Padang-Padang beach was one of the first beaches I head right to in Bali. I read it somewhere that it is one of the secretive best beaches in Bali, though it turns out not that secretive anymore, it is still one of the best.
This beautiful beach is surrounded by big rocks and overgrown plants and monkeys. The beach is covered with huge rocks and small caves for exploration and when the tide is high, it is also good for swimming. Just beware of sharp corals and sea urchins.
If the crowd is not a problem, come here for the long sandy bays of golden sand. With all year consistent surf break, it is popular for surfers. Non-surfers come here to soak up the vibe and relax on the beach. Currents may be strong but swimming is possible with some care and sticking to the shallow waters.
Uluwatu is a coastal tourist hub popular with surfers, but there are plenty more things to do here besides.
From amazing food to lazy beach days, Uluwatu has something for every type of traveler. Here are our recommendations of the best things to do in Uluwatu.
Visit the famous Uluwatu Temple
Uluwatu Temple is one of the most visited temples in Bali, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s set on top of a high cliff, with amazing views of the ocean. There are winding paths along the coast-line which lead you to various different parts of the temple. There’s also a cobbled path along the forest, so beware of monkeys!
Be respectful when visiting any temples in Bali, and cover your knees, shoulders and chest. You can also borrow a sarong when you arrive, so don’t worry too much if you forget! I’d suggest taking a few hours to explore and make sure your camera is fully-charged as the views from this cliff-edge temple are unreal.
Check out beautiful Uluwatu beaches
There are some pretty beaches in Uluwatu that don’t offer much to surfers, but have everything any sunbather could possibly want. Thomas Beach is a beautiful place to visit if you’re after clean sand, clear waters and some peace and quiet. While it can get quite busy with tourists, it has a really chilled out vibe to it.
Bingin Beach is popular with surfers but is really nice to visit during low-tide. You can snorkel here, or just enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Most beaches in Uluwatu have some little cafes or bars dotted along them, so you’ll be able to find cold water or, realistically, cold beer!
Try our some of the best restaurants in Uluwatu
Probably one of the best things to do in every new place you visit, eating is an attraction of its own in Uluwatu. Thanks to its beachy location, there are heaps of seafood restaurants here. For cheap local food, visit Waroeng Jadul Blangkon or treat yourself to a meal at DUGONG. Bukit Café is perfect for Aussie-inspired brunches, and Café La Passion is the best pick for cozy evenings with movies, live music or just chilled vibes.
Have seafood dinner in Jimbaran
Head over to nearby Jimbaran by hiring a private driver. Your accommodation will be able to recommend someone to you, or you can use Bali’s best taxi service – BlueBird. Jimbaran is more of an upscale area of Bali than Uluwatu is, which means that it’s packed full of fancy beach restaurants. If you’re after something tasty but cheap, make your way to Bawang Merah Beachfront and wander until you find something you’re happy with.
I had to include this, just because it’s Uluwatu! If you’re new to surfing, start off with a lesson to ease yourself in to it all. Padang-Padang beach, one of the best beaches in Uluwatu, is perfect for any beginners, and there are always places to rent boards or have lessons. Take something to cover your shoulders and back (or rent/ borrow a rash-guard) and slather on the sunscreen. You’ll be out for a while and the sun gets super strong here! Of course, there are also places like Bingin Beach that offers world-class waves, but these are only for pros.
Surfing can seem pretty scary but is actually such good fun. It’s also a crazy workout for your arms, so have a snack before you go. I skipped brekkie because I was so nervous and ended up really struggling with my energy levels.
Uluwatu temple is just one venue that hosts regular Balinese dance performances. There are dances shows regularly held all over Uluwatu, so you can find one close to your accommodation if it’s easier. Dance and performance highlight the deep culture that Bali is built upon, and fire shows are just one of the amazing variations. Look out for ‘kecak’ dances, as well as ‘barong’ performances and get ready to embrace the weird and wonderful world of Balinese dance.
These dances are different to anything else in the world, and involve masks, drum music and dramatic make-up, on both men and women. I’d definitely suggest taking the time to see one of these shows, as they are truly unique to Balinese culture. Make sure you wear insect repellent, as most theatres are just outdoor spaces with some chairs or beanbags laid out.
Indulge in a Spa Session
If you’re in Bali, you need to try out a Balinese massage, and Uluwatu is a great place for some me-time. Esthetic Day Spa is a beautiful haven where the staff will ensure you’re pampered and relaxed the whole time. The service here is fantastic, and this is a wonderful place to spend an hour or two to wind down after traveling.
