Bali travel destination photography – Things to do in Bali – Ubud, Kintamani, Monkey Forest, Tirta Empul, Tanah Lot
Bali had been on my bucket list for a long, long time. After a busy summer photographing weddings, my son & I boarded 2 long flights across the world to the Indonesian island for a relaxing holiday. Now, my idea of a relaxing holiday is adventuring, exploring, immersing myself in the culture of a new place & creating lots of travel photography. Ever since I was a little girl, creating photographs has been about capturing a memory & that photograph should evoke what you felt in that moment. Though my career is now as a wedding photographer I still love to take photographs for myself, for my own memories. When I look at these travel photographs of Bali I can feel the thick humid air, hear the tropical jungle noises, feel the stickiness of my skin as a rain storm drew close, smell the smoky incense in the air & feel those excited travel butterflies in my stomach. Bali is an incredible, crazy place which is an explosion on the senses & I feel so, so grateful to have had the opportunity to note only adventure here, but to experience it all with my son as well.
Our base was Ubud, a beautiful bustling town in the centre of the island. From here we explored the ancient temples of Goa Gajah (elephant cave), Kintamani, Tirta Empul (the water temple) & Saraswati lotus temple, Monkey Forest, the Tegallalang rice terraces, Ubud palace, trekked through the jungle to an amazing waterfall, Yeh Pulu, Tembok beach, Ubud market, trekked the Campuhan ridge walk, spent the morning in a local school & on our last evening visited Tanah Lot on the shore of the Indian Ocean & were presented with THE most incredible sunset I’ve ever seen! We also went to lots of the traditional dances that Ubud offers – Kecak & fire dance, Legong dance & a Barong dance. This was all over 8 days! It was also an auspicious time in the moon cycle whilst we were in Bali & many weddings were taking place. It was really interesting to leave my camera at home (the villa!) & experience these Balinese weddings as a spectator rather than wedding photographer.
Bali is a perfect honeymoon & travel location, so I thought I’d put together some top tips for Bali for anyone thinking of travelling to Ubud:
Stay in the jungle – Bali is one of the most lush places I have visited & is covered in tropical jungle. Sure, you can stay by one of the many beautiful beaches but to really immerse yourself in the Balinese culture & way of life, book yourself into a hotel deep in the jungle. We stayed about 15 minutes outside of Ubud centre at Natura Resort, in a lovely 2-bedroom villa with a private infinity pool on a ridge overlooking a jungle river. It was absolute heaven napping to the tropical sounds!
Attend a traditional dance – Ubud is a brilliant town, the centre of culture for Bali & has many traditional dances every week. Pick up a schedule when you arrive as the different dances are on specific days. We attended a Legong Dance, a Kecak & fire dance, & a Legong & Barong dance. They were all amazing but my favourite was the Legong dance where the ladies dressed as butterflies – the sound is magical!
Eat well – There are many cafes & restaurants all around Ubud which have healthy, fresh food. Some of our favourites include Clear Cafe (get the Chaka maca shake – you can thank me later!), Casa Luna, Cinta, Ibu Rai & Kafe. Get yourself some of the local Balinese drink ‘Jamu’ which most of the cafes have – it doesn’t taste great but my goodness my skin was amazing by the end of the week!
Immerse yourself in the culture – You can see from my list above how many amazing places there are to visit in Ubud & around Bali, we barely scratched the surface & could have done with at least another week on the island. We hired a local Balinese driver called Made who took us to most of the main sights & gave us lots of information about the island. If you want his number then feel free to get in touch. I’d also recommend taking yourself off the tourist path – I spent a morning in a local village primary school (while my son stayed in bed!) & it was wonderful to see some ‘real’ Balinese life. The people there are so friendly & welcoming.
Avoid rainy season – We visited Bali in October, which was the start of the rainy season & it did rain most days. Whilst the rain cleared the humidity from the air, we did get caught in a couple of downpours the likes of which I’ve never seen. I’d recommend going slightly earlier in the year.
Treat yourself to spa treatments – ‘Ubud’ is derived from the Balinese word ‘ubad’ which means medicine. There are hundreds of spas & medicine houses offering massages, flower baths & healing. We were so busy exploring that I only had 1 massage during our time there, though next time I visit I will be spending a lot of time laying in a bath filled with flowers!
Hopefully these tips for Bali & Ubud help with your travel plans & most of all, enjoy! For now, please enjoy some of my travel photography, Nx
If you are planning your wedding or elopement in Bali or anywhere else in the world, then I would love to be your photographer & capture your story for you… Please get in touch here. Nx