Updated: Jul 11, 2020
Uluwatu is more quiet and off the beaten path than the more touristy places like Canggu or Denpasar. Without a doubt though, this was an area with the most beautiful beaches, clifftops and sunsets we saw while in Bali. Located about a 40 minute scooter drive away from Denpasar, you can easily access Uluwatu's beauties in no time! However, the roads leading to each place can be pretty spread out so take a look below at some of the things to help create your Uluwatu Itinerary.
How to get to Uluwatu
Uluwatu is located at the bottom coast of Bali. It is about a 45 minute drive from the airport and 1.5 hours from Canggu or Kuta. Our favorite way of getting around was by motorbike (75,000 IDR per day), but you can also hire Grabs or taxis (175,000 IDR from airport). Keep in mind that in Denpasar, the traffic can be pretty crazy so please be careful and responsible when using the bikes here.
Top Things to Do in Uluwatu
Uluwatu Temple, otherwise known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is one of Bali's 6 key temples and known for its perfect location for sunsets. It is located on the cliff side of Uluwatu 70 meters above the waves of the Indian Ocean down below. The daily Kecak dance perfomance is also held at an amphitheater nearby the Uluwatu Temple. The entrance fee is 50,000 IDR per person (Just under 3 USD :)). Don't miss an evening visiting this beautiful temple, but beware of the monkeys. They are believed to be the guardians of the temple, but really you should be the guardian of your brand new sunnies because the monkeys will steal them in a heartbeat.
Fun Fact: ulu means tip/top while watu stands for stone in Balinese.
Kecak Fire Dance
The Kecak Fire Dance is a traditional Balinese dance show that is performed every evening at the amphitheater within the Uluwatu Temple. The amphitheater is right on the edge of the cliff facing the Indian Ocean overlooking the ocean and a great spot for sunset. The tickets sell out pretty quickly though so we recommend getting your tickets and claiming your seats before it fills up. The show starts at 6pm. Entrance fee is 50,000 per person.
Fun Fact: No Drones are allowed here.
Karang Boma Cliff
Our favorite sunset spot by far! This was a less talked about location when we asked around of things to do in Bali. We are so happy we added it to our list because the sunset is truly magical. Karang Boma is located very close to Uluwatu Temple at just another 5 minutes scooter drive away. Take a blanket or even a bottle of wine and treat yourself to a super peaceful sunset here. It wasn't over crowded when we got there, and everyone was sat quietly respecting the moment.
Fun Fact: no entrance fee!
View at Pantai Tegal Wangi
This one was a little harder for us to find, but all worth the effort. The mountain cliff view is located near the Pantai Tegal Wangi Temple. The road you drive along will make you feel like you’re going the wrong direction because there isn’t much else around. After we arrived at the temple we were a little confused. The temple was locked up and there was no one in sight. Hop off your bike and follow the path around the corner towards the edge of the cliff. Walk closer to the water and you will find a small dirt path that wraps around the edge of the cliff and as you continue walking around the trees, you will come up to see this beautiful beach down below.
Cave at Pantai Tegal Wangi
From the mountain cliff mentioned above you will see small stairs leading to a lower part of the cliff. You can follow the rocks down until you reach the almost secluded beach. As you walk along the beach, you will find two caves -- the first one is smaller and narrow and the one in the back is way bigger with a large opening of the water. The caves are perfect for a little picnic or protection from the sun for an afternoon nap. If you are visiting this beach during high tide you can hop in one of the natural pools right on the edge of the sand.
Fun fact: keep an eye out for bats! We spotted a new born hanging from the cave ceiling.
Surf in Uluwatu
Uluwatu is a world class surf spot for people from all over the world. Some of the waves should be reserved for the experienced surfers bu there are plenty of nearby beaches to go and surf up. If you are looking to catch the smaller waves, try Padang Padang beach.
Eat, Pray, Love at Padang Padang Beach
Padang-Padang beach is actually a very small sandy bay located near Uluwatu Temple. It is growing more and more popular due to its feature in Eat, Pray, Love (yeah, we love it too). We didn't stay here long because it was a bit overcrowded for the size, and left for its neighboring beach Thomas. Entrance fee is 10,000 IDR.
Relax at Thomas Beach
Thomas Beach can sometimes be confused for Padang Padang as even the signs and locals still called it by both names. Our guess is that the beaches are so close together its just mixed as one. It is located at the bottom of many steep stairs, but the beach is beautiful and can be found on Maps.me. You can enjoy a smoothie bowl or fresh coconut while you watch the waves softly hit the shore. No Entrance fee.
Fun Fact: this was perfect for lounging as it offers beach chair rentals for only 100,000 IDR. I am sure you can bargain that down for a lower price as well.
The Surfing Alternative at Suluban Beach
This is one of the more popular beaches to visit when in Uluwatu. This is also very close to the Uluwatu cliff. The beach is a short 10 minute walk down concrete stairs and you will arrive to see souvenir shops, cute cafes and and surf rental shops. The parking fee for scooters are 5,000 IDR
Grab a drink at Omnia
Did I mention there are clifftops? Some of the best hotels and accommodations are located down in Uluwatu and overlooking the water on cliff views. If you are looking for a great cocktail and beautiful sunset points, there are plenty in Uluwatu. Our favorite spot was Omnia Day Club Bali. The bar and music is fantastic and modernly shaped over the water. This is a bit more luxury but the structure of this bar was irresistible. Opens at 11am. Entrance fee 200,000 per person. Check their page out for DJ lineups.
Bali has been a tourism hot spot for quite a few years now. Even with Indonesia being the most predominately Muslim country, and therefore very religious, it is vastly becoming influenced by Western culture. With that being said we didn't experience any problems being LGBT and traveling throughout Uluwatu. We were a bit more cautious though being aware of the culture/religion as we didn't want to offend anyone, but overall it felt safe and friendly. Not to mention the sunsets could easily resemble the colors of the rainbow *wink wink*
Bali is widely influenced by Western tourism which has its pros and cons. In the major tourist areas, we did not feel any looks towards us being a lesbian couple. Bali and Uluwatu were gay-friendly, however, when you do move into the more local areas, you should be respectful of their religious customs and refrain from PDA. A lot of the businesses in Uluwatu are overrun by foreigners so it does inherently make it more welcoming towards the LGBT community. When we went out to any of the day clubs, we were very much ourselves and "couple-y." We held hands and were very close to each other when we went out. We actually found further up in Seminyak, there are a ton of LGBT owned restaurants, accommodations and nightclubs.
Uluwatu was one of the lesser talked about destinations in Bali. However, I think these were some of our favorite day trips! Grab a scooter and hit the coast you won't be disappointed in what you stumble upon.