Uluwatu Bali: Complete Travel Guide

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

Uluwatu, Bali boasts of a unique blend of culture, natural beauty, and exhilarating adventures.

Located in the Southern tip of Bali in Indonesia, this place is a hidden gem that is waiting to be discovered.

I was lucky enough to call Uluwatu home for four incredible months, and to say that I fell in love with this little slice of paradise would be an understatement.

In fact, my partner Tom and I adored our time here so much that we’re seriously considering making Uluwatu our permanent base.

In this blog post, I’m going to share with you all the insider tips and hidden gems that I’ve uncovered during my time in Uluwatu. I will be sharing the best beaches, where to eat, where to stay, and more!

Compared to Canggu or Seminyak, Uluwatu has a much more laid-back atmosphere as well as warm and welcoming locals. Honestly, it feels like what Canggu was 10 years ago!

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, you’ll find yourself completely captivated by the stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, temples, and of course, the world-class surf breaks.

So if you want to know more about Uluwatu, keep on reading!

El Kabron Beach Club in Uluwatu
Relaxing at El Kabron Beach Club, Uluwatu

Where is Uluwatu?

Before we get started, you might be wondering where exactly is Uluwatu?

Uluwatu is located on the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula in Bali, Indonesia. It is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning cliffside views, beautiful beaches, and the famous Uluwatu Temple.

Indonesia is one of our favorite countries in the world and considering we’ve been on the road for the last 9 years, that says a lot!

Uluwatu is about 21 kilometers (13 miles) south of Kuta and can be reached by car or motorbike. Here are a few important facts about Uluwatu’s location and how far it is from other hotspots in Bali.

LocationDistanceTime
Denpasar Airport to Uluwatu22 km40-60 minutes
Kuta to Uluwatu22.840-60 minutes
Seminyak to Uluwatu26.2 km1 hour
Canggu to Uluwatu35km1 hours and 35 mins
Ubud to Uluwatu54km2 hours and 35 mins
Map of Uluwatu Bali
Map of Uluwatu, Bali

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Best Time to Visit Uluwatu

The best time to visit Uluwatu, Bali, largely depends on your preferences for weather and crowd levels.

Personally speaking, the best time to visit Uluwatu (and all of Bali) is during the dry season, which runs from April to September.

During these months, you can expect sunny days, low humidity, and minimal rainfall, which is ideal for sightseeing, beach activities, and surfing.

The months of June, July, and August are usually the busiest due to school holidays and peak tourist season.

If you prefer to avoid crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder months of April, May, or September. These months typically offer a balance between good weather and fewer tourists.

Keep in mind that Uluwatu is a popular surfing destination, and the best waves can vary depending on the time of year.

The dry season (April to September) is ideal for experienced surfers seeking larger waves, while the wet season (October to March) offers smaller, more manageable waves for beginner and intermediate surfers.

Beautiful sunset in Uluwatu

Getting Around Uluwatu

To get around Uluwatu, you can either hire a scooter, hire a private driver, or catch a ride in a taxi.

By far the most popular and convenient way to get around Uluwatu is by renting a scooter. This option offers the freedom to explore at your own pace, allowing you to access hidden beaches, local eateries, and tucked-away attractions with ease.

Scooter rentals are widely available throughout Uluwatu and the price varies depending on the make and model. You can rent a motorbike from this place which they will even deliver straight to you, hassle free.

If you’re not confident on a scooter or simply prefer a more relaxed approach to transportation, hiring a private driver is an excellent choice.

A private driver will not only take you to your desired destinations but also offer valuable insights into local culture and history. This is our recommended mode of transport, especially for families or big groups.

Alternatively, taxis and rideshare services like Grab, Blue Bird, and Gojek are readily available in the area for shorter trips. Just keep in mind that during peak hours or in high-demand locations, finding a ride may take some time.

Certain areas are also restricted from these ride sharing apps due to local politics.

uluwatu scooter
Our scooter rental in Uluwatu

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Things to Do in Uluwatu

1. Visit Uluwatu Temple (Pura Luhur Uluwatu)

Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is a must-see attraction when you’re exploring the Uluwatu area in Bali.

