Uluwatu, located in the southwestern tip of beautiful Bali is home to a number of seriously gorgeous beaches and is a popular destination on the island in its own right. Some of the best beaches in Uluwatu are known for world class surfing, vibey beach bars, and an unbeatable atmosphere.
However, visitors to Bali tend to stick to Kuta and Seminyak’s expansive coastline, which is honestly, far less nice. Uluwatu’s beaches are cleaner, less busy and less crowded. Some beaches are really tucked away, or even nestled at the foot of cliffs, meaning there’s no high rise hotels or big beach bars dominating the area.
In Indonesia, the word for beach is Pantai, and the word precedes the name of the beach. So Pantai Bingin, for example. Anyway, here’s my guide to my favourite beaches in Uluwatu.
How to get to Uluwatu
Uluwatu is located in an area known as the Bukit Peninsula, at the southwestern most point of Bali. It is kinda in the opposite direction from the airport to Kuta and Seminyak.
Getting to Uluwatu is pretty easy though, with plenty of taxis and private cars offering rides from many places in Bali. Share apps, like Grab and Gojeck are also very convenient low-cost options, although you may end up on the back of a scooter.
It’s important to head over to Uluwatu quite early in the day, as the dreadful Bali traffic reaches a peak before sunset as tourists and locals head in droves towards Uluwatu. From sundowners at one of the beach bars, to seeing the sunset at Uluwatu Temple, it’s a popular place to head in the late afternoon.
Although Uluwatu and the Bukit Peninsula don’t look like a huge land mass, it actually can take surprisingly long to travel around Uluwatu. With tiny winding roads and steep hills, it’s important to factor drive times between beaches.
Scooter is probably the easiest way to get around Uluwatu, especially for the freedom your own mode of transport affords you in Bali. But, if you’re like me, then a scooter isn’t an option so you better find a nice taxi driver to befriend. I tend to find one, get their number and use them repeatedly around the island – they become your trusted guide and friend too!
Best Beaches in Uluwatu
Certainly not a secret anymore, this beach can get quite busy but its location is quite special and the water is easily accessible. As I mentioned, Uluwatu’s beaches are mostly at the bottom of the cliffside, so Padang Padang, like the others is quite the downwards trek.
There is now a small fee to pay before you can descend down the stairs, but it’s quite minimal.
When I last visited (April 2019), there was some light building work going on so it will be interesting to see what materialises over the coming months. But for now, it’s a low-key beach with just a handful of vendors.
This beach is also known as an excellent surf spot, with even international surf events taking place here each year.
But for the majority of the year, its a popular beach with tourists and locals, with families descending on the weekend with picnics. A lovely opportunity to be a part of the local lifestyle.
This is a cool little beach side community, with a real back-to-basics vibe. Surfers and backpackers still head here and to me, it felt a little bit like Bali before tourism really took over.
It’s a jumble of little inns, cafes and locals’ homes all in a mish-mash built into the cliffside. It’s hectic to climb down, but at beach level you’ll find soft white sand and locals keen to take you out for a surf. There are also some great cafes, such as the well-known Kelly’s Warung.
The waves are considered better for more advanced surfers, but when it’s low tide, the shallow waters are great for swimming and snorkelling.
Located at the furthest point on Uluwatu, this rocky beach is one of the most popular surf spots in Bali. In fact, its waves are consistently good, often reaching 4-5 metres high.
This beach isn’t ideal for sunbathing, but it’s a real adventure to descend all the way down the cliffside steps. You emerge into a huge cavern, so you feel like you’re swimming in a cave.
It’s very rocky here, so not great for swimming. However, it’s packed with surfers and has a real Bali vibe to it. At the top of the cliffs, there are several brilliant rooftop bars, including the amazing Single Fin bar. This is definitely one of Bali’s best sunset spots. Although, it’s a pretty good spot to spend the whole day too – but beware, the prices can be a little steep!
Sometimes Suluban beach is known as Uluwatu beach.
Most definitely my favourite beach in Bali.
Ungasan is home to a number of beautiful beaches with private access. Possibly with the bluest waters around. I would highly recommend paying the entry fee to spend the day at Sundays Beach Club – you can read my full guide to spend the day at Sundays here.
Nusa Dua in Bali is an enclave of luxury 4 and 4 star hotels and resorts. Nearly every big name hotel brand located here. It is quite different to the rest of the island, and even Uluwatu. It’s roads are perfectly maintained and lined by beautifully manicured gardens.
We stayed in the Courtyard by Marriott Nusa Dua in the heart of the resort. It was a fabulous stay and actually really enjoyed our time in Nusa Dua. We found it really relaxing, but it definitely doesn’t immerse you in Balinese life. You wouldn’t really head to Nusa Dua for a beach day, if you weren’t staying in one of the luxury hotels.
Where to stay in Uluwatu
Uluwatu has a great array of accommodation to suite everybody from surfers, to families to honeymooners. And everyone in between. A larger majority of the guesthouses are geared towards surfers or backpackers. But there are definitely still some fantastic mid-range and luxury hotels suitable for families or couples in Uluwatu.
Luxury options. Both the Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort and the Banyan Tree Ungasan hotel are two of the best places to stay in Uluwatu, if not the whole island of Bali! Both resorts offer exceptional facilities, from infinity pools and private villas, to excellent service. Banyan Tree in fact is a lifelong favourite hotel brand of mine!
Mid-Budget. Courtyard by Marriott Nusa Dua. I love staying here and found it had everything I needed in a wonderful location. The huge swimming pools and lazy river were definitely a hit with me (and all the kids on holiday!)
Budget. Padang Padang Breeze. A great choice for a lower budget, near all the action and pleasant comfortable accommodation.
Places such as Padang Padang Breeze which are geared towards surfers or backpackers will also be able to arrange surf lessons/ surf boards too. This makes it a great option if you want to get out on the waves.
For more places to stay in Uluwatu you can check the latest prices here.
Best Beaches in Uluwatu Bali
So here’s my guide on the most beautiful beaches in the gorgeous part of Bali. All are easy to drive between and you could even beach hop a couple in a day.
Feel free to ask any further questions regarding beaches in Bali in the comments section below. If you’re looking for a beautiful hotel to stay in on the island, check out my review of Kalapa Resort & Spa here.
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Disclaimer: This visit to Uluwatu was entirely paid for by myself. There was no involvement from the tourism board or a hotel. This is an independent guide.
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