Information before you go
Uluwatu, locally known as Suluban, is just one of the many tiny villages in Bali but like other places on the island, it attracts a huge crowd. As many travel stories go, this tiny village was first discovered by die hard surfers in the early 70s who made a small documentary about it called 'Morning of the Earth'. Soon after more surfers flocked here and today this little piece of Bali is visited by all kind of travelers from around the world. International surfing events are held here regularly.
At first there wasn't much, which was OK since surfers just needed spectacular waves and on-site ding repair. Besides the waves Uluwatu also became known for its amazing cliff beach from where you can look miles on end over the blue ocean.
Today it can pretty crowded nevertheless the whole setting is very relaxed. People who come here go either to surf or to watch the surfers catch the dazzling waves.
So as you can imagine, we highly recommend you going there. Whether it is to stay a couple of days or just for a quick visit. Non surfers will love it too. If the tide is right you are even to jump in and swim in the clear emerald water.
Unfortunately Uluwatu is not an exception when it comes to negative tourism impacts. This area of Bali isn't one of the richest and the land isn't ideal for agriculture. So as you can imagine the people are quite poor here.
So once Uluwatu was placed on the tourist map, local people started to build little warungs and accommodation for the first travel adventurers. Numbers of visitors soon increased which resulted in waste piling up. It became even so bad that surfers had to walk through the rubbish before they could reach the reef.
Additionally, outside investors had also arrived to take up their share of this place. Where once you could only find local restaurants and accommodation, today bigger development projects are taking place so Uluwatu can receive an even bigger crowd.
Something this little beach is probably not waiting for.
Luckily these negative impacts have troubled many and great initiatives to tackle the problems have been implemented, particularly by the Clean Uluwatu Project. This project has created facilities to manage the trash and educate locals and visitors on maintaining the beauty of this place. So let's hope that the awareness among locals, travelers and investors will increase so Suluban can maintain its charm and perhaps even be a bit like it was in the 1970's (we might be too hopeful here....)
Crucial initiatives to conserve the beauty of the area...
Getting to Uluwatu is pretty straight forward. It is located in the Pecatu district of the Bukit area south of Bali. If you head towards Jimbaran you will soon find yourself on a main road called Jalan Uluwatu. Just follow this road up and down the hills, past the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park and eventually you will see signs pointing you to the Uluwatu temple. One of the most important temples of the island.
The road will then lead you to Uluwatu beach, also known as Suluban beach. The signs are all pretty obvious since the temple is a popular sight to visit.
Once you arrive you will need to park your car or motorbike at the dirt road. There are a couple of ladies sitting under the shade who will ask you for a parking fee. Unsure if they are really officially appointed to collect parking money or it is for them a easy way to earn some money, we just pay. We don't really mind paying considering it is only a couple of thousand rupiah and if you are able to help the locals in some way, then why not.
Then comes the toughest part. The stairs. They lead you straight to the action. For those who dread stairs this can be considered a pretty sweaty exercise. Just take your time, and remember that once you arrive you will be rewarded.
Unfortunately or should I say luckily there is no other way to get there or leave, so be prepared for a short climb once you head back.
Since everything is built on the rocks of the cliffs, Uluwatu consists of one narrow path from where you can climb up smaller stairs to certain restaurants and accommodation. Car and motorbikes are out of the question here, making it pretty unique. In the beginning it might feel like a maze but there are enough people who are happy to show you where to go.
There is not doubt about it, surfing is the main and pretty much the only thing you can do here. This place is considered to have perfect waves, 5 to be exact called Temples, Bombie, The Peak, Outside Corner and Racetrack. These waves are one of the most consistent of Bali and therefore hard to resist for surfers.
Despite these tempting waves, this isn't the place for beginners. There are dangerous times and spots to surf and only experienced surfers should venture into the water with their boards.
For those who aren't part of this 'club' you can of course still enjoy Uluwatu.
There are numerous places where you can have the best spot to watch the surfers tackle the high waves. And if the tide is right you can also walk down through the cave that leads you to the water edge. Here you will find a crystal clear ocean pool that will make you think that you have just entered one of the scenes of 'The Blue Lagoon'. Make sure you don't miss out on it!
Besides the beach itself, Uluwatu can easily be combined with a visit to the ancient Balinese temple Pura Ulu Watu, which stands majestically on a cliff.
We usually have lunch in Uluwatu and then continue for a relaxing swim at Padang Padang beach followed by dinner at Balangan or Jimbaran beach. Other beaches you can easily visit nearby are Greenbowl, Nyang Nyang and Bingin beach. All three great for experienced surfers.
The distances aren't too far so if you want to go beach hopping then it is easily done if you have your own transportation.
You don't have to worry about not finding a place to eat. Restaurants and local warungs are found along the little street of Uluwatu. We usually choose the restaurant that at that specific moment has a table with the best view.
We aren't really picky considering most menus offer typical yet delicious local food such as nasi goreng, nasi campur, mie goreng and not to forget banana pancake.
If you are traveling on a budget and you don't need a lot of luxury then there are many types ofaccommodation scattered along the main road nearby Uluwatu or in the village itself. You can find yourself a place for around 15-20USD.
For a little bit more comfort there is enough choice as well along the main road, some of them are just walking distance to Uluwatu such as the mid-range Bali Bule Homestay, The Gong and Kenanga Inn.
As mentioned earlier the area has become popular among luxury travelers as well. Scattered around the cliffs you can find villas that offer accommodation for a price that will blow you away.
If you are looking for something in that category then there is a lot to choose from. Do make sure you check exactly where these villas are located. If you really want to be close to the famous waves, then accommodation such as Allila Uluwatu and Bulgari Hotel and Resort might not be an option. They are located in the southern most tip of Pecatu.
Heading to Uluwatu? Why not go for a quick stop at the other nearby beaches. We have listed these beautiful beaches so you can easily choose which one to visit...Read more
Do you just want to grab a board and join the surfers catch the spectacular waves? If you have never surfed before why not learn it under professional guidance...Read more
This temple is one of the most important temples on the island. It not only attracts many visitors every day but a group of monkeys have made it their home.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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