Living Large in Ululawtu

Uluwatu stirs the traveler’s soul with highbrow culture, superlative-defying cliff-sides, and epic day clubs.

The Cliffs of Uluwatu, Bali.

hot take: An easy hour’s drive South from the main tourist areas of Bali, Uluwatu delivers a more sophisticated (and expensive) take on the Bali experience. (4.0 stars)

pro tip: Renting a scooter is a must as the hills are killers, but the roads were the nicest and least crowded of anywhere in Bali.

Uluwatu is located at the Southernmost part of Bali (separated by a narrow isthmus) and maintains a district personality from the rest of Bali. Of course, it has its own impressive temples and surf breaks, but the real thing that sets Uluwatu apart are its stunning cliffs.

In Uluwatu, the volcanic rock ends abruptly in 20+ story cliff-sides that ring the area and form pocket beaches below (as made famous by Eat, Pray, Love). It is also a surfer’s paradise as predictable long breaks and barrel waves are bountiful. While it can be quite exhausting to go up and down 20 stories of stairs, the results are dramatic as the cliffs, pocket beaches, and tidal pools captivate the senses.

On the North side of the peninsula, great beginner surf beaches also exist with soft sand and forgiving wave breaks. Surf schools abound making the area a perfect one to try your hand at surfing. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

Beaches of Uluwatu.

Uluwatu also boasts a cliffside temple (called Pura Luhur Uluwatu) that sits an impressive 200 feet above the waves below. As one of six key temples believed by the Balinese to be Bali's spiritual pillars, the temple grounds are inspiring, and the sunset is not to be missed (if you can handle the heat, crowds, and get a clear day…which we did not, unfortunately). Visitors will also delight in the monkeys which live on the grounds and entertain/harass foreigners as they pass.

Monkey at the Uluwatu Temple, Bali.

On a more personal note, just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean that important milestones don’t happen. When they do, we miss our family and friends even more than usual, but the show must go on. While we were in in Uluwatu, Kelly turned 30!

Kelly's 30th Birthday Cake in Bali.

So we blew our carbs budget on a custom cake (we ordered a carrot cake with some pineapple and received a yellow cake with some pineapple, but mostly sugar) and decided to live large at one of Uluwatu’s cliff day clubs. (you only turn 30 once) The OMNIA day club had literally just opened its door and was still in its soft-opening phase, so we decided it would be the best one to visit of the 2 or 3 day clubs in the area. We were not disappointed with the views, massive infinity pool, or our daybed (with a perfect poolside location). If your travel budget can afford it (there was a $100 food/drink spend minimum…aka 2-3x a night in a mod-range hotel), then come rub shoulders with bankers (met a group from London), trust fund kids (literally everywhere) and sheiks (a Saudi prince and his crew occupied one of the daybeds next to ours). We partied from 2p until past sunset and have ZERO regrets!