Welcome to Uluwatu – the surfing paradise and beach haven on the southern tip of Bali, Indonesia!
As someone who has spent several days exploring this special area of Bali, I’m excited to provide you with my personal guide to making the most of your own visit to Uluwatu.
Whether you’re a first-timer looking for the top things to see and do, or a returning traveler hoping to uncover some hidden gems, I’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started with the need-to-know basics!
The Best Time to Visit Uluwatu
One of the biggest factors in planning your perfect Uluwatu vacation is when to go. As an equatorial destination, Bali enjoys year-round warm temperatures and sunshine – but the weather does vary slightly throughout the year.
The dry season between April and October is generally considered the best time to visit Uluwatu. During these months you can expect hot, sunny days perfect for surfing, swimming, sunbathing and exploring the temples and landscapes. September and October are the busiest tourist months.
From November to March, the wet season brings increased humidity, daily rain showers and occasionally strong winds. But the weather is still warm and prices are lower, so it can be a good option if you don’t mind a little rain. Surfing conditions also remain excellent.
If you’re flexible with dates, April-June and September-October are ideal times with mostly dry sunny weather, fewer crowds and lower prices before peak season.
Getting to Uluwatu
Uluwatu is located on the southernmost tip of Bali’s Bukit Peninsula. The most common way to reach it is from Bali’s airport in the south.
From Ngurah Rai International Airport: Uluwatu is only 30-60-minute drive south of the airport. The best option is to pre-book a private airport transfer which will take you directly to your hotel. Expect to pay around $15-25 USD each way.
A cheaper option is to take a taxi from the airport arrivals area. Make sure to negotiate the fare first – it should be 400,000 to 500,000 IDR ($25-35 USD).
You can also catch a bus from the airport to Kuta, then transfer to a minibus to Uluwatu. Total journey time is 1-2 hours.
From Kuta/Seminyak: If you’re already in Kuta, Seminyak or elsewhere in south Bali, you can take a taxi or pre-book a driver for the 30-60 minute drive south to Uluwatu.
Minibuses also run regularly during daylight hours for just 50,000 IDR ($3.50 USD) per person each way.
Tip: Be sure to check what part of Uluwatu your hotel is located in, as some areas like Padang Padang Beach are up to 30 mins drive from central Uluwatu.
Where to Stay in Uluwatu
With its cliffs, jungle landscape and string of beautiful beaches, Uluwatu has an awesome range of places to stay. Here are my top recommendations for which areas to stay in Uluwatu:
- Padang Padang/Impossibles Beach – For direct beach access where you can walk straight onto the sand. Close to the surf.
- Bingin Beach – More upscale hotels and villas overlooking this famous surf beach. Great sunset views.
- Pandawa Beach – A stunning and quieter beach, with luxury resorts and ocean view villas.
- Central Uluwatu – Budget guesthouses and mid-range resorts close to the main attractions like the Uluwatu Temple.
- Nyang Nyang Beach – A hidden paradise beach reached by stairs down a cliff. Unique eco-resorts offer epic views.
- Balangan Beach – Relaxed surf beach dotted with cliffside resorts and budget accommodation.
For first-time visitors, I recommend staying as close to the beaches and coast as possible to make the most of Uluwatu’s spectacular ocean scenery.
Some of my personal favorite hotels in Uluwatu include:
- CassaMia Uluwatu – Incredible luxury villas at Pandawa Beach
- Anantara Uluwatu Resort – Cliffside resort with amazing views
- Karma Beach Uluwatu – Stylish beach club vibe on Impossibles Beach
- Balangan Sea View Bungalows – Cool surfer retreat above Balangan Beach
- La Joya Biu Biu – Superb oceanfront resort at Balangan Beach
Top Things To Do in Uluwatu
With its jaw-dropping beaches, world-class surf spots, and breathtaking cliff-top temples – Uluwatu offers so much for travelers to experience.
Here are the absolute must-do attractions and activities in Uluwatu that you won’t want to miss:
- Take in the cliffside majesty of Uluwatu Temple – an ancient Balinese sea temple perched dramatically atop soaring limestone cliffs. Come at sunset for unforgettable views.
- Discover the GWK Cultural Park – featuring an enormous statue of the Hindu god Vishnu – the largest statue in Indonesia. The park also offers various attractions and activities like traditional dance performances, top of statue tours, and authentic Balinese cuisine.
- Surf or watch the pros ride waves at legendary breaks like Padang Padang, Impossibles and Balangan. These are some of Bali’s most famous surf spots.
- Discover the stunning secret beaches like Green Bowl, Suluban and Nyang Nyang via steep stairways down the cliff face. Often deserted, they are paradise hidden gems.
- Try seafood and Indonesian cuisine at cliffside cafes like Single Fin and Ji Terrace while soaking in the jaw-dropping ocean vistas – especially at sunset. A must-do Uluwatu experience.
- Party the night away at the beach clubs, bars and seafood grills that stay open late in central Uluwatu – like Ku De Ta and Rock Bar.
- Watch a riveting performance of the Kecak Fire Dance at Uluwatu Temple. It takes place every evening as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean.
