The coastline of the Bukit Peninsula in southern Bali, Indonesia is distinctly different than other parts of the tropical island. Rather than long swaths of flat sandy beaches, sheer rock cliffs rise from the waters. Settled atop the steep rock at the western end of the peninsula is Uluwatu – a less-developed tourist region of Bali. Only a holiday destination since the 1970s when surfers happened upon the epic swells along the northern shore, Uluwatu has since seen a surge of visitors. Although it is indisputably a surf mecca, we can assure you there are more things to do in Uluwatu than just ride waves.
What To Do in Uluwatu if You Don’t Surf
Experienced surfers have no worries of what to do in Uluwatu, Bali. Over our week long visit, we witnessed set after set of impressive and consistently surfable waves. Without a doubt, surfing should rank #1 on every list of Top Things To Do in Uluwatu (as it does on our list!). However, there are other Uluwatu attractions that don’t require a surfboard and as non-surfers ourselves, we were fully entertained by the number of things to do!
Things To Do in Uluwatu
This Uluwatu travel guide can be used by visitors who are just spending a few hours on the Bukit Peninsula or a few days. To assist other travelers in finding these awesome Uluwatu, Bali things to do, we’ve included a helpful map at the end of the post – as well as a few other essential Uluwatu tips!
#1 Surf Uluwatu
When talking about the best things to do in Uluwatu, it would be remiss to not put surfing at the top of the list. As tourism in grew from the initial influx of surfers in the 70s, the surf culture has become intertwined with Uluwatu. But surfing in Uluwatu isn’t entertainment exclusive to board riders; it’s a spectator sport, too. Although I have zero interest in riding waves, watching the scene unfold is mesmerizing.
Cliffside and beachfront warungs (shops/cafes) offer incredible vantage points for non-surfers and photogs to watch the action on the waves. We spent hours in waterfront seats with our eyes glued to the surfers, anticipating the next set of waves – just like they were. We would crane our necks to watch surfers catch a long ride…and cheered or winced when a surfer would make a impressive maneuver or awkward wipeout.
#2 Explore the best Uluwatu Beaches
One of our favorite things to do in Uluwatu was explore the numerous beaches. From the clifftop, beaches in Uluwatu can only be accessed by steep – often shoddy – staircases. Although all are within close proximity, each beach had its own distinct vibe. While the most popular beaches have become Uluwatu tourist attractions, others are untouched and natural. We think the unique beaches are one of the top things to see in Uluwatu. For more about the beaches in Uluwatu, read our complete Uluwatu guide on The Best Uluwatu Beach, Bali, Indonesia.
#3 Watch a stunning Uluwatu Sunset
Watching the sunset from the top of the cliff should be on every Uluwatu To-Do list – there isn’t a better elevated vista in all of Bali than the perch in Uluwatu. With abundant west-facing coastline, there are plenty of places to grab a seat for the daily show of the setting sun. The most popular Uluwatu sunset bar is Single Fin, which sits at the top of the cliff above Suluban Beach, but we skipped it at sunset in favor of less crowded places…with less expensive beers.
Directly below Single Fin is Warung Viky, which has about 10 northwest-facing seats crawling up the cliffside on the far side of the restaurant. Ideal for both sunset and surf-watching, the beers at Viky are ice-cold – and they have an in-house, free-to-customer toilet. Below Warung Viky is Surya Café, which has oceanfront tables and a bench and chairs with sunset views (but no toilets).
Another one of our favorite spots for Uluwatu sunset is Sunset Point , which is south of Suluban Beach. Strewn with hammocks, swings and bean bags, the spacious cliff-top Sunset Point feels more like going to a popular friend’s backyard. For the best sunset view, head up the stairs to the bar’s rooftop deck. Even if you can’t make it for sunset, Sunset Point is one of the best places in Uluwatu to chill out and take in the sea views.
Top Tip: We preferred to watch sunset from the top of the cliff (because we didn’t want to have to climb up the stairs in the dark!), but if you are looking for an Uluwatu, Bali sunset beach, we heard Bingin Beach and Dreamland also have amazing sunset views.
