Located at the south end of the island, on the Bukit peninsula, the Uluwatu area is famous for it's variety of surf spots. Uluwatu is different from other parts of the island as it's situated on the cliff tops with beach access found through small staircases cut into the rock. This allows for some great sunset views and a much more local vibe.
DO catch some waves/sun and relax at the various beaches. Most beaches are a 15-20 minute scooter ride away from each other, and beach access costs approx. $0.15 to $0.55 USD (pay at the entrance or gates near parking areas). Below is a quick overview of our experience at the different beaches.
*Although we do not discourage you from visiting Bali during Wet Season (October to April), we do warn that due to rain the beaches are not necessarily the cleanest or most tropical looking like you may expect. We were informed there is far less garbage littering the beaches during Dry Season (May to September), making for a more beautiful landscape. We will let you know our thoughts when we're back during Dry Season in a few months!*
Bingin Beach - One of the smaller, more quiet and quaint beaches is Bingin. It often feels like a slice of paradise nestled among a cliff side of lovely rental homes and a few restaurants. The waves here tend to be more calm - allowing for surfers and swimmers of all ages/experience. To access the beach you will need to walk down a fairly narrow and steep series of cobblestone steps.
Padang Padang Beach - This is one of the more well known beaches in the area. We found it beautiful but rather small with quite a lot of tourists.
Uluwatu Beach - One of the most famous beaches in Bali for surfers. It's powerful waves and reef bottom make it a more advanced surf spot. If you're interested in lounging on the beach to watch, know that you'll have to sneak through a very small hole in the cliff side or wait until low tide to walk out. We enjoyed watching the surfers from the cliff top at Single Fin.
Balangan Beach - This beach was larger than Bingin or Padang Padang and offered beautiful white sand with great views of the surrounding cliffs. There are also many traditional restaurants and surf rental shops lining the beach. Balangan seemed to be be one of the better beaches for beginner surfers looking to catch some waves.
Dreamland Beach - Dreamland is a similar size beach as Balangan and offers white sand and beautiful views. Unfortunately while we were there the beach was very dirty with trash everywhere which took away from the experience for us. Dreamland is also the most commercialized out of all of the beaches in the area with numerous vendors staged all along the entrance and beach. Don't expect to find your own quiet place to lounge here. (We unfortunately didn't document our visit to Dreamland Beach! Click here to see some wonderful images on Google.)
EAT at Nalu Bowls for the best smoothie bowls we've had yet in Bali!
If you're willing to try very traditional food we enjoyed Warung Heboh. You pay per scoop of food and dish yourself. Huge plates of food typically cost us approx. $2 USD and everything we tried was delicious.
DRINK and enjoy the music at Single Fin during sunset. (Yes, drinking beer at the beach during sunset is one of our favorite things to do!) We recommend getting a reservation online otherwise go early (around 4 PM) to get a seat. There's a lengthy dinner menu here also, with options ranging from pizza and burgers to steak.
STAY somewhere central to all beaches or splurge for a place with a view. We stayed near Padang Padang beach which ended up being very central and convenient. We'd love to hear more about the hotel and infinity pool overlooking the ocean at Blue Point (right next to Single Fin). Sunsets from this pool look dreamy!
CRUISE anywhere by scooter. Since most destinations and shops are spread out around Uluwatu, we highly recommend renting one for the entire time you're here. Daily scooter rentals average approx. $3-5 USD - it's cheaper if you do a weekly rental. You can find gas at Petrol stands all throughout town. Two glass bottles of gas (usually Absolut Vodka bottles) will fill your tank for approx. $1 USD.
KNOW although typically somewhat easy to find, Uber is frowned upon in the Kuta and Uluwatu areas of Bali. You'll see signs with a big red X through the logo and locals will tell you not to use them. We had a great experience with our Uber driver but were later told Uber isn't allowed here. Uncertain of the reasoning here.
*Please note: All photos in this post were taken on an iPhone only.