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  • Writer's pictureAnna Luna Rossi

The Gorgeous Nature of Bali - 10 Amazing Photo Spots

Updated: Apr 28

Nature in Bali is incredibly rich: lush jungle, volcanic beaches, hidden waterfalls, coral reefs... Some places on the island seem straight out of a fantastic universe, with how pristine their beauty is. Nestled in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago, in the Indian Ocean and its turquoise waters, Bali is home to a great diversity of species of tropical flora and fauna, that we can be lucky to admire through its splendid landscapes. Here are 10 amazing photo spots in what could easily be a photographer's heaven.

I spent a month exploring the four cardinal points of this island. From the southern beaches huddled against high cliffs to the northern jungle and its vibrant colored flowers, not forgetting the rice fields and their patchwork of green, and the volcano beaches of the east... everything calls to a deep sense of wonder. Like other volcanic islands close to the equatorial line, the land's fertility is remarkable and allows many plant species to grow. Everywhere, coconut trees, jackfruit, banyan trees, frangipani, hibiscus or banana trees are thriving. Bali is also part of the Pacific Coral Triangle, the area with the world's highest marine biodiversity: it is surrounded by coral reefs supporting a wide diversity of marine plants and fish.

Let's explore ten of these gorgeous nature landscapes, where wilderness stands alongside a culture so rich it will warm your heart in more ways than one.

1. Twin Lakes, Northern Bali

The Twin Lakes, Buyan lake and Tamblingan lake, are located in Munduk, a small village in the highlands of the north of Bali. All around is the jungle: lush, dense, melodious.

Standing on the hills in the middle of the Twin Lakes, the view of the two bodies of water is magical: they seem pristine, an oasis nestled in the middle of the mountains. It's almost as if nothing exists but the wilderness on the lakeshore. Around Temblingan lake, there are only temples: twenty-two to be exact. Among the plants you can find in the nearby forest, there's Coffea canephora and Coffea arabica, the two species of coffee plants grown on the island. They are not endemic and have been naturalized in the region, but can be found growing in the wild nowadays.

There's something serene in the way such a vast area is empty of the busy life you can find in some towns. On the shore, around the wooden docks and the reeds, life is as quiet as the boats' oars sliding against the water, and the silence of the temple's stones. It is a true natural paradise, a perfect photo spot to capture stillness.

2. Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida

On the southwest coast of the island of Nusa Penida, in the south of Bali, stand the cliffs of Kelingking Beach - a natural wonder close to Angel Billabong and Broken Beach, maybe even more beautiful than what these names suggest, but also a famous photo spot on the smaller island. The way down is steep and reserved for the most adventurous of us, but the most gorgeous view is to admire up from the cliff.

This photography spot has been listed many times, and it might be a victim of its popularity as the hill is often crowded with tourists looking for the perfect picture. However, I chose the early morning hours to admire Kelingking... and I was almost alone. If the infamous "t-rex" is a stunning sight to witness, especially when it's covered in the soft glow of early daylight, something else caught my eye. The coast, seemingly endless, of gigantic cliffs covered by lush vegetation. And the foaming Indian Ocean's waves, lapping along the shore in a slow rumble.

Here is a complete guide about Kelingking Beach to read before your visit!

3. Candi Beach, Candidasa

There are many beautiful beaches in Bali, each of them more stunning than the next, competing for the finest sand and the clearest water. But one that struck me as a real-life paradise was Candidasa. The long alley, followed by a flight of steps, opens on cliffs diving into the ocean, framed by coconut trees. And if people like to spend their holidays swimming on the shore of Candidasa, once the turquoise water appears to your eyes you forget anyone around you.

The water of the Indian Ocean declines in various shades of blue in Candidasa. The sand is one second black, one second white. The beach is five hundred meters long, isolated from any town, and if you're lucky enough to come at the right time, very peaceful.

4. Banyumala Twin Waterfalls, Munduk

How many waterfalls exist in Bali? Probably countless, each a perfect photo spot to capture stunning stream pictures. But to access this one, you have to earn your visit: the path down is quite long and difficult. And if you walk it under the rain, it feels even longer: the dirt track is strewn with roots, small streams and rocks of various sizes. And the wooden logs tied together in a semblance of railing don't help much when it's slippery. But once the waterfalls reveal themselves, nestled in a jungle clearing, you quickly forget all about the path.

Waterfalls are amazing biodiversity reserves. The number of plant species and aquatic organisms you can observe in such a lush environment is remarkable. If the Git Git waterfalls are the most famous ones in the region, the Banyumala twin waterfalls will certainly strike you as a wonderful place to find peace in nature.

If you want to know more about Banyumala Twin Waterfalls, this blog article is very informative.

5. Tembeling Beach, Nusa Penida

Accessing this photo spot is once again pretty difficult. Even if you are an arduous scooter driver, the sinuous road in the middle of the jungle going down the cliff will still look like a challenge. Then, there are almost a hundred more stairs to finally access the hidden creek. It seems like a true adventure, where you end up discovering a real treasure.

