Bali isn’t just beautiful beaches and hipster cafes (although I love those too), it’s also home to some of the most stunning waterfalls. These are some of my favourite waterfalls in Bali!
Disclaimer: I travelled to Indonesia with the Indonesian Tourism board and Indonesian Weekend, who hosted me on this amazing trip, visiting Jakarta and Bali.
Central & South Bali Waterfalls
Tibumana Waterfall (Bangli)
Only a half hour drive from Ubud is this gorgeous waterfall. Less touristy than nearby Tegenungan, it’s pretty popular with locals. We went while it was raining so it was a little less ‘serene’ than in most of the Instagram shots! While not too hard to access, it is definitely not disabled friendly at all, with a fair few steps down to reach the waterfall.
Tegenungan Waterfall (Sukawati)
Not too far from Tibumana, you will find the more touristy waterfall Tegenungan. One of the most well-known waterfalls in Bali, your best bet is to arrive pretty early in the day to get shots without too many other people!
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Tukad Cepung Waterfall (Bangli)
Still a ‘hidden spot’ mostly untouched by tourists, this cave waterfall is truly stunning. However, it’s definitely an adventure to get there, with a bit of a jungle trek to reach the falls. Tukad Cepung is also nearby Tibumana, in the other direction rom Tegenungan, making them a good trio for a day exploring the waterfalls of the area.
North Bali Waterfalls
Gitgit Waterfall (Singaraja)
Probably the most famous of the Bali waterfalls, Gitgit is easy to access and is also the tallest waterfall in Bali. Better to visit off-season, since a lot of tour groups head to this fall, and morning light is probably your best bet for a gorgeous shot!
Sekumpul Waterfall (Singaraja)
‘Sekumpul’ translates as ‘group’ – and this describes this waterfall pretty well! It is, in fact, a group of seven cascades rather than one single fall and this waterfall in North Bali is definitely worth a visit! It’s a hike down steps, across rice paddies and coffee plantations to get there but the effort is most certainly rewarded at the end!
Nungnung Waterfall (Petang)
Definitely not one for the faint of heart (or leg), there are over 500 steps down to reach this waterfall! At fifty metres high, this is a truly stunning waterfall and definitely worth the hike!
Banyumala Twin Waterfalls (Sukasada)
What’s better than a waterfall? Two waterfalls! Banyumala Twin Waterfalls are a beautiful pair, although not as easy access as some of the others. Getting a local guide to show you around will probably be your best bet here.
Aling-Aling Waterfall (Sukasada)
Definitely one for the adventurers among us! With a natural water slide in this 35-metre high waterfall, Aling-Aling is a waterfall for the adrenaline seekers. Also a spot perfect for any photographer to get their fix, this is another spot that takes dedication to get to (think many, many steps and hiking across rice fields). Worth it in the end!
Now you know where to go – but how to get the best shot? First, check the light. For example, while you might not need a filter for Tukad Cepung (since it’s in a cave, it’s likely to be dark and optimal for long exposures anyway), you will probably need one if you are heading to a more open fall like Sekumpul or Tegenungan.
Camera – okay, this is pretty basic. I use both my Olympus E-PL8 and my Nikon D7100 for these kinds of shots and they both work great! The Olympus is a good choice if you don’t want to be carrying much heavy equipment and it fits great in a small bag. The Nikon is much more versatile and a DSLR like it is recommended if you really want to pursue photography further.
Lenses – the lens you use obviously depends on which camera you are using. Generally speaking, you want a wide-angle lens to shoot waterfalls. The Olympus has a kit lens 14-42mm, which is perfect for waterfalls. For my Nikon, I use the Tamron 10-24mm lens, which is a decently priced wide-angle lens (and also has a Canon option too!).
Tripod – as with any long exposure, a tripod is definitely required! My tripod of choice is the Manfrotto BeFree traveller tripod, but if you’re using a smaller camera then you can get away with the Joby GorillaPod. If you don’t want to capture the motion of the water though then you can get away with not using a tripod.
Filters – if you’re serious about getting some cracking waterfall shots, then you should make a small investment and get a polarising filter and a 10-stop ND filter. The polarising filter will help prevent reflections on the water and also somewhat decreases how much light enters the lens. The 10-stop ND filter is perfect for getting a long exposure shot when the lighting conditions are bright. Don’t forget to check the size of the filter needed – for example the Tamron 10-24mm lens would need a 77mm filter while the Olympus 14-42mm lens would need a 37mm filter.
Tips and Tricks
I asked a few amazing photographers to share their tips and tricks on getting the perfect waterfall shots.
Archie of Baker Photos suggests to shoot with a tripod and to use ND filters (see above), and to do a 5-10 second exposure and shoot at around f7.1. He also recommends finding a composition with a good foreground that leads up to the waterfall.
Disclosure: This waterfall is (shockingly) not in Bali.
Jordan Hammond recommends shooting when it’s overcast or the waterfall is in shade, since you don’t want too much light on the waterfall otherwise the whites will get blown out.
If the day you plan on visiting a waterfall is due to be clear skies and sunny, then you should visit at either sunrise or sunset to get that perfect diffused light. Sunrise is usually best since there will be less people to contend with!
Just remember – practice will always make perfect. And with all the waterfalls in Bali you are sure to get your practice in!
Whether you are an adrenaline junkie, an instagrammer wanting that perfect shot or just someone who loves a good waterfall, you are sure to find somewhere unforgettable in Bali!
Do you recommend other waterfalls in Bali to visit?
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