This ancient Hindu temple sits majestically atop a 70-meter high cliff, offering awe-inspiring views of the Indian Ocean. With its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty, it’s no wonder the temple is a favorite among visitors.

Built in the 10th century, Uluwatu Temple is one of the nine key directional temples in Bali, designed to protect the island from evil spirits.

Aside from stunning views, Uluwatu temple also has lots of cheeky monkeys wandering around. Make sure you keep ALL your belongings inside a bag as these monkeys love grabbing things from sunglasses, scarves, to even your mobile phone!

Trust me, I learned this the hard way. It’s best to stay clear from them.

Visiting Uluwatu Temple is pretty straightforward. Do take note that it is one of the main tourist attractions in all of Bali so expect crowds, especially during sunset.

The temple is open from 7AM – 7PM. You will need to dress modestly as it is a revered place. Women and Men must wear sarongs which they give you for free as part of your entrance ticket.

monkeys in Uluwatu Temple or Pura Luhur Uluwatu
You can visit the Uluwatu Temple or Pura Luhur Uluwatu

2. Watch the Kecak Fire Dance in Uluwatu Temple

Aside from just visiting Uluwatu Temple, one of the main highlights is watching the Kecak Fire Dance. It’s an unforgettable experience that you won’t want to miss during your visit.

This traditional Balinese performance is held at an open-air amphitheater within the temple grounds, usually around sunset, which provides a mesmerizing backdrop for the dance.

The dance itself is a dramatization of the Ramayana, an ancient Hindu epic, and tells the story of Prince Rama, who, with the help of the monkey god Hanuman, tries to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana.

Not only is the dance itself very impressive but it also gives you a deeper understanding of Balinese traditions and folklore.

If you want a hassle free-experience, I recommend checking out this half day tour of Uluwatu Temple and the Kecak Fire Dance which includes transportation from Ubud, Sanur, Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, Nusa Dua, and Jimbaran.

Kecak Fire Dance in Uluwatu
The famous kecak fire dance

3. Go Surfing in Uluwatu

Naturally, on the top of our list of things to do in Uluwatu is to go surfing!

Uluwatu is a surfer’s dream, with amazing waves that attract surfers from all over the world. Whether you’re a pro or a newbie, there’s a surf spot in Uluwatu for you.

Some of the best breaks include Uluwatu itself, right beneath the temple, Padang Padang (the Balinese Pipeline), and Bingin Beach.

If you’re a beginner or if you’ve never surfed the waves here before, it’s best to ask a local for advice. Uluwatu is known for its challenging tides and reef breaks so make sure you take this into consideration before diving in.

If you’re just starting out, check out spots like Baby Padang or Dreamland Beach for smaller waves. There are plenty of surf schools where you can rent equipment from.

Alternatively, a few of the best Surfing Camps in Bali are held in Uluwatu.

Surfing in Bingin Beach

4. Visit Balangan View Point

If you’re looking for a gorgeous aerial shot of Uluwatu, Balangan Viewpoint is the place to be.

This epic vantage point offers jaw-dropping panoramic views of Balangan Beach, the Indian Ocean, and the surrounding lush landscapes.

To get to Balangan Viewpoint, just follow the signs from Balangan Beach, and you’ll find yourself at the top of a limestone cliff with a view that’s seriously next level.

It’s the perfect spot to chill out, take in the sights, and maybe even have a little picnic. It gets pretty crowded during sunset as loads of locals come here to enjoy the view! When we lived in Uluwatu, Balangan was our local beach so we would frequent this spot often.

balangan
Aerial view of Balangan Beach Viewpoint

5. Yoga Class in Uluwatu

Taking a break from the beach and catching a yoga class is a great way to relax and unwind during your Uluwatu adventure.

One of the best spots for this is The Space Bali, a serene sanctuary where you can get your zen on while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

The Space Bali offers a variety of yoga classes for all levels, from beginners to seasoned yogis. What I love about this place is the stunning, open-air bamboo shala that allows you to practice yoga in harmony with nature.

Aside from offering yoga lessons, they also had a co-working space which is perfect for digital nomads like us!

Right next door to The Space is a restaurant called Chela which has fantastic brunch options. If you’re interested in yoga retreats in Bali, check out our full guide.