Tembeling beach is small, and surrounded by high cliffs and trees of which the roots look like tentacles. Its sand is covered in hundreds of shells, the waves tumble upon the dozens of rocks diving into the Ocean. But what really catches the eye are those natural pools which formed in the middle of the rocks: the clear fresh water comes from a source all the way up in the forest, and it is even possible to swim in them.

Here is a complete guide to Tembeling Beach, to read before your visit.

6. Monkey Forest, Ubud

Ubud's Monkey Forest is a well-known excursion for tourists. But if you avoid the too-famous (and not very ethical) selfie with a monkey, and take the time to roam farther into the forest, it's another experience for photographers. You discover bridges almost hidden by the roots and branches of banyan trees, temples covered in moss and rivers winding through the jungle. Most of the time, the most beautiful pictures you can take of the monkeys are when they jump from one tree to another, or carry their babies on their backs over the old temple's stones, rather than sit awaiting for people to come.

But beware of the young ones: the zips of your photography bag won't stop them from trying to steal what's yours. Don't get too close to the monkeys to try to get "the" picture. Photography is all about creating new shots according to your vision, not about recreating famous ones!

If you want to learn more about the monkeys and their forest before visiting, this digital brochure is for you.

7. Mount Batur, Northern Bali

Waking up at 3 a.m. to ascend Mount Batur in pitch darkness, for an almost three hours long trail up on volcanic sand doesn't seem worth the effort. But the view of the sunrise behind Mount Agung, facing the mountain, will make you glad you chose to do it. The sun wakes up in a splash of orange shades and casts light over the top of the volcano slowly, letting you admire all the details you missed on your way up, little by little.

The greatest pictures you can take are probably the ones on your way down, though. Once the sun is up, the whole countryside and the jungle of the caldera appear to your eyes: infinite green and yellow patches, pine trees standing tall over the valley, and monkeys playing in the branches of the trees. Once you reach the bottom of the mountain, you find yourself in the middle of one of Bali's most rural areas, surrounded by various plantations of fruits and vegetables, and locals working the land in the early hours of the morning. The whole countryside is basking in the soft morning light, and it seems to be painted in pastel shades.

Since Mount Batur is listed in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, this website will tell you more about its ecology

8. Mangroves of Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan is an island located in front of the bigger Nusa Penida, known as an incredible diving spot to discover the marine biodiversity of the Indian Ocean. It shelters a large mangrove forest, that you can explore on small boats sliding silently through the canals. Mangroves are stunning ecosystems: they sustain a lot of species and can be seen as biodiversity hot spots. They are essential for the health of coastal habitats: they help filter coastal water, retain nutrients, offer protection to endangered species and prevent erosion.

Mangroves always seem quite surreal when you find yourself in the middle of those trees of which the impressive roots dive into the salty water. Intertwined in a complicated network, and yet seemingly so perfectly organized for life to thrive among them. They are incredibly peaceful, although always buzzing with bird sounds and quiet splashing sounds. You never really know what you're gonna see in this very special landscape: it is a rather less-known photo spot in Bali, and the pictures are never quite the same.

Here is a great article for those wanting to learn more about mangroves' biodiversity and the restoration projects taking place in Bali.

9. Teggalalang Rice Terraces, Ubud

Here's another well-known spot for photographers, and it truly deserves its place on the list. Rice terraces aren't a natural environment per se, but one modified for the agricultural needs of the population. Nonetheless, incredible biodiversity can be found around the rice paddies and the jungle bordering the crops. Since rice needs to be constantly irrigated by water to grow, the paddies create artificial wetlands. Many species of insects and plants find a perfect habitat in these wetlands.

Tegallalang rice terraces are the best-known in Bali: visitors come from all over the world to discover them. But rather than sticking to the viewpoints, take a moment to get lost between the little paths slithering through the rice crops. Walking farther in the terraces, even if the terrain is muddy and sometimes rough, will allow you to see the landscape from a whole different perspective. Maybe you will stumble upon species of spiders you never saw before, as I did ... and the discoveries are worth the jump scare. This is where the most unique pictures are to be taken.

Cultivating rice in Bali is based on a complex system closely linked with Hindu traditions: here's the article I wrote about it!

10. Blue Lagoon, Nusa Ceningan

Nusa Ceningan is the small island attached to Nusa Lembongan by a long yellow bridge. The island is home to traditional seaweed farming areas, and offers beautiful coastal landscapes. When I first heard of a place called "Blue Lagoon" I couldn't help but feel a bit doubtful in front of such a cliché name. But if there's one thing Bali doesn't do, is lying about the beauty of its landscapes. The water here is so blue, it is easy to get lost in the sight of the waves flowing through the rock outlet to reach the shore.

Farther from the original viewpoint, you can walk on the volcanic rocks to get a wider view of the bay and the perfect photo spot: there's no path, it's up to you to decide where you go. There, exposed to the wind and the sound of the ocean, it's almost as if you're required to take a moment, just to properly take all this beauty in.

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