10 Best Things to Do in Uluwatu

What is Uluwatu Most Famous For?

    The best things to do in Uluwatu include one of Bali’s most iconic temples, together with gorgeous coastlines that also serve as world-class surfing playgrounds. With its vast coastal length and exposure to the Indian Ocean, Uluwatu attracts wave riders from around the globe to its variety of surf spots.

    For one of the must-see cultural performances, head to the open amphitheatre right next to Uluwatu Temple to see the kecak dance against a dramatic sunset backdrop or head to the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Jimbaran. Golfers will enjoy the scenic greens at the premier course in Pecatu, on Bali’s southern limestone cliff-fringed peninsula.


    Uluwatu Temple

    Uluwatu Temple, locally known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is one of the must-see temples in Bali, second only to Tanah Lot. The temple sits on the south-western edge of a limestone cliff surrounded by a forest, home to hordes of grey long-tailed macaques. The surf break near Uluwatu is also named after the temple and is one of the premier surfing playgrounds on Bali’s southern coast.

    During the evenings, the cliff temple and setting sun serve as a wonderful background to the kecak dances that are regularly held at the open-air theatre, a few hundred meters south of the complex. Beware of the monkeys, as they are adept pickpockets.

    Location: Jalan Pura Uluwatu, Pecatu, Badung, Bali 80362, Indonesia

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    Garuda Wisnu Kencana

    Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, or ‘GWK’ for short, is a major landmark in the hills of Jimbaran, featuring a statue of the Hindu god Vishnu and his mythical guardian eagle. The 121-metre-tall monument stands on a pedestal that’s about 46 metres high, making it one of the tallest landmarks in Southeast Asia.

    The vast 60-hectare grounds form a multi-use venue, combining statues of important Hindu Gods, excellent souvenir shopping, several dining venues, and a cinema showing an animation about Garuda, the mythical beast. Cultural performances, exhibitions, and world-class events regularly take place at Garuda Wisnu Kencana. Segway rentals are available for cruising around the vast site.

    Location: Jalan Raya Uluwatu, Ungasan, Badung, Bali 80364, Indonesia

    Open: Daily from 8am to 9pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 700 808

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    Kecak fire dance

    As one of the most captivating dance performances, the kecak is one of the most famous performances in Bali. Also known as ‘the monkey chant’ or the ‘fire dance’, it features an artistic live rendition of an episode from the Ramayana epic, particularly involving the monkey army and its main protagonists and antagonists, namely Rama, Sita, and the evil Ravana.

    The absence of any orchestral accompaniment throughout the performances makes the kecak dance unique. The only choruses are the result of the polyrhythmic singing by the male dancers, sounding like ‘keh-chuck’, giving the dance its name. The best place to see it is at the open amphitheatre next to the Uluwatu Temple, which uses the setting sun and ocean horizon as its immersive theatrical backdrop.

    Location: Jalan Raya Uluwatu, Pecatu, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

    Open: Daily from 6,30pm to 9.30pm

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    Padang Padang Beach

    Padang Padang is a beautiful beach and one of the island’s most desired pro surfing spots. The locals refer to the beach as Pantai Labuan Sait. It gained its popularity over the recent years due to its consistent swells and secluded but picturesque setting. The beach is around a 45-minute drive from Kuta.

    Accessing the beach involves traversing a flight of stairs and a hollow rock crevice, which opens to the gorgeous stretch of sand. A temple overlooks the surf and a horde of macaques inhabit the forested cliffs. The waves are for advanced riders, but the beach welcomes families and sunbathers, and some stalls open regularly on the sand, offering light meals, cold drinks and even board rentals.

    Location: Jalan Labuansait, Pecatu, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

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    Suluban Beach

    Suluban Beach, also known as Blue Point Beach, is a pro surf spot north of Uluwatu. The beach features a narrow stretch of sand, which requires descending a steep staircase and going through rocky openings to reach. Its name means ‘to crouch under’ in Balinese, inspired by the act of getting through these openings. Surfers from all over come here for its long and powerful swells, and it also provides consistent barrels to ride through.

    The cliff-top overlooks the surf, making it one of the best places to witness the action taking place down on the waves, and a number of stalls that line the area make it a great place to lay back and enjoy a snack or cold beer while the sun sets.

    Location: Jalan Pantai Suluban, Pecatu, Bali, Indonesia

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    Balangan Beach

    Balangan Beach is home to one of Bali’s finest pro surf breaks. The beach is located on the northern side of the cliff that forms the signature hole 15 of the New Kuta Golf course. Several local warungs are on the coastline, serving simple local ‘surfer meals’ together with cold refreshments and beer.

    Popular at sunset, Balangan Beach is just as beautiful from the top of the hill as it is from the coastline. To reach Balangan Beach you have to take a flight of stairs down the limestone cliff.

    Location: Jalan Pantai Balangan, Jimbaran, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

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    Pandawa Beach

    Pandawa Beach is one of the island’s southernmost beaches, featuring a kilometre-long stretch of white sand that's great for swimming and a variety of water sports. Local restaurants line the coast, offering anything from pasta, burgers and steaks to Indonesian fried rice and seafood barbecues.

    The beach is fringed by a limestone cliff with carved arches housing large statues that depict a heroic character from the Mahabharata epic. The heroes, known as the ‘5 Pandawas’, inspired the name of the beach.

    Location: Pantai Pandawa, Bali, Indonesia

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    Dreamland Beach

    Dreamland Beach was the first surf spot and hidden beach to rise to fame on Bali’s southern Bukit peninsula. It's open to the public and dubbed the 'New Kuta Beach', where surfers can enjoy some of the best reef breaks on the island.

    Access to the beach is down a smooth asphalt road from the main entrance of Pecatu Indah Resort. While the waves at Dreamland Beach are fit for pros, there are several surf classes available on the beach, offering quick riding lessons. Parasols are available for rent, and there's a row of warungs (local food stalls) serving refreshments, local cuisine and western bites.

    Location: Jalan Pecatu Indah Raya, Pecatu, Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia

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    Bingin Beach

    Bingin Beach is one of Bali’s favourite surf spots, where you can enjoy a calm and relaxing setting of a limestone cliff-fringed beach. The beach is located not too far from its sister surf break, Dreamland, but is accessible after a 10-km drive through interconnecting roads. The waves and the reef break are strictly for advanced riders, but everyone can enjoy the scenic beauty from the stretch of white sand. At lower tides, the waters offer swimming and snorkelling opportunities.

    You can explore the hilly terrain above the beach and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the coastline. Bingin is slightly visible in the distance from Dreamland Beach, divided by a steep cliff. Along the hills are various warungs (local food stalls) and small villas that have sprung up over the past decade or so.

    Location: Jalan Pantai Bingin, Pecatu, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

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    New Kuta Golf

    The New Kuta Golf is one of the island’s premier golf courses, featuring a championship-standard course and Indonesia’s first links-style layout. The par-72 course offers enough variety to ensure a satisfying experience for all golfing skill levels. There are 18 holes, with its signature cliff-top hole 15 overlooking the gorgeous Balangan Beach.

    The whole course covers a vast 85 hectares, with turf consisting of seashore paspalum grass. It's right next to the water park of the same name and is only a 20-minute transfer from the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Tuban. Complete onsite facilities include the Links Restaurant serving western and Indonesian favourites, as well as a pro shop and a spa.

    Location: Jalan Raya Uluwatu, Kawasan Pecatu Indah Resort, Pecatu, Jimbaran, South Kuta, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

    Open: Daily from 6am to 6.30pm

    Phone: +62 3(0)61 8481333

    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

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