6. Visit a few Uluwatu Beach Clubs

Uluwatu is not only famous for its surf and stunning beaches, but it’s also home to some fabulous beach clubs that are perfect for a day of lounging, swimming, and sipping on refreshing cocktails.

Here’s a peek at some of the coolest beach clubs in the area:

You have places like Single Fun, Ulu Cliff House, Savaya, Karma, and El Kabron, each offering its own unique vibe and amenities.

Aside from being a popular day club, Savaya is a popular spot for DJs so keep your eyes out for a few parties (or two) while you’re in Uluwatu.

Savaya Beach Club
Enjoy the party when you visit Savaya Beach Club in Uluwatu

7. Visit Sunday’s Beach Club

Sunday’s is an institution in Uluwatu and was one of our favorite spots when we lived there. After riding the coolest elevator / lift to the beach, you can enjoy water sports like snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding, or simply unwind on a sunbed with a cocktail in hand.

As the day turns to evening, enjoy a beach bonfire and live music under the stars.

We love going here because the food is good, the beach is nice and swimmable, and they have such comfortable lounge chairs and epic views.

This is a must-visit when in Uluwatu!

Sunday's Beach Club Uluwatu
The famous “elevator” going down to the beach at Sunday’s Beach Club

8. Visit The Istana Spa

If you’re looking to chill out and treat yourself after a day of adventuring in Uluwatu, Istana Spa is the place to be.

Tucked away in a tranquil spot right by the cliff, this spa is all about helping you relax and recharge. First of all, the thing we love the most about this spot is they take away your phone, giving you a chance to really relax and unwind.

You can use their facilities like the steam, sauna, and cold plunge pool. The entire complex is located right at the edge of a cliff so you can watch the surfers catch some waves or watch the sun set in this gorgeous spot.

During sun down, they light a big bonfire in the grassy lawn, making it one of the best places to watch the sun go down.

9. Go Cafe Hopping

Uluwatu isn’t just about beaches and surf—it’s also a fantastic spot for cafe hopping!

With so many amazing cafes to choose from, you’ll love exploring the local food scene and discovering new places to hang out. Here are a few of our favorites that you won’t want to miss:

Cashew Tree, Kelly’s Warung, Drifter Surf, and Our’s Bali. Later on in this Uluwatu Guide, I will give a full rundown of our restaurant recommendations!

Drifter has some of the best coffee in Ulu!

10. Have a SunDowner at Single Fin

When it comes to iconic spots in Uluwatu, Single Fin is a must-visit. Perched on the cliffs overlooking the legendary Uluwatu surf break, this laid-back bar and restaurant is a favorite hangout for surfers, beachgoers, and anyone looking for a good time.

With its chilled-out atmosphere, live music, and incredible views, Single Fin is the perfect place to kick back and soak up the Uluwatu vibes.

Single Fin is also famous for its epic sunset views and lively nightlife. As the sun goes down, the place comes alive with DJs and live bands, turning the venue into a hotspot for dancing and mingling under the stars.

Whether you’re looking to catch up with old friends, make new ones, or simply enjoy the stunning scenery, Single Fin Bali is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Sunsets at Single Fin
Sunsets at Single Fin

11. Visit Bingin Beach

Bingin Beach is one of the best beaches in Uluwatu which is perfect for surfers and beach lovers alike.

Tucked away at the bottom of a cliff, this beach offers pristine white sands, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back vibe. To reach Bingin Beach, you’ll need to navigate a series of steep stairs that wind their way down the cliffside.

Although the journey might be a bit of a workout, the stunning views and unspoiled beauty of the beach make it totally worth the effort.

Once you’ve made your way down to the shoreline, you’ll find that Bingin Beach is a surfer’s paradise, with consistent reef breaks that cater to intermediate and advanced surfers.

The powerful left-hand breaks and barreling waves create the perfect conditions for an exhilarating surf session. On smaller days, Binging is great for beginners too.

Click here to read our full guide to Bingin Beach.

If you’re hungry, check out Lucky Fish, where you can enjoy freshly caught seafood grilled to perfection, or head over to Kelly’s Warung for a mix of Western and Indonesian dishes.

