Recently, I traveled solo to Bali where I stayed in Ubud for 6 nights and 7 days. I flew Singapore Air from New Delhi, India, and after a short layover in Singapore, arrived at the Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar International Airport, located in southern Bali. Denpasar is the capital of Bali and is also the main gateway to the island. In Bali, I had booked my stay at the Kupu Kupu Barong Villas and Tree Spa by L’Occitane, through www.luxuryescapes.com. My package also included a one-way airport transfer. The drive from the airport to the resort took about two and a half hours. Later, I met a very nice driver based in Ubud, who has a modern and clean Innova, and charges about $25 (as of April/May 2019), for one way transfer to/from Bali airport to/from Ubud. His name is AGUS VIJAYA and you can pre-book him by sending him a Whatsapp message on +62 85 739 412 174. You can also call him on the same number or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also hire him as a tour guide cum driver for your whole trip to Bali.
For my trip, I connected with photographer Adi Sumerta (https://adisumertaphotography.com), who is one of the best photographers in Bali, based in Ubud. Adi is a native Indonesian and before working as a photographer, he used to be a tour guide. If you want some stunning solo, couple or family photos taken at great locations in Bali, I totally recommend doing a session with him. You can Whatsapp him on +62 81 999 719 503 or email him at email@example.com.
These are some of the places I visited in Bali.
1. Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud
Located north of Ubud, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces are one of the top attractions in Bali. All the world’s top photographers, travel bloggers, and Instagrammers shoot here regularly. The best time to visit and photograph here is sunrise when the sun rays are breaking through the palm trees.
2. Tukad Cepung Waterfall
The Tukad Cepung Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali. It is also one of the top locations to shoot for travel bloggers and Instagrammers. The best time to visit the waterfall is around 10:30 am when the light rays bursting through the rocks greatly increase the beauty of the waterfall. However, being one of the top Instagram locations, the waterfall is also very crowded, and you have to be prepared to wait in line to get a photo with the light rays and the waterfall. Also, there are steep steps that take you down to the waterfall. I do not recommend this waterfall for people with knee and back problems. Tip: Carry a water bottle and wear water shoes.
From the Tegallalang Rice Terrace, it takes about one hour to reach here, and you can do both of them together in one day.
3. Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud
The Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud is known for its hiking trails and panoramic hilltop views. You can come here for an early morning walk when the sun is just rising from its horizon.
4. The Bali Swing
It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Ubud to the Bali Swing. As dangerous as it might look, it was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done in my life. The swing costs about $35 (April/May 2019) per person, and is usually very crowded. It is open everyday from 8 am to 5 pm (last entry), and there are also photographers available on site. After the swing, you can also get a couple of photos in the bird’s nest.
5. Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is a water temple in Bali, Indonesia located on the shores of Lake Beratan. It is also one of the most photographed spots in Bali. It is a driving distance of about 45 kms from Ubud which takes about one and a half hour. The entrance fee is about 50,000 IDR per person, and for an additional charge (approx 150,000+ per person) you can also hire a boat (that I strongly recommend).
6. Handara Golf
After visiting the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, you can also stop at Handara Golf, which is only about 8 minutes away from the temple, to take pictures. It is also one of the top Instagram locations in Bali. The Handara Golf is actually a Golf Resort in North Bali, and is rated as the top 50 golf courses in the world. The Handara Gate represents leaving behind the restless world and entering into a sanctuary of peace (here the golf course).
7. Pasut Beach
Pasut Beach is a famous black sand beach in Bali with palm trees everywhere. Since it is another famous Instagram location in Bali, the beach has become very crowded in recent years, and is also very badly littered. The best time to visit the beach is just before sunset, so that you can see the beautiful sunset colors reflected across the sky as the sun goes down. It takes about one and a half hour to drive here from Ubud.
8. Tegal Wangi Beach
Tegal Wangi Beach is a hidden beach south of Jimbaran. Even though easily accessible, it is not very well known to the locals. The beach is famous for its unusual cliff formations, and natural jacuzzis formed by tide pools. The waves are usually very strong, and it is not advisable to swim here.
9. Ubud Market, Ubud Palace & Saraswati Temple
A trip to Ubud would be incomplete without visiting the Ubud art market and buying the traditional Ubud round bag made of rattan. A small round rattan bag can cost 180,000 IDR and you can also bargain (I usually don’t bargain!). While visiting the Ubud market, you can stop at one of the cafes for a drink of coconut water, and also visit the Ubud Palace and the Saraswati Temple.
10. Where to stay in Ubud
Ubud has many hotels, resorts, and spas. One of the most famous places (and also a top Instagram location) is the Zen Hideaway (Airbnb) which is normally always sold out. There is also a swing at the Zen Hideaway even more stunning than the Bali Swing that can only be used by the guests staying at the property.
I stayed at the Kupu Kupu Barong Villas and Tree Spa by L’Occitane that I booked through www.luxuryescapes.com. As a part of my package, I enjoyed one way complimentary airport transfer, two 90 minute massages, everyday complimentary breakfast served at their La View Restaurant, and a dinner for two. Kupu Kupu Barong is a jungle retreat ideal for honeymooners. Since the retreat is spread out in the jungle area, I do not recommend it for people with knee problems as you might have to walk a lot from your room to the main hotel for breakfast. There are golf carts available to pick you up from your room but if there are many guests, you might have to wait a long time before somebody can come and drive you to the hotel’s main building. Also since there is no pest control at the hotel, and the hotel is located in the forest, there are a lot of bugs and lizards in the hotel area. That having said, I still enjoyed my stay there very much. The room was comfortable and tranquil, the views were stunning, and the massages were amazing! The hotel staff was also very friendly and hospitable. There is also a Four Seasons in the neighborhood, but somebody told me that it costs $2,500 per night!! If only I was as rich as Croesus!!