Bali is a paradise of beaches. Any type of beach goer can find the beach of their dreams in Bali. Like surfing? Check out Uluwatu. Enjoy swimming & sunbathing? Nusa Dua is your beach. Like your beach with a side of party? Kuta & Seminyak is for you. Like to eat on the beach where your meal came from? Head to Jimbaran Beach. There’s really something for everyone at the beaches of Bali. Even photographers!
I love photographing my travels, and in Bali, that means beaches. Over the past few months I’ve been traveling to some of the beaches of southern Bali, which are most well-known beaches on the island. Many I had heard of before arriving, but some I had not. I wanted to visit these beaches as a photographer, and see what made them unique. Here’s a look at the 10 beaches I visited and what I loved about them!
#10 Kuta Beach: If you are looking for photos of flat dark sand, throngs of tourists in bikinis, merchants seller their goods, and drunken surfers, then Kuta Beach is your spot. I know this beach is a “famous” surf spot, but I really don’t get the appeal. I always find it crowded and unpleasant. These are the photos that make me don’t want to come to Bali. I’m not into the party or club scene, so I’m probably not the ideal expat for Kuta Beach, but either way, there’s way more interesting beaches to photograph in Bali.
#9 Seminyak Beach: A step above Kuta, but not much. Still crowded, still rather dull, Seminyak does offer spots of secluded beach. And I have noticed some impressive waves on this beach. Parts of this beach can look quite nice, but it’s really determined by tourist season.
#8 Dreamland Beach: Speaking of tourists… I’m not a fan of this one because it’s one of the few southern cliff beaches that tour buses can access. Therefore it’s packed with tour groups. Plus you have to walk through a long stretch of souvenir shops & pushy sellers. It’s pretty, it’s simple, but as a photographer, it’s a pass.
#7 Nusa Dua: This beach has the advantage/disadvantage of being mostly a beach for resorts. The advantage is that it’s quite clean. The disadvantage is that sometimes it can be quite crowded. But Nusa Dua does offer some unique photo spots that other beaches do not. One is a water blow, just off the beach. When the tide is just right, the swell is legendary. I like this beach for swimming, as it’s a pretty protected cove and the waves aren’t too crazy.
#6 Padang-Padang: Another “famous” surf spot, but a little overhyped if you ask me. There’s a charge to park and a charge to enter the beach. It’s a pretty small beach too, for all the fuss. It does have some great cliff and rock shots from the beach, which make it unique. It’s a nice beach, but it gets crowded quick.
#5 Secret Beach [Pantai Tegal Wangi]: I call this one secret, because I never hear anyone talk about it! But when studying the map of Bali one day, I stumbled across it. It’s remote and cut out of the rocks. It’s a small beach, but definitely has the private island beach feel. When we were there, a wedding was about to take place. It’s a great spot for a secluded Bali beach wedding. It has a real isolated feel.
#4 Bingin Beach: The only downside to this beach is the stairs. But other than that, it’s a gem. Soft white sand, nice waves, cool rocks & caves giving Bingin a nice unique coastline. I also enjoyed photographing from some of the cafe’s above the beach for some great wide ocean shots. This is a lovely beach that might even be worth all those stairs. It’s not for the faint at heart!
#3 Jimbaran Beach: I’m partial to this beach, because I live on it. But other than that, it’s still a great beach. It’s fishing beach, which makes for great local culture shots of the boats, the fisherman, the fish and the markets. It’s a sunset beach, so sometimes it glows. There are a lot of tourists at sunset, so getting that isolated postcard photo feel won’t happen at Jimbaran Beach. But if you want to photograph a beach with character, this is the spot.
#2 Balangan Beach: What a gem. The best part of this beach is the great overlook on the coast. Part of the cliff juts out, and gives you wide views of the coastline from all angles. I could photograph from up here all day. The coast is so rich and green, and the sand is a beautiful sandy tan, with turquoise water that just pops. The beach itself is nice too. But this overlook is a real nice spot.
#1 Uluwatu Beach: I know, I know. It’s touristy. It’s hyped. It’s always crowded. But it’s all worth it you guys. It’s epic. After walking down who knows how many stairs winding through countless shops & restaurants, you see it. This crazy stone cave opening up into the ocean. You climb down a few more precarious stone steps, walk across a stone bridge, and you hear the crashing waves coming through cove. You can barely see the sky because the cliff walls are so tall. But as you walk toward the sounds of the ocean, the walls widen and you are at the edge of the world. Uluwatu Beach is beautiful and unlike any beach I’ve seen before. You photograph here for hours, and never take the same shot. Depending on the tides, you can go through the caves to the other side of the main opening, and a whole new beach awaits. It’s a photographer’s dream come true. Don’t miss it.