#4 Visit the famous Uluwatu Temple
The famous cliffside temple, Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is one of the top places to visit in Uluwatu. The Balinese Hindu temple sits 230 feet above the water on the cliff’s edge. Although it is a popular tourist destination, it is also one of the most important temples for Balinese Hindus. Uluwatu Temple is busiest at sunset and the traditional Kecak Dance is performed in an outdoor theater daily as the sun goes down.
The Uluwatu Temple can be visited on your own or on a tour. There is a fee to enter the temple, as well as a fee to watch the Kecak performance. A note of warning: beware of the Macaque monkeys that live at the temple – they are sneaky and quick to snatch bags and phones from unsuspecting tourists.
#5 Eat delectable fare at Uluwatu Restaurants
There are many choices when it comes to places to eat in Uluwatu. We dined on scrumptious cuisine, devouring both traditional Indonesian fare and surprisingly tasty Western food. Most of the restaurants in Uluwatu offer affordable meals in open air establishments. We avoided eating at resorts, preferring instead to dine at the restaurants that line the main roads. Our recommended Uluwatu restaurants are the places we ate the best food in Uluwatu. Restaurant locations are indicated on the Uluwatu map below!
Where to Eat in Uluwatu
Nyoman Local Food – Family-run Nyoman Local Food warung was our favorite spot for indulgent Indonesian dishes and we ate here more than once during our stay in Uluwatu. The seating area – complete with a boat table – has a quaint, backyard feel to it, even though it faces the main road. Recommended Dish: Ayam Goreng, which is fried chicken with rice. Note: I would pass on the salty Mie Goreng here, but the Nasi Goreng was one of the best we tried!
Jeffry Café – Just a few doors down from Nyoman, Jeffry Café has an impressive menu of affordable meals. Equally impressive was the incredible service we received by the friendly staff of women. Recommended Dish: The Breakfast Burrito for filling comfort food and the Tempe Burger (traditional Indonesian soybean product) for a taste of something local.
Suka Espresso – This hopping spot is known for incredible breakfast food, but the dinner we ate at Suka Espresso was one of our top meals in Uluwatu. In the evening, candles create a cozy atmosphere. Recommended Dish: Seared Ahi Tuna Bowl.
La Baracca Uluwatu – There is no better place for pizza in Uluwatu than La Baracca. The wait was well worth it for the tasty pies (but make a reservation if you want to be guaranteed a seat). We loved the shabby chic décor, and without a reservation we ate on the patio railing which provided an opportunity to meet others. Recommended Dishes: Pizza – any pizza. You won’t be disappointed!
Bondi Grill’e Uluwatu – If you want a burger while in Uluwatu, Bondi Grill’e is the place to go to satisfy your craving. The hip and casual spot offers a range of gourmet burgers (with an included choice of beef patty or grilled chicken breast) – and every burger comes with fries! Recommended Dish: Pipeline Chicken Burger and Bacon and Cheese Beef Burger.
Bukit Café – Perhaps a bit more expensive than other places in Uluwatu, the food at Bukit Café is fresh and well-presented – and the portions are big. A great spot for any meal of the day – or just to pop into for a refreshing juice smoothie. Recommended Dish: The extensive menu has something for everyone, but don’t miss the Specials Board! We had the daily special chicken tacos, which were incredible!
Kelly’s Warung – Bingin Beachfront Kelly’s is one of the most stylish warungs in Uluwatu. The chill space welcomes lingerers and surf-watchers – and the simple menu includes fresh juices and light fare, which is perfect for a day at the beach. Recommended Dish: The wraps were surprisingly good – and don’t miss out on the smoothies!
#6 Relax at an Uluwatu Spa
Unwind with an Uluwatu spa treatment at one of the region’s wellness centers. Most spas offer a range of services, but I highly recommend partaking in a traditional Balinese massage. For the best massage in Uluwatu, try one of the highly-rated Uluwatu spas; read reviews here!
