There are oodles of things to do in Uluwatu. This corner of Bali is world-famous for its beautiful beaches, stunning views, and luxury villas. It’s also a legendary surf spot, with some of the gnarliest sets the island can muster. We’ll make it simple: If you’re travelling to Bali, Uluwatu is not to be missed!
Surfing enthusiasts and beach bums travel to Uluwatu chasing waves and popular Sunday-night parties at Single Fin, which we think has perhaps the most stunning sunset views on the island – and that’s seriously saying something in Bali! However, there’s also plenty for culture vultures and heritage buffs, mainly in the form of the vast and sprawling Uluwatu Temple, where crab-eating macaques inhabit mystical Hindu shrines perched high above the Indian Ocean.
This guide has you covered when it comes to picking things to do in Uluwatu. It ranges from the wild Uluwatu surf to the jaw-dropping beachfronts, with a sprinkling of rad beach bars thrown in for good measure. Tempted? Let’s go…
Single Fin Bali
Single Fin wasn’t always one of the most iconic nightlife venues on the Isle of the Gods. It started as a chilled surfer shack back in 2008. Since then, its eye-watering location has thrust into the spotlight and now a cocktail here with the sunset if very much a rite of passage for first-time visitors to Bali, no to mention one of the top things to do in Uluwatu at night.
Perched dramatically on the Ulu cliffs right above the iconic Ulu’s surf break, the establishment opens onto a sweeping balcony with come-laze-in-me chairs and terraced deck spaces. The bar serves all sorts, from meticulously mixed highballs to cold Bintang beers. There’s also a menu of chilled pub grub, ranging from surf-turf sliders to Buddha bowls filled with local flavors.
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you – Single Fin hits a zenith with the golden hour. Come for 5ish to grab your spot and then watch as the sunset shimmers in orange and pink across the Indian Ocean. Pro surfers will be ripping up the left-hand waves below while famous DJs start spinning decks. It’s all good vibes.
Nyang Nyang Beach – the top Uluwatu beach of all!
Nyang Nyang beach is one of the most stunning and isolated beaches in all of Bali, let alone Uluwatu. Backed by clusters of coast grapes and high, salt-washed hills, it stretches around the southern (way less busy) end of the Bukit Peninsula, some 10 minutes by car from Uluwatu Temple.
One unique feature of this beach is the shipwreck that lies half-buried in the sand — providing an opportunity for some remarkable photography. It’s also a simply gorgeous run of coastline, with cotton-white sand that’s rather unusual on the volcanic island of Bali.
However, the best thing is the remoteness. The beach has very few visitors due to the steep and challenging road that you’ll need to tread to get there. It’s definitely worth the hike, as you are rewarded with a beach to almost just yourself!
OMNIA Dayclub Bali
There is arguably no better beach club in Uluwatu than OMNIA. It’s an all-day party that carries on with the added joys of a swimming pool, local DJs, good vibes, and stunning views that’ll have you dancing 100 meters above the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean.
Basically: If you’re looking for Ibiza-like atmosphere in Bali, you’ve found it. The venue is a futuristic mashup of stylo features and edgy design; the crowd is an eclectic mix of international partygoers. You’ll also find a menu that offers seafood salads, Mexican quesadillas, drinking snacks, and a whole medley of classic cocktails.
The entry price for OMNIA is 200,000 IDR per person (250,000 on weekends!). For that, you are entitled to enter the club, but not use any of the sofas, daybeds, cabanas, or VIP bungalows. Yep, it ain’t cheap. But that’s just the going rate for a night in one of the island’s chicest beach bars!
— Suzanne ✈️ (@philatravelgirl) June 5, 2019
No trip to Uluwatu could possibly be complete without visiting the legendary Uluwatu Temple. Clutching a 70-meter-high cliff, the vast and impressive Hindu shrine is one of Bali’s most scenic and unforgettable.
It’s believed that the Uluwatu Temple is one of six key temples in Bali, making it one of the spiritual pillars of the island. For non-Hindu visitors, it’s better known for its views, which extend all along the wave-bashed coast of the Bukit Peninsula, to offer glimpses of frothing whitewash, jungle-topped rocks, and the sweeping blue of the Indian Ocean.
The Uluwatu Temple is the home of the Kecak Fire Dance (more on that later), so it gets busy when those rituals are on. However, we recommend coming nice and early in the morning to stroll the grounds without the crowds. Just watch out for the monkeys. (There are warning signs throughout the park because monkeys will try and steal your stuff!).
Rent a Scooter to Explore the Beaches
The area of Uluwatu encompasses many of southern Bali’s most beautiful beaches. To explore them all, you’ll either need to hop in taxi after taxi or opt to rent a scooter. Hire shops are abundant throughout the island, and prices tend to start at 70,000 IDR per day.
