Uluwatu Temple. On our very last day on the wonderful island of Bali, we decided to do a day trip south. We had organized the same driver who had picked us up from the airport. A sweet man, who was very fond of Eli, with a kind heart and a happy smile. There was only one more thing that we really wanted to do, but hadn’t yet had time to do, and that was to see Uluwatu Temple at sunset. We weren’t sure how this day trip would work since there wasn’t time to return to Ubud to pick up our baggage and then get back to the airport.
Our driver agreed that we should take all of our baggage with us, and that they would be safe in the car when we were out sightseeing. This was the perfect plan because we got to visit Padang Padang Beach, see the gorgeous Uluwatu Temple, witness a spectacular sunset, make a stop in Kuta for a tasty Seafood dinner, and still make it to the airport by 11pm.
Uluwatu Temple is a Balinese sea temple in Uluwatu (Kuta South, Badung). It is renowned for its magnificent location, perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level. This temple also shares the splendid sunset backdrops as that of Tanah Lot Temple, another famous temple that we had visited earlier in our trip. Pura Luhur Uluwatu is definitely one of the top places on the island to go to for sunset delights, with direct views overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean. Balinese architecture, traditionally-designed gateways, and ancient sculptures add to Uluwatu Temple’s appeal.
Visitors must wear a sarong and a sash (below, Eli in his sash), as well as appropriate clothes common for temple visits. Clothes can be hired at the entrance of the temple, but the sarong and sashes are free for borrowing. The best time to visit is just before sunset. A Kecak dance is performed everyday at the adjacent cliff-top stage (pictured above) at 18:00 to 19:00.
The temple is inhabited by monkeys, who are notorious for snatching visitors’ belongings. They can usually be persuaded into trading the items for fruit, although this only encourages them to steal more. Ironically, the monkeys are believed to guard the temple from bad influences.
Without a doubt, what makes Uluwatu Temple spectacular is its cliff-top setting at the edge of a plateau 250 feet above the waves of the Indian Ocean. ‘Ulu’ means the ‘top’ or the ‘tip’ and ‘watu’ means a ‘stone’ or a ‘rock’ in Balinese. Several archaeological remains found here prove the temple to be of megalithic origin, dating back to around the 10th century.
The cliff side walk
The serpentine pathway to the temple is fortified by concrete walls on the cliff side. It takes about an hour to get from one end to another as there are several fenced points along the way to stop. We stopped at one of these fenced points and I climbed off the concrete wall to get a better view of the ocean. The views below, of the bottom of the water surging up against rocks and the ocean horizon are remarkable.
There is no public transportation to get to Uluwatu Temple. Going back into town will be difficult without any prearranged ride or taxi. A guide is not necessary, though helpful. From Nusa dua to Uluwatu is 45 minutes drive. From Kuta – A taxi from Kuta to Uluwatu will take 30-40 minutes and cost about 150,000Rp one way. You can consider hiring a car for the day in Bali for other excursions since all the tourists spots are far from each other.
We left our driver to socialize with the other drivers and took an hour long stroll along the coastline. There were less people than we thought, and it was easy to enjoy the tranquil surroundings. This was definitely the BEST WAY to have spent our last evening on Bali!