Bali is, despite its relatively small-ish, island persona, a destination that can be quite hard to navigate if you really want to tick off the sights on boxes. For starters, traffic is atrocious, it could take you an hour, on a good day, to get from the southern reaches of Nusa Dua to Seminyak, and if you plan to venture beyond any of your base, be it Seminyak, Kuta, Ubud or Nusa Dua, I would always recommend at least an hour lead time. Having said that, the neighbourhoods themselves are pretty self-contained, ideal for a relaxing-ish escape.
As a disclaimer, I will be talking about the Bukit Peninsula, the larger geographical area of Uluwatu. Uluwatu-proper is located on the south-west of the peninsula, and has arguably some of the most stunning hotel locations there is on the island. Beaches, though are not aplenty, as this is a plateau with a lot of cliffs, so if you do need a beach on your island holiday, the southern end of Nusa Dua, is a good, quieter option.
I stayed at the Hilton Nusa Dua, which is technically outside the main tourist enclave of Nusa Dua, but easily accessible from the airport with the new highway and by-pass that, let’s just say, prioritises the main economic driver of Bali.
The beach is pretty good, though waves can be rough at times. The setting is stunning, as part of the hotel is perched on the cliff, with the Cliff Tower rising from the beach below to the plateau above.
You will be in good, quiet company, it the Ritz-Carlton and Mulia Resort Nusa Dua nearby, with the tourist enclave and commercial area of Nusa Dua a 15 minute drive/ride/shuttle service away.
Day Clubs Galore
One cannot go to Uluwatu and not enjoy the day clubs here. While not as ‘hot’ or as ‘hip’ as the day clubs on the beach in Seminyak (read: Finns/Ku De Ta/Potato Head), the day clubs here have a certain charm about them.
Sundays Beach Club is at the bottom of the cliff and has a beach, and while that as on my list, regrettably, time constraints (read: spending waaaay too much time in one day club and writing off the entire schedule.
OMNIA Day Club, the tropical outpost of OMNIA Las Vegas, is definitely a destination bar, with people coming far and wide just to chill and relax on the day beds or pool. The stunning is setting, with the aptly named ‘Cube’ being a focal point of the bar, and tropical-inspire lattice work at the main building’s Japanese restaurant. Be warned, reservations are recommended for day-beds.
I admit, I am a fan of fancy perches that have stunning views looking out to a destination, be it nature or urban escapes. The bars in Uluwatu on the other hand, raise the bar, with a combination of stunning sunsets and fancy perches.
Single Fin, the ever popular cliff-top bar, is a regular haunt among the surfer jet-set or surfer-lifestyle aficionados. With the spectacular views overlooking Uluwatu beach and the surf of the Uluwatu coast, this spot is a good, upmarket watering hole to enjoy a few drinks and watch the surfers ride the waves from your cliff-top vantage point.
If more jet-set and less surfer-vibe is what you are after, then Ulu Cliffhouse is definitely one of my favourite spots in Bali. Coming a close second to threesixty, the chill vibes, stunning cliff-side pool setting and beach house music can easily tempt you to stay here all day and miss the kecak dance at Uluwatu Temple.
One of the attractions to Uluwatu, beyond the clifftop bars and surf beaches, is, well, Uluwatu Temple. One of the key temples and a major holy site in Bali, this is also the site of one of the most stunning performance arts paired with a spectacular setting: the Kecak Dance and Ramayana excerpts of Uluwatu.
Be here early, preferably before 1700 to secure your tickets, priced at IDR 100,000, and a nice seat, as even though it starts at 1800, it gets crowded fast, and tickets sell out quickly. Once you brave the heat and direct sun as it starts to set, the mystical chants, trance-life fervour, the melodies draw you in. The setting sun, rugged cliffs and temple perched precariously on the edge will provide the perfect setting to reflect, and undoubtedly distract, from both the performance below and the mass of humanity crammed in the amphitheatre.
OMNIA Day Club
Address: Jalan Belimbing Sari, Pecatu, Kuta Selatan, Bali 80364 Indonesia
Threesixty at The Edge
Address: Jalan Pura Goa Lempeh, Banjar Dinas Kangin, Pecatu, Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
Address: Pantai Suluban, Jalan Labuan Sait, Uluwatu, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Address: Jalan Labuan Sait No 315, Padang-Padang, Pecatu, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Kecak Performance at Uluwatu
Address: Jalan Raya Uluwatu, Pecatu, Kuta Selatan, Bali 80364, Indonesia
Jason is a world traveller and avid seeker of high perches, on a mission to capture the unique experiences that makes destinations iconic.