Kelly’s Warung is a great spot to watch the surfers as you lounge in one of their comfy beach chairs.

Bingin Beach
Having a seafood dinner at Lucky Fish

12. Go to Dreamland Beach

Dreamland Beach is another must-visit spot in Uluwatu, offering a picturesque stretch of white sand, turquoise waters, and a lively atmosphere.

Known for its wide shoreline and excellent swimming conditions, Dreamland has something for everyone, from sun-seekers to surfers and families alike.

This beautiful beach is easily accessible and has a range of facilities, including sunbeds, and umbrellas.

Surfers will also find plenty to love at Dreamland Beach, as it offers a variety of breaks catering to different skill levels. Beginners can enjoy the gentler waves near the shore, while more experienced surfers can head further out to catch the bigger swells which tend to break fast.

I personally found it difficult to swim at Dreamland because of the waves but I do love walking the beach here as the coast is so long and beautiful.

Dreamland Beach
Turquoise ocean of Dreamland Beach, Uluwatu

13. Padang Padang

Padang Padang, often referred to as Bali’s version of Pipeline, is a stunning beach located in Uluwatu.

With its clear blue waters, powdery white sands, and dramatic limestone cliffs, Padang Padang offers a picture-perfect setting for a relaxing day at the beach.

To reach this beautiful spot, you need to descend a steep staircase that passes through limestone rocks. The beach itself is pretty small so expect some crowds, especially if you go later in the day.

Padang Padang is well-known for its world-class surf break, featuring fast, powerful left-handers that draw surfers from around the globe.

Although these waves are best suited for experienced surfers, there’s also a more beginner-friendly break known as “Baby Padang” nearby, where novices can practice their skills.

After a day in the surf or lounging on the sand, you can explore the beach’s charming warungs, where you can grab a bite to eat or sip on a refreshing coconut.

Padang Padang Beach

14. Visit GWK Cultural Park

Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park is a must-visit attraction in Uluwatu, showcasing the rich heritage and vibrant culture of Bali.

Spread across 60 hectares of land, this impressive park is home to the iconic Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue, which stands tall at 121 meters and represents the Hindu god Vishnu riding the mythical bird Garuda.

GWK Cultural Park in Uluwatu

15. Visit Balangan Beach

Tucked away on the Bukit Peninsula in Uluwatu, Balangan Beach is a beautiful, serene stretch of coastline that offers a peaceful escape from the more crowded beaches in the area.

Surfers will be thrilled to discover that Balangan Beach boasts a consistent left-hand reef break that produces long, rideable waves suitable for intermediate and advanced surfers. It is a reef break with a notoriously fast ride so keep this in mind when you go out for a surf.

Non-surfers can also enjoy the beach’s natural beauty, by visiting the many local warungs or beach side restaurants, sunbathing, or taking a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.

Balangan Beach
Watching the surfers at Balangan Beach, Uluwatu

16. Go Beach Hopping

Aside from the beaches mentioned above, Uluwatu has SO many great spots. A few places I recommend visiting is Pantai Melasti as well as Pandawa Beach.

Compared to the beaches in Bali, the beaches in Uluwatu have white sand and are so much more swimmable!

melasti beach
Pantai Melasti or Melasti Beach is one of the best beaches in Uluwatu

Restaurants in Uluwatu

Over the last few years, the dining scene in Uluwatu has started to pick up. Fresh ingredients, delicious local food, and lots of healthy options.

Here are some of the best restaurants in Uluwatu that you won’t want to miss:

Cashew Tree

A favorite among locals and visitors, Cashew Tree is a must-visit spot for healthy and delicious meals. Located near Bingin Beach, this charming eatery uses fresh, locally-sourced ingredients to create a variety of dishes that cater to different dietary preferences.

With options ranging from vegan burgers to Indonesian-inspired curries, Cashew Tree has something for everyone. Their chicken teriyaki is a favorite of ours!

Ours Bali

A trendy and inviting restaurant, Ours Bali offers a fantastic fusion of international and local flavors. With a menu that includes mouthwatering fresh seafood, and vibrant salads, you’re sure to find something that delights your taste buds. Don’t forget to try their signature cocktails or one of their decadent desserts.

They also have a steak night which includes a glass of wine which is an awesome deal.

