Information before you go
The stunning Ulu Watu temple or Pura Luhur Uluwatu as the locals call it, is located right on an edge of a cliff on the southern tip of the Badung Peninsula. This sea temple is one of the five temples dedicated to the gods who guard the sea.
The other four Hindu sea temples, Tanah Lot, Pura Sekenan, Pura Rambut Siwi and Pura Petitenget are all found along the south coast as well.
The temple of Ulu Watu is not as impressive as other Balinese temples, but the cliffs dropping 100 metres into the clear Indian Ocean create a dramatic and amazing setting on the edge of the Bukit Peninsula.
Uluwatu Temple, a must to see...
Because of its remote location not that people come to visit the temple but if you are able to find time to drive there, you should. You’ll be surprised what you are going to find.
Everybody who visits this place of worship must wear a sarong and a temple scarf which can be obtained while paying the entrance fee which is considered as a small donation to the temple.
Before arriving at the actual Uluwatu temple you have to walk a couple of metres past colonies of macaque monkeys. Some say that they can be really aggressive. I am not sure what was up when I was there, but the monkeys hardly showed any interest.
Climbing up the stairs
We thought that the drive from Jalan Legian in Kuta Beach to Jalan Raya Uluwatu would be really quick but our planning didn't’t really work out and before we realized it the sun was burning straight on our heads. The sea breeze was not even able to cool us off. So try to visit the temple in the morning or late afternoon...
And beware you have to climb 71 stairs before you reach the temple.
The temple was built in the 16th century by Danghyang Nirartha, a Javanese Hindu priest who fled to Bali after the Majapahit kingdom collapsed in Java due to the influence of the Islam. It is said that Nirartha achieved enlightenment at Ulu Watu.
But the story does not stop here...
A Balinese legend describes how the gods of the Majapahit kingdom followed their people when they fled from Java to Bali. The ship of Dewi Danu, the goddess of water, finally arrived at Uluwatu.
Once she touched the shore, a cliff rose hundred meters up on which the temple now stands. The pointy cliff reflects the bow of her ship.
The cliff from the left angle
As mentioned before the name of the temple is Pura Luhur Ulu Watu, ‘Ulu’ means 'head'; ‘Watu’ means 'rock' and ‘Luhur’ is a combined description of the words 'heavenly, ancestral, original and inspiring'.
The temple is made from coral and therefore the temple must have been sparkling white once. But due to many centuries of erosion it has now its current dark color.
The meru with the 3 roofs standing on the edge of the cliff is dedicated to Shiva, the Destroyer.
About a century ago only the Prince of Badung was allowed to enter the temple however he was killed by the Dutch during the ‘puputan’ in 1906. It is still maintained by the royal Denpasar family but is owned by the Balinese people who come to pray here.
Especially Balinese fishers come here who worship Dewi Laut, the Sea Goddess.
You can walk around the whole temple complex except for the ‘jeroan’, the inner most courtyard. This area is off limits to non-worshippers but can be viewed from the side. On both sides of the temple there are paths along the ridge of the cliff.
If you take the path to the right and walk past the ‘bale’ where you can sit in the shade for a while, you will finally end up at the edge of another cliff from where you can take amazing pictures of the temple, the cliffs and the Indian Ocean.
On the left side of the the temple there is an open-air theater where every night at 6 pm you can witness a kecak and fire dance performance at sunset making the temple even more astonishing.
The beaches at the southern tip of Bali are excellent for surfing. Surfers of all levels come here to paddle through the emerald blue water to catch the amazing waves...Read more
Locally known as Suluban beach, but famous as Uluwatu beach this tiny surf village is the place to be to enjoy the atmosphere, the waves and the stunning ocean views...Read more
Do you really want to learn all about surfing besides being able to stand on the board? Join a surf camp and learn in a fun way all the ins and outs about surfing.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
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