Once you’ve got your scooter, it’s time to start planning that Uluwatu beach itinerary! Don’t miss Padang Padang, where stacks of stone rise from a gold-sanded cove and surfers paddle out to glassy reef breaks. Bingin is another stunner, with its fast left-hand surf and thatched beer bars by the water (they are a fine alternative to the uber-busy Single Fin club). Suluban Beach is one of our personal favorites, with its high backing of sheer-cut cliffs.
We’d also say: Wear a helmet! Not only can you get fined for not wearing a helmet, but it’s also for your own safety. The roads in Indonesia can be dangerous, and there are many traffic-related accidents each day. In fact, it’s best to steer clear of scooters entirely if you’re not feeling confident about driving on the Isle of the Gods.
Balangan viewpoint is a popular spot for sunset time. But you don’t have to come at the golden hour. Daytime visits also reveal a glorious arc of cinnamon-tinged sand with seas of perfect turquoise-blue and green.
The beach is up there with the top surf spots in Bali. It’s got fast left-hand waves that roll over shallow reefs. That means it’s not great for beginners, but a hit with intermediates and pros who like a good challenge. We simply love sitting on the lookouts and watching them do their thing!
There are two main viewpoints at Balangan. The first is a rocky edge that overlooks the sea below, which is usually the most popular. Further along, you will find the second viewpoint. That has a big circular floor covered in thick vines. Both can become quite crowded, particularly around 5-6pm with the sunset.
Treat Yourself to a Spa Day
Spas are everywhere around Bali. However, the area of Uluwatu has been establishing itself as something of a luxury enclave in recent years, so there are now some pretty enticing places to get a facial or a massage. The best retreats in the area include Karma Spa, Anantara Spa, Esthetic Day Spa. We especially love The Spa At The Edge, too, mainly for its uber-awesome location on the high hills above Nyang Nyang Beach on the far south coast.
There are lots of different packages to pick from in most of the above. The best-known will likely be the hot stone massage or the Balinese massage. The first involves lightly heated rocks placed at strategic positions on the back and body. The latter is an ancient healing routine that’s about accupressure and aromatherapy and muscle stretches – the perfect thing after long surf sessions on Ulu’s!
See the Amazing Kecak Fire Dance
We’ve already spoken about the mystical Uluwatu Temple. Well…during sunset, the spot comes alive with the stirring performances of the Kecak Fire Dance. It’s an ancient Hindu tradition that draws on the stories of the Ramayana epic to act out the hard-fought battle between the evil King Ravana and the monkey people of Vanara.
It’s widely considers to be one of the most immersive cultural experiences in south Bali. It takes place every evening at sunset. Tickets are limited for each event but there’s lots of seating, though we would recommend booking early to secure your space. It’s also advisable to wear appropriate clothing when visiting Uluwatu Temple. Generally, anything that covers your shoulders and knees is acceptable. Tours to see the Kecak Dance start at around 25 USD per person.
Uluwatu is world-renowned for its legendary surf spots. Visitors from all over the globe come to this corner of Bali to hit the waves. They peak in the rainy season between November and March, which is when the south-west swells come off the Indian Ocean to really add power to the breaks of the Bukit Peninsula.
The spot known as Ulu’s is one of the most famous of the bunch. It’s just below the Single Fin Beach Club and offers a series of breaks that go from rippable outside shoulders to the fast and hollow inside lefts over the shallow reef. It’s all for experts there, but there are some more accessible Bali surf breaks to the north and south for intermediates. They include Bingin, a neat left-hand reef, and Padang Padang, which is wedgy and peaky and really fun. Total beginners should stick to Kuta and Seminyak.
Stay at a Luxury Beach Hotel
The area of Uluwatu has gone from an off-the-beaten-path surfer escape in the 1970s to something of a chic and luxury corner of Bali. It’s still not as posh as Nusa Dua over on the island’s east coast, but there’s been a real uptick in the number of five-star villas and stylish hotels above the Ulu cliffs.
For sheer opulence, yo probably can’t beat the five-star Bulgari Resort Bali. That’s a designer resort hotel with private access to stunning Nyang Nyang Beach and an infinity pool gazing across the remote south coast. We also LOVE the eco-style rusticity of The Korowai on Binging Beach. It’s a cracking option for surfers, with cabanas clutching the cliffs and half-outdoor bathroom suites. Dreamsea Bali is probably better of honeymooners and couples, with its breezy beach shacks close to Padang Padang
This guide just scratches the surface of all the awesome things to do in Uluwatu. If you’ve got anything to add, we’d love to hear about it!