6 of the Best Sunset and Sunrise Views in Bali
Bali's sunsets and sunrises are famous for their beautiful, intense colours. Whether you’re on a beach watching the golden orb of the sun reflecting on the ocean, or on the side of a mountain listening to the sounds and watching the mist rise frmo the jungle below, these are always special times of the day on the Indonesian island. And by framing Bali’s abundance of temples, volcanoes, and palm trees as silhouettes, you can get some truly spectacular photos. Bali's tropical location means that sunrise and sunset times vary only slightly throughout the year, so you won't find yourself setting alarms for 4am.
Here are some of the best sunset and sunrise spots in Bali.
This Hindu temple is set on cliffs 70 metres above the sea, on the rugged Bukit Peninsula that forms the southern tip of Bali. Each evening around 6pm, the temple's clifftop amphitheatre hosts the Kecak Fire Dance, which features about 50 performers and is based on the ancient Hindu epic of the Ramayana. The performance is accompanied by ritual chanting, and the backdrop of the Indian Ocean and sunset colours only add to the drama. You can buy tickets at the entrance, but arriving early is advisable. There are plenty of other local spots to watch the sun going down, including clifftop viewing platforms and sandy coves. Watch out for the hundreds of monkeys that roam the area — they'll grab anything that's not firmly attached.
Watching the first light of morning develop into a riot of colours is reason enough to get out of bed early in the resort of Sanur, near Denpasar, especially when you add in the sound of the waves lapping the shore. Sanur's east-facing beach is divided into a series of small bays in which little fishing boats bob, while gazebos along the shoreline make perfect silhouettes for your photos — it's worth strolling up to Karang Beach, just north of Sanur, to capture the sun rising behind two famous gazebos that stand on a man-made island. Then once the sun's up, head back to one of the many warungs (small, independent restaurants) that line the beach in Sanur for breakfast.
Jemeluk Beach, at the eastern end of Bali, is a lovely little bay where you can kick back and relax on the black-sand beach, eat at warungs, and go snorkelling among the shallow reefs and shipwrecks offshore. When late afternoon arrives, get a taxi to the top of the headland at the east of the bay; looking back towards the west, across Jemeluk's turquoise waters, you'll see the majestic Mount Agung volcano rising above everything else. There are also a couple of cafés with outdoor seating in this prime spot, so grab a drink and a bite to eat, sit back, and wait for the sun to fall and paint the sky with vivid colours behind the silhouette of Bali's highest peak.
Climbing Mount Batur, one of Bali's handful of amazing volcanoes, is a popular activity among visitors to the island, and arguably the best way to do it is on a sunrise trek. Getting up around 1am to prepare for the climb is perhaps not the most relaxing way to spend your holiday, but it's well worth it. The ascent usually takes two or three hours to complete in darkness with nothing but your headtorch to light the way, but guided treks usually include breakfast at the summit, which is 1717 metres above sea level. Watching the sun rise from the top is unforgettable, and the views across the surrounding countryside and Lake Batur beneath you are stupendous. If it's misty below, however, you’ll feel like you're on an island surrounded by a sea of cloud, with the peaks of Bali's other volcanoes looking like the only specks of land.
If you’re staying in the south of Bali, you don’t have to travel far to see a stunning sunrise and sunset on the same day. It's a 20-minute drive from Sanur to Jimbaran, a long stretch of beach between Denpasar Airport and the Bukit Peninsula that has some gorgeous sunsets. Grab a drink or snack from a vendor and wait for the western sky to turn a series of intense red, gold, and orange hues that reflect on the sea. Jimbaran Beach is also known for the seafood restaurants that line the shore, so you can add to your sunset experience by dining on produce fresh from the ocean. The northern part of the bay, Kelan Beach, is close to the airpor's runway, so there's the added bonus of being able to take photos of the planes taking off or landing against the sunset. Jimbaran Panorama Point, an elevated spot at the southern end of the bay with wonderful sunset views, is where cliff jumpers hurl themselves into the sea a few metres below.
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
This Hindu temple, known locally as Pura Ulun Danu Beratan (meaning The Temple on Lake Bratan), is one of Bali's most photographed spots. Situated on Lake Bratan in the north of the island, and surrounded by volcanic peaks, it's a stunning setting for watching the sunrise. The temple is in the highlands, so it's a good place to escape the heat of the coast, but it's best to go in dry season, as during the wettest months it's often clouded in. The main attraction of the temple is a 12-storey pagoda set on a small island — the island is close to the lake's western shore, so by looking east, you can get the perfect view of the sun rising across the lake behind it.
Some of you may have picked up on the missing Tana Lot temple. It's both well known and well frequented. So much so that many of our deal experts found it a bit overwhelming, crowd wise, and underwhelming, experience wise. While it's no doubt a beautiful spot, it's quite enjoyable outside of the sunset hour, when you may actually get a clear look at it. The crowds tend to start gathering here well before sunset, so if you're more of a roll up and hope for the best type, this is likely to be a dissapointment. Parking and traffic can also be offputting. The views are stunning, but we found the crowds take a bit of the atmosphere away, although it can be quite a jolly, festive mood if you're not that bothered about having a good view of the sunset!
Nick Elvin contributed to this post.
Read more about:
Bali's most popular festivals.
Keeping safe and respecting Balinese culture.
Sunning on Bali's best beaches.
Where to find the best hikes in Bali.
Bali's best pools.
The best outdoor activities in Bali.
When the best time to visit Bali is.