UluWatu, Bali

- Indonesia - 

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Uluwatu is a budget friendly tropical paradise located in southern Bali. Its roots in tourism began in surfing back in the 1970’s, and it has since become a world class surf destination. Surfers flock to “Indo” or “Bali” to have a once in a lifetime surfing adventure, and Uluwatu is a key location. More than just surfing, Ulu Watu has tours of a Balinese Hindu Temple, yoga retreats, world class beaches, encounters with Bali Long Tailed Monkeys, and fun nightlife. The best part is for what you pay for hotels in busy western cities, you can get a personal ocean view villa. If your allure is more budget friendly, you can find super cheap deals to extent your stay for long periods of time. Visa’s allow you to stay 30 days, with a 30-day extension. Uluwatu is a short drive south from the Denpasar Airport, and the name Ulu Watu means “lands’ end rock”. If you are planning a trip to Bali, we recommend making Uluwatu a priority location.  

Surfing Padang Padang Beach. Ono Vita

Uluwatu beaches

PADANG PADANG BEACH

Padang Padang Beach, Bali - Ono Vita

BEAcHES IN ULUWATU - padang padang beach

There are a few beaches in the area, all worth seeing, but most noteworthy is Padang Padang Beach. It is famously shown in the movie Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts (Eat, Pray, Love in Ubud, Bali – Ono Vita).  The beach is situated at the bottom of a cliff with the only way up and down being stairs. Despite the limited access, locals keep the beach well supplied, so you can have refreshments, rent a beach umbrella, and take surfing lessons without having to use the stairs. The size of the beach changes vastly with the tides revealing a rocky bottom during low tide, and a narrow stretch of sand at high tide. If you are lucky, or have enough time, you will come across the Bali Long Tailed Monkeys right on the beach. It is amazing to watch them, but they will steal so keep a close watch on your belongings if they are around. Locals are friendly, and will certainly be trying to sell you something on the beach.

TOUR ULUWATU temple - pura luhur uluwatu temple

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple is a quick scooter ride from the main accommodation area (a taxi or walking are other options). The Temple is actually many temples in a cliff side complex overlooking the Indian Ocean. There is a small admission fee, and the hours are from 8am to 6pm daily. One major attraction is the historical Balinese dance performance. The dance is performed each evening, and it can draw a crowd making the evenings a crowded time. When walking the paths of the Temple you will be sure to see Balinese Long Tailed Monkey’s. The architecture is truly artistic, and when mixed with the landscapes, a walk around Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple is like being in another world.

Uluwatu Temple - Ono Vita

MORE ACTIVITIES IN ULUWATU

For most, the Temples, beaches, and dining will occupy the majority of their time in Uluwatu. There are plenty of other activities to do, foremost being surfing. You can also take yoga classes, do fitness training, go to the spa, or shop at beachy and Balinese stores. We would recommend saving your scuba/snorkeling and Asian cooking experiences for other regions of Bali. Don’t take that wrong, the water is beautiful here but there are more developed scuba locations. The food is very good too, but more westernized. Here are a few links to other activities in Uluwatu that you may be interested in:

Surf Lessons - Padang Padang Surf Camp

Bali Travel & Surf Guide - Surfline

Yoga - Bali Spirit

Training - Bali Training Centre

Shop - Single Fin Store

Padang Padang Aerial - Ono Vita

DINING IN ULUWATU

We found the food in Uluwatu to be very good. A lot of westerns find it difficult to adjust to eating the local food unless they have had some significant time in the country. In Uluwatu, there are many westernized options, particularly food similar to that of Australia (cheese burgers, pizza, schnitzels, healthy salad bowls), and there are a lot of vegetarian/vegan options too. On the same menu you will also find local Bali dishes. It is nice to be able to try new things, but mixed with eating food you are very comfortable with. You shouldn’t drink the water from the taps in Bali, use bottled water. If the servers bring you water in a glass, they almost always bring it from a bottled source, ask if you are not sure. We recommend checking out two places to eat in Bali; Outside Corner, and Single Fin.  Outside Corner is outside the Uluwatu main area, but on the road to, and in walking distance. Outside Corner has great deals compared to popular places with ocean views, and the food is amazing. Single Fin is also recommended because it is the most popular place in Uluwatu. It has great night life, and you can have dinner while sitting on an ocean view cliffside watching surfers and the sunset all at the same time. The problem with Single Fin is that is so well situated and popular that it draws western prices, but none the less is worth checking out.

UluWatu

Outside Corner

Outside Corner. Single Fin. Bali - Ono Vita
Padang Padang Coconut - Ono Vita
Padang Padang Sunset - Ono Vita

GETTING TO ULUWATU

Uluwatu is located in the south-western tip of a peninsula in southern Bali. Unless you are already in Bali traveling around with a scooter and a backpack, you will probably be using a Taxi to get to Uluwatu. If you don’t hit traffic the ride is about 45 minutes from the Denpasar Airport (Ngurah Rai International Airport). We issue a particular word of caution to first time travelers in Bali. Know a normal price of a cab ride before negotiating with the Taxi driver. The worst thing that can happen is getting ripped off on your first ride in Bali (more because it’s the point of the matter than the loss in money, Bali is so cheap). We recommend using Go-Jek, an app similar to Uber, as a rough way to gauge what a taxi price should be (plus 20% as a rule of thumb). So Denpasar Airport to Uluwatu might run you 200,000 Rp ( <$20 US Dollars).

STAYING IN ULUWATU

There are more than 50 different hotels (villas, hostels, etc...) to stay in the Uluwatu main area. By main area, assume everywhere within 10 minutes walking of Single Fin. All of the places to stay are relatively cheap for what you get. Some budget deals are under $10 USD per day, but you will not be getting a villa for anything close to that. Bali Bule is middle of the line with prices close to the $45 USD per night ($22.50/person). Bali Bule has 10 bungalows around a swimming pool. The rooms are spacious and clean, breakfast was free, Padang Padang was a 5 minutes’ walk, but on the negative, the bathrooms could be nicer, and there was a loud band some nights. On the Uluwatu cliffs are many beautiful villas. If you ever wanted to stay in one, and couldn’t afford it, this could be your chance. Another option is to rent a scooter long term, find a place to stay further inland, and drive to your destinations. This can get you budget hostel prices, but a bit better living situation. One way or another, always check the reviews online before booking.

WEATHER IN ULUWATU

Bali Bule Pool, Uluwatu - Ono Vita

Bali is just south of the equator, making it warm all year round. The average low is 77F and high is 86F, thus the temperature is beautiful any season you decide to go. The big deciding factor is the rain. As you can see from the graph below, it rains a lot less from April to October, for this reason, they are the prime months to visit.

Uluwatu Weather. Rain (In), Low Temp (F), High Temp (F)
YouTube Video - Bali, Indonesia - Footage in Uluwatu, Ubud, & Sanur

GO VISIT ULUWATU

Uluwatu should be one of your key stops in Bali. Weather you want to surf, see Temples, do yoga, relax on world class beaches, see monkeys, or have a fun international social life, Uluwatu has you covered. Take a break from the north hemisphere summer, and go see the warm and dry climate of Bali during what is there winter. If you would like more information, we recommend picking up a travel guide (Lonely Planet – Bali Pocket Guide), and carrying it along with you for the journey.

Bali, Indonesia - Sunset - Ono Vita
Balinese Women - Uluwatu - Ono Vita