45 Minutes from the airport on the South coast of Bali, boasting a rugged limestone cliff shoreline lies Ulawatu. A trendy surfer’s paradise for beginners and experts alike. A real laid back atmosphere awaits you with top resorts alongside the more basic but excellent surf camps. With big salty waves and clean, sandy beaches, Uluwatu deserves the title of having the most beautiful beaches in Bali.
We were initially in Ulawatu for a wedding and what a romantic spot – idyllic, spiritual with a touch of adventure. The tip of the Bukit Peninsula did not disappoint. This was our first taste of what Bali had to offer and we immediately fell in love with our surroundings.
Surfing has been on our bucket list for a while and what better destination to attempt to surf than in the azure waters of the Indian Ocean in Uluwatu. Even if you are not a surfer, the South coast is still worth the visit. You are going to adore sunset cocktails on cliff-side edges with sweeping views of blue waters, visiting alluring Temples and taking long walks on white sandy beaches.
The atmosphere is trendy ‘beach vibes’ and 3 days are more than enough to savour your time in Uluwatu.
Best time to visit:
April, May, September and October. Traveling to Bali is a perfect Easter break. November and the early weeks of December can be wetter in comparison to other months.
How to manoeuvre around Uluwatu:
The best and quickest way to get around Bali, is by scooter/moped. We are not licensed drivers. Private drivers and Grab (transport company) are just as convenient.
We hired a private driver to take us from the airport to our accommodation for no more than €15. Transportation is very affordable for tourists. We found traffic heavy driving in central locations. The only major delay we experienced was coming from the airport during the usual peak time traffic which seems to be the same everywhere in the world.
One thing to note: Sites are not really within walking distance.
Where to stay:
The best, most central area, is Pecatu.
All the major sites and things to do are only 20 minutes (drive) away. Initially we booked a hotel, a 15 minute walk from the well known Dreamland beach, in one of the most central parts of Uluwatu.
One thing we have learned is that if the accommodation in Bali is disappointing, it is very disappointing. Without giving the hotel any form of publicity in our post, the smell of sulfur, bugs, disconnected phone lines / WiFi and holes in the towels had us checked out in no time. We saw this as a blessing in disguise because we found the best Eco-lodge to stay in, in Pecatu!
Yoga Searcher – Bali!
We count ourselves very lucky to find availability at this Bali yoga retreat. With only 8 wooden villas, made from fully recycled teakwood, there was only 1 left. This property offers you the experience of a traditional 19th century Javanese wooden Joglo house. A fine art!
From check-in to checkout, our experience was one of total body and mind tranquility. Welcomed with lime-infused coconut water, we walk through the massive wood carved Balinese entrance doors. We pass the salt water pool and the smell of aromatic incense relaxed our minds, instantly. Our private bungalow was surrounded by a beautifully crafted garden and a wooden porch with a comfortable coffee nook. It felt like walking into the garden of Eden and we did not want to wake up from this dream.
P.S.:The rooms are very large with exceptionally strong WiFi.
With 2 yoga studios: the big Shala and the little Shala, you get a sense of intimacy . The holistic Spa offers various treatments from organic products, an infrared sauna and a steam sauna. We were in luck by being in-time for the weekly detox experience involving both saunas, a boiling hot bath and an ice bath. As in-house guests, this was complimentary but the experience is open to the public too. It was such a good experience – leaving us feeling ‘high’ and rejuvenated.
Muzz Kitchen is the on-site restaurant serving local, organic, raw, gluten free and plant based cuisine. If you didn’t stop by Muzz Kitchen, you missed out.
The best part of our experience was showering in rainwater amongst mother nature’s thick, lush greenery (no need to have privacy concerns).
Top Restaurants – Uluwatu:
Omnia Day Club – this is no ordinary day club! From lounging on the day beds to electric dance parties, this is the place to be seen in Uluwatu. This is an exclusive venue with a smart-casual dress code and perfect for a special occasion. Top tip: no drones or selfie-stick shall pass.
Bukit Cafe – for the best cheesecake and burritos!
Cashew Tree – family friendly and fresh juices.
Mango Tree – as featured in Lonely Planet: the best Mexican cuisine and breakfasts.
Muzz Kitchen – start your day with a wheatgrass shot, ‘The Yogi’ smoothie and end it with the ‘Bali with love’ curry and a baby raw cake. We loved the fact that we could enjoy our breakfast at anytime of the day.
Nalu Bowls or Buddha Soul – good for smoothie bowls, more smoothie bowls and delicious, out of the ordinary coffee selections.
Bluepoint Bay – Villas & Spa – we love Single Fin but Bluepoint has a better view and a larger cocktail selection. This entire area is the best place to watch surfers catch waves in the sunset. Wedding photographers are at work during this time too. So, if you don’t mind this, you will love the atmosphere in the infinity pool.
Single Fin – from breakfast to pizzas to burgers to seafood, you have a great selection (with a view).
District 6 – in the heart of Pecatu, funky decor, serving Asian, Mediterranean, Indonesian and healthy cuisine. This was one of our favourites. The coffee was absolutely delicious.
Top locations to visit – Uluwatu
Omnia Day Club – this is an experience on it’s own. One everyone should experience, at least once. The club is for 21s and older. We celebrated Pauric’s birthday there and could not have chosen a better venue. When we think of Uluwatu, we think of Omnia. The staff are incredible, the food is fantastic and the swim-up pool bar makes you feel like a million bucks!
Uluwatu Temple – The most scenic temple in Uluwatu. The Kecak Fire Dance that’s preformed during sunset, attracts hundreds of visitors. Expect the area to be busy but this is not something to be missed in Bali. Drones are not allowed here and the temple has an entrance fee of approximately €2.
Karang Boma Cliff – A stone’s throw away from Uluwatu Temple, around the corner from Nyang Nyang Beach, is this 70 meter high cliff. This is one viewpoint you do to want to miss out on in Uluwatu. It is well signposted on main roads, easy to get to but steep. So be mindful when visiting. Parking is available with a €0.50 entrance fee.
Dreamland Beach – Popular for sun-lounging and swimming in the sea.
Balangan Vista – Best time to visit is at sunset and it is popular for that reason – keep that in mind. Here you will have a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean and Balangan beach.
Padang – Padang Beach – This was our favourite beach. We took our first surfing lesson here and it was exhilarating. The beach has always been popular among beginner surfers for its easy waves and it gained its fame after the film ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. This was the only beach we paid an entrance fee to (approx €0.50). Walking down the steps, you will see lots of monkeys going about their daily business.
Single Fin’s & Suluban Beach – This area is also known as Blue Point Uluwatu and very popular for it’s caves and coves. This was our favourite place to visit. Advance surfers are at home in these waters while non-surfers enjoy the eclectic mix of cliffside bars. The beach is accessible via narrow concrete steps and small gaps. There are plenty of surfers and beach goers passing by – which means, you will not miss the route. Parking is available (€0.20 for scooters/motorbikes/mopeds and €0.80 for cars). The best time of the day is to visit during low tide. We were there while the tide was coming in and regret not exploring more gaps and caves.
‘Ulu’ means land’s end and ‘Watu’ means rock. This was not the end of our journey in Bali but rather a great place to start!