- Go beach hopping to the string of idyllic sandy coves like Bingin, Dreamland, Balangan and Pandawa that give Uluwatu its tropical beauty.
- Take a surfing lesson – even as a beginner – and learn to ride the waves with experienced instructors at spots like Balangan Beach. Super fun!
- Pamper yourself with a relaxing massage or spa treatment beside the ocean waves – places like Flower Bud Spa at Padang Padang are amazing.
- Try thrilling watersports like parasailing soaring over the ocean for bird’s eye views of Uluwatu’s cliffs and coastline.
Hidden Gems in Uluwatu (Only Locals, and Now You, Know Of)
While Uluwatu’s main beaches and Uluwatu Temple see lots of visitors, there are still secret spots in the area only well-informed locals and long-time Bali expats know about. Here are some of Uluwatu’s hidden gems to discover.
- Tropical Limestone Caves – Deep in the forested cliffs are cave entrances leading to pristine underground limestone formations and pools. Like a secret lost world!
- Temples of Pecatu – Ancient sea temples like Pura Mas Suka and Pura Dalem Pecatu hide amongst the cliffs inland of the coast. Very peaceful and unspoilt.
- Uluwatu Nightmarket – Each evening from 6pm behind the temple, locals hawk scrumptious Balinese street food for a few dollars a dish.
- Bukit Café – An ultra laidback cliffside café serving healthy fare. One of Bali’s best-kept brunch secrets.
- Nyang Nyang Surf Break – A reclusive right hand reef break with barrels and turquoise water that only experienced surfers frequent.
- Jungle Walks – Follow hidden paths through lush jungle interiors to waterfalls, rice paddies and Balinese village life well off the tourist trail.
- Discover impressive graffiti street art and murals on the side of buildings, down alleyways, and by the roadside, around Uluwatu.
The Delicious Food You Have To Try in Uluwatu
One of the greatest pleasures in Uluwatu is getting to sample all the mouthwatering cuisine. Let’s take a tasty tour of what you should try:
- Nasi Campur – A popular Balinese dish of steamed rice served with small portions of fish, chicken, vegetables, peanuts and a chili sambal. Yum!
- Satay – These grilled meat skewers with peanut sauce are a quintessential Indonesian dish. Try chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu versions.
- Gado Gado – A veggie lover’s dream – lightly blanched vegetables served with a moreish satay peanut sauce. Healthy and filling.
- Soto Ayam – This classic chicken noodle soup with turmeric, ginger, vermicelli noodles and bean sprouts is simple yet so comforting.
- Seafood – Being an island paradise, you must sample freshly grilled fish, prawns, crab, lobster and more. Jimbaran Fish Market is great.
- Babi Guling – Tender slow-cooked Balinese style suckling pig. The salty, crispy pork skin is amazingly addictive.
- Fruit Juices & Smoothies – Made freshly with local tropical fruits. Pineapple, watermelon, banana, jackfruit and young coconut are delish.
- Desserts – Try Balinese sweets like klepon rice balls, jaja batun bedug and bubur sumsum. Also great gelato, pancakes, and more.
With so many options, the hardest part is deciding what to try first! Pace yourself and come with an appetite.
Helpful Tips for An Amazing Trip to Uluwatu
To ensure you have a fun, stress-free time in Uluwatu, keep these handy trip-planning tips in mind:
- Prepare for tropical heat and humidity – drink lots of water, use sun protection, and wear light, breathable clothing. For a comprehensive guide on what to pack, this complete Bali packing list has you sorted.
- The cliffs have no safety rails – take care walking near the edges, especially at attractions like Uluwatu Temple.
- Getting around requires private transport – pre-book airport transfers and day tours for ease.
- Visit temples dressed respectfully with shoulders and knees covered or they may refuse entry.
- Bali has set electricity prices per day rather than per unit used – turn off AC when out to save money.
- Getting cash can be hard in rural Uluwatu – withdraw extra money before leaving populated areas.
- Not all beaches are swimmable due to rips and waves. Obey the flags and signs.
- Hire a scooter to freely explore the region’s scattered coastal attractions at your own pace.
- For the temples, go as early as possible to beat the crowds.
Follow these tips and you’ll be all set for an absolutely epic adventure in Uluwatu! Can’t wait to get there? Let’s go!
Uluwatu Bali FAQs
How do I get from Bali airport to Uluwatu?
Pre-book a private airport transfer, or take a taxi by negotiating the fare first (around $25-35 USD). You can also catch a bus to Kuta, then transfer to a Uluwatu minibus.
Is Uluwatu safe for tourists?
Yes, Uluwatu is very safe but watch for cliffs with no railings. Violent crime is rare, but take precautions against petty theft.
What’s the Weather Like in Uluwatu?
It’s a tropical climate with year-round warm temps. April-Oct is drier while Nov-Mar sees more rain and humidity. Surf conditions are excellent year-round.
Where to After Uluwatu?
With loads of great destinations right around Bali, there’s certainly no lack of options. To carry on with the amazing beach vibes try hopping on a fast ferry across to Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno where you’ll get to experience a slow small island feel. Alternatively, head up the mountains to explore the terraced rice fields and ancient temples in Ubud and Telegagang.