Uluwatu Beach, Bali

Uluwatu, meaning the rock where the land ends in Balinese, has the  natural mystic of all sharp cliffs plunging into the ocean and a few others of its own, like the musicality of its name, its breezy 11th century temple, its jagged shoreline that withstands the constant assaults of the swells and the unique landscape of the Bukit, Bali’s southernmost peninsula. A ‘mandatory’ visit for anybody that goes to Bali, Uluwatu will bewitch you as quick as a tropical sunset, leaving fragments of its mystics in your aura like an ocean breeze whisking through the frangipani trees leaves its barely defined but long remembered salt & sweet fragrance.

How do you get to Uluwatu?

To get to Uluwatu from the airport:

Taxis will charge between 225,000 IDR (17 $) and 350,000 IDR (24 $), or you can go to the domestic terminal and look for the GRAB (local Uber) kiosk. Travel time is around 45 mn.

To get to Uluwatu from Ubud:

It is at a distance of 1 hour and a half or 2 hours, if you have your own vehicle, either car or scooter, it will not be difficult since it is well indicated. Otherwise, install the GRAB and/or GOJEK apps for good fares.

Aerial view of the Uluwatu cliff with its temple and the platform towards the sunset for the Kecak dance.
Aerial view of the Uluwatu cliff with its temple and the open-air amphitheater facing the sunset for the Kecak dance.

Should I stay in Uluwatu?

Uluwatu has a special aura that transmits tranquility and serenity, in addition to having some of the Best Surf Spot in the island, a magnificent Temple with monkeys and its famous cliffs, from which you can paraglide or contemplate mesmerizing sunsets. There are many Home Stays and restaurants, scattered around the hilly landscape, each with their own carefully crafted decoration and personality.
Every sunset until nightfall, at the Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple, you can assist to the famous Kecak Dance, that depict the Ramayana. Although this dance is not specific to Uluwatu, the settings will make you think the contrary, and will help you get in the proper mood to watch it.

Therefore, we do recommend that you stay a few days in Uluwatu, but be careful: you might never want to leave….

Can beginners surf Uluwatu?

No, Uluwatu is not for Beginner Surfers.
Uluwatu has actually 5 breaks, so the good news is that at least one of them will be practicable at any given time. The “bad” news are that currents are strong and the breaks can become down right dangerous for non experts on certain conditions. You should have at least a medium surf level before attempting to surf there.

a surfer riding a wave in Uluwatu, Bali
Uluwatu Surfer.

Can you surf in Uluwatu?

Oh yes, you can surf in Uluwatu, provided you have enough experience (see above). Uluwatu is the most legendary point for surfing in Bali with 5 breaks: the Racetrack, Temples, Outside Corner, the Peak & the Bombie.
Uluwatu is the south westernmost point on the Bukit peninsula, where you will also find these other spots.

Padang Padang

Impossibles

Bingin

Dreamland

Balangan

a surfer riding a tube in Uluwatu, Bali
Surfer at Uluwatu Beach.

Can you swim in Uluwatu?

You could swim in Uluwatu, but with a shallow, rocky reef, big swells, and strong currents, even experienced swimmers should pass. Don’t risk your life and head further north along the coast, where you’ll find better beaches for swimming, such as Thomas Beach.

Sunset at Uluwatu Temple, Kecak Dance, Bali
Sunset at Uluwatu Temple amphitheater, Kecak Dance, Bali

Is Uluwatu temple worth visiting?

Yes! Uluwatu temple is worth visiting! It is a Balinese Hindu sea temple dating from the 11th century, located on the edge of the cliff (Ulu – lands end / watu – rock) of Uluwatu and it has magnificent views over the Ocean, as well as a joyous group of mischievous monkeys.

Kecak Dance

In the open-air amphitheater the traditional Kecak fire dance is performed, based on the Rāmāyana, a Sanskrit epic from ancient Indian history, and every evening at 6:00 pm, its show begins at the Pura Luhur Uluwatu on the edge of the cliff and against the backdrop of spectacular sunsets.

How old is Uluwatu Temple?

Temple carvings indicate that a Majapahit monk named Mpu Kunturan established the Uluwatu Temple over 1,000 years ago, and that’s Uluwatu Temple current estimated age.
Another sage, Dhang Hyang Dwijendra, built the Padmasana shrines and is said to have reached moksha, the highest point of spiritual unity with the gods, in the temple. Uluwatu Temple is the only Balinese sea temple which is also one of the six directional Balinese temples, a “Sad Kahyangan” the “six sanctuaries of the world” which are the most sacred places of worship in Bali.

The current archaeological knowledge trace the construction back to the 10th century.

Uluwatu Temple, 1000 years old, with monkeys.
Uluwatu Temple, 1000 years old, with monkeys

What does Uluwatu mean?

Uluwatu is a place on the south-western tip of the Bukit Peninsula of Bali, Indonesia. It is home to the Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple. The name Uluwatu comes from Ulu, meaning ‘lands end’, and Watu, meaning ‘rock’

How far is Uluwatu from Ubud?

Uluwatu is about 41 km/25 mi from Ubud.

Is Uluwatu safe for tourists?

Yes, Uluwatu is safe for tourists. Along with Sanur and Ubud, Uluwatu is probably one of the safest touristic area in Bali. 

Colorful shops on the Uluwatu cliff where tourists mingle with street vendors.
Colorful shops on the Uluwatu cliff where tourists mingle with street vendors.

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