The Uluwatu Temple and the secret beach of Uluwatu, my favourite spot in southern Bali
I spent two weeks visiting southern Bali and what I liked best was the Uluwatu area, especially the Uluwatu Temple and the Uluwatu beaches. During these two weeks I rented a motorbike and visited the most touristy areas in the south of Bali; such as the beaches of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, the hipster quarter of Canggu and the Tanah Lot temple north of Canggu.
Although all these areas are not bad, it is also true that I found them too touristy and not very impressive. I didn’t find anything that left me with my mouth open and with that thought of: “it was worth coming to Bali”.
But I loved the spectacular sea views from the Uluwatu temple and the quiet beaches around it. I even inadvertently discovered what appeared to be a small secret beach. Here I tell you about my experience and explain everything you need to know about the Uluwatu area.
South Bali – The Uluwatu Temple
Where is it and what deity is it dedicated to?
The Uluwatu Temple, also called the Pure Luhur Uluwatu, is a Balinese Hindu temple located south of Kuta on the Bukit Peninsula, the southernmost part of Bali. The temple is dedicated to Acintya, the supreme god of Indonesian Hinduism, equivalent to the Brahman god of Indian Hinduism. In Balinese Hinduism, it is believed that all gods, goddesses and existence are the manifestation of Acintya.
The Uluwatu Temple is considered one of the six Sad Kahyangan or the “six sanctuaries of the world”, which are the six holiest places of worship in Bali. According to Balinese beliefs, they are the focal points of the island, and are intended to provide a spiritual balance to Bali.
What characterizes the Uluwatu Temple?
The most remarkable feature of the Uluwatu Temple is that it is built on the edge of a 70-meter high cliff overlooking the sea. Actually, the name Uluwatu means “on the edge of the rock”. That’s why it’s best to go and watch the sunset over the beautiful views from the temple.
Another curiosity of the temple is that it is inhabited by monkeys (Macaco crab), which are famous, of course, for stealing the belongings of visitors. They are so used to stealing that they have even learned the art of bartering so if they steal something you can try to get it back in exchange for fruit.
Price and schedule
The temple is open from 9:00 to 18:00 and the entrance costs only 30 thousand Indonesian rupees (2 euros). You can visit the surroundings of the temple, but you cannot enter the temple itself. A peculiarity of Indonesia is that only those temples are allowed to enter that you are going to pray to.
Kecak Dance Performance
During your visit to Uluwatu temple you can also enjoy a Kecak dance show, a traditional Balinese dance originally performed by one hundred men who arrange themselves in a circle and dance by moving their arms and torso. The performance takes place daily at 6pm on the cliff side with the sunset and the sea as a backdrop. If you want to see the dance you have to pay 100 thousand Indonesian rupees (5.7 euros).
How do I get to Uluwatu Temple?
The best way to go to the temple is to rent a motorcycle or a car, although if you don’t like to drive, you can also go by taxi. The temple is quite far from the center of Kuta. In my case, I stayed in the Canggu area, it took me an hour to get there and from Kuta you can take about 45 minutes.
When to visit Uluwatu Temple?
Any time of year is good for visiting Bali and the Uluwatu temple. April to October is the dry season is undoubtedly the best time to travel to Bali, although be prepared to meet masses of tourists. November to March is the monsoon season and although there is rain, it does not usually last all day. Also, there are far fewer tourists so this is not a bad option if you want to be more relaxed.
Where to stay in the Uluwatu area?
If you are looking for affordable prices, for 36 euros the double room you can stay at Blue Point Bay Villas & Spa in the Suluban beach area and with good sea views. Along the Padang Padang beach and for even tighter wallets you can stay at Katuh Manak Guest House for only 20 euros per night for a double room.
Finally, if you don’t skimp on expenses and want a room with a view of the sea, you can take a look at Dreamsea Bali, where you can sleep for 80 euros a night in a double room right on the beach.
South Bali – The best beaches in Uluwatu
Which beaches to visit in Uluwatu?
The beaches of Uluwatu are quite hidden so they tend to be quieter than other areas of Bali, although don’t expect to find empty beaches either, that’s almost impossible in Bali. They are also good areas for surfing so there are usually quite a few surfers. Basically, there are three beaches that stand out in the area of Uluwatu: Suluban beach, Padang Padang, Dreamland. For many these 3 beaches are among the top 10 beaches in Bali.
1. Suluban Beach
Near the Uluwatu Temple is Suluban Beach, also called Blue Point. At the entrance you can leave your bike in a parking lot for 1000 rupees (5 euro cents) and to enter the beach you have to pay 10.000 rupees (0.50 euro). It is true that it is quite annoying to pay to enter a beach, but it is also true that the price is insignificant and it is a small benefit that the locals stay.
The beach is accessed by going down some steps (almost as if you were going into a cave) that end up in a small beach surrounded by large rocks. On the left, between one of those rocks, there is a small space that leads you to a beautiful secret beach. Not so secret today, because when I went there were about 15 people, but still, that in Bali is a privilege. In the surroundings of Suluban beach there are also a few bars where you can enjoy the view and the sunset; among them is the Single Fin.
2. Padang Padang Beach
Near Suluban beach is the Padang Padang beach. You also go down to the beach by a staircase and the prices are similar to Suluban beach. The difference is that this beach is much bigger and more touristic. There are many surfers, enough people, good atmosphere, and there is also no lack of monkeys that take advantage when you get in the water to steal you; so keep an eye out.
3. Dreamland Beach
A little further away than the two previous ones we can find Dreamland beach; much less touristy than Padang Padang, surrounded by cliffs and white sand. It is perfect for those who are looking for a quieter place surrounded by nature and ideal for surfing thanks to the large waves in this area.
I hope this guide to the Uluwatu area, the temple and the beaches will be useful if you are thinking of going to Bali. I’m sure Indonesia won’t leave you indifferent.
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Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that leave us breathless.Maya Angelou