Home » SUNRISE IN BALI – The best locations to watch and shoot
SUNRISE IN BALI – The best locations to watch and shoot
Sunrise has something magical. It is the start of a new day, the first golden light, the world slowly waking up. When you visit Bali, one of the beautiful islands of Indonesia, there are a few things you have to do. One of them is watching the sunrise. There are a lot of beautiful places to watch the sunrise in Bali. After living for 6 months on the island and traveling around a lot, we’ve seen every spot. That’s why we made this guide about the best places to watch and shoot sunrise in Bali with practical information about how to get there, what to prepare and photography tips!
If you want to know all the best things to do in Bali, read this blog post. Or for more specific posts, the most beautiful waterfalls, or the best sunset locations. In this blog post I will show you the best spots to watch and shoot sunrise in Bali.
Sanur Beach Pantai Karang
Sanur beach is located on the south east coast of Bali. Because the tide is very low early morning, the water close to the shore remains still and reflects the colorful morning sky beautifully. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Agung on the left. Because you’re facing east on this beach, the sun will rise from the ocean which is magical to see. Therefore Pantai Karang is a popular spot to watch the sunrise for tourists and locals. It’s also a favorite place for photographers, so make sure to arrive early enough to find your best spot. Absolutely one of the best spots to watch sunrise in Bali!
Getting there: Type in Pantai Karang on your Google Maps. It is an easy drive, especially if you go there before sunrise the roads are still quiet.
Entrance fee: Only parking fee of 2.000 IDR.
Best time to go: Make sure to arrive half an hour before sunrise. This will give you the time to set up your tripod and look for the best angle. You don’t want to hurry and miss out on the most magical sunrise colors which often can be seen just before sunrise.
Photo tip: Use a model or object in your photo to make your shot interesting and use the magical reflection in the water. You can use the fisher boats as an object for example. A long exposure shot will also be cool at this spot because you smooth out the water and sky.
Jatiluwih rice fields
The most famous rice fields of Bali and a Unesco world heritage. On a clear morning you will have beautiful views on the mountains and Mount Agung volcano. Try to do your research about the status of the rice. For example via Instagram stories and search for the location Jatiluwih. Is the rice fully grown and therefore green, or has it just been harvested or planted? The Jatiluwih ricefields are beautiful during any season, but if you want to see or photograph the intense green color what the rice fields are known for, then make sure to do your research!
If the rice has just been planted, the ricefields will have more water in between the plants. This will give you the opportunity to use the reflections in the water which can be magical with a colorful sky. It just depends on what you want to achieve with your photo!
Getting there: Jatiluwih is easy to find, you can combine it with Leke Leke and NungNung waterfall to make it a wonderful and diverse day trip! For more information about the best Bali waterfalls, read this blog post.
Entrance fee: 40K per person. But if you enter the rice fields before sunrise from the temple side, you have a big change that you won’t have to pay.
Best time to go: Make sure to arrive half an hour before sunrise. This will give you the time to pick the right spot for your photo and set up your gear. Are you going to take a shot from the viewing platform? Or maybe you want to hike through the rice fields and find a new spot?
Photo tip: If you have a drone you have to use it here!! The mountains in the backdrop are an amazing perspective to the rice fields and are in particular visible in the morning. The best position for the drone shot is with the small road in the middle of your shot for a leading line with the mountains in the backdrop. See our example below.
Bukit Cinta near Amed
For one of the best views on Mount Agung you have to go to Bukit Cinta, also known as the ‘hill of love’. Especially if you stay in Amed the drive to Bukit Cinta is short, just around 30 minutes. On a clear morning, you will have the best view on Mount Agung. And if you’re lucky there will be some fog in combination with smoke. Those are the best conditions to take your shot! Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know before heading to Bukit Cinta. This is without a doubt one of our favorite spots to watch and shoot sunrise in Bali!
Getting there: Type in Bukit Cinta on your Google Maps. It is an easy drive, especially when you’re located in Amed. The roads are good and can be a bit steep because you have to go up in the mountains. Once you arrive at Bukit Cinta you can park your scooter easily at the side of the road and enter the field where you can take your pictures.
Entrance fee: Free.
Best time to go: Arrive fifteen minutes before sunrise to give yourself the time to do your research at the location and set up your gear.
Photo tip: If the grass is high enough you can use it as framing in your shot to create depth, see our picture below. Use your model in this shot to show the perspective of the immense Mount Agung. If you have a drone you can make your shot from the volcano higher. But take into account that the volcano will look a bit smaller because the drone has a wider lens. Although you can adjust this a little bit in Lightroom with distortion.
Built in the 17th century and located 1200 meters above sea level, this temple complex is one of the most iconic landmarks in Bali. It depends on the period you’re going, but most of the time the temple is floating in the lake. When you’re going in dry season when the water is low, you will have a completely different experience and photo. If you go on a clear day after a colder night, the lake will give you a stunning effect with the morning dew and the colors of the sky reflecting in the lake. These ingredients make this location one of the best locations for photographers to watch and shoot sunrise in Bali.
