Dec 13, 2021
6 min read
A Guide to Bali's Uluwatu Region
While Uluwatu in Bali is technically a region rather than a city, it’s still very much worthy of focus in one of our Guides. A trip to Bali is, more often than not, a move towards escapism – and Uluwatu provides the most relaxing surroundings to do it in. We head here to get away from the crowds, do some yoga and properly recharge in some of our favorite boutique hotels and hideaways in the world.
Uluwatu doesn’t play into the spiritual tourism of Ubud or the ex-pat tech scene of Canggu. Instead, it appeals to those who are in search of Bali before everyone
else arrived (we realize the irony, as tourists, looking for the pre-tourist experience, but that’s just how we like to travel).
We think we’ve found it in Uluwatu, so don’t tell too many people about the tips you’re about to read below. Think beautiful unspoiled beaches (some say the best in Bali), equally stunning hotels, and one of the island’s most important temples. For a true wellness retreat, Uluwatu is the one for us.
Where to stay in Uluwatu
If you’re holidaying with friends and maybe looking to surf, you should stay here. The design is on point and they have villas that sleep up to six people. The restaurant, Mana, is low-priced and good quality, and we couldn’t love the location more.
Though it’s not on the beach, Gravity is a wonderful, eco-friendly hotel in Uluwatu. It boasts stunning views from each of its pools, the rooms open up onto balconies, and the bungalows make for the most relaxing places to stay.
You caught us red-handed. This
a Four Seasons hotel, but we stand by saying you should stay here because it feels anything but generic. If you can swing it, stay in one of their villas – each has an indulgent clawfoot tub that looks onto the Balinese gardens.
The Ungasan is set atop limestone cliffs overlooking the ocean in Uluwatu. With one of the best beach clubs sitting just below it on the sand, this private resort feels exclusive and hidden, like it’s made just for you.
These villas are pure luxury. Yes, the experience comes at a price, but it’s reflected in the minimalist design, rooms with private pools, and the spa, which tailors personalized treatments using organic products. If we could, we would live here.
Perched on the very edge of the coast, and owned by one of the most renowned Italian fine jewelry houses, this hotel is the definition of decadence. If you don’t want to spend the significant room rate, come here for lunch instead. The architecture and views are stunning, and the spa is equally so.
Where to eat in Uluwatu
The place to come for a casual, healthy lunch. We order a salad and a smoothie, but pretty much anything on their menu makes for a delicious, refreshing reset.
Dugong is a bit fancier than Uluwatu’s more relaxed options, serving high-end Indonesian food that feels quite special. It’s located in a resort where you can have a drink by the pool – a great spot to take in the sunset.
We love the minimalist design here as much as we love the fresh poké bowls. With communal tables and an all-day menu, Mana is the restaurant Uluwatu Surf Villas, which we mentioned up top. If you’ve got emails to catch up on, this is also a good place to do it.
Fat Chow is a fairly funky restaurant, where everything is repurposed – except the food, of course. Dishes have a pan-Asian focus, without pretension and with a lot of flavor. The welcoming vibe makes us feel right at home.
Where to drink in Uluwatu
On Suluban Beach, Single Fin is a great spot for a cocktail or a bite to eat. It truly shines on Sundays, when you can catch live music, but it’s nice any day of the week. Whether you’re surfing or not, chill here around sunset for the best atmosphere.
With colorful lights, white couches, and a stage, we’re not quite sure if this is a bar, a restaurant, or a club. Either way, it’s good for cocktails – and also has a pool, if you fancy a dip.
Where to dance
Arrive around 5pm to get a drink and watch the sunset (can you tell that’s our favorite thing to do in Uluwatu). Then order another drink and stay, because this place becomes a dance club that turns up the house, and if you’re lucky, some reggae.
Bringing world-class DJs to this low-key region of Bali, Savaya is a day club to dance at under the sun. There are beautiful views, a restaurant, and a pool, too.
Where to get coffee in Uluwatu
This is arguably the best coffee in Uluwatu. Get a latte, espresso, or an iced coffee, before you head on to the beach.
In the back of a surf shop, Drifter has garden seating, makes a mean cacao smoothie bowl, and serves excellent coffee.
Where to work
As we mentioned, Cashew Tree is an all-day cafe
a great place to rock up with your laptop. It serves coffee all day (necessary until you’ve shaken off the jet lag), and its general ambiance makes for good work vibes.
This is more of a cafe than a workspace, but totally welcomes laptops during most hours. It serves smoothies, veg bowls, and a good cup of coffee.
What to do in Uluwatu
If you’re a surfer, this is one of the best places to hit up. It’s not the only break in Uluwatu that is worth the ride, but it’s an absolute must-visit. If you don’t surf, still come here to check out the waves, lay on the sand, and take in the sights.
Nyang Nyang might be the last beach in Bali where you can go for a walk at sunset and find yourself almost alone. The hike down to the beach is an experience in itself, and one we recommend. It’s not so much a place to swim, but more a beach to find solitude and calm.
Where to get your hit of culture
Uluwatu is one of Bali’s most important temples. The cliff-side walk on the way up can be testing, as can the monkeys – but don’t let that deter you. They hold sunset Kacek dances to end the day, which we highly recommend as a wonderful experience of Balinese culture.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue depicts Vishnu and is designed to be one of the largest and highest monumental statues in the world. The park itself has a ton to do – from a shopping center to traditional dance performances. It’s a bit touristy, yes, but still worth a visit.
Where to work out
Throughout Bali, yoga reigns supreme. We love Morning Light Yoga Studio, in Uluwatu Surf Villas. The outdoor practice space is surrounded by jungle, and there are 90-minute classes every day. They also offer specific retreats, which range from mysticism to yoga and meditation.
There are so many places to surf in Uluwatu. If you have some experience, head toDreamland
to catch the waves.
If you’re interested in Muay Thai, go to Bali Training Center. The owner found a passion for Muay Thai in Phuket, but couldn’t find a decent gym in Uluwatu, so he opened one himself. For an intense workout, you can definitely count on this place to kick your ass.
Where to relax
With a menu of Asian-inspired holistic remedies, Karma Spa is one of our favorite places to unwind. Karma has locations around the world, but this spa, overlooking the cliffs in Uluwatu, is perhaps the most spectacular.
The spa at the Four Seasons is worth the price tag. You get a private room, which is more like a hut, overlooking the beach, and always impeccable service.
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