Indonesian Beautiful sunset at gili trawangan

PHOTOGRAPHY DAY: Why you should visit Indonesia in 15 Pictures

In ASIA, BLOG, INDONESIA, PHOTOGRAPHY by Clelia Mattana43 Comments




I have a confession to make: Cambodia warmed my heart  with its  incredibly kind, quiet people, but after seeing Indonesia I am totally, utterly in Love with this wild, green, country!

Since I started my trip in February, I saw some pretty amazing places, but nothing compares with the beauty of Indonesia.

Here are some of the most meaningful pictures from the month I spent there with a brief comment.



Rice terraces - Ubud - Bali

Rice terraces – Ubud – Bali


I took this shot whilst visiting one of the many Indonesia temples hidden in the Ubud jungle. It was a very hot and humid day. After climbing up something like 200 steps in 40 degrees to get back to our minibus, there it was: a peaceful, green and gorgeous rice terrace.

Indonesia is famous for the rice terraces and despite the heat and sweat, I stayed there in awe: The intensity of the colors was stunning.



Monkey forest- Ubud- Bali

Monkey forest- Ubud- Bali


When I think about Ubud, I immediately connect it to the in-famous Monkey Forest: A very controversial place. You love it or you despise it.

The love or hate reaction obviously depends on your level of tolerance towards  the monkeys. The cute, angry/hungry monkeys sometimes try to “attack” the tourist to steal their food. How to blame them? survivor instinct!

I found the Monkey forest one of the most fascinating places in Bali. It’s true, the monkey can be quite scary. Every time I saw one coming towards me, I admit, my instinct was to run away as fast as possible.

Nonetheless, seeing them free , in such a wild environment, is an experience worth trying.

The Monkey forest is an enchanted place. Even being a touristic park, it preserved its wild nature. The majestic tropical trees, the small rivers and torrents and the dense green vegetation, surrounding the many Balinese sculptures, is breath-taking.

This picture was taken at the end of the touristic path. From here on, the monkeys live in total wilderness (you can see one climbing the hill on the right!)



Enchanted forest - Gili Islands

Enchanted forest – Gili Islands

This picture reminds me of one of my dearest moments in Indonesia. I went to see the sunset over the sea, and I took this incredibly wild path to reach the beach.

No one was there and soon enough it got darker and darker. I started feeling a bit uncomfortable being there all alone, but the beauty of the jungle swept me away.

It was magical: the mist and  the light filtering trough the top of the trees, the quietness broken only by the sounds of the animals living in the forest,transported me in a dimension where I was just expecting the Genie in the lamp, or maybe Harry Potter, to show up in front of me. I’ll never, ever forget this path.





Romantic dinner at Gilis

Romantic dinner at Gilis


I took this picture on my way back from seeing the most amazing sunset of my life.

On the main road at Gili Trawangan, there it was: the most romantic dinner table I’ve ever see  on a beach. The kind of setting you see only in the movies.

That night the scenery was perfect: the moon had just risen from the sea, casting its cold light over the sea, like a smooth silver coating. The only audible sounds were the small waves crashing on the shore. I don’t know you, but that’s what I call perfection!






Indonesian Beautiful sunset

Indonesian Beautiful sunset

This picture is one of my biggest disappointments.

I know it sounds crazy, but you should have been there and watch this sunset with your eyes to fully understand what I’m talking about. For the first time in my life I was speechless.

This is not just an average sunset. So many elements made it the best sunset I’ve ever seen in my life (so far): I was coming back  from the path trough the “Enchanted Forest” and, when I emerged from the darkness, a painting showed up just before my eyes.

The beach was deserted and very quiet. I could only hear the remote sound of waves crashing on the coral reef, where a few people were walking. I could see their shades against the huge, dark, volcano standing in front of me.

The colors were so warm and vibrant, and the water between the coral reef and the beach was completely still and perfectly reflecting the shape of the volcano in front. I sat on the beach and stood there, quietly, contemplating the best painting of my life.

Do you want to improve your photo skills? read this article!



Moon rise at the Gilis

Moon rise at the Gilis

If the  sunset was my biggest disappointment, this shot is definitely one of my biggest accomplishments.

It was a very exciting moment. I thought Indonesia already showed its best  for that day. How wrong I was! I turned my head on the right and what did I see? A huge red moon raising from the sea.