Getting there: Located at the edge of Lake Bratan in the village Bedugul (North of Bali) you will find this remarkable temple.
Entrance fee: 50.000 IDR.
Best time to go: Of course sunrise because you can take advantage of the best light conditions and there are almost no tourists around that time.
Photo tip: Make use of the wonderful flowers around the temple to frame your shot. Or ask one of the caretakers at the temple to hire a paddle boat and take it out on the lake. You have to pay 100K. But if you have a model with a dreamy dress this is all worth it for the perfect shot!
Mount Batur sunrise viewpoint
Just a little further down the road of Pinggan sunrise viewpoint in the Kintamani region is the so called “Photoshoot Lakeview” viewpoint. This man made viewpoint of bamboo bridges and plateaus is the ideal place for a photoshoot with an amazing view on Mount Batur. Komang is the owner and will greet you friendly when you arrive at the parking lot. You have to pay him the entrance fee and then you can go towards the bamboo plateau. The view is just incredible here, right in front of Mount Batur with the villages in the crater beneath you. The view during sunrise is mostly clear, and because it’s much colder in this region you will see a beautiful thin layer of fog. The perfect circumstances for a fantastic photoshoot!
In total there are two bamboo bridges with a plateau where you can take photos and there is also a swing. You can see the two bamboo plateaus on the picture below. There are enough options to have a great photoshoot on a beautiful viewpoint of Mount Batur! That’s why this location is also one of the great Instagram spots in Bali.
Getting there: The viewpoint is located along the road and easy to find on Google Maps, so if you put in the right location, you can’t get lost! Be aware that the roads in Kintamani region can be very steep, so make sure that you have a powerful scooter like an NMax! Otherwise it could result in dangerous situations when your scooter doesn’t have enough power to take these steep roads. Also make sure your breaks work very well! Another option is to take a private driver, because taxi’s and GoJeks are not available in this part of Bali.
Entrance fee: 20,000 IDR per person to enter the ‘photoshoot’ location
Best time to go: Sunrise, absolutely sunrise for the best circumstances to shoot. The light will be magical and with the fog hanging above the village it is just a magical view. The more sunlight, the harsher shadows will be.
Photo tip: Make sure to have a wide lens with you to capture the whole view in your photo. You can’t go wrong with a view like this! Again the best tip I can give you is to get here with sunrise because the light and colors are way nicer than when you get here during midday.
Tegalalang rice fields
The Tegalalang rice fields are, like Jatiluwih, one of the iconic must-visit locations in Bali. Especially with sunrise the rice fields are a photographers dream. But you have to be lucky with the light rays! The perfect conditions are not there every morning. But if the light rays are coming through the palm leaves, you’re in for a real treat!! This place is certainly one of the best locations to go to in Bali with sunrise!
Getting there: Just a 15-minute drive from the North of Ubud or an hour drive from Canggu.
Entrance fee: A donation. But if you want to photograph the light rays in the rice fields you have to give the landowner Wayan 50K to get in.
Best time to go: Make sure to arrive half an hour before sunrise. This will give you the time to walk from the car park to the spot where the magical light rays shine through the palm trees. Also, take into account that the terraces will look different during each season. The best time to go is in September – October and March – April right before they harvest the rice.
Photo tip: There are so many different angles which you can shoot here! Try lower angles, especially when the rice is fully grown so you can catch the magical morning dawn on the grass. But if you have a drone you’ll certainly have a lot of fun here! Get some inspiration from our shots below.
The Handara Gate is actually the entrance to the Handara Golf Resort. The traditional Hindu gate symbolizes the entrance from the outer world to the temple. Or in this case the resort and golf course. The Handara gate is nestled down inside the crater of an extinct volcano and is located in Pancasari Village Bedugul, the central highlands of Bali. You will see a lot of these gates as they play an important role in Indonesian culture, particularly in Bali. The Handara gate is surrounded by lush mountains, crater lakes and rain forest that create dramatic backdrops, especially on a foggy morning. Nowadays the Handara gate is one of the most popular Instagram spots in Bali.
Getting there: Located on the road from Ulun Danu Bratan temple towards North Bali you will pass this gate on your right side.
Entrance fee: Because this spot became so popular with Instagrammers and photographers, locals have set up a ticket booth. There you have to pay for a “Selfie ticket” 30.000 IDR fee per person.
Best time to go: Due to its popularity this place gets really crowded during the day. The best time to go here is with sunrise or right after to beat the crowds. Therefore you can easily combine this spot after you watched the sunrise at Pura Ulun Danu as it’s just 5 minutes further.
