The Most Photogenic Beaches in Indonesia

*This post is contributed by Ellie Jo for Blissful Snapshots. Feature image: Pink Beach from Flicker 

The sea is such a fantastic photographic subject because it has so many different moods and responds to light differently. You could easily spend your life taking photos of only the sea and still come out with a fantastic range of shots! 

Indonesia is formed of a group of islands, each with its own culture and ideals - just perfect for the budding photographer in need of something new. But, as an island nation, Indonesia doesn’t just have fabulous culture, it also has a huge variety of beaches. Whether you are looking to capture a calm sea gently lapping a soft white beach or something a little more dramatic with waves breaking across jagged rocks, there is something here for you to capture. 

All you need to do is find a hotel or an apartment, fairly central within the group of islands such as Surabaya and from there, you can take small boats out to your dream destinations to get snapping. Have a look at for a range of accommodation options.

Nusa Dua, Bali

The Nusa Dua enclave is a tourist zone filled with luxury hotels and activities. While this might not shout local authenticity, it does create a good starting point for photographers looking to get a feel for Bali from a tourist’s viewpoint. It is important that photographers are able to tell a story with their pictures and while it might feel that this is a rather sterile environment, you will be able to capture long clean beaches and people having fun. 

The beach sands run right up to the tree line here and small cafes tend to nestle in the shade providing bright little pops of colour between the green. The area is made up of two headlands, each with a temple, providing a curious little snapshot of Indonesian life, just peeking from the top of the tree line.

Padang Padang, Bali

For a more authentic experience, Padang Padang is more likely to suit you, though there are plenty of tourists here too. You might recognise this more rugged beach, set between cliffs and accessed by a set of steep stairs from the film Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts. Though the different colours in the sea will certainly captivate you, don’t forget to turn the lens the other way and explore around the rocky shelves for more interesting shots.

The rocks formations create a stunning backdrop to the beach and as the water is forced to move around them, you can get some more active pictures as the tides change and the water breaks. This is also the location for the annual Rip Curl Cup, offering you another opportunity to get some fantastic photos of surfers as they seek to impress the crowds with their skills. The waves do get quite high here so head around the beach to get the best snaps.  

Pink Beach, Komodo

Komodo has been made most famous for its dragons with their forked tongues and bacteria-laden venomous drool, but this island is far more than a home for these giant lizards. Komodo is one of the most beautiful islands in the world (never mind, Indonesia) and is home to on of just 7 pink beaches on the planet. The locals have an unwavering and truly inspirational respect for nature so you can expect some really beautiful scenes, completely unspoiled by human interference. 

Pink beach, or Red beach as the locals know it, is this colour due to a red pigment found in the coral that surrounds the National Park and, from the photographer’s perspective, is an excellent way to enhance the turquoise waters. The National Park itself is also a great location for scuba divers and underwater photographers as these protected waters encourage all kinds of species to congregate including tropical fish and rays. 

Tanjung Papuma Beach, East Java

Set just to the left of this rather striking rock formation, Tanjung Papuma beach is a truly incredible site for photography. The rocks here curve around to form a small bay, creating a rather cinematic effect. As the sun goes down, the water sparkles on the rocks which turn a deep orange and look truly remarkable. 

Because of the sheltered nature of this little cove, plenty of boats make harbour here, introducing vibrant colours and shapes of their own. There are also a range of native plants and animals here including lizards, deer porcupine and scaly anteaters. You can climb into the steep surrounding hills to get an aerial view and make the most of this incredible location. 

Tanjung Aan, Lombok

Made up of two bays, Tanjung Aan offers you stunning beaches of clear white sand and long views towards the greenery just rising to the blue sky above. This is a popular area with tourists so if you want a clear photo, then you are best advised to rise early for your shoot. The sunsets are rather spectacular though as the sun sinks below the watery horizon, really emphasizing the different colours in the ocean. 

As there are fewer rocks, the Indian Ocean appears to be flat and placid, with just small ripples of waves reaching up the beach. The water is tranquil and contains very little sediment so is ideal for a bit of underwater photography too if you fancy. It’s quite shallow so you are less likely to see any larger species of fish, but the smaller tropical fish are jewel-like enough to provide you with a gorgeous photo. 

When you are passionate about photography, you will always find something to take pictures of and find a new and interesting way to capture its essence. Indonesian beaches are ideal for this at both the macro and micro levels. With so much to look at and photograph, finding a subject that speaks to you is easy and capturing some of its uniqueness is so incredibly pleasing, you will be hard pushed to put your camera down. 

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