Best travel photos: Travel writers name their favourite photo

For most people, photos are an integral part of travelling. Whether you take your photography seriously or are simply happy to point and shoot, the photos you take will form a key part in retaining the memories of your trip. Traveller's writers and editors have chosen their favourite photo from their travels. Take a look at the gallery above and below the writers explain why their photo means so much to them.

Kodiak Island, Alaska

What this photo lacks in composition and crispness and depth of field it makes up for in pure emotion. Meaning that I was quite terrified when I took it, and beginning to shake uncontrollably. Actually the fact that it is even in focus is a miracle, and partly why I consider it the best photo I have ever taken, because it seems so improbable. I had kayaked down a fiord in the remote wilderness of Kodiak Island, Alaska, and walked into the forest looking for a bear; meanwhile, a bear found my kayak and set to consuming all of my possessions. Imagine my surprise when I walked over the hill to return home. Imagine the bear, being angry, as my guide chased it with a Magnum pistol. I look at this photo and I feel lucky to be alive. I make others look at it, too, so they see how daring I am. Usually I don't tell them I was shaking uncontrollably, though. I guess the secret is out now.  - Lance Richardson

Shiraz, Iran

There are several things I love about this photo, even though it's not perfect (note, for example, the airconditioning vent that someone conveniently placed on the right of the frame). This was taken inside the Nasir al-Mulk mosque in Shiraz, Iran – one of the most beautiful mosques in a country that's littered with beautiful mosques. It's not just the tiling on the ceiling that I like, or the carpets on the floor, or all of those rich red hues, or even the symmetry of the shot. It's more what this photo reminds me of: exploring a country I'd always wanted to see; the surprisingly warm welcome I'd received there; and the fun of travelling for the first time with an old friend of mine, Michelle. This trip was two weeks of amazing new experiences, which I'll never forget. - Ben Groundwater

Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

It's impossible to take a bad photo of the Avenue des Baobabs (as it's known in French-speaking Madagascar), particularly at sunset. It's like waiting for the sunrise at Uluru. A crowd gathers, cameras in hand, or on tripods, and waits. There's plenty of time to walk along the road, strolling the gauntlet of girls selling miniature carved baobabs; I caved, and bought one, then sat at the base of one of these massive, upside-down trees for a while, taking everything in. Up close, they're more like stone landforms than living things. When the sun softens, the trees change from elephant-grey to gold and a few Malagasy people amble into view, bringing our pictures to life: boys on bicycles, zebu chariots, farmers walking home from their fields, and these two girls – the souvenir-sellers I'd bought the wooden tree from – whose presence really shows the scale and stark beauty of this incredible place. - Louise Southerden

Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania

Snow in Tasmania's mountains can be a fluky thing, so when I set out with two friends for a midwinter hike into Walls of Jerusalem National Park, the snowshoes we strapped to our backpacks were a mere afterthought. For three days we didn't see another person, and through our final night a sudden deluge of snow transformed the mountains and plateau into a white wonderland. Even in snowshoes we ploughed through snow so perfectly powdery that at times we were buried to our hips. Wallabies toppled over in their attempts to stand in the snow, and often we could discern the track only through the faintest depressions in the snow cover. It was the most brilliant and free day I've spent in the mountains for years, and as we came near to our exit from the mountains we stepped into this pristine scene. A grey storm marched towards us from the west. We were about to get whacked, but for this moment of dark beauty, it was worth it. - Andrew Bain


Angkor Wat, Cambodia

This is a shot of the pond that forms in front of Angkor Wat in the wet season. This girl was collecting lotus pods, probably to sell to tourists or for the temples, pulling them out by the roots and giving them in bundles to two younger girls on the bank. It was evening, which is the most popular time at Cambodia's famous temple complex, and most of the visitors were streaming along the walkway and into the temple, completely oblivious to this lovely scene. It's work for the poor, but just like the lotus flower erupting from its muddy pond, it reminds me that beauty comes without a price tag. Although the girl was busy about her work, I kept my lens trained on her and once she looked up and smiled in a soul-stealing moment. - Michael Gebicki

Tripoli, Libya

It's hardly my greatest photograph – but to me it says so much. It's taken near Martyrs' Square in downtown Tripoli, Libya's capital, on February 3, 2011. Two weeks later snipers will fire their weapons indiscriminately from offices above this cafe, killing anyone who dares walk these streets. And soon, coalition forces will bomb the country, plunging it into a civil war that still rages. I'll watch it all on TV, like you probably did. But I'll remember a city of friendly strangers who helped me whenever I got lost. I remember driving across this city at sunset with a car full of young Libyans listening to loud AC/DC, thinking that regardless of faith and circumstance, we're really all just the same. I wonder if they, and the man standing in this picture - my guide, Ab Salab – are still alive. This photo reminds me that it's human beings - people just like me - who die in wars, no matter how distant those wars might seem to us. - Craig Tansley

Bago, Myanmar

I've got a lot of favourites but this one stands out because it's a shot I haven't seen before in the beautiful, but heavily photographed, Myanmar. The monks in this particular monastery where the photograph was taken were super friendly, in a country that had already welcomed me, the solo traveller, with open arms. Taken in Bago, a scrappy town with a disproportionate number of beautiful temples that most travellers whiz past in half a day, I decided to stick out the unbearable heat, the mozzies, the blackouts and the extremely average accommodation to traverse dirt roads on a rusty old bicycle and my efforts were rewarded tenfold. The novice monk of Bago lived in a temple overlooked by most travellers, and being a teenager, had a moody look at the time the photo was taken, giving the shot a injection of mystery. - Kylie McLaughlin

Hudson Bay, Manitoba

Seal River Lodge near Churchill on the Hudson Bay in Canada is one of the only places in the world where you can get up close with polar bears in the wild, on foot. Two bears were hanging around the area throughout my stay, regularly play fighting, which gave us plenty of opportunity to take some spectacular action shots. Most of these were via a zoom lens, as we kept our distance from the bears. However, one of the bears suddenly became curious and, in a nonchalant manner, started walking towards us getting closer and closer. So close, in fact, that our guide threw a small rock at it to get it to back off. It thankfully worked. While this photo isn't the most spectacular in terms of wildlife photography from that trip, it captures that brief moment when the guide and the bear confront each other - the same moment when my heart started pounding as I realised the reality of the situation. - Craig Platt

Enchey Monastery, Sikkim

A trek around the hills of Sikkim in the eastern Himalaya and the Indian state jammed between Nepal and Bhutan, marked the end of another big adventure. Indian Army recruits were also having a few days recreation leave. While we hoofed it they were in the back of a truck travelling the region's notorious roads with signs such as "if you sleep your family will weep" and "be gentle on my curves", warning of its perils. As we emerged from a clearing there they would be, spilling from the truck in army-issue tracksuits and covetable Goldstar sneakers to explore a monastery or other landmark. After a few days they would wave from the truck as they passed by. But at Enchey Monastery it was just us, watching the novice monks in school. A couple look mischievous, others are concentrating on the blackboard. It's a favourite not just  for the matching wall and robe colours but because they are oblivious to us, the touristic voyeurs. It reminded me that learning can happen anywhere, no fancy desks, classrooms or computers required. - Jane Reddy

Take a look at each writers' favourite photo in the gallery above.