam

Rappelling down an 80-foot waterfall. Dalat, Vietnam.

Motorcycle Vietnam

 Motorcycling in the Vietnamese countryside. Vietnam.

Medicine Man Bali

 Meeting a ninth-generation medicine man in Bali. Ubud, Bali.

Mount Batur Bali

The summit of Mount Batur at sunrise. Mount Batur, Bali.

Mount Batur Bali

 A group of hikers and a monkey. Mount Batur, Bali.

Rice paddies Indonesia

 A verdant rice terrace. Bali, Indonesia.

Which photo is your favorite?

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21, traveled the world for a year and now lives in Denver. She's usually in pursuit of skiing, languages and perfectly ripe cheese. Her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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  1. All of these photos are stunning Ashley, they represent all the incredible things and places you’ve experienced 2013. If I were pushed to choose a favourite it would be Angkor Wat at Sunrise, followed closely by Motorcycling in the Vietnamese countryside, it looks like God parting the sky!
    Shing recently posted..Stary Rynek: Europe’s Most Whimsical and Visually Striking Main SquareMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Shing! I stood in a pond to take that photo of Angkor Wat so I’m glad you like it :)

  2. Brilliant photos Ashley! I’m torn between the beauty of Angkor What and the tree-lined French road that looks like a peaceful painting!
    Stephanie Mayo recently posted..Charming CharlotteMy Profile

    • Thanks, Stephanie! The tree-lined French road was such a special and random moment :)

  3. Impressed you could filter it down to just 15. I could only manage 35!

    Love the San Sebastian shot…so dramatic!
    Jimmy Dau recently posted..My favourite photos of 2013My Profile

    • No wonder you couldn’t whittle it down… your photos are amazing!

  4. OMG, your pics are beautiful! Really, I am very impressed. Impossible for me to choose a favorite;-).

    Funny to see your pic of the lanterns in Macau, I was there too at that time, because I have a similar picture. Was it crazy crowded the day you were there? It was when we were there and that was the reason that we were not able to see all what we wanted on Macau. Guess we will have to go back one day;-). Did you also see the show House of Dancing Water? It was gorgeous!

    Bali is a long-time love from me; was there 25 years ago for the first time and 6 years back for the second and (hopefully not) last time. Ubud is amazing.

    I was in Vietnam 25 years ago and hope to return there in 2014. I remember how friendly the people were and how divers the nature was. My stepdaughter returned yesterday from 3 weeks in Vietnam and she loved it!

    How cool that you also like to work on your pics. Me too! I am always surprised and disappointed that so many people disapprove of it. Discarding it as ‘not real’. I disagree. I think post-work on pics can dramatically enhance the image.

    I am sure your photography will get even better then it already is; you have a talent for it!
    Anja recently posted..A Happy KitschMas to you all!My Profile

    • Thanks so much, Anja! It was definitely super crowded in Macau, it was hard to escape all the other tourists! And I totally agree about Bali and Vietnam- they were my two favorite places on my trip. And photo editing makes SUCH a difference- I would never post pictures without doing it first!

  5. Girl, those are some gorgeous photos! I really love the one of the Eiffel Tower because it gives a unique view to something so often photographed. I also really like the tree lined street and the motorcycling in Vietnam, they both have such an ethereal feel to them. What do you use to edit? Have fun with the new lens, too! ;)
    Kaleena’s Kaleidoscope recently posted..Making Our Own Holiday Spirit for Christmas in KoreaMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Kaleena! I use Lightroom to edit and I couldn’t love it more. I bought Lightroom 5 when it was on sale for $100 (from $150). I would highly recommend it!

  6. I love the picture of Hagia Sofia and the rice terrace in Bali…and San Sebastian…actually, all of them really!
    Sam recently posted..The Juice Factory, VilcabambaMy Profile

  7. Awesome, awesome photos Ashley.

    The tree-lined street from Maincy seems like a place that only exists in forgotten dreams. I’ve gotta see that, as well as the other places in your pictures.

    Cheers on the great year you’ve had!
    Matt recently posted..4 Simple Tips for Saving Money for TravelMy Profile

    • Thanks, Matt! You’ll definitely see roads like that in France- they’re so beautiful!

    • Thanks! Best of luck to you too as well in 2014… may it be a year filled with travel! :)

  8. All of these photos are fabulous, but I think my favourite is the bride and groom on Pont des Arts. It tells a story, and I love the fact that it’s against a backdrop of so many other stories locked into the padlocks that cover the bridge. Beautiful!

    • I felt so honored to see a moment like that… so beautiful!

    • Thanks, Steve! I’m glad to have you following along :)

  9. Ah tough decision. I really love the moto in Vietnam the most. Or maybe the Sushi.

    • I like the sushi one just because it reminds me of how delicious it was… gotta love Japanese food.