#7 Tip back a few Bintangs at Uluwatu Bars
Uluwatu nightlife may not be as notorious as in Kuta and Seminyak, but there are a sufficient number of bars in Uluwatu where tourists can tip back a few Bintang beers at the end of the day. The legendary Single Fin Beach Bar Uluwatu is a hot hangout for surfers and tourists. With DJs spinning from sunset onward, Single Fin always has a crowd. On Mondays and Thursdays, Ulu Garden entertains with live Reggae bands. Resorts, like Cliffhouse, often host themed party nights with DJs or live music. Look for signs and flyers around town for details of where and when.
For more low-key drinking establishments, every warung and restaurant doubles as a bar. For our favorites, look at the above-mentioned sunset spots, which also happen to be fantastic places for sipping a cold beer anytime, day or night. Another fun (and inexpensive) ‘bar’ is the local liquor store, AngelMartz, that has a few tables out front and offers shisha (hooka) as well.
Budget Tip: Like elsewhere in the world, the price of drinks is inflated at resorts and popular bars. For example, at both Viky and Surya, Large Bintang beers cost 40K IDR ($2.75 USD), while at Single Fin a small Bintang beer costs 45K IDR ($3 USD). Many establishments offer happy hour cocktail specials, but be aware, these drinks are usually made with low quality alcohol.
Use this link for our Things To Do Uluwatu, Bali Map.
Top Uluwatu Tips for your Bali Trip
We have a few more tips for your Uluwatu trip!
Uluwatu, Bali Accommodation
There are many places to stay in Uluwatu that range from luxury Uluwatu beach accommodation to bare essential Uluwatu accommodation budget rooms. During our visit to Uluwatu, we stayed at D’Padang Homestay. What we liked best about D’Padang was the ideal location (that put us within walking distance of most Uluwatu sights), the two on-site refreshing swimming pools and the overall affordability. Our breakfast was included with our room and we enjoyed getting to know the friendly staff. We especially loved playing with Poke, the adorable puppy who resides at D’Padang.
Uluwatu: Where to Stay
When determining the best accommodations for your trip, consider price, location and amenities. The area’s extravagant resorts have all the bells and whistles, but come with a high price tag, too. The least expensive places to stay often have shared rooms and no air conditioning. We recommend starting your search for the perfect Uluwatu accommodations for your trip on Booking.com – like we do!
Getting Around Uluwatu
Uluwatu taxis are expensive and not always available. Many visitors opt to rent scooters to get around Uluwatu, as it is the most efficient mode of transport. However, for those unfamiliar riding a scooter, most of the sights in Uluwatu can be reached on foot. We decided not to rent scooters and were able to get most places on our own without the need of hailing a cab. When we did need a cab, we made sure to negotiate the price before getting in the car. Short rides ranged in cost from 50K to 100K ($3.50 to $7 USD).
Getting There: Canggu to Uluwatu
We arrived in Uluwatu from Canggu – and the cab ride between the two destinations cost 350K ($24 USD). Considering it took us three hours to make the trip in Bali’s horrendous traffic, we thought the fee for the ride was well earned. Fellow travelers riding scooters said they made the trip in about two hours. For day trippers, there are private day tours that visit the Uluwatu highlights that you can book in advance of your trip.
Looking To Plan Your Bali Itinerary?
- Don’t forget your beach essentials! Make sure you bring good sunscreen, a wide-brimmed travel hat, polarized sunglasses and insect repellent for your Bali trip.
- Uluwatu is walkable…but only if you have the right shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Sanuk.
- We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip – and if you want good pictures of surfers, you will need a camera with a good lens. We travel with a Canon Rebel and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
- Want videos from the water? Invest in a GoPro for your trip – or a similar (less expensive!) waterproof action camera.
- It’s always a good idea to have a guidebook when visiting a foreign country!
- We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
We want to know: What would you add to our list of things to do in Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia? Give us your best tips and advice for things to do around Uluwatu in the comments below!
Like what you’re reading? Join the journey!
Subscribe to JetSetting Fools and get new blog posts and our quarterly newsletter direct to your inbox:
Pin it! See all of our travel pins on our JetSetting Fools Pinterest Board.