There are smaller spas everywhere in Uluwatu, so you can stop off by the side of the road for a quick foot massage if you fancy! The service here won’t be what you’re used to back home, so don’t expect a private room and utter silence. These little places tend to be more laid-back and there’s normally some chatting and giggling going on, which makes it quite fun.
As with pretty much anywhere in Bali, yoga is very popular in Uluwatu. Head to Morning Light Yoga Studio to stretch out your body. There is a really lovely spiritual side to yoga here, which is partly thanks to all the movies and books about ‘finding yourself’ that is set in Bali. It’s also just a great way to wind down, focus your mind and work your muscles. Traveling can wreak havoc on your body, with time-zone struggles, heavy bags and uncomfortable journeys. Uluwatu is the perfect place to soothe your soothe, look after your body and check in with yourself.
Single Fin Beachgets pretty busy on Sunday nights, so head here for pizza and Bintangs in the evening. There are also other, unofficial nights around Uluwatu if you want to get out and meet new people. Café La Passion offers tasty Mexican and Italian food, as well as brilliant live music nights. If you’re after something a bit livelier, Summer Waroenglooks small from the road but has a huge outdoor area with amazing reggae nights on Tuesdays. Equally, grabbing a couple of cold beers and making your way to the nearest beach tends to work pretty well, too.
Take a day trip to nearby Ubud and explore the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary! Ubud is a quirky, super popular place to visit full of artists. If you fancy getting some shopping in, Ubud is the place to do it. There’s a long street of market stalls, so you can load up on sarongs, jewelry and souvenirs to take home.
The Royal Palace is also well worth visiting if you have time, and is pretty central to Ubud. There are loads of great little cafes, restaurants and gelato stalls all over the centre! Give yourself a day to wander around and explore.
If you are looking for Uluwatu beach, then you are looking at this beautiful corner of southwest Bali, with some of the best beaches around. This area is well known for one of the best temples in Bali, Pura Luhur Uluwatu or Uluwatu Temple. This temple perched at the edge of the rock overlooking the sea, leaving a deep impression to those who visit it.
Besides visiting this majestic temple, there are actually a lot of places to discover in Uluwatu. One of the activities if of course checking out many beautiful beaches around here. Many of the spots are popular with the surfers, but some of the beaches are also great for swimming and just lying under the sun.
This beach top the list of best beaches in Bali for its secrecy. This small and quiet beach need to be accessed through local villages, where cattle graze the fields and local people go about their daily lives. The currents here are strong and the waves are high, therefore it is usually not recommended for swimming. But when the tide is low, it is a perfect beach for strolling, with waves lapping your feet as you enjoy the sun. One of the famous hotel in Bali is located at this beach, the RIMBA Jimbaran Bali by AYANA *
Located close to Uluwatu temple, this is a beautiful beach with big rock, overgrown plants and monkeys. To get here, you would need to pass a narrow passage and steep steps. Becuase of this, this beach is still somewhat of a hidden paradise. When the tide is high, it is good for swimming but beware of sharp corals and sea urchings. A luxurious villa that faces this beautiful secret beach is the Suarga Padang-Padang *. While an alternative affordable option would be the Pinkcoco Bali *
Mossy rocks at Padang-padang beach, Bali. Photo by indrabastari
Nyang Nyang Beach
Yet another relatively unknown beach in Bali, Uluwatu seems to keep all of them. This beach also requires some effort to get to, with going uphill and downhill a winding street and through a small forest. As there is quite a slippery 550 steps down, it is not recommended for children. The effort is well worth it though when you find yourself on white sandy beach with crystal blue sea. There are not many tourists here usually and instead, you will find the locals harvesting seaweed. You may swim when the tide is low. Being such a secluded beach, it is not surprising to find that the only few places to stay around here, with top options are the luxurious Bulgari Resort Bali * with its own elevator down to the beach and the further afield Alila Villas Uluwatu *
Well known to the locals, this beach provides good waves for surfers while also provide an opportunity to swim. There are many local bars, warungs and cafes here along with the many homestays to choose from. Though not the most beautiful beach, it still provides a good enough sun and sea experience. There are also big slippery rocks around here when the tide is out, so be careful. A good luxurious option here would be Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort * while Sal Secret Spot is an excellent mid-range option that is walking distance from the beach.
As you can see, Uluwatu beach would mean a myriad of beaches dotted around Uluwatu area. These beaches listed here are definitely worth a visit if you are in Bali. They are out off the usual beaten tracks of Bali despite their beauty.
Best Accommodations in Uluwatu Area
If you wish to stay in Uluwatu area, you will be spoilt for choices. There are a number of very good reviews hotel, bed & breakfasts and homestays around here.