Photo tip: The best way to capture this beautiful gate is to make a shot right in front while your model is walking on the road. But if you have a drone you will also be able to capture the gate from another angle. See our shots from the Handara gate below.
Pinggan sunrise viewpoint
Pinggan sunrise viewpoint is an impressive spot with amazing views of Mount Batur and Mount Agung. Located in Kintamani, the region of Bali’s volcanos, this spot is often overlooked, but absolutely worth a visit! Especially for photographers. Or if you don’t have the time (or condition) to hike up the Mount Batur with sunrise, then this viewpoint is a great alternative to still have an amazing view on the impressive mountains of Bali! As the sun rises the sky turns purple, orange and pink as the thick blanket of mist slowly dissolves revealing a little village ready to start the day. This viewpoint is so stunning and impressive, you almost won’t believe your own eyes! Pinggan viewpoint is without a doubt one of our most favorite Bali viewpoints!
Be aware that it is much colder in North Bali, so if you are planning to go here by scooter, put on a jacket and long pants. Seriously, otherwise you will freeze your butt off driving in the mountains. I was freezing in my white dress when we were shooting. As soon as we got the shots, I put on my jacket again. Everything for the shot
Getting there: The Pinggan viewpoint is located high in the mountains. So if you are planning to drive here yourself, make sure you have a powerful scooter with enough CC to get you up the steep roads of the mountain. As you reach the Kintamani area, there are very few street lights and parts of the road are quite bad. That’s actually the reason why we stayed for 1 night in Pinggan village so we only had to drive for 10 minutes to get to this viewpoint. From the Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta area it is a 2 hour drive one way. This means you have to leave from that area around 3.30AM. Also be aware that it is much, much colder in north Bali. Especially in the mountains!! You really need a jacket and even long pants would be nice.
Entrance fee: Free
Best time to go: Because the viewpoint is facing East, you will have a beautiful sunrise view. Arrive here 15 minutes before sunrise to make sure you have enough time to set up for your shoot. Sunrises in Bali are mostly clear, but make sure to check the weather forecast because when it is a rainy night, there is a chance that clouds will ruin the sunrise view.
Photo tip: There are many angles to shoot here. If you have a drone you will love to fly it here. The aerial view is so impressive with the two big Bali volcanos lined up! But also with your camera you will spot many angles. Depending on the focal length you use, the volcano will appear closer or further away in your shot. So try out different focal lengths if you have different lenses, and shoot as much as possible!
Hidden in the center of Ubud, this valley is an ideal place to unwind and take in the jungle nature surroundings that makes Ubud so relaxing. A great morning stroll of 1.5 km without the need to dress in your hiking gear. The windy pathway will take you up and downhill providing you with a stunning view over the surrounding scenery before leading you through rice fields. Although the path is situated right next to the hustle and bustle of Ubud it almost feels like a different world. So lush, so green and so quiet! The best time to go here is with sunrise. It’s way cooler than during the day and you will have the view to yourself so you can simply enjoy the peace and quietness.
Getting there: Located in the center of Ubud but still a bit hidden, this place might be hard to find. If you spot the ‘IBAH luxury villas and spa’ sign, you turn straight into that road and you will find the carpark. There you will find other signs which lead you to the trail.
Entrance fee: No fee.
Best time to go: Of course with sunrise or early morning because it’s not that hot yet. Also you’ll have nice soft light for the perfect shot!
Photo tip: If you have a drone you have to use it here. On a clear day, you can even see the Mt Agung and Mt Batur in the distance! You can frame the path as you can see on our picture below. Or with your hand camera, you can frame the path where it goes up with the palm tree in it.
One of the best things to do in Bali, and especially one of the best spots to watch sunrise in Bali, is from the summit of Mount Batur. After a 2 hour hike in the dark under a sky full of stars, you will arrive at the top of Mount Batur which is 1717 meters. The best way to do this hike is with a guided tour. You will get picked up from your hotel and drive to the car park of Mt Batur. Together with a guide who knows which paths to take on this mostly off-road trails and rocky terrain you will hike to the top. Read in our complete guide all the information you need before climbing the Mount Batur with sunrise.
Once you reach the top, the view is absolutely incredible! Slowly you will see the sky changing colors, low hanging clouds passing by, as finally the sun shows up and lights up the earth. It almost feels as if you’re on top of the world! Absolutely our favorite Bali sunrise location!
Getting there: If you’ve booked a tour to climb the Mount Batur you will be picked up from your hotel by the tour company.
Entrance fee: Most tours are around 350.000 IDR. Check what is included or not.
Best time to go: Of course sunrise for the most magical view.
Photo tip: If you have a drone you will love to fly it here! There are so many amazing angles to capture and the texture of mother earth is insane from a birds eye view. With your hand camera you will need a wide angles lens to capture the view. But we experienced that a tele lens is also an amazing addition to take with you. You’ll be able to catch a lot of details. See the pictures we made below as example.