10 Best Things To Do in Uluwatu, Bali – A Complete Guide
Uluwatu has become a trendy spot for both solo travellers and couples in recent years thanks to its charm as an off-the-beaten-path destination. However, because this stunning part of the island is still relatively unknown to tourists, you might be wondering how to fill your Bali itinerary while you’re in Uluwatu, right? And this is where I come in to help! In this complete guide, I have gathered all the best things to do in Uluwatu, as well as some very useful info about where to stay, where to eat and how to get around.
Uluwatu is located on a stunning cliff top peninsula that offers a wide variety of things to do for every traveller. With tropical waters perfect for surfing, white sandy beaches for relaxing, and local temples to explore for a big dose of local culture, everyone from adrenaline junkies to history buffs has something to look forward to in Uluwatu, Bali.
Today, I’m sharing with you my favourite things to do in this gorgeous part of Bali, so stay tuned to find everything I have prepared for you in my Uluwatu guide!
Where exactly is Uluwatu located?
Uluwatu is a quite popular destination in Bali, Indonesia. It’s located right in the south of Bukit Peninsula, right next to Jimbaran Bay and Nusa Dua. It is said to host some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Bali. Is that true, though? Heh, let’s find out!
10 Top things to do in Uluwatu
As I mentioned earlier, you’ll never be short of things to do in Uluwatu. Despite that this part of Bali is relatively unknown to tourists, we’ve always found something new to do here every time we’ve visited. So, not only is Uluwatu perfect for travellers looking to get away from the crowd, but it’s also got tons of opportunities to explore and enjoy the Balinese culture. Let’s jump right into it:
1 - Uluwatu Temple
Even though this one isn’t as famous as Tanah Lot in Canggu, Uluwatu Temple is one of the top Uluwatu attractions, by far! It’s a Balinese Hindu cliffsea temple with a rich cultural history, actually considered to be one of the six key temples of Bali. Known in Balinese as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, this stunning temple is perched atop a 70-metre high cliff, giving you breathtaking views over the ocean. It’s also a great Uluwatu sunset point, and I recommend you to not miss the traditional Balinese Kecak fire dance while you’re there – more info below.
CAREFUL: The temple itself is inhabited by Macaque monkeys who are infamous for stealing visitors’ belongings. No joking here! While you can typically bribe them to give your items back with fruit, nuts, or candies, this isn’t typically recommended as it encourages them to steal more frequently. Also… just image that. Bribing a monkey with a banana in the hopes that they safely throw your iphone back at you. No thanks! So make sure you keep your belongings secure at all times and don’t wear any sunglasses or jewellery, preferably.
Uluwatu Temple dress code: You must wear a long dress, sarong or long pants. Don’t worry if you’re unequipped, you will be given a sarong at the entrance. It is also polite to make sure your shoulders are covered.
Entrance fee: 30.000 IDR/adults (2.10 US$) + 100.000 IDR (7 US$) for the Kecak Dance show. In total, it’s 9.10 US$.
2 - Kecak Fire Dance
The traditional Balinese Kecak dance is performed daily at the Uluwatu Temple just before sunset. This traditional dance performance takes place on a circular stage outside of the temple, with tiered seating up to a maximum height of ten feet surrounding it for tourists.
Okay, but what’s so special about this ceremony, after all? Well, my friends, the thing is that the Kecak dance isn’t performed to instruments or music, but rather repetitive chanting. It’s derived from an ancient Balinese ritual called the sanghyang, which communicated the wishes of the gods or ancestors to the Balinese people. Each Kecak performance features thirty bare-chested men who sit in a circle and chant, with the evening culminating in a jaw-dropping fire display. Yep, it’s not called the ‘fire dance’ for nothing!
The show takes place from 6 PM until 7 PM.
Kecak fire dance entrance fee: the cost of temple entry (30.000 IDR), plus 100.000 IDR for the performance. Be careful to buy your ticket at 5 PM (that’s when the ticket office for the dance opens) and not later, as they sell out FAST!
3 - Karang Boma Cliff Uluwatu
RELATED READ: Instagrammable Bali – 15 Instagram Spots in Uluwatu
Right near Uluwatu Temple you’ll find a beautiful spot called Karang Boma Cliff, one of the best places to visit for the view. This awe-inspiring 70-metre limestone cliff descends straight into the ocean, making it a popular spot for watching Bali’s stunning sunsets or sunrises – yep, another one to add to your list (and some even consider it better than Uluwatu Temple, by the way)!
