On the southern coast of Indonesia is Bali and the Bukit Peninsula, home to a serene landscape made famous by revered and impressive Uluwatu Temple. The location is less than a half-hour from the Ngurah Rai International Airport and 20 minutes from the namesake temple near Jimbaran Bay. Uluwatu town is most famous for the temple but also for world-class surfing offered at Uluwatu Beach and several other local beaches. The atmosphere is low-key. The super-relaxed backdrop makes it a great place to stop for awhile, hang out on the beach, enjoy sunsets, and appreciate lazy days filled with eye-opening coastal vistas.
Uluwatu Temple was bult sometime in the late 10th to early 11th century. During the later 11th century it was expanded by Empu Kuturan, a Buddhist priest from Java. Later still, the Padmasana shrines were added by Dang Hyang Nirartha who claims to have attained Moksha (enlightenment) inside the temple. The temple is beautiful but it’s the location which is most impressive; it’s perched extremely high up on a cliff side overlooking the ocean and flanked by some magnificent geography. Those in the know will warn visitors of the flocks of monkeys inhabiting the temple; they are thieves who steal any belongings they can get their hands on. Tourists should keep all items close.
Uluwatu Surfing & Beaches
Uluwatu Surfing & Beaches> Image: s*hanghai*sparkles* (flickr)
At the southern section of Bali is Uluwatu, an area now reachable by road. Uluwatu Beach features four distinct sections. The Peak is directly in front of the warungs (small shop/café) and is aligned with the cave. This spot is best for surfing in high tide. Some of the best waves around are found in the area referred to as Outside Corner. Unless the swell hits around 8-feet the swell won’t break but when it does, the ride is long and extremely fast. These are Uluwatu’s epic waves. Racetrack is another spot where surfers can make the barrel but only during low tide and even then it can get very shallow. Temples is a very long, hollow swell ideal during mid or high tide. Neighboring beaches include Padang, Balangan, Dreamland Beach, and Nunggala.
Uluwatu Villas Image: Bulgari Hotel & Resort
In Uluwatu there are several different villa resorts where guests can enjoy private villa accommodations, usually with spectacular views of the ocean and Kuta just beyond Bali. Often with traditional thatched roofs and front terraces, villas can range from simple, customary accommodations to high-end luxury where two and more bedrooms, dining areas, sitting areas and even kitchenettes are available. Many of the villas in Uluwatu offer surrounding manicured gardens and upscale features like infinity pools. Higher end villas are more often private while cheaper villas tend to simply cluster together a group of bungalows and proudly call them “villas.”
Less than a dozen options in Uluwatu hotels may seem disconcerting but the options are good and Uluwatu is small in size compared to many other tropical resort destinations. Some of the best known hotels in the area include Bulgari Hotel and Resort (pictured), Ananatara Uluwatu Hotel & Spa, and Balangan Garden. Most hotels are on the beach or within short walking distance.
Top image: melburnian (flickr)