Read more about my Self Care Sabbatical and the other places I’ve visited!
We chose Uluwatu as it was known for its surfing. Unfortunately, the conditions were total crap while we were there (tide cycles and the moon and all that). So we did not surf.
Instead, we had two full days of beach time which, after living on a tropical island for four months, was actually not that interesting. My friend Kirsty is also not the type of person to lay out in the sun all day as she is quite fair-skinned and burns easily. So we spent some time at the beach and some in the shade, not wanting to overdo it in the very hot sun. Our first day was spent at Padang Padang Beach which was a bit crowded, but not too bad. We were able to snag an umbrella spot on the sand for 100K rupiah so we could manage a break from the sun. There was some surfing happening at the beach, but the conditions were pretty meh. The following day, after our surf lesson was canceled, we walked a bit further from our hotel to Bingin Beach, an even quieter stretch of sand. It was lovely, but there was no shade to be found and we soon found ourselves hiding at the Sun & Surf Stay restaurant with beers and snacks in hand.
Even though we didn’t get to surf, I was still happy we stayed in this surfer town. The vibe was perfect. We were delighted to find a number of fantastic restaurants close to our hotel, all of which fit under that umbrella of Australian/trendy/Instagrammy spot that actually serves good food. Bukit Cafe and The Loft were the two places where we became regulars during our short time in Uluwatu. Both restaurants offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as desserts and cocktails. These were the kinds of places that offered avocado on nearly every plate and served fantastic coffee. And the portions were massive! Kirsty and I were in heaven after spending the past few months eating at the same places in Koh Tao.
The other nice part of these surfer spots is there is always some good shopping. I was in desperate need of a new bikini after having worn mine diving for months (they were disgusting). I had already planned to trash my swimsuits at the end of the trip, but I was basically ready to do it as soon as I found myself a new one. I quickly found one on sale at one of the surf shops! And Kirsty was able to find a new rashguard for surfing/diving as well. And the shops gave us something to do when we needed to get out of the heat!
We didn’t really get around to exploring the nightlife in Uluwatu, though there are plenty of beach bars and restaurants that are apparently worth checking out. Between the sun and just being a little lazy, we found ourselves chilling with beers at the hotel and then wanting to go to bed as soon as we finished dinner. It was nice to get some quality sleep!
If you’re not spending your time at the beach or surfing, there are some temples in the area that are worth visiting (Uluwatu Temple has incredible views) where you can see one of the kecak dances that are put on for tourists in the evening. As a reminder, check the dress code before you visit!
Getting There: We arranged a transfer through our hotel from the airport – this is probably the easiest thing to do. The transfer cost 300K rupiah for the two of us (plus a tip) and the trip took about 45 minutes.
Where to Stay: As to be expected, there are so many places to stay in Uluwatu and it will depend on your budget and plans for where you want to stay. We didn’t plan to rent a motorbike in Bali so we wanted a place where we could easily access beaches and restaurants on foot. We had booked at Casamar Hostel but due to a room mixup, we got moved to Bombora Surf Camp, an adjacent property, for two of our three nights. Bombora was great – nice room, small but quiet pool area, and they were able to arrange surf lesson for us (which we were then refunded for when it never happened). Casamar was not quite as nice – our room was large but the bathroom was TINY – and I was glad we had just one night there.