In fact, Karang Boma Cliff is the southernmost point of Bali, giving it unparalleled views over the beautiful blue ocean. It’s also extremely popular for wedding photos, particularly around sunset and sunrise during the summer months, so it might be a good idea to visit it a bit earlier than that.
Karang Boma Cliff entrance fee: 10.000 IDR (around 7 US$), parking included.
4 - Balangan Viewpoint
And in case you’re not tired of high viewpoints just yet, I have another one to add to your list of things to do in Uluwatu! On the northern tip of Balangan Beach there’s Balangan Viewpoint – a spot that offers a gorgeous panoramic view overlooking the 200 metre-wide white sands. This beach is one of the most popular in Bali for its soft, white sands and excellent surfing conditions. Plus and gorgeous sunsets over the ocean!
TIP: Just like Karang Boma Cliff, this spot is very popular with wedding photographers at sunset, so I recommend visiting it a bit earlier so you’re not disappointed. But this also means you won’t be there to catch the gorgeous sunset, so it’s completely your choice!
Balangan Viewpoint entrance fee: Free, but you’ll have to pay 5.000 IDR for parking (0.30 US$).
5 - Many, many beautiful beaches
RELATED READ: 10 Most Beautiful Beaches in Uluwatu, Bali
One of the best things to do in Uluwatu? Spending time on the beach! After all, that’s why you’re going there, right? This is the exact reason why I recommend you dedicate at least one day in your Bali itinerary to exploring as many Uluwatu beaches as you can (and want to). For example, Nyang-Nyang beach isn’t just great for paragliding, but it’s also fairly secluded because it’s not easily accessible – making it perfect if you’re more adventurous! However, if it’s relaxation you’re looking for, the sapphire waters and golden sands of Bingin beach will be right up your alley. And, of course, if you want to grab a cute pic to show off to your friends, I’d always recommend Balangan beach.
Not sure what beach to visit in Uluwatu depending on your needs? No worries, I got you! I made a short round-up below, so you can take a look and decide for yourself. Spoiler alert? All of them are absolutely gorgeous!
- Thomas Beach – Probably the most well-known beach in Uluwatu, where you’ll find enough bars and restaurants to grab a drink or a bite. It’s also an excellent spot for surfing, as well as paddleboard. In short, Thomas Beach is great for water sports and some sunbathing as well!
- Nyang-Nyang Beach – If you’re looking for a superb white sand beach stretched over 1.5 km, this one’s for you! It’s true, it’s a bit hard to reach, as you’ll have to go about 500 steps down a cliff, but it has a unique “secret beach” vibe!
- Bingin Beach – Another beach that’s a bit tucked away, but it still offers enough beach restaurants and a perfect spot for sunbathing. Plus, I recommend going there if you’re dreaming of a romantic dinner on the beach, with the sunset as your backdrop!
- Padang-Padang Beach – This one’s among the most famous beaches in Uluwatu, mainly because it was one of the shooting locations for ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. Padang Beach, also known as Pantai Labuan Sait among locals, is ideal for some sunbathing, getting friendly with the monkeys (watch your belongings!) and lots of relaxation!
- Suluban Beach – This beach is mainly famous for the shipwreck located there – an excellent photo spot! This is also where you’ll find the well-known Blue Point surfing point.
- Pantai Tegal Wangi – Pantai Tegal Wangi is a wonderful beach if you’re looking for another unique Uluwatu photo spot. There’s a cave there and plenty of little natural pools where you can swim. Plus, it’s quiet! But be sure to wear appropriate shoes, as the beach itself is quite rocky.
- Dreamland Beach – Dreamland Beach is an excellent surfing spot, especially if you’re a beginner and you just want to get started with catching waves. This Uluwatu beach is also a very good spot for sunbathing, beach clubs and shops as well.
- Green Bowl Beach – Remember that I mentioned Tegal Wangi beach having a cave on spot? Well, this one has not one, but two limestone caves and it’s a bit more secluded, so if you’re looking for a beach that you can have all to yourself, this one’s an excellent choice.
- Melasti Beach – Last but not least, if you’re looking for a beautiful Uluwatu beach that’s popular among tourists, add this one to your bucket list! It’s a good place to lounge and to swim as well, but it’s location makes it popular with the crowds.
TIP: It’s not unusual to be charged a fee for entering a beach in Uluwatu, or mainly for parking. These fees usually range from 10.000 to 15.000 IDR (0.70 to 1 US$).
