Oh, Bali! You have my heart.
Let’s be real, if you’ve been to Bali… you know it’s a pretty magical destination. It’s been on my bucket list for ages, and I finally got a chance to visit in September. Bali didn’t just live up to it’s reputation… it blew all of the other places I’ve ever been to out of the water. It’s the kind of place you wind up comparing to heaven on countless occasions, and fantasize about when you’re stuck in traffic. I came back feeling like my soul had just taken a year long spa day. From the friendliness of the locals to the cleanliness of the vegan food, my heart was full and my belly was happy (see what I did there?). It was a slam dunk, home run, unforgettable adventure.
Not to mention… when I came back, my Instagram was on fire!!! Turns out… you guys love Bali as much as I do! Since I got such amazing feed back from the images that Champagne and I took on our trip, I decided to put together a little “Insta-Worthy” guide to taking photos in Bali… So that when you decide to Jetset, you’re fully prepared to hit the BEST spots!
This was my #1 spot I was just DYING to shoot. I’ve seen it ALL over Pinterest, and turns out, it’s an entrance to a historic golf resort built in the 1970s! Gates like this are very common in Bali, but this one takes the cake for the most EPIC. It’s located up in the Northern Highlands of Bali, with lush, green mountains and tropical rainforest as a backdrop. It’s actually nestled the crater of an extinct volcano! Mega WOW!
To get this image, we wanted to make sure we got there at the right time for ideal lighting… so we looked on the map to see what direction it faced. To get the gate backlit, you need to shoot in the AM. We stayed in Ubud, which is about 1 hour and 40 minutes south of the resort, so we scheduled a private driver (which is generally only $50 USD a day) to take us at 5am in the morning. We also lucked out and got a bit of fog!
TWIN LAKE SWINGS #2
After we shot at the gate, we continued the drive north to visit the Banyumala Twin Waterfalls. On our way up through the mountains, there were actually several places along the main road (Jl. Raya Wanagiri ) where you could pull off on the lefthand side and pay to have your photos taken on various swings overlooking Twin Lake! IT WAS EPIC!!! Here is the approximate location, as I remember. We took these images around 10am, and the light was pretty nice! This particular swing is called Wanagiri Nest. You can also shoot on a chain-linked swing and floating bamboo boat.
Located on the shores of Lake Bratan, this Balinese temple was built in 1633! This iconic temple is featured on the 50,000 rupiah banknote and a popular spot for visitors due to its scenic location and rich history. Once again, the best time to visit for photos is in the early morning (8-9am is okay). It is located about 1.5 hours north of Ubud… so I recommend taking a private driver if you want to get there at the best time before masses of tour buses roll through!
How can you go wrong with artisanal vegan popsicles and ice cream?! Mad Pops Ice Cream is a non-dairy coconut based ice cream made from locally sourced ingredients. I’m not going to lie, we weren’t 100% sure Seminyak was going to be the “IT” part of town to stay in… but when we stumbled upon this place one block away from our hotel, we were pretty jazzed. You just can’t argue with heathy and cute!
Just ten minutes north of where we stayed in Seminyak was Kynd Community. I could basically go to this little spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner… for the rest of forever. From fresh juices to an array of plant-based cuisine, Kynd is all about being “Kynd” to your body. The smoothie bowl and pink latte (pictured below) are iconic. Be sure to get a table in front of the wall mural and you have the perfect photo op! There are only three tables along the pink wall, so try and go during a less busy time of day. I recommend either super early (it opens at 6am) or later in the day around 3pm(close at 4pm). We took these photos around 3pm, and the lighting was great!
This was another bucket list item for me in Bali. I did some research and found out about Mason Elephant Safari a few weeks before we left for Bali. Located in Ubud, the rescue has been around for 20 years and has multiple awards for it’s treatment of the endangered species. National Geographic Society has recognized it as a welfare supporter and the World Wildlife Foundation had noted the lodge as a partner in conservation.
Tips for photos… there are different prices for admission, so be prepared to spend at bit more to get the best experience. You canopy a ‘photoshoot’ fee to have a private moment with a elephant and trainer. It was SO worth it to get to see them up close and personal. What a magical experience. Anytime of day is fine for images, as there is ample tree coverage to diffuse the mid-day light.
I really loved visiting the Rice Terrances in Ubud! It’s so incredible to think about the fact that this is a method of agriculture that has been practiced by the Balinese for over 2000 years! Like emerald stairs leading towards the sky, it is one of the prettiest sights I’ve ever seen. I recommend making a morning visit. We took these images right as the sun was about to come over the hill at around 7am.
You can’t do Bali without indulging a bit. This hotel/spa hit the spot. From private pools with open air views of the stars, to yoga classes and a top notch Spa, The Amala is a MUST.
Located in the heart of central Ubud, this temple was nothing short of magical. Another spot where the early bird gets the worm. It gets EXTREMELY busy because of it’s central location, so make sure to arrive first thing in the am for no people in your shot. These images were taken at 6am!
This restaurant and beach club in Canggu is crawling with photo ops! From hand-painted carriages to beach side lounges; it is magnificent! Our insider photo tip: photos are for patrons! They are pretty strict about spending money at the restaurant before you take any type of touristy photos. Professional photoshoots must be cleared with management in advance.
One of my favorite spots was our hotel in Seminyak! It was one of the most unique and modern places I’ve ever been to! The architecture made me feel like we were on another planet, in the best way possible. So many photo ops, and it’s located in the heart of Seminyak within walking distance to tons of great shopping a restaurants. I recommend checking out Bamboo Blonde for shopping and Sisterfields for lunch.
This should probably be listed as #1, but I wanted to end things with a bang. You really don’t know what fun is until you have a monkey on your head eating a banana out of your hand. YOU TOO can have this life changing experience! Tips to keep in mind… 1. don’t look the monkeys directly in the eyes, it’s considered a threat. 2. Don’t bring anything the monkeys can steal off your body. They tried to take my sunglasses… it was kind of cute, but BE PREPARED! They like shiny things. 3. Wear your hair in a pony. I had mine down and a nice little fellow literally went through my hair extensions and ran off with a whole chunk of my hair. OUCH!
I want to wrap things up by telling you about another few standout spots that had my heart but we didn’t get the chance to take photos of.
Alchemy: Best Vegan Food OF MY LIFEEEEEEEEEE
The Lawn: The Cutest Bar in Canggu
Yoga Barn: Just straight out of a movie. YOU MUST DO YOGA HERE!!!
My last piece of advice is HIRE A PRIVATE DRIVER. It’s so inexpensive (only around $20-50 USD per day) and way safer than renting a moped ( which is what most tourists do).
NOW, GO DO BALI AND THANK ME LATER!!!!!!!!!!
ALL IMAGES BY @CHAMPAGNEUNICORNS