Uluwatu, Bali’s southern peninsula, is not only a surfer’s paradise, it’s also a great spot to soak up some sun, enjoy a drink on a cliff bar or watch a beautiful sunset.
Bali is far from the best Indonesia has to offer to visitors when it comes to beaches (the south coast of nearby Lombok is much more stunning, or for instance the beautiful Pasir Panjang beach in Kei islands, Maluku).
I’ve written a couple of detailed travel guides about Bali that you also might be interested in :
An introduction to the Balinese culture
I try to put everything (including Uluwatu’s beaches) on the following map :
Nyang Nyang beach
This one is a real gem if you wanna be alone. It’s located on the southern shore of Uluwatu. You gonna have to go down a pretty long stair to eventually arrive on a virgin beach at the foot of the cliff.
The current and the waves are pretty powerful so be really cautious when swimming. There is no one to rescue you if you get cast away by the ocean.
I haven’t been there since a while and I wouldn’t be surprised that a parking fee has now been implemented. Back then (last visit was in 2012) there wasn’t even a tout near the entrance. Only a couple of cows.
This is the beach that features in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”. The most famous name is Padang Padang beach but you will see Labuan Sait on the entrance ticket.
Padang-Padang is a great beach to swim and chill. There are a few surfers and stand-up paddlers but the spot is located quite far from the beach.
The place is not that large so better check how crowded it is from the bridge before paying the entrance.
If the weather is clear, both Mount Batukau and Mount Agung can be seen from the beach. As well as a permanent flow of airplanes about to land on the nearby airport.
It might not be the best spot to enjoy the sunset, given the sun is gonna set behind the rocks on the left. Still some pretty nice views to enjoy.
Padang-Padang beach entrance fee (2017) : 10,000Rp for foreigners / 5,000 for locals. Additional 2,000Rp to park your motorbike.
The beach is best enjoyed at high tide.
Green bowl beach
Another nice beach in South Uluwatu. Same setting as Nyang Nyang : you have to walk down a long stair to get there.
Green bowl beach entrance fee (2017) : 5,000Rp per person.
Can be quickly crowded at low tide (the beach is quite small).
Pandawa beach is arguably the best beach for swimming in Uluwatu. The ground is mostly sand, there is no big wave or current and the beach is really large.
The beachfront is full of warung and transat available for rent. Don’t expect to have the beach for yourself. If it’s what you are looking for go for Nyang Nyang or Green Bowl.
A similar alternative is Dreamland beach on the East coast. I don’t have any pictures of it but Google has plenty. Quite similar to Pandawa.
Pandawa beach entrance fee (2017) : 8,000Rp + 2,000 to park your motorbike.
Suluban is neither good for swimming nor for the view. It has a good surfbreak (but definetly not for beginners). Yet I think it is worth a visit if you have never been there because the access is very cool.
It sometimes goes by the name Pantai Uluwatu or Blue Point.
It is also a great place to watch the sunset. Beware of the tide, when it’s high the whole beach disappears under the sea.
Suluban beach entrance fees : 5,000Rp/motorbike (parking fee)
A couple of beaches I found less interesting
Popular with surfers, this beach is rather small and the sand mixed with a lots of dead corals. So not really nice to walk there. It’s not a bad one, but Dreamland or Padang Padang are next to it and much better in my opinion.
This beach is mostly famous for a huge cliff nearby with free access. Given its name this beach is probably used for some large sea procession.
Cliff bars and beach restaurants
There are many beautiful bars and restaurants in Uluwatu that are perfect for a drink or a meal. Don’t expect warung price though. If you are on a short budget, you better check the menu first on Zomato.
If you fancy that kind of experience, you can check in particular
- El Cabron
- Rock Bar
- Single Fin
Otherwise the classic seafood dinner in Jimbaran bay is always a good options (even if most of the fish sold arrives frozen to the stalls).
What to do in Uluwatu : itinerary suggestion
I think 2 days are enough to explore Uluwatu peninsula. I willingly set aside Nusa Dua area (the Western part of Uluwatu) which a soulless complex of luxury hotels.
This itinerary presumes that you have you own vehicle (motorbike or car). It’s more logic to do it when you stay in Pecatu, Jimbaran or even Kuta area (but don’t stay in Kuta area, really).
I recommend that you check the tide schedule in order to decide in which order you are going to visit the sites. If you have only one day, focus on the first part of the itinerary.
Day 1 : the east coast
- Recommended : Pantai Suluban, Pantai Padang Padang. Pantai Dreamland if you are looking for a larger beach.
- Other idea : enjoy the view over Pantai Tegal Wangi. Visiting Uluwatu temple is not a must-see in my opinion (I explained why in this article).
- Dinner on Jimbaran beach / in a cliff bar.
Day 2 : the south coast
- Recommended : Pantai Nyang Nyang, Pantai Greenbowl. Pantai Pandawa if you are looking for a larger beach and that you wanna swim safely.