I have to admit that my first reaction to that view was not very elegant.  I couldn’t believe what my eyes were witnessing .  I didn’t bring  my DSLR with me and the moon was rising quickly over the horizon.

I decided to give it a shot, and I run as fast as I could to my room and get it. When I was back, the moon was still quite low on the horizon, warming up the water with glittering golden reflections.

This shot is the combination of two separate pictures, as it’s physically impossible to get both the background and the moon on focus in the same picture. My boyfriend told me that I was cheating, but in fact I wasn’t. I just recreated what I saw with my eyes. And, as you can see, it was extraordinary!




Gili Islands

Gili Islands


This picture was taken at Gili Trawangan and it represents very well the spirit of Indonesian’s beaches.

The bluish colors of the water, mixed with the turquoise sky, the shape of the volcanoes in the background, dark clouds  surrounding the mountains and the boats,  are the typical scenery of  almost every Indonesian beach.

Looking at the picture, I can instantly feel  the special atmosphere of this place, where the wild, strong  elements are the defining part of the beauty of Indonesia.



Waterfall Ubud

Waterfall Ubud


The Ubud area is filled with spectacular waterfalls, this particular shot was taken on the path to reach the waterfall shown on the background. It was breath-taking.

Again, the heat was almost unbearable but the fatigue and sweat were well worth this shot! My only regret is that I wasn’t able to shower under the fresh water.

To be able to do so, I’d have to cross a pretty large and agitated river and I couldn’t risk that much. I just sat down on the safe side, listening to the powerful sound of the water falling down the mountain. All I could see around were green trees and vegetation all over the place. Extraordinary.



Dragon at monkey forest


This Picture was taken at Monkey Forest in Ubud.

In Indonesia  these typical sculptures are almost everywhere and I particularly liked this one, as it is surrounded by majestic wild trees in a combination of art, religion and nature beautifully mixed together.

Basically what Indonesia is all about 🙂





This shot reminds me of a nice encounter with this kind Indonesian lady. I was completely lost while searching for the “Enchanted Forest” and this smiling woman was the only person  I met during my walk.

She lived in an isolated hut nearby and, using my Italian gestures, we managed to have a conversation and she pointed me in the right direction.

Indonesian people are so nice and helpful! always greeting you with a smile and a very kind, nice attitude. Love it.




Indonesian Scenery

Indonesian Scenery

I like this shot, as it mixes several fascinating elements:  the full moon, high on the blue sky, the mountains painted in different shades of blue/grey colors, in contrast with the golden beach and the deep blue sea. It gives me a feeling of peace and tranquillity.





Indonesian Kids at Gili Trawangan

I love this picture. I took it  at  Gili Trawangan, and it shows the beauty of Indonesia very well.

A storm is coming, the sea is agitated and the wind is almost unbearable. Yet these two kids, brother and sister are playfully pulling a rope and having the time of their lives. It  represent the simplicity and joy of life in full.





Kuta Beach – Bali


Kuta is one of the most touristic places in Bali. Many people warned me about Kuta. I’ve heard “horror stories” about  rude foreigners, surfers and a mad crowd. True or not… I didn’t stay there long enough to see it for myself.

Maybe it was my lucky day, as  I went there at sunset and I found it fascinating.

The beach is huge, long and there is a big string of dark, volcanic sand, constantly reached by the waves, leaving a wet coat on top. The reflections here are so clear that it looks like people are walking on a mirror.




Family watching the sunset at Kuta- Bali

This shot was taken in Kuta, Bali.

A family just sat on the wet beach to admire the sunset. Such a quiet powerful image of a happy family moment. Plus the sunset was a really peaceful, colorful one. A joy for the eyes and the heart!



temples indonesia, ubud, bali, jungle temples



So, here they are: The 15  pictures that best represent my feelings about Indonesia. I am planning to pay another visit and explore more of this incredible Country. There is so much to see and I can’t wait to be surrounded by the wild Indonesian nature again!

I hope you enjoyed the pics! Feel free to comment, add your own thoughts or show me your pics by contacting me for the project  “A year around the world in 365 pictures”, by clicking HERE.

Thank you! 🙂




  1. Cool! Love all the Gili Islands mentions, they are truly beautiful islands. When you get the chance you should check out Komodo Island National Park – the islands there are truly astonishing (think blue water, pink beaches, awesome mountains) + you get to see Komodo Dragons.