    • Thanks, Rachel, that would be a great idea! I think my mom would especially like it because she was there when I took the photo :)

  10. Such lovely photos Ashley! Your photos from Bali take me back! The rice fields were one of my favorite places on that trip – it had quite a spiritual feeling! Looking forward to seeing your pictures with your new camera in 2014!
    Laura recently posted..The Magic of the Red CenterMy Profile

    • Bali is such a magical place… I can’t wait to get back!

  11. Ashley, they are all my favorites! You are an incredible photographer and I’m happy to hear your folks gave you a new camera for Christmas. When do you leave again?

    • Hi, Marsha! Hope all is well down in Nashville and that you had a wonderful Christmas! I’m actually not sure of when I’m leaving again… I’ll definitely be home for the next month or so. And I always love getting your comments by the way :)

    • Thanks, Amanda! I always love your photos as well and you were actually one of the reasons I got the 50mm in the first place! :) Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday, Michigan misses you

  12. Ashley,

    These photos are AMAZING. I love the sunset in Spain and the countryside in Vietnam. I’m so glad you’ve been able to travel and share your experiences. This is such an inspiring blog!

    Hope you’re doing well and that 2014 brings you even more adventures!


    • Hi, Shereen! How have you been? I remember taking art class together back in the day… hope everything’s been going great for you :). And thanks so much, I had a great year of travel for sure.

  13. Gorgeous pictures. The one of the married couple is beautiful and I really like the Bali ones! Looking forward to seeing your pictures in 2014.

    Hope you have a fabulous new year!

    Georgia recently posted..5 reasons why you must visit EdinburghMy Profile

    • Thanks, Georgia! I hope you have a great new year as well :)

  14. Oooh my gosh… you’ve had an amazing year! The photos of the group of hikers in Bali and the motorcycle ride in Vietnam are equally striking.

    • Thanks, Jess! The motorcycle in Vietnam does seem to be a favorite :). Happy New Year!

    • Haha I love the Sound of Music too! Though normally I would associate it a bit more with mountains or chateaux.

    • Thanks, Diane! It probably looks very familiar to you. Happy New Year to you as well!

  15. These are all spectacular photos but for sheer awesomeness, my two favorites would be the rice terrace in Bali and sunrise at Angkor Wat. Although I adore the one in Istanbul too….I’m really hoping this is the year I make it there!

    Happy New Year!
    Julie recently posted..2014 travel picksMy Profile

    • Thanks, Julie! You’ll absolutely love Istanbul when you make it there… it’s an incredible city!

  16. Gorgeous, gorgeous photographs! I love them all, but I think the one from motorcycling in Vietnam is my favorite. Cheers to more great travels in 2014!
    Laura recently posted..2013 in ReviewMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Laura! Good luck to you in 2014 as well :)

  17. Wow! Ashley! Youve been to a number of beautiful places. And whoaaaa..amazing photos. Its honestly hard to pick a favorite..because they r all absolutely stunning.. however..if I had t pick one.. I might choose e sunrise on e summit of e mountain.. one thing I was wondering about is your thoughts behind e picture you took of e sushi chef.. What is it about e picture..that makes it one of your favorites? Anyw..Hope you had a fantastic 2013.

    • Haha you might be right- it’s not that great of a photo, but more of a great memory. Have a great 2014!

  18. Hello, I just happened to come upon your blog through the Cultureist…these photos are beautiful and I vote the Medicine man in Bali! You can see the true genuine curiosity you have on your smile and the excitement in his. Cheers!
    Lindsey Cook recently posted..1 Year Anniversary! Best Bites of 2013My Profile

    • Thank you so much! The girl in the picture is actually a friend of mine but I thought she looked really great in it :)

  19. It is difficult to pick a favorite photo from this group. I would have to say my favorite is the one featuring the medicine man. It made me smile and gives me a sense of peace.
    Ruth recently posted..Top 6 New York City HotspotsMy Profile

    • Thanks for your vote, Ruth! Though I can’t say visiting him was worth the steep price (about $30!) it was something I wanted to do ever since reading Eat Pray Love when I was 16.

  20. Your preference of Bali as the most photogenic place you’ve visited is exactly the same with what my friend from Hong Kong said after our trip to the island last December. One year ago he was quite skeptical about Bali — its reputation as a very touristy island didn’t help. But I managed to gradually convince him to visit, and he ended up losing words to describe how beautiful and amazing it was. We skipped the southern part of the island altogether and focused more on the central and east. Love your photos from other places btw! Seeing that photo from Paris makes me want to redeem my very short visit to the city back in 2007.
    Bama recently posted..An Eye-Opening Journey to the EastMy Profile

    • I was definitely skeptical about visiting too due to the touristy reputation but am so glad I did! And thanks so much! I had a lot of fun taking them :)

  21. These are all so so so beautiful! I love the San Sebastian one!

    • Thanks, I like that one too! The light was so pretty that time of day :)

  22. Hey Ashley I’m flattered that my shots inspired you to share yours. You have some excellent work here; it’s hard to pick but I think my fav is the motorcycle in Vietnam. Thanks and take care!


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