The Photographers Guide to Ubud, Bali

Ubud is the ultimate destination for incredible landscapes, stunning architecture and colorful culture. This inland spiritual haven in Bali is a photographers’ dream. With streets lined with traditional art, forests hiding sculptured temples and hilltops featuring awe-inspiring views, there should be no question where you and your camera are travelling to next. Here’s a list of some of the best photographic hot spots of Ubud to begin your journey.

Absorb the Layered Landscape

Layered Landscape of Ubud

Ubud’s rolling hills and untouched scenery make it a perfect canvas for budding photographers. Join a guided walking tour of the widespread rice fields and photograph village farmers harvesting against the green terraced surroundings. Perhaps an evening trip would be worth your while for the sunset views. After your outdoor activity, travel through the rice paddies and discover the delights of Goa Gajah, the Elephant Cave. This ancient Hindu site is full of sculptured statues and narrow passages, and the demonic-faced entrance is bound to create a fantastic image on camera.

Capture the Culture

Ubud markets

As a visiting photographer in Ubud, the village markets and art works are must-see attractions.

Unlike the peaceful life in the rice paddies, the craft markets lining the central streets are alive with sights, smells and lots of traffic! Capture the bright colors of Ubud’s finest silks and the intricate detail of religious trinkets as you bargain with local tradesmen. Exercise your skills in life photography in Mas village, world famous for its wood craftsmanship. These talented carvers produce unique female figures and Hindu masks and there is even opportunity to have a go yourself.

Explore Temple Features

Pura Besakih by satujamsaja on Flickr

Exploring the walls of Ubud’s stunning architecture is an essential part of your photographic journey. The ancient spiritual temples in this Balinese village date back as far as the eighth century, ensuring you snap some powerful pictures and bring out the best of their features.

Pura Besakih, also known as the Mother Temple, is the perfect destination for amazing image results. Famous for being one of the biggest and most sacred temples in Bali, Pura Besakih features 22 temples located in seven separate terraces, hiding several altars and shrines devoted to various Hindu gods. Climb the stairs through layered courtyards to reach the Meru structure, Pura Penataran Agung. Stop and capture the mighty views from your spot on the south slopes of Mount Agung. You’re sure to achieve results here.

Watch a Dance Show

Bali Dance

While in the cultural centre of Bali, you simply must make time to see at least one of Ubud’s dance shows. Taking place every evening in different locations, locals perform intricate dances, telling stories through movement and color. One of the most popular shows is the Legong-style dance, often performed at the 16th century courtyard of Ubud Palace. A typical program may include a welcome Puspa Wresti, followed by a mask dance and various acts depicting traditions around the country. As with any of the popular dance shows in Ubud, you will be packed in, so make sure you get there early for front row seats and fantastic pictures.

Catch a Glimpse of Wildlife

Monkey Sanctuary, Bali

Ubud’s tranquil countryside is abundant with rare and wonderful wildlife, waiting to be caught on camera. One of the most popular areas for animal photography is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Padangtegal. This tranquil park was created by the Balinese to demonstrate the harmony between humans and nature, and is also home to a number of Hindu spiritual temples. While strolling through the trees, keep your lens in the air to catch the hundreds of long-tailed macaques, native birds and butterflies.


Ian Garstang has traveled all over the world from Western Europe to South East Asia. When not working with luxury hotels and villas in Ubud such as GHM hotels he enjoys good food and simple design.


  1. what a gorgeous collection of photo’s–I like the dance shot.

  2. Those are some great shots. That definitely looks like a beautiful place to visit.

  3. Beautiful pictures, would love to visit there one day

  4. What gorgeous photos! Thank you for sharing with us.

  5. Great post and amazing photos… That monkey made me chuckle 🙂

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