Despite the many attractions found on Bali in Indonesia, Uluwatu has remained the favored destination for tourists for many reasons.
Formally called Pura Luhu Uluwatu, the area is about an hour and 15 minutes from backpacker haven Kuta. The area is perhaps most widely known for its temple. After all, the Uluwatu temple is regarded as one of the most important temples on the island. It is believed to be the protective barrier to ward off the evil spirit of the ocean and is situated on the southern tip of Bali. On top of its exquisite design, one of the best things about this temple is its location.
Perched at the edge of a steep cliff, and dramatically overlooking the Indian Ocean, the temple boasts one of the most spectacular views on the island. To maximize the views, spend time on both the northern and southern vantage points within the temple ground. To enter the temple, a minimal entrance fee is required. You need to wear a sarong around your waist to cover your feet, before being allowed to enter. If you forgot to bring one, there are sarongs available for rental at the entrance.
One thing to watch for when visiting the Uluwatu Temples is the monkeys. Visitors have mixed feelings about these agile creatures. For some people, they are the highlights of the visit, and taking photos with them is quite the memorable experience. These monkeys are used to seeing people and are seemingly friendly, but they can be very aggressive too.
Visitors are warned about bringing food and beverage into the temple area as the monkeys tend to swipe them away. There are also the possibility of monkeys thieving small items from visitors like sunglasses, hats and cameras. These monkeys have learned that they can get food in exchange for stolen items. So make sure to remember to hide your things safely.
A number of visitors come to Uluwatu for day trips and leave before sundown. But if you do have the time, stay a little longer to watch the magnificent sunset over the cliffs. Everyday after sunset, there is usually a traditional dance performance called Kecak held on the temple grounds. Also known as the monkey dance, it is usually staged between 6 pm and 7 pm. Tickets can be bought at the temple entrance before the show.
Aside from its picturesque temple, Uluwatu is also popular for another thing, and that is surfing. Because of its massive swells, surfers from all over the world choose to come to Uluwatu especially during summer season. More specifically the famous surfing spot is called Pantai Suluban, but surfing in Uluwatu is not for all. Because of the challenging reef breaks, you should only attempt surfing here if you are very skilled and experienced.
After seeing the temple, consider climbing down the steep cliffs via stairs that lead to the beach. Here, you will find small wooden huts where you can have a incredible Balinese massage or a snack while watching the waves. There also a few shops that sell beach wear, souvenirs and surfing gear. Around this area, you can find scenic caves and interesting rock formations to explore as well.