    I wrote a post about it here on my blog, Beyond The Bay if you happen to plan to visit one day 🙂

    Happy travels and hope you’re keeping safe during these times!

  2. hello Ceciliajust got back from Indonesia what a beautiful country I live in the United States in Florida and I have two girls that are my friends there and they showed me around what a beautiful place

    1. Hey David, which part of Indonesia did you visit? I love it in there and one day I will be back for sure! Cheers!

  3. Breathtaking photos Kle! I hope I’ll be able to visit Indonesia one day (too bad it’s really far away from Europe).

    1. Thanks Mark, and if you have the dream to visit Indonesia, with a bit of savings for the flights you should be OK as the life there is super cheap!

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  5. Hello, Kle. I wonder if i could take your picture to make this as a postcard? I will put credit in it, if you dont mind? These photos are amazing and i would love to show these pictures to people around the world through the postcard 🙂

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  8. Dear Kle, I just joint your blog and thanks for coming by my country, Indonesia.
    Your pics and description are really awesome, so brilliant.
    Just for share, I lived in bali, most like other people I was the sunset hunter especially on the beach area. Untill one day I finally cought something more beautiful than the sunset, it was the moon set or moon rise over the ocean, just like your amazing pics on gili…, keep hunt beautiful corner from over the world…

    1. Thank you for your lovely message, Tony! I loved my time in Indonesia and that moon rise was absolutely one of the best memories I have of my time in your beautiful country 🙂

  9. You should come to another city in Indonesia, its such an amazing view. And it will become your precious moment when you come to Indonesia again, so btw, where do you come from ???

    1. Hi Julio, I am from Italy and I will definitely be back to Indonesia at some point! Beautiful country!


  11. Indonesia it’s not only Gili’s and Bali 😛 you should visit not so touristic places – and I think you would be in love with Indonesia more:)

    1. Ria, You’re totally right! I’ve only seen the touristic part of Indonesia, that’s why I’m planning on going back and explore more remote areas. If you have any suggestion, feel free to tell me! (or email me, so thta they wont get too spoiled by mass tourism!) Thanks again for stopping by!

    2. Hi Ria,

      I am planing to visit Indonesia for honeymoon coming August , still debating to do bali or other places where not discovered … your advices ?

    1. Hi Zoyi, I actually don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but I can tell you exactly how to find it! If you are on the main road in Gili Trawangan (in front of the popular Sama Sama resort and bar), go to your right and follow the main road, after 10 minutes you’ll find the restaurant on your left!
      Simply awesome, and so romantic 🙂


  12. Awesome! I love Indonesia as well, it’s my favourite country. I spent about 14 weeks there, but on several trips, unfortunately. Longest was 4 weeks – still much too short! Although I love Bali, Java, Komodo and Sulawesi, by far the best is West Papua/Raja Ampat. It’s like the last frontier, very wild and special. And if has the best diving in the world, hands down.

  13. I have just begun to explore your blog Clelia and and very impressed. Indonesia has always been an important country to me and you have captured some of its enchantment in your gorgeous photos.

    1. Thanks Bridget, Indonesia is definitely one of the best South East Asian countries…nobody should miss it! I hope you’ll enjoy it visiting this magic place as much as i did!

  14. We are in Indonesia right now and I love the scenery, temples and local building a lot. I won’t even mention how much I’ve been enjoying Bali nowadays. I’m surrounded by local temples and palm trees- so amazing!

    1. I know dear! I loved Indonesia so much and after i finish with the infinite posts about Philippines i want to write again about it. It is so green and magic. Enjoy! cant wait to read your impressions 🙂

  15. Amazing shots ! It was really the most beautiful photography day. You have described Indonesia through shots so beautifully.

  16. These are gorgeous photos! I certainly feel inspired to visit more of Indonesia. I only visited Bali back in 2008 and I feel as though I’ve only scratched the surface of possibilities.

    1. Thanks Samuel! True Indonesia has so much to offer, i want to go back there too. I think you need at least 2/3 months to visit it properly..

  17. I agree with you about the photo. Cheating would be adding something that wasn’t actually there; combining two shots for a greater depth of focus or higher dynamic range isn’t cheating. You’re just trying to get a closer approximation of what you actually saw with your own eyes. Ansel Adams and many other great photographers did the same thing, albeit in the darkroom as opposed to Photoshop, etc.

    1. yes that’s my point too Daniel. I wish i could take the perfect picture one day, but the camera will never beat the human eye!

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