6 - Watch the sunset at one of the beach clubs
I know I mentioned tons of sunset spots already, but what can you do? Uluwatu is blessed with superb sunsets and lots of viewpoints where you can admire it! Other than going to Uluwatu Temple or one of the above-mentioned cliffs, another ah-mazing idea would be to admire the sun setting down the Indian Ocean in a beach club, with a cocktail in your hand. Of course, there are plenty in this corner of paradise! Below are my 3 choices I can recommend to any traveller:
- Ulu Cliffhouse – Here’s a beach club located right on the edge of a cliff, where you’ll find a terrace bar, a restaurant, as well as a pool and DJs playing all night long! The entrance is free, but there’s a minimum spend if you want to use the day beds. Ulu Cliffhouse offers accommodation as well, by the way.
- Single Fin – If you’re looking for exciting places in Bali where you can really enjoy the night, this cliffside bar should be on top of your list! Single Fin is on the way to Suluban Beach (right above it) and they offer yummy food and excellent music as well. One of the best things to do in Uluwatu in terms of nightlife!
- Sundays Beach Club – Good food and good vibes! This is a perfect spot to enjoy a bit of Bali’s nightlife or to sip some cocktails during happy hour. Plus, one of the perks of Sundays Beach Club is that it has direct access to the beach!
- Oneeighty – In case you’ve always been dreaming of laying in an infinity pool while looking at the ocean and enjoying some fresh Mojitos, this is hands-down THE place to do it. Talkin’ about livin’ on the edge, am I right?
- Savaya Bali – This is a cool place with music, a pool, a bar and a restaurant as well. And the views? Simply unforgettable! By the way, this place occupies the location that was formerly known as Omnia Dayclub, a famous partying spot in Uluwatu.
7 - Take a day off at the spa
If I’d have to pick a single place in the world to go for perfect massages, flower petal baths and beauty treatments… you know it’d be Bali! The prices for spa treatments here are incredible and the service is incomparable. As for actual spots, I’d recommend Anantara Spa – known as one of the best places in Uluwatu for complete relaxation!
Alternatively, you can book this candlelight dinner and Balinese spa experience, which is tailored especially for couples. Or you can check if your hotel offers spa treatments – most of them do so in Bali!
8 - Paragliding
RELATED READ: A Guide to Paragliding in Bali – Uluwatu
Adrenaline junkie? Get ready for something special! Uluwatu is extremely popular for adrenaline-inducing experiences thanks to its stunning paragliding flights. Daily tandem paragliding flights are available from Nyang-Nyang beach, where you can book a tandem paragliding experience that will fly you over Bali’s gorgeous shoreline, as well as Uluwatu Temple, popular surf spots, and secluded beaches.
Prices start at 75 US$ per person. Booking in advance is highly recommended. You can book your paragliding experience here.
9 - Surfing
I know I mentioned some exciting surfing spots here and there in this article because yes, besides having incredible beaches and beach clubs, Uluwatu is also an excellent (and quite popular) point in the Bukit Peninsula to do some world-class surfing. It’s not called the “surf mecca” for nothing! Expect to be blessed with plenty of surfing spots with some of the most stunning waves!
Here are some of the most popular beaches to go for this activity:
- Blue Point at Suluban Beach
- Uluwatu Beach
- Balangan Beach
- Green Bowl Beach
- Nyang Nyang Beach
Most surf experts only recommend that you attempt surfing in Uluwatu if you’re an experienced surfer, especially because some of the reefs can be particularly shallow and sharp during low tide. If you’re a beginner, you can head over to Dreamland Beach, where the surfing experience will be a bit more “friendly” with you.
TIP #1: Looking for surf reports in Uluwatu? Check out this website!
TIP #2: Consider getting some reef shoes, as it will 100% help with your comfort and confidence surfing this reef break.
TIP #3: If you’re a really active traveller looking to improve your surfing AND yoga skills, then I have good news for you: you can book an essential yoga and surf retreat in Uluwatu! 5 surf lessons and 5 yoga classes, as well as one adventure island day tour. Sounds pretty cool to me! You can find more details here.
10 - GWK Cultural Park
GWK is short for Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park and it’s one of the hidden gems of Uluwatu among travellers. It’s considered to be one of the country’s most important heritage and cultural spots thanks to its Wisnu Garuda statue – the second biggest monumental statue in the world! The cultural park offers plenty of different activities, from joining a colourful Indonesian dance performance to eating some traditional Balinese dishes or just visiting the Lotus Pond and Wisnu Plaza, an amphitheater made of limestone blocks. At the end, don’t forget to grab a trinket from the numerous souvenir shops!
GWK Bali entrance fee: 125.000 IDR/person (31 US$).
