Synonymous with surfing, Uluwatu is home to some of the most famous and consistent waves in Bali. Most come to watch the surfers, or to catch the waves themselves, at the foot of the Bukit Peninsula. Located 70-metres above sea level on a dramatic limestone cliff, Uluwatu is a magical place to explore the town’s famous temple and watch the sunset over the turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
The tiny village of Uluwatu first found fame when a group of surfers in the 1970s discovered the surf and made a documentary called, The Morning of the Earth, bringing this small slice of paradise to international attention. Until then, the local Balinese had never seen surfing before and were completely bemused. Today, the area attracts surfers from all over the world and international events are held here on a regular basis.
Aside from the waves, Uluwatu, which is located on top of the limestone cliffs of Bukit Peninsula at Bali’s southern-most tip, is also renown for Uluwatu Temple, the clifftop temple. This is one of the island’s holiest temples, one of seven sea temples said to form a ‘chain’ around the island to protect Bali from evil sea spirits. There are hundreds of monkeys living on the site, in a small forest in front of the temple, who are thought to guard the holy building from malevolent forces. The fact that the cliffs below have suffered little erosion over the years, is believed to be evidence of the divine power that protects Uluwatu Temple. Facing westwards, the sunsets here are spectacular and we suggest you visit in the early evening when a traditional Kecak dance is performed against the fiery backdrop.
With the surfers came the developers and you will find a good range of accommodation, bars, cafes and restaurants along the clifftops. We think Uluwatu is a wonderful place to kick back and look out over the ocean. It’s also a welcome place to recover if you’ve just walked up the steep stairs leading down to the beach. Be warned though, this isn’t an area for inexperienced surfers and swimming can be dangerous. Given this, we suggest heading to nearby Padang Padang Beach for some beach life, where you can swim in gentle blue waters and relax on golden soft sands.