Ours Cafe in Uluwatu
Having brunch at Ours Cafe

Suka Espresso

Known for serving some of the best carrot and chocolate cakes in Uluwatu, Suka Espresso is not only a go-to spot for cake lovers but also a fantastic place to enjoy a delicious meal.

The combination of great food and excellent coffee make Suka Espresso a must-visit.

Gooseberry Cafe

Gooseberry is one of the best restaurants in Uluwatu and is known to serve delicious food from breakfast to dinner.

Be sure to try their mouth watering fluffy pancakes and explore their dinner options for a memorable dining experience.

Other places we recommend checking out are Ulu Garden, Nourish, La Baraca, and Di Vino (previously known as Casa Asia).

No matter what you’re craving, Uluwatu’s vibrant dining scene has something to offer for every foodie. Don’t miss the chance to explore these fantastic restaurants during your visit to this beautiful part of Bali.

Delicious pancakes at Gooseberry
Mouth watering fluffy pancakes of Gooseberry

Where to Stay in Uluwatu

Uluwatu offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs, whether you’re seeking luxury, comfort, or an eco-friendly stay.

Here are some of my top recommendations for a memorable stay in this beautiful part of Bali:

The Village Bali

The Village Bali

Nestled in a tranquil setting, Village Bali provides a comfortable, budget-friendly option for travelers seeking a more authentic experience. This charming accommodation features cozy rooms, a relaxing pool area, and friendly staff, ensuring a pleasant stay in the heart of Uluwatu.

Anantara Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa

For those seeking luxury and comfort, Anantara Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa is an excellent choice.

Perched on the cliffside overlooking the Indian Ocean, this stunning resort offers a unique blend of Balinese-inspired design and modern amenities. Guests can enjoy spacious rooms, private pools, fine dining, and a world-class spa, ensuring a truly unforgettable experience.

Six Senses Uluwatu

Another luxurious option, Six Senses Uluwatu offers a spectacular setting with panoramic ocean views, exceptional service, and unparalleled attention to detail.

The resort features elegantly designed villas with private pools, a selection of top-notch restaurants, and a rejuvenating spa, providing the ultimate in relaxation and indulgence.

Gravity Eco Boutique

For travelers who prioritize sustainability without sacrificing comfort, Gravity Eco Boutique is the perfect choice.

This eco-friendly boutique hotel combines innovative design with environmentally conscious practices, offering stylish rooms and a range of amenities, including a beautiful infinity pool, lush gardens, and an on-site restaurant serving healthy, delicious cuisine.

Hopefully this complete travel guide to Uluwatu gave you tons of ideas to help you plan your trip.

Hopefully this guide to Uluwatu has helped you plan an unforgettable trip to this area. Uluwatu has it all, beautiful beaches, warm and friendly locals, plus a super chilled out vibe!

You won’t regret spending a few days here. Happy exploring!

FAQ on Uluwatu, Bali

Is Uluwatu safe?

Yes, Uluwatu is generally safe, but it’s always wise to follow basic safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings. If on a scooter, make sure your bag is tucked away under the seat.

Is Uluwatu near Seminyak?

Uluwatu is around 45 minutes to 1 hour away from Seminyak by car, depending on traffic.

Can you swim in Uluwatu beaches?

Yes, you can swim at many Uluwatu beaches, but be cautious of strong currents and tides as most of the beaches are popular for surfing.

Is Uluwatu worth going to?

Absolutely, Uluwatu is worth visiting for its stunning beaches, epic surf breaks, and cultural attractions like the Kecak dance in Uluwatu Temple.

What is Uluwatu known for?

Uluwatu is known for its beautiful beaches, world-class surf breaks, and the iconic Uluwatu Temple.

Is Canggu or Uluwatu better?

Both Canggu and Uluwatu have their unique charms; choose based on your preferences for surf, scenery, and vibe. Since our last visit, we found Canggu to be way more chaotic. Tons of traffic and busy roads which is why we prefer staying in Uluwatu.

Does Uluwatu have a nightlife?

Yes, Uluwatu has a nightlife scene, with beach clubs and bars like Single Fin, Savaya, and Ulu Cliff Garden turning into popular nightlife spots.

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