Best Uluwatu tours for all types of tourists
In case you want to book a complete tour of the main highlights or simply reserve some experiences before actually arriving in Uluwatu, here’s my hand-picked selection of tours you can choose from, depending on your preferences:
- GWK Cultural Park, Beaches & Uluwatu Temple Tour
- Beach Club and Cliffside Private Bar Hopping Tour – a little bit of bar hopping, anyone?
- Tandem paragliding experience
- Uluwatu Temple Helicopter Tour – a unique, VIP experience!
DAY TRIPS TO ULUWATU:
And if you want to visit Uluwatu as a day trip, here are some choices for you too:
- Uluwatu, Tanah Lot and Jimbaran Private Tour – one of the most popular ones!
- Uluwatu Temple, Kecak Dance and Jimbaran Bay
- Uluwatu Experience Tour – includes Uluwatu temple, GWK Cultural Park, Padang-Padang Beach and more;
- Nusa Dua & Uluwatu Tour
- Customizable Half-Day Tour – you can customise this tour to include Uluwatu Temple and other highlights of Bali such as the Ubud Monkey Forest.
Where to stay in Uluwatu
RELATED READ: A Complete Guide to Accommodation in Uluwatu, Bali – 17 Best Hotels
When it comes to picking a place to stay in Uluwatu, you’ll quickly realise that you’ll be no short of options. There’s everything from super affordable homestays and hostels to luxurious resorts to choose from, all depending on your budget and personal preferences. Heck, there are even special surf villas here and some of them even include lessons and all the equipment you need!
As for the areas, I recommend staying somewhere in the Pecatu area, as it is close to all the main attractions (20 minutes by scooter). Ungasan area is a good choice as well.
Here are my hand-picked places to stay in Uluwatu:
BOUTIQUE STAY: Villa V Uluwatu
BEACHSIDE LOCATION. Dreamsea Bali
BUDGET VILLA. Uluwatu Breeze Village
SURF VILLAS. Uluwatu Surf Villas
HOSTEL. Home-Bience Hostel
Where to eat in Uluwatu
You’ll surely be looking for yummy places to eat after a full day of exploring, surfing or simply sunbathing during your vacation in Uluwatu. Do not stress, as there are many beach clubs, restaurants serving tropical, healthy food and pretty cafes around. The hardest thing will be to choose! In order to help your tummies out, I have made this selection of amazing restaurants and cafes in Uluwatu:
- Suka Espresso – extremely good coffee and food as well;
- Bukit Cafe – for healthy food and a delicious avo on toast on Padang-Padang Beach
- Nourish – great place for brunch with an easy, laid-back atmosphere;
- Drifter Cafe – excellent spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner;
- Gooseberry Cafe and Boutique – such a pretty restaurant with great coffee and food – one of my favourites;
- The Loft – great choice for a chill dinner;
- Ours – great option for dinner with yummy cocktails too.
Getting around Uluwatu
Hands-down the easiest and most convenient way to get around Uluwatu is by scooter/motorbike. Freedom + cheap prices = what more can you wish for? They can be rented in plenty of places along the main road and cost around 60.000 IDR per day (4.30 US$). Or you can simply ask at your accommodation, it’s very likely you’ll be able to book a scooter with them! Alternatively, you can also take a taxi or Grab to get around.
How to get to Uluwatu
Uluwatu is only 45 minutes from the airport, which makes it an excellent spot to start or end your Bali itinerary. You can take a taxi, Grab or Gojek (the Indonesian version of Grab) at the airport (175.000 IDR / 10 US$) or arrange for a private transfer beforehand if you want to be all set once you arrive. I’d personally opt for the private car, especially for a group of friends, as it’s only 25.60 US$ for a group of up to 4 people and you’ll also have Wi-Fi on the way!
Here are the distances from other parts on Bali:
- Canggu – 1 hour, around 14 US$
- Ubud – a bit less than 2 hours, 18 US$
- Kuta – half an hour, 7 US$
When to visit Uluwatu
The best time to visit Uluwatu is between April and October for the best weather!
I hope you enjoyed this complete travel guide to Uluwatu! I tried to squeeze in as much useful information as I could by telling you all about my ultimate list of attractions, as well as recommendations for where to stay, where to eat and how to get there.
When I think of Bali, Uluwatu pops into my mind as one of the most amazing places that each and every traveller out there should visit! There are so many things to do in Uluwatu, from superb white sand beaches to cute cafes serving healthy food, surfing spots, temples and more!
Interested to find out more? You can read